Courtesy: The showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behavior toward others.

I am only one person. The world does not revolve around me. I am a small part of this universe. I was raised to be polite and respect others’ time and schedules. My mom taught me that it’s better to show up a little early than to show up late. I get so embarrassed when I am late and will profusely apologize and dwell on how my actions may have impacted someone else. I showed up an hour late to a dress fitting and didn’t admit my mistake until I left. I sent several apology emails because I felt so bad that I wasted the shop owner’s time.  

Lately, I have noticed a lot of people have no respect for other people’s time and frankly don’t care. They honestly don’t care. They will show up late for appointments and demand to be seen. They will make excuses to blame the business for them being late and not take personal responsibility for their own actions. They will threaten to go to social media if we refuse to see them. They will threaten to obtain their records and go somewhere else. They will scream at our staff, call them stupid, swear profusely and literally act like they are the only person in the world who needs help. 

It has, unfortunately, gotten worse with the recent pandemic. Everyone is already on edge but these people are even more ramped up. We are dealing with real-life and death emergencies and some clients will actually tell us their dogs ear infection is more important than a pet that was hit by a car. They refuse to reschedule. They refuse to pay ER fees to be worked in. They refuse to care about the veterinary staff that has been working 12+ hours without any breaks. They honestly don’t care about anyone except themselves and it needs to stop.

Common courtesy – that is all I am asking for when it comes to how you treat my staff. If you are late, own up to it and realize that you may need to reschedule. If you have a sick animal and the clinic is booked, you are likely to pay ER fees so we can work you in. If you messed up and didn’t call in your refill of medication soon enough, don’t yell at our staff for not having it ready in 5 minutes… own up to it and be courteous to your fellow man. We all need a little kindness right now.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.

Dr. Nicole Palumbo


Dr. Nicole Palumbo is a 2012 graduate from the University of Illinois. She is originally from the south side of Chicago but chose to move to Northwest Pennsylvania for her first job out of veterinary school. She works with small animals, exotics and also volunteers her time at the local wildlife rescue, typically performing surgeries and exams on the many raptors that are admitted to the facility. Recently she has taken a job with an emergency/general practice closer to Pittsburgh. With time she hopes to focus more time on wildlife medicine and also obtain specialization in feline medicine.