Zero Tolerance

Zero models a fashionable medical collar on Monday, July 5, 2010, the day she went home. Ears still look infected.

Too afraid to look at the camera. Compare this to the photo at the end of the post.

On Monday, July 5, 2010, Zero‘s owner came to pick her up.  We went over her care instructions and emphasized the importance of keeping her wounds clean and maintaining her meds and keeping the medical collar (also known as an Elizabethan collar or e-collar) on her at all times.  He said that he had a room to keep her in.  Then I gave him the total and he dropped the bomb.  “I don’t have any money.  Can we do a payment plan?” 

Crap.  Everybody wants a payment plan, but no one actually wants to COMPLETE a payment plan.  He and I had talked on Friday, July 2, when he brought Zero in, and we absolutely discussed how payment would be made.  He said, when offered a choice of paying by cash, check, or credit card, that he would be paying by credit card.  (Red flag.)  Arrangements for payment are best made before we are at a standoff at the checkout desk.  He said that he had no money to put down and wouldn’t have any money until Thursday.  I suppose we all recognize the futility of a promise to pay by a pit bull breeder, and I told him that I would have to talk to the vet. 

I’d like to insert here that the vet had been in constant contact with Mr. Pit Bull Breeder, and at no time did the said breeder announce any problem with paying.  Hellooo, he’s a pit bull breeder.  He should have money.

So, back to our story, I went to talk to the vet and announced our dilemna.  I said that I would take care of her at no charge to the practice for my time until Thursday when Mr. Breeder got paid.  The vet said it would be better for the dog to stay and receive medical care, but the bill would continue to mount because of the added fees for room and board that would be charged to the owner. 

So Zero went home with the owner paying zero money. 

The next day, Tuesday, July 6, 2010, I went to lunch as usual.  When I returned, Zero was back looking the worse for wear.  The animal control officer had paid a surprise visit to Mr. Pit Bull Breeder and found Zero outside under the porch lying in the dirt.  Mr. Breeder said that he had just put her outside, but his protests were to no avail as Zero found herself in the animal control van on her way back to the vet’s office. 

She was happy to see all of us at the office.  She loves the “two hots and a cot” living arrangement, and she tolerated a warm saline bath to soothe her wounds.  Her cuts were packed full of dirt from lying outside (apparently a room outside is considered inside if it’s under a porch).  She was starving and acted like she hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, and probably hadn’t, so she probably hadn’t had her antibiotics either. 

Today, we went for a stroll.  Happy dog.

See the pimple-like spots on her rear legs? Those are bite wounds which cover her entire body.

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3 Responses to “Zero Tolerance”

  1. Becky Says:

    This is so heartbreaking. I wish someone would put this dog’s owner under a porch in the dirt and refuse to feed him or give him the medicine he sorely needs!! I would imagine you go home angry many times over crap like this.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Anger is a white, hot, gut emotion that passes fairly quickly. Continued exposure to anger results in annoyance and disgust and sometimes a general beat-down feeling, mixed in with some impassiveness that other people interpret as uncaring, unthinking, unfeeling. We’ve all been exposed to service people who seemed uncaring, but we don’t know what other people go through, so we need more than zero tolerance.


      • Becky Says:

        Wise words, Ruth, and understandable also. I’ve often said how I understand how nurses, etc. might seem jaded. I’ve seen so many boo-boos, bites, crying, at work that instead of “Oh, no, you poor thing!!” reaction that I might have had years ago; it is now, “It’s ok, honey, you will be fine; let’s get a band-aid and fix it. Then we will find something to do to get your mind off this.” – much less emotional and perhaps seemingly uncaring. It has segued into caring of a more practical tone.


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