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Vet is running hours late. Is it too much to ask for a phone call?

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  • #21
    My horse vet and other vets at the office who do farm calls (there is one other vet who only does smalls) are pretty good about being on time, even when they're traveling without the advance camera crews (who provide the advantage of being informed exactly when the vet's on the way so we DEFINITELY get a call then.) If they said they'd run into an emergency, having been the emergency when my old horse had a fatal EPM seizure or the cat who was hit by a car was rushed in before the clinic was technically open, I understand and I'd want to be the priority if my animals were the emergency, too. I've run into long unexpected delays more often at the small-animal practices when I lived in MA (I'd once gotten back to the exam room and they said there'd suddenly be an undefined wait as a dog who'd eaten all the trash had just arrived-well, yeah, pumping his stomach takes priority over my cats' shots and checkup) and at the clinic near my house, which is first-come first-serve unscheduled appointments. Heck, we waited 2 hours to see a vet at the animal ER on Sunday while my dog left blood smears but obviously wasn't critical. It's just the nature of the business. I would be annoyed, but it's like being in the human ER, I generally feel a lot better that they AREN'T suddenly rushing us to the top of the priority list. Yes, it's a pain, but it's sort of the way life goes.
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    • #22
      Although I understand your frustration, vets being late happens. I just plan on taking the whole day off when I have a vet coming with the added bonus that I get to spend more time with my horse!

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        I want to be completely clear that in NO WAY did I complain that the emergency came before me. I was explicit that I understand that emergencies happen. I even understand that they can't always call ahead to each person on the schedule to let them know if they are on time or not. But I made the effort to call them well before the appointment.

        I did call the staff person this morning to apologize, as she apparently took my rebuke of the office procedure personally, and it was not personal.
        And my vet & I talked it out thoroughly after he was done yelling, and supposedly we're "all good". At least that's what he says. Although I do wonder if I'll receive the same quality service in the future, or if I'll be pushed to the bottom of the pile.

        I did find myself wondering if he would have been as aggressive in his position if I had been a man. And he certainly wouldn't have taken that position if I owned (or even boarded at) a big fancy barn. But I accept that's just the way of the world.

        By his manner, he made my choices clear to me: I can make an appointment and know that he will be hours late, every time, without a call. Or I can switch vets. I really wish that when I had requested a head's up that the office had just been honest with me and said "I'm sorry, we're too small and we just can't do that"

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        • #24
          You also may have read to much into his outburst.

          it could simply be that he was at the end of a craptastic day, and your complaint (justified, I think) was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
            I really wish that when I had requested a head's up that the office had just been honest with me and said "I'm sorry, we're too small and we just can't do that"
            I am confused why you keep saying this. They DID give you a heads up. Not as early as you wanted but they did inform you.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
              I did find myself wondering if he would have been as aggressive in his position if I had been a man. And he certainly wouldn't have taken that position if I owned (or even boarded at) a big fancy barn. But I accept that's just the way of the world.
              Understandable, but still, another assumption.

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                trubandloki, my request to the office, when I made the appointment, was that they let me know prior to my scheduled time if they appeared to be on schedule. I'm only 15 minutes from the barn, so I didn't need a long term prediction. They called me after I'd already left work and arrived at the barn. At that point it didn't accomplish my goal of not losing time from work unnecessarily.

                Going forward, I'll just accept that they can't do that. I don't mind calling them, but if they don't have anyone in the office to answer the phone, that won't work either.

                And alagirl, you're right, he may have had a really bad day.

                Ironically, I'm known as a person who always cuts others slack, who doesn't complain, and people who have known me for 20 or 30 years can genuinely say that they have never heard me raise my voice. I really do need to lower my expectations.

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Thank you to everyone for helping me to put this in perspective.

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                  • #29
                    Another perspective from a CT horse owner using a CT vet practice:
                    There is one practice that I know of where the one office person goes to lunch and the post office from 2:30-3:30 or so (usually a quiet time of day), which may explain why you didn't get an answer when you called. The answering service is not always spectacular. If you are using said vet service, then I can see the rest of this going down exactly as it did. It may not have been a professional issue, but rather a bad timing issue instead. I agree with the poster who suggested early morning appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Not bullet proof, but your odds of a timely appointment go way up that way.
                    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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                    • #30
                      My vet and farrier often come early because they know I will drive to the barn to feed and clean mine and clean their stalls before the vet/farrier comes. I don't complain. But often there is an emergency, for vet and sometimes for farrier. And I never complain about that either. Last month when vet was to come to remove Hattie's cast, I called to see if he'd had an emergency and his office said "no." but then he did get an emergency call, and instead of his office calling my cell at the barn, they called and left a message on my home phone. So when I called after our appointment time, his office told me there had been an emergency. He came an hour or so late. I groomed my 2 and spent time cleaning the stalls again. I did not yell at his staff or at him.

                      If you think a vet is treating you differently than someone at a big barn, or someone with lots of horses, or because a client is a man, well then you need to either change vets or figure out why you think you feel like that. I don't know what you said to the vet's staff, or your tone of voice when you spoke to his office, but I do think you need to change vets if you think your vet will now treat you differently. I would want my vet service to go to the emergency, and if the service forgot to call me, I'd just keep checking with the office to see where he was and when he'd be coming. The nature of the business is that there will be emergencies, and there will be traffic tie-ups, and there will not be arrivals right on the dot. (My vet service is a fully staffed hospital with multiple vets, support staff, emergency answering service, and an operationing room. I can reach them 24/7. And I pay a lot to get that service.)

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        I guess I wasn't clear in my original post. I was in no way upset or complaining that the vet was delayed by an emergency. I remember clearly when I made the appointment that I said I understood he was very likely to be delayed, and could they just let me know if that was the case because of the work situation. I do not expect special treatment, or to be moved to the front of the line. That's not me, and that's not what I was seeking. When the office staff did call to say that I was late, I did not yell, or raise my voice. I did not curse, pout, or hang up on them. I did say, in a perfectly normal tone of voice, that I thought that calling to let me know that they would be 2 hours late was simply something that I expected as a professional and common courtesy.
                        But judging from the reactions here, it's not a courtesy I should expect from an equine vet. The confrontation could have been avoided entirely if the vet had calmly said "I'm sorry, but we simply don't have the staff to do that. I'm sorry if you thought we would"
                        I don't think that the vet treats my horse any differently, in a medical sense, than he would a male or big-time client. I was simply speculating that if I were male, or more important, he would not have lost his temper and raised his voice to me when I had not (yet) done either.
                        There is only one staff person in this office, so perhaps I really am expecting too much. And perhaps I am expecting too much attention for one person with one horse.
                        And I have asked for an appointment first thing in the morning, they won't schedule one, for whatever reason.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                          When the office staff did call to say that I was late, I did not yell, or raise my voice. I did say, in a perfectly normal tone of voice, that I thought that calling to let me know that they would be 2 hours late was simply something that I expected as a professional and common courtesy.
                          But judging from the reactions here, it's not a courtesy I should expect from an equine vet. The confrontation could have been avoided entirely if the vet had calmly said "I'm sorry, but we simply don't have the staff to do that. I'm sorry if you thought we would"
                          I said it before...repeating myself because you keep saying it...
                          They did call you to tell you the vet was going to be late. You say so yourself that they called you. And then you go on and complain and whimper how it must be too much to ask that they call you and tell you that the vet is going to be late.

                          I realize the vet/office did not call you at the time you wanted them to call by but that is very different than what you are saying, you are saying that you must be asking too much that they call.

                          It is frustrating to me and I am not your vet...or a vet at all.


                          If you want service that requires a bigger office staff then pick a vet with a bigger office staff, do not complain about the situation you chose to use.

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                          • #33
                            I usually have my vet's cell number - all I have to say is "how long ?" and I'm organized.

                            You did not handle this well. That's all.
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                            • #34
                              I never expect my vet or farrier to be here when they say! I think one time my previous vet actually came on time and I wasn't even ready and he had to wait on me. We laughed about it. I know they try to schedule so much time per call but remember when they are at your place and you say " oh by the way, while you are here..." You just blew the whole day. A call would have been nice and appreciated and they did call, just not soon enough.

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                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Equibrit, my vet does not give out his cell. I did call the office, they did not answer the phone and did not return my call.

                                Trubandloki, the timing of the call was the only thing that was important. Once I'd left work, it didn't matter any more, as I wasn't complaining that he was late.

                                But my question was whether that was asking too much, and the consensus is yes, so my question has been answered.

                                I already stated that I apologized to the office staff member. While my opinion is that my request was not unreasonable, it appears that the majority here believes that it is. I won't ask for a phone call again, and since I won't be expecting one I won't be disappointed.

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                                • #36
                                  Personally, I don't think it's unreasonable for a person to expect their vet or farrier to show up when scheduled or call if something has come up. The vet/farrier certainly wouldn't expect to wait for two hours at our place until we decided to show up! And we all understand that emergencies happen. But whether it's your human doctor (how many of us would happily sit in our doctor's waiting room for 2 hours past our appointment time with no word from the doctor or front office staff?) or your vet or farrier, they have to understand and appreciate that your time is as valuable to you as theirs is to them.

                                  If I have to leave work to be home when the vet gets there, I have to arrange it. For me, that's no big deal, just an email to my boss telling him I'm leaving early. But for some people, it means something. Some jobs, it can mean an attendance ding on your next review.

                                  And further more, I'm sorry if he's had a craptastic day. NO ONE raises their voice to me. I don't raise my voice to waitresses, nurses and store clerks. They wouldn't be back another time if they yelled at me an didn't apologize for their behavior.

                                  Courtesy is a two-way street.

                                  StG

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                    Spotteddraft, you do present a scenario that could explain not calling me. It could have happened, but they did not say "I just heard from him, he's at an emergency" and he didn't indicate that when he arrived.
                                    But, that wasn't information that you needed to know. He was called to an emergency - again, if he's elbow or knee deep in an emergency, he's not going to stop and answer his cell phone. As soon as he was able, he told the office staff what you should expect. THEN he's told by his office staff that you had an attitude and told them how extremely unprofessional they are. While I don't think he should've "yelled" at you, he was right to confront you about it.

                                    Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                    45 minutes before my appointment, I've heard nothing, so I call the office to see if the vet is on time. No response, so I leave on time & arrive at the barn. Only to get a call that he's at another barn on an emergency and will not arrive until 2 hours later.
                                    But, you only work 15 minutes away - so if you left 45 minutes before your appt, that put you there 30 minutes before...which is when you heard back from the office.

                                    Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                    Equibrit, my vet does not give out his cell. I did call the office, they did not answer the phone and did not return my call.
                                    But, they DID return your call - just not on your timeline. You have no idea how their office runs - if there is only one person in, then that person can only be on one phone call at a time.


                                    I'm sorry that you're not getting the responses that you want here - but there are 2 sides to this story, and I tend to feel way more empathy for the vet who was trying to deal with an emergency while another client calls him and his staff unprofessional.
                                    “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by spotteddrafter View Post
                                      But, that wasn't information that you needed to know. He was called to an emergency - again, if he's elbow or knee deep in an emergency, he's not going to stop and answer his cell phone.
                                      And as he's called to the emergency, would it kill him to call the office (if they weren't the ones to call him to the emergency in the first place) and tell them, "I'm on my way to an emergency call. Let my other appointments know I'm going to be running late and I'll call when I'm on my way."

                                      He can call before he's elbow deep in a horse or cow. All it takes is caring about his clients as well as their animals.

                                      I will say that my vet doesn't require anyone to be at home when she comes to treat a horse. I'll leave them up in a paddock and she'll catch them and deal with them herself. Sometimes she even says not to bother putting them up, she'll catch them in the pasture, but I don't want her to have to go looking for them. I prefer to be there in most cases, though.

                                      StG

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                                      • #39
                                        I just always make it a practice to book appts with anyone with 'Dr.' in front of their name for first thing in the morning or at least first appt. after lunch.
                                        I cannot stand sitting around waiting for people, so I'm proactive about that not happening.
                                        If the vet is still late, just saddle up a horse...they will be right there.

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                                        • #40
                                          I do expect my vet to be late. I do expect him to put emergencies ahead of my non-emergencies. I do not expect him to stop what he is doing, pull his arm out of a birthing mare and phone me.

                                          But I feel perfectly entitled to phone his office and they are perfectly fine with that and are as helpful as they can be.

                                          Since most vets rely 99% on female customers, I very much doubt it is that!

                                          I have a marvellous team around me and work at being the best client I can be by being considerate and professional. They certainly never have to come looking for me to pay my vet bills.
                                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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