The following partial, comical story was written by Dr Michael A Obenski, VMD in one of our veterinary magazines. (DVM Magazine, Dec 02 Issue, I think) I quoted his story here because it illustrates well the attitude we vets deal with regularily.
We are constantly up against 2 common attitudes, that may be part of human nature of the lower sort, of "yes I love my pet, but I'm not going to actually spend money or effort on it" And second, "Something should be done about this problem, but don't look at me".
These two attitudes seem to be at the root of our frustrations whether it be as vets trying to get people to take care of their pets more responsibly, or animal rescue workers trying to lessen the pain and suffering of our stray, abandoned, roaming, and soon to be euthanized domestic animals in our society.
At any rate, here's the very funny but eloquent Dr Obenski:
Vera Stingy was so upset that she rushed one of her dogs over to see me after waiting just three days longer than she should have. (Usually, she waits until death is imminent)
"I hope you can help us, Doctor." She said "Please tell me what to do. You know how I am when it comes to my animals. I'll do anything. They are my precious babies."
After a good exam, I described a plan for diagnosis and treatment and I was even able to offer a relatively good prognosis. I knew, though, that I was wasting my breath. Her response was just what I expected it to be.
"A hundred and twenty dollars for a dog! You've got to be to kidding! I can get a new dog for less than that!"
You see, Mrs. Stingy suffers from a disease that I call Wallet Lockjaw, also known as Chronic Pursitis. She is highly allergic to spending money. She did have some ideas, though, concerning ways to provide the needed medical attention for the pooch.
"Do you know anybody who might like to buy my dog?" she asked. "I'd be willing to give them a good price since he's sick. Then they could pay the vet bill to get him well again. Geezer is only 14 years old. I've heard that dogs can live to be 20.
Besides, I think he's one quarter purebred."
I had some bad news for her. It seems that in my practice, we don't see a lot of demand for sick, elderly dogs. She was undaunted
"What about you, doctor?' she asked. You know his medical history. Couldn't you use another dog at home? Instead of paying me anything for him, you could treat my other animals for free."
I must admit that I was tempted. Tempted to laugh out loud, that is. Still, while turning down her generous offer, I managed to keep a straight face and let the conversation proceed to where I knew it was going.
"Well," she said" I think I'll think about it for awhile. I'd hate to think that you're going to make me put him to sleep''
Then, after a 20 minute office visit, she actually asked, "Do we owe you anything for today, doctor?
Her case was not all that unusual. We all see examples of wallet lockjaw on a weekly, if not daily basis. It is interesting to note that the client has the disease, but it is the veterinarian that suffers the ill effects, and, of course, as in this case, the pet suffers the most.