Early the other evening, our doors burst open, and a huge, burly man (we're talking 6"7 or so) flew in with an ambulatory, excitable Pit bull. Said Pit bull had been hit by a car and thrown about 15 feet into a ditch. Now, he was exhibiting a head tilt and was walking in circles.
We took the dog from his owner and gave him paperwork to fill out. My receptionist went into the room and gathered up the papers, while discussing our exam room fee with the owner ($92). Sure enough, he "didn't have a cent to his name." He looked at my receptionist and said, "Surely, you ain't gonna let a dog suffer just 'cuz I don't have no money," in a deeply scornful, vaguely threatening voice.
My receptionist is about 5"2, so she was intimidated and came back to relay the problem to me (also 5"2 and noticeably pregnant). I was instantly incensed. The dog, according to the paperwork was unvaccinated and not on heartworm preventative. Further, he was not neutered and was allowed free roam. The owner had basically made the choice to let his dog roam free, intact, and be hit by a car. Now that the dog had been hit by a car, he was trying to make it our problem. In reality, it was HIS problem, since he let the dog run around in the first place (and un-neutered, free roaming pit bulls are not a good idea anyway).
Luckily, my 6"2, burly male technician was working that night. I sent him in to deal with Mr Belligerent. The conversation went like this,
"I ain't got no money, but surely you aren't going to let my dog suffer."
My technician, "Sure, we require a $92 exam fee, and then the doctor can come in and discuss the options with you."
"Well, I ain't got no hunnert dollars."
My tech, "Would you like to apply for CareCredit? Or make some phone calls?"
Sullen silence, then, "I want to talk to the doctor."
Tech, "The doctor is busy with other patients."
More silence, then, "Well, I'll leave this up to your conscience." Then he storms out of the room and sits down in the lobby.
For what it's worth, the dog appeared stable. He was walking, wagging his tail, and alert. I DID examine him, despite the lack of finances. I wouldn't let a dying dog walk out the door.
My technician gathered up the dog and took him back to his owner, handed him the leash, and said, "please let us know if we can help in any other way."
The man sneered something nasty at him, at which point my tech replied, "well, sir - you can't go to the grocery store, fill up your cart with groceries, and expect to get them for free."
"No," he replied, "But I can go down to human health services and get money for food."
Needless to say probably, but he took his dog and left. We didn't hear from him again that night.
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