For all his 16 years, my dog Brigadoon hated if I left him anywhere. I’ve had many dogs throughout my life, and although no dog really likes being left, Brig’s reaction was extreme. So I tried never to leave him. Once, when he needed his teeth cleaned, the vet’s office where I was a client (Green Mountain Animal Clinic, near Burlington, VT, during the time period 1998-2000) said I had to drop him off at such and such a time, and they would anesthetize him and do his teeth sometime that AM. I asked, Can I stay with him until he goes in? No. Can I stay with him until you give him the pre-anesthetic sedative? No. I explained that I was worried that he would bark/hyperventilate himself into a frenzy, and I wanted to spare him that. I asked again. No. They were rude. They implied I was nuts.
On the day of Briggy’s dental, I didn’t ask, but just sat down in the waiting room with him and stayed until they came to get him. Since quite a time had elapsed, I figured that they’d be taking him in momentarily; in fact, I’m pretty sure they told me that. Two and a half or three hours later, they made an emergency call to me–could I come right away to be with him? I arrived to find the vet herself outside on the lawn with him. He was panting heavily. He’d been in a crate for at least two hours, with no meds. No part of the procedure had been done on him–his respiratory distress was due only to his panting and barking, and the vet said that herself. She said that they’d been afraid they were going to lose him, so she’d brought him out to try to get more air into him. I was so…angry isn’t exactly the right word. Of course, I never went there again.
I wish now that I’d done more than just let them know why I was leaving their practice. Maybe, if I’d sued them (and boy, did I feel like it), I’d have saved some other dog’s life. At the time, I felt that, because Briggy had lived, I’d have no case. I didn’t even know that it was truly possible for a dog to die in those circumstances, although, clearly, the vet was taking it very seriously.
Below is a link to the story which brought this event back to me. I’m so sorry for this poor dog and its owners. I hope they get a huge settlement from the veterinary office which let this happen to their dog, but nothing can give them their dog back.