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Discussion Starter #1
someone came into day with a very old dog.The dog is extremely ILL and the lady gave us a sob story about how she has no money. So we gave her a break on the treatment and held payment for 1 week.

To many this may seem like no big deal but I have thousands of dollars of unpaid bills from people with the same sort of sob stories. We feel bad for them we try to help and in the end we rarely ever see them again to make payments.

what bothered me about this lady is she basically said it was only the situation she was in now making it hard to pay. but looking through her file she never has done any sort of upkeep on her dog not in 5 years. there is always something with money with her.

On the phone today she told me this "I don't want my dog to suffer over something like money because you won't let me pay you back for the labs and x-rays that is just stupid. You should be willing to pay." Honestly I feel bad for people. I really do but it is not my fault she has a dog she can not afford.( and hasn't been able to afford in years!) The doctor would normally be happy to help but the dog is very old and he feels that even with the hundreds of dollars of diagnostic work we would mostly likely eat. the dog is on its way out.

I explained to the lady that we have to pay the lab for the service and apologized for her situation. What should I tell people like that? Is it so difficult to understand that a vet is a business too and if we took every person that has money problems and told them they could come back and pay we would probably have to close our doors. The few cases we do take NEVER get paid it is so sad. We save someones dogs life and never see them again. all of them seem like "nice" trustworthy people.

and then i sit here and feel bad about it. I feel bad for the animals. Ive felt bad about it all day.
 

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It sounds like you're doing everything you can. Its a really wonderful thing to help someone in crisis, especially over a beloved pet but you can't give away everything or you would no longer be able to help anyone. My sister had a cat who developed polyps in her throat and ears, after about $1,000 in vet bills they figured out that a $5,000 surgery was the only thing that could save her life. My sister is a student and although fully capable of caring for Sukis regular bills such an expensive surgery was beyond her means. The vet helped as much as she could with Suki's bills but in the end couldn't swallow the cost herself (understandably). The vet instead organized for the humane society to take ownership of Suki and for her to get the surgery there. In the end the humane society decided to euthanize Suki instead of paying for the surgery. We were devastated and furious with the HS since the only reason we gave her up was to save her life but we are still very grateful to our vet for going above and beyond in an attempt to help her. It doesnt always work out but the effort's not lost and even if the owners are ungrateful its all about the welfare of the animal anyways.

I've digressed a little but the gist is do what you can and try not to blame yourself for what you can't, there are factors here beyond your control.
 

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Shit, you are being kinder than most vets in my area. In Metro Detroit there are plenty of sob stories - I've never gotten the chance to do a payment plan, even at the E vet. Thank god I hve insurance for the dogs.
 

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If it helps, once a vet helped me out in the same way and I am forever grateful, and I did pay. Even with all the money I had set aside, I was not expecting to pick up a gravely injured puppy. We drove a 9 hour round trip and when we got to the shelter they claimed they tried to call me (three contacts and never once did a phone ring) and that Smalls had parvo. I asked to see her anyway, and it evident she did not have parvo. The official vet diagnosis was a prolapsed rectum and ruptured intestines. It was leave her to inevitably die/be euthanized, or take her and find out. I took her and my vet quoted me an intensely expensive surgery with a huge amount they required down and said the odds she would survive were basically zero. I am not an emotional person, but I could not help but cry. They put me on hold and I assumed because well, I was sobbing and when they came back they asked if I could put down basically peanuts and pay $30 every two weeks. I didn't need or expect any where near that, so I put down the tiny amount they asked and then when the two weeks $30 payment came up I paid them in full, because I really only needed a small window of time.

So, a big thank you to the people who generally get burned when they try to do some good. Smalls will be 6 in a few months and I'd pay the money a thousand times over.
 

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Harsh but it is business and not everyone that is without money deserves help and not every sob story is the hard facts but exaggeration to get what they want. I get it, you want to help, but I think when people aren't even regulars who are always doing right for their dog ( and really got effed with timing) I wouldn't go out of my way for them.

Are there ways to perhaps make it a contract that stands up legally if they aren't honorable? I mean at the very least these promissory are recorded. Do you also keep information about care credit and short term loans places for people and offer those first? Sometimes people are on hard times, but not necessarily dire times either.

I think though that the fact you care to help get the dogs the treatments they need is wonderful so kudos to you. Still, if its hugely hurting your business I would tighten a little bit. I do know that I have been helped by a nice doctor before when I was sick and it was a savior.
 

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I don't think it's your job to have to figure out what to say. That's the job of the owner, IMO. I can't imagine how hard this must be. Well over 20 yrs ago, my first dog got very sick and the vet let us pay the bill off over time. They probably did that because we kept up on our dogs care and paid the bills at time of service. I don't blame any vet for not giving free service especially if they've been burned.
 

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I can't imagine asking a vet (or anybody) to give me anything for free. It's my pet and my responsibility, and I always make sure that I have an emergency fund available for such things. I think it's reasonable to ask if the vet can work with you on a sliding pay scale, but it's absolutely not the vet's responsibility to comp expensive treatments. This is particularly true if you have no history of being a responsible dog owner, and your records show a constant lack of ability to properly care for your dog. Additionally, while some may find this cold, if the vet feels that this expensive treatment will likely be pointless anyway, and that the dog is old and incurably sick, then there's really just no point in the vet being out all of that money.
It would be one thing if this were a young, previously healthy dog, with a curable condition, or if this were a customer with a long history of paying her bills and being a good pet owner. Sometimes, though, there's just nothing you can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We offer care credit for just this reason and we DO help a lot of needy families with sick puppies when it is a life threatening thing how can you turn someone away? We get cases like that sometimes and Ive even offered my own money to help but usually my boss bless his heart will always help and usually count it as a loss. but some situations its just hopeless and a waste of money. It sounds harsh but sometimes people need to come to the realization that if they can not afford a really expensive procedure and the outcome is most likely going to be bad they may have to make the hard decision that maybe putting them to rest is better. If the pet is young and there is hope that is one thing, I would go into debt 100X for my dear dogs but If it was to prolong their life for a few miserable months I would make the difficult choice.
 

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Fade, I can totally sympathize. I work at a clinic too (a lot of times I work front desk, so I anseer a lot of phone calls with various situations). Our clinic has been burned several times... We now require a down payment of half whatever the estimate comes to because we know in the back of our minds that there's a pretty good chance we won't ever see the rest.

It hurts us when we put a lot of effort into saving an animals life, and then once the animal is ready to leave, we never hear from the owner again. It sucks (sorry, I don't have another word) when someone brings something in that was preventable, but because they didn't think far enough that animals need check ups or heartworm prevention, or puppy boosters, etc. the animal now pays the price. But honestly, you can't cure stupid. It's not fair when animals have to suffer, but if you take the cover for the irresponsible owner every time, you're not helping. All you end up doing taking on care of their mistake and allowing them to think that its the vets job to fix their problems and cover the costs for them.

I know I end up saying at least 5 times a day "You can't fix stupid.. you can try to educate but that doesn't mean they're going to learn".... Like literally say that.
 
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