As the time for Skitter the cat’s vet checkup rolled around, I did not relish the idea of taking her back to the same veterinary office. While the office was new, clean, and efficient, the treatment of Skitter was undesirable. They were unnecessarily rough with her and it is the only time she has ever squalled during an exam. I had mistakenly thought they might be more gentle, as both vets in that office were female; that is what I get for being so sexist. After researching on the net as best I could, I found another vet not too far away that seemed to get rave reviews. I loaded Skits up in her carrier and off we went.
Upon entering the office, the first thing I noticed was a large acquarium that took up the width of the room. While it was large, so were the poor fish imprisoned within it. I walked up to the glass and made eye contact. These fish were probably as long as my forearm and had little to occupy their time. The acquarium was clean but oh, so limited. There was little I could do but feel and what I felt as I watched the fish, unable to save them from the dreariness of their life, was most unpleasant. I do not recall ever feeling like that before I became a vegan, but today it was a strong emotional reaction.
A Distinctly Texas Office, Like a Snapshot in Time
Returning to my seat, I glanced up at the wall opposite our seats. There were two photos of horseracing and two of dead fish, proudly displayed as if holding trophies. Hmmm, my concerns started to grow. On the coffee table adjacent to my seat I noticed a magazine, Gardens and Guns, an interesting amalgam of interests within one publication. Well, this is Texas after all. The wall-mounted swordfish had a warning not to come near it, even though I had no plans to do so. A large box contained free Bibles, with a note touting all the collective wisdom free for the taking. This was an older office and seemed to an anachronism, like a snapshot taken out of time. Maybe it had existed in this part of the old town before all the new developments grew up around it. It was somewhat akin to walking onto the Mayberry RFD set, only I was entrusting my best friend to these people.
Once we were taken into the examination room, there were more oddities, from my perspective. Dogs dressed in sports regalia decorated one wall, and a photo of what was probably the doctor and another older gentleman with two very young, scantily clad Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders graced the other. Another photo had the doctor on an ATV, a great shot taken over a canyon with hills in the background, possibly shot in Texas or Utah. Culture shock had set in by this time and I wondered who this man was who would possibly be Skits’ medical caretaker. I just silently hoped he would be competent and gentle with her.
Suprisingly Gentle, Competent Veterinary Services
When the vet tech came in with the assistant, they very calmly and quickly gave Skits her shot and examined and weighed her in short order. The treatment was very careful and considerate, and she never made a peep. She went back in her carrier without even drawing blood – usually it was mine, usually when we were ready to go. Victory! The staff seemed to like her, no signs of fear that made her hair stand on end. I settled up at the desk and thought the price was akin to Mayberry RFD too. I asked three times, only so much? Really? Great! Thank you!
My assessment from the visit was this — there is a lot of work to do here in Texas, if even the vets have all kinds of moral inconsistencies publicly displayed all over their office. These were kind people, probably totally unaware of how they were exploiting some animals while serving others. I had almost no time to speak to anyone, spending most of my time with Skits either in the waiting room or the examination room.
I may see if I can leave some literature in the office later, particularly if I get the Animal Rights and Rescue group up and going. It may take time, but it is the start of what I hope will be a long term relationship. I hope we will both learn from one another. As for me, my education began today.