Client relations can be the single most frustrating and stressful aspect of veterinary medicine. The medicine and surgery for the most part are the enjoyable aspects of the veterinary industry, and while challenging cases can lead to difficulty and stress, this stress pales in comparison to the strain poor client behavior places on a practice. Whether clients are difficult because they are ignorant, demanding, stubborn, overbearing, callus, or downright mentally ill, client actions or lack thereof can make for an occasional disagreeable work environment. Given this reality and our human tendency to more acutely remember bad situations as opposed to the more pleasant ones we experience, many of my posts reflect client troubles, especially in my “Incredible But True” segment.
What unfortunately gets overlooked when these few bad apples take center stage in our minds, are the thousands of dedicated, compassionate, generous, and amicable people I feel privileged to call my clients. While I remain ever cognisant of these quality individuals, the recent outpouring of well wishes, cards, and gifts that came with the recent birth of my son (who came early by a tense emergency c-section), I was emphatically reminded of the the kindness of the majority of my clients. Subsequently, this post is dedicated to showcasing the wonderful ways that clients brighten our lives.
Leading up to holidays, clients frequently surprise us with home baked goods, sandwich platters, candy, flowers, and other goodies. Our office becomes so overflowed around Christmas time that we have to dedicate an entire 4×6 cork board to hang all the greeting cards up, and the food and treats fill up all the spare space in our treatment area.
Many clients bring us food and treats when even there is no holiday, just because they want to do something nice for us. One particular client that travels a great deal and has several pets that are treated by us, always presents a neat little gift from yet another interesting place he has just returned from visiting. Another client who frequently brings his beloved black lab in for yearly visits and grooming, always makes it a point to bring the office a box of freshly prepared, still warm, Krispy Kream Donuts.
Other clients astound me with their dedication to their pets. One gentlemen works an extra job to pay for all of his dog’s veterinary care, with all of his dogs having been obtained by rescue. Recently, a lady who had been putting off a well needed knee surgery for her dog for some time, booked it finally, apologizing that she took so long, but explaining that she had to wait to get her IRS tax return check to pay for the procedure. Another dear client that is disabled and cannot walk or drive, brings her shihtzus in on her lap as she navigates the streets and sidewalks on her motorized wheelchair, in the process having to cross a busy highway to reach my office.
So often my day is brightened repeatedly by clients that come in for visits that I have known and built a repore with for so long, that I consider them friends. Interaction is so casual and enjoyable with these clients, that appointments often take on more a manner of social pleasantry, than professional doctor-patient-client relations. Repeated experiences like this create relationships with clients on an intimate level, where we share personal anecdotes, advise one another about good restaurants and offer other helpful tips, and sincerely inquire about the well being of one another’s families.
To all of you wonderful clients that brighten our days and who are the life blood of our practice, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing us the privilege of being entrusted with the wellness of your beloved pets. Please never forget the gratitude we feel for your dedication to your pets and the agreeable manner in which you treat us and carry yourselves in general.