Thursday, March 27, 2008


I’m at work and I’m angry. I’m not going to make enough money tonight to pay the babysitter. Where is my husband you ask? Why he is at work too, brewing beer, which is done 24/7. He’ll make enough to pay the babysitter. He’ll pay the babysitter and the federal government. That’s it. As for me I’m making diddly squat. Fifteen hours away from home, in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT for diddly squat. The only people making money are the sitter and good ‘ol “W.” That’s working on commission for you.

I’ve had two patients so far. One very old golden retriever. The dad, the human dad, was too lazy (or simply too much of a chicken shit) to bring the dog in himself. Instead he sent the dog with his young adult children and a credit card. Then he refused any and all diagnostics or treatment (over the phone, of course) and told me to send the dog home - he was going to shoot it in the head; after all the dog was not a child. And here is how a human child should be treated: the veterinarian whom they’ve never before met gets to inform them their father has decided to kill the beloved family pet. I told them I was sorry. They cried. They said it wasn’t my fault. I euthanized the bastard’s dog for free.

The second patient was a young heeler with a cut on his pad. They had no money either. They couldn’t afford surgery. So the dog went home with a bandage, an e-collar and antibiotics. At least they were nice. They didn’t ask me to euthanize their dog (which I would have refused to do by the way). They didn’t try to blame me for their money troubles as most people do. ‘Cause, ya know, I’m getting rich here.


After spending a little time making mad faces into the photo booth in my computer I feel slightly better. ‘Cause, ya know, I look ridiculous.


Now I am going to take a nap, on this hard futon by the cold, cold window, with the hopes that tomorrow I'll get to spend some quality time with my children because they are the people who make me truly rich.


Cherrye said...


That is really sad. I'm sorry you have to be away from your family so much. I hope things get better really soon.

Honorary Indian said...

Girl, that is one crappy story. And, one man behaving evil-ish.

How is is that so many of us have had days (weeks, months) in such a funk? Experiencing the worst of humankind?

I know, I know. There are good parts (and people), too. But those bad parts and humans seem to be REALLY bad.

Ugh. Double ugh. I feel sick to my stomach about that guy.

Anonymous said...

Sad indeed.
However, don't blame good ol' "W." The Democrats are the tax raisers.
The ATM level is raised for a stop-gap one year only--because of the Democrats. Estate tax, similarly. Capital gains, ditto. It's Hillary and Barak who are proposing medical care for all--which, if it goes through, will paid through your increased tax dollars.

Cindy said...

People like that shouldn't be able to have animals.... or kids. Poor kids. It shows you have a heart to spare the dog a bullet. Great venting face btw!

Shalet said...

@ Pat - I will defer to blaming whomever is currently holding the presidential seat. As "W" has held that seat for the past eight years he gets my current wrath. Should a democrat take office I'll vent to them.

Shelli said...

I didn't know you were a veterinarian! I have heard that can be a difficult job to make money at, but I had hoped more rewarding. Sorry to hear about your bad night. I hope things do get better!

Anonymous said...

I want you to tell me about why a smart, educated, credentialed professional like yourself works on "commission"? Is that what I read? Vets can't get paid work as vets? Please fill me in. Hardly seems like a problem caused by estate taxes, unless the estate is the one Leona Helmsley left to her pet and other unfortunates who make more than a quarter of a million dollars per year.

Backpacker momma said...

I hope you get your time with your kids! Thats bound to make anyone happy!!

Shalet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shalet said...

Well Karen it is a bit convoluted and difficult to explain but I'll try my best. We are paid either a minimum amount per shift or a percentage of the monthly gross - which ever is greater. This practice is great in theory because we do have a guaranteed minimum amount of pay. However, I had already grossed more than the shift pay from shifts earlier in the month. Therefore, I was working only for commission last night and I actually lost money by working in my need to pay the babysitter. Had I stayed home we would have been up $20.00 for the month and I wouldn't be exhausted today.

It would be better for us doctors if our percentage were calculated per shift rather than per month. Then, when we worked exceptionally hard we would be rewarded monitarily and when times were slower we would still be compensated for our time. Our shifts are fifteen-hours long, often longer. I must add that I work with exceptionally moral people who have only the animal's best interest at heart. But, as pets become members of the family, more and more is expected of the doctor and unfortunately technology comes with a price.

My clinic is owned by a board-of-directors; a group of old timers in town who think we are over-paid as it is. We are constantly fighting an uphill battle to increase benefits for our staff. We have managed to get vacation, a SIMPLE IRA and health insurance. Sick days would be nice.

Sadly, I had been pushing for the SIMPLE IRA for quite some time but it wasn't seen as a good idea until it was suggested by a male consultant.

The veterinary profession is now dominated by women and things are slowly going to change. But it is a long hard road.

Last night wouldn't have been so bad had the clients been more agreeable. I think the combination of the pay structure and the clientele put me over the edge.

Every little girl wants to be a veterinarian - they want to spend their days playing with puppies. The reality is different - long hard schooling, $90,000.00 in student loans, ungrateful clients, etc etc. I could go on and on.

There are good days too and grateful clients. And we're not living in a van down by the river. I guess this grown-up stuff is just harder than I'd wish. But it is what it is. When I'm 62 my loans will be paid in full, my kids will be grown and I'll retire and live a life of leisure (don't you dare try to tell me otherwise). In the mean time I'm just put putting along.

And one more political comment - just to make this a bit longer. I don't mind paying taxes if those monies are going to good use. It is the blatent misuse of my tax dollar that really gets my goat. I work hard for that money. The government should work as hard to spend it properly.

*slowly stepping off the soapbox to go do the glamouous job of cleaning the refrigerator*

Shalet said...

And clearly my education didn't come with spell check. That should be glamorous. :o)

Tammy said...

I have a real passion for animals so thank you for being a real hero. I hope things pick up soon!

Nice to meet you!

bella said...

What a night.
Making angry faces is a good way to cope, at least from this photo it certainly appears so. :)
You must see so much in your work, great love and also great fear and ignorance.
Hope you get so good rest soon.
Take care.

Michelle Nicolson said...

Hey Shalet,
You racked up some serious good karma from doing the right thing -- kudos to you! I'm grateful to your profession every day. We put Tabba the Wonder Cat down last week -- very sad. It's a hard job, and I don't envy what you have to put up with. Take care of yourself and those beautiful kids! Hi to John too!

Bridge said...

You got the idea! That's a cute pissed of picture by the way!

Christian Kay said...

I would become a vet if it weren't for my lupus. Unfortunately, my body just can't handle the workload.

I thank you for being there for the animals. The animals who have bastards for owners get to leave this earth in the hands of someone who actually does care. Thank you for giving up time with your family to do this wonderful, thankless work.

I never realized that veterinary care paid so little. I will have to thank my vets the next time I see them.