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Hi All,

My almost year old white GSD is going to the vet tomorrow for a laparoscopic spay and gastropexy. One reason, of many, we chose this procedure was because it is laparoscopic and associated with a quicker recovery time. During our consult back in April, we voiced our concerns of an overnight stay being detrimental to our pup at this time, and the vet agreed that because of this, our pup wouldn't have to stay overnight. She has reactivity to new people and can be pretty fearful/anxious. She is an anxious dog in general, but she also has some pretty bad separation anxiety from my significant other. For example, just a month or two ago I suggested we do a trial night where my partner went to his parents just so she had a night with me. Unfortunately, she had terrible diarrhea and woke up every hour wanted out of the bedroom to go check the rest of our home to see if he had come back yet. We are working on slowly ridding her of this anxiety and she has gotten better. Anyways, she was supposed to have her spay on Tuesday, and I confirmed with the receptionist during drop-off (which was a nightmare) that she would come home with us. During drop off she kept pacing and we had to walk her to the room they keep the dogs in because she wouldn't go with the vet tech. Well, we got a call around noon on Tuesday from her surgeon saying they had too many emergencies come in and they didn't have time for the spay. So we picked her up- and she was definitely super stressed and when the we asked the vet tech how she did, the tech said not well, she is very uncomfortable here and would piddle any time one of us walked close to her kennel. So we rescheduled her procedure for tomorrow. We just got the confirmation call for the spay tomorrow, and they said no, in fact you cannot bring her home and that she needs to stay overnight for observation.

So my question, am I being an overprotective mom? Should I let her stay overnight or should I demand I take her home? They are a 24/7 vet emergency hospital and have staff around the clock so that isn't an issue. I'm just worried it will set back some work we have done with her getting her to be less reactive to people and with her separation anxiety, and I'm concerned it might be counterintuitive to the healing process if she's really stressed. I welcome any advice!
 

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Since they are going to spay her, she will be drugged. This knocks them out pretty good, and I think that for some time after, most dogs are pretty out of it and do not have the same amount of anxiety as when they are without drugs. She'll probably spend most of the time sleeping in her cage. You could also ask the vet if there is something he can give her to relax her, since she gets hyper-stressed in the clinical setting.
 

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will there be staff on duty 24/7? If not, I refuse to leave my dogs after a surgery. With no one there to watch them, if they did pop stitches or have any kind of complications, the dog could be dead before anyone shows up to work.

If there is someone on hand, then yes I would consider it with a "normal" dog. A dog with separation issues? only if they planned to keep the dog at least partially sedated and under closer than usual observation
 

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also, be sure that your dog is still down for the less invasive procedure as well as actually talking to the vet about bringing her home. More than likely you talked to the receptionist or even a tech and she was giving you the normal procedures, not aware of special considerations for your dog's specific issues
 

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I don't mean to be harsh on the vet, but it would make me uneasy that my dog's surgery didn't happen as scheduled, and then the second time, the vet or the staff was unaware of what had been planned. Once burned, twice shy for me. Especially with a dog who has step anxiety.

Any reason why you are taking her to an emergency vet for this? I think I would rather have it done by a vet who had scheduled times for surgery that would not get pre-empted by emergencies. Most vets do surgeries first thing and if something is lingering from overnight they could tell you not to come in at all. I respect that emergency vets triage. But when it's my dog's surgery, esp a step aniety dog, I want them in a situation where they are protected and this situation would make me uneasy.
 

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will there be staff on duty 24/7? If not, I refuse to leave my dogs after a surgery. With no one there to watch them, if they did pop stitches or have any kind of complications, the dog could be dead before anyone shows up to work.

If there is someone on hand, then yes I would consider it with a "normal" dog. A dog with separation issues? only if they planned to keep the dog at least partially sedated and under closer than usual observation
I agree. It should be whatever is best for the pup. All of mine are fine left at the vet, I'm the one who gets the aniexty. Brennan had to be at one vet or another for several days. I called first thing in the am, before they closed and a couple times a day to check on him. If I thought he was not doing well I would have picked him up. When I did pick him up he looked great, was super happy and somehow got a toy out of them to bring home.

It makes no sense for them to stay if a vet or tech isn't present. When I worked at a vet, there were many dogs that had parvo that came in. We did not have an overnight staff and it made no sense to leave them alone especially with that disease. I took it upon myself to start going in around 12-1 in the morning to check on them because I cared that much. One time I did come in to a Rott that took a turn for the worse, which probably started when she took her IV out. I was on my own and I made the decision to do sub q fluids and re-do the IV. I stayed there for a couple hours, the vet said I saved her life but it still wasn't enough for them to realize that someone needed to be there over night. Just crazy.

Dogs that are sick or stressed don't need anymore stress.
 

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Relax! Your dog is going to be in a clinic with 24/7 emergency service which will have a full staff on hand in case there is a problem. I would be less worried about a set back in the work you have done with her and far more concerned about the major surgery she is facing. IMO, this is one of those time where her physical health should be of primary concern.

I would think since they are open 24/7 that you could easily check in throughout the night to see how she is doing and even pick her up if she is being anxious to the point of being better off at home.

I also think it is great that although it was an inconvenience to you, your vet delayed your dog's surgery in order to perform life saving procedures on somebody else's pet. Look at it this way, what if you take your dog home after surgery and something went wrong. Wouldn't you want to be able to rush her back to the vet and have her taken care of? How would you feel if they refused saying, sorry, but we have this surgery scheduled?
 

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For those who question why vets keep them over night with no staff- it's for two reasons. 1. Many, many owners will ignore the instructions for the night after surgery. They need crate rest and very very limited activity. At our clinic we made exceptions for people who were insistent on taking them home and many times we would have them return the next day with stories about how they "only let them out back to pee" and the dog sprinted down the street causing stitches to pop. Or they just love to jump up and down off the bed and they didn't think it would be a big deal, etc.
2. It gives the vet a chance to check them one more time before they go home the following day.

That being said, I understand the concern as an owner over the night alone, but I just wanted to provide some experience so it made more sense. A lot of owners are not nearly as careful and involved as the owners here on this forum, and the vet has no way to know if you will be strict on the rules or ignore them.

ETA: ultimately it is YOUR dog and you always have the option to find a facility that will cater to your request.
 

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I think I would rather have it done by a vet who had scheduled times for surgery that would not get pre-empted by emergencies.
I disagree with this. I wouldn't change vets because of a rescheduling of an elective procedure. I'd honestly feel like an equine patootie telling a vet clinic staff that I'm firing them because they rescheduled my dog's elective procedure because they thought saving the life of someone else's pet in an emergency was more important.

Most highly skilled, good vets take emergency cases for their clients, as they come in. Moreover, I want my regular vet and the clinic staff to have the skills (and desire) to step into emergency mode if my own dog's life is on the line -- I've seen them do it, and they're totally different than when they're doing calm, routine appointments. It's a learned skill, honed under intense pressure when minutes count. It's very valuable when it's your dog whose life is being saved. It also means your vet and their staff are under a lot of stress sometimes.

If a vet general practice vet doesn't take emergencies for their own clients during business hours, I would worry that it means they don't have the skills or staff to handle them. Good vets handle emergencies for clients as part of the long-term care relationship they establish. This makes practice unpredictable because you can't schedule emergencies. They happen in the early morning just as readily as in the afternoon.

Most clients really appreciate having their regular vet in their corner when the unimaginable happens in life. In a small clinic, though, that means some routine elective procedures and appointments may have to be rescheduled because all their attention is focused on a dog in critical condition.

Instead of firing a vet over it, when you reschedule, I would tell the staff who calls to reschedule how much you appreciate them handling emergencies, and offer your best wishes that the other dog pulled through. Then have a conversation about your anxiety concerns.
 

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Thanks for all the responses- they are greatly appreciated! Definitely made me feel better, and gave me some ideas to discuss with our clinic/vet.

As I said, it is a 24/7 clinic, and so staff are there to check on her, so leaving her there isn't really an issue in that aspect. My only concern was that she might be really stressed being in a new place around new people, which she has issues with, coupled with her separation anxiety and this might not be the best for her recovery post-surgery as she can be somewhat neurotic.

We initially went to the emergency hospital as recommended by her regular vet; they do the laparoscopic procedure and are better equipped to handle her- plus her regular vet didn't have 24/7 monitoring if there were complications during surgery and she absolutely could not come home. I'm also happy they pushed the surgery! In my mind, not only did they save another animal's life, but they put my dog's safety and well-being above any conveniences or money. I'm sure they could have done the surgery at some point during the day, but if there were a lot of emergencies, they likely would have been rushed and I'm glad they had the foresight to push her surgery so they could perform it under optimal conditions.

We dropped our pup off this morning, and she was definitely a lot more stressed than Tuesday, but ultimately we got her to go with the vet tech. When I talked to the receptionist about my concerns, she said since they are open 24/7, we can call for updates at any time. I also asked when the latest pick up was if we were to get her back tonight, and she said again, they are open 24/7 and so we can pick our pup up if it becomes clear she might do better at home. Definitely makes me feel better so thank you to the poster who suggested that! I will also talk to the vet when they call after her procedure to see if they might keep her a little more sedated overnight and keep a closer eye on her to account for her anxiety.
 

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Regarding regular vets taking emergencies, we have several excellent emergency clinics in the area. If my dog has an emergency, I rush it to the emergency clinic. When I'm doing routine procedures, I take it to my regular vet.

I appreciate that some think it wonderful that the vet took the emergency, and that's great, if that's what you want - but if it were my dog, I'd expect my dog to have had the surgery at the specified time, and if it wasn't going to take place, I'd expect a phone call telling me it had been delayed and asking me what I wanted. By noon, I'd expect my dog to be waking up from a spay surgery. To hear when I called for the result of the surgery that it hadn't even been done, that I hadn't been notified, that would not make me happy or appreciative. It's great to have a 24/7 staff, but I would have expected a phone call that the surgery wasn't taking place, not get the news when I call expecting my dog to be recovering, only to find out that my separation anxiety dog had been awake, in a cage all day, stressed out, not getting the scheduled surgery, and submissively urinating every time someone walked by. Where was the phone call then? Or concern for a dog that was in a situation that the owner had specifically tried to avoid - i.e., an awake and aware dog, stressed out being in a vet clinic for hours unnecessarily. The owner was specifically concerned that it wouldn't be in a cage too long for recovery unless it was medicated enough that the situation wasn't stressful for it. Instead, she was in that situation, ignored and obviously not under post surgical sedation to ameliorate that stress.

No, regardless of any happiness I might have that the emergency vet is doing triaged emergencies, I would not be happy my dog was in a situation I had specifically pre-notified the vet to prevent and/or ameliorate. And I hadn't been notified when it was going on.
 

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I disagree with this. I wouldn't change vets because of a rescheduling of an elective procedure. I'd honestly feel like an equine patootie telling a vet clinic staff that I'm firing them because they rescheduled my dog's elective procedure because they thought saving the life of someone else's pet in an emergency was more important.

Most highly skilled, good vets take emergency cases for their clients, as they come in. Moreover, I want my regular vet and the clinic staff to have the skills (and desire) to step into emergency mode if my own dog's life is on the line -- I've seen them do it, and they're totally different than when they're doing calm, routine appointments. It's a learned skill, honed under intense pressure when minutes count. It's very valuable when it's your dog whose life is being saved. It also means your vet and their staff are under a lot of stress sometimes.

If a vet general practice vet doesn't take emergencies for their own clients during business hours, I would worry that it means they don't have the skills or staff to handle them. Good vets handle emergencies for clients as part of the long-term care relationship they establish. This makes practice unpredictable because you can't schedule emergencies. They happen in the early morning just as readily as in the afternoon.

Most clients really appreciate having their regular vet in their corner when the unimaginable happens in life. In a small clinic, though, that means some routine elective procedures and appointments may have to be rescheduled because all their attention is focused on a dog in critical condition.

Instead of firing a vet over it, when you reschedule, I would tell the staff who calls to reschedule how much you appreciate them handling emergencies, and offer your best wishes that the other dog pulled through. Then have a conversation about your anxiety concerns.
She already had the conversation about her anxiety concern. Twice, once pre surgery and again when dropping off. What good is a conversation, if the owner's concerns were already disregarded. Is the third conversation somehow going to work when the first two didn't?

My understanding is this was an emergency clinic, with a 24/7 staff - so naturally an emergency is going to take priority. One reason why I'd have a non emergency vet doing scheduled surgery do a spay -- far less likely to have this sort of issue. But the owner having previously expressed concerns about her separation anxiety dog being in a vet clinic awake and stressed, the owner should have been notified of the change in schedule. I'm not sure why you think a third "conversation about [her] anxiety concerns" is going to be magically different when her prior specifications didn't.
 

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I'm not sure why you think a third "conversation about [her] anxiety concerns" is going to be magically different when her prior specifications didn't.
If she's talking to someone who doesn't have the file open, repeating it to everyone you talk to in the clinic keeps them on the same page. I have a blind dog who has special handling instructions in the file, but new people there don't know about it--until I remind them to look. With a lot going on in a clinic, gentle reminders at each touch-point with new staff are more effective than getting mad because the person on the phone is missing the info. At least, that's my thinking -- I like and value my vet staff, even the new ones who don't know about my dog's special needs, so I help them get up to speed when needed, reminding them of those needs frequently.
 

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If she's talking to someone who doesn't have the file open, repeating it to everyone you talk to in the clinic keeps them on the same page. I have a blind dog who has special handling instructions in the file, but new people there don't know about it--until I remind them to look. With a lot going on in a clinic, gentle reminders at each touch-point with new staff are more effective than getting mad because the person on the phone is missing the info. At least, that's my thinking -- I like and value my vet staff, even the new ones who don't know about my dog's special needs, so I help them get up to speed when needed, reminding them of those needs frequently.
Who's talking about getting mad? One can be upset about a lack of competence, or a failure to communicate and decide to make a change without being "mad". If I as an owner, make arrangements or express concerns for my dog having a specific issue, I'd expect at least some minimal regard for those arrangements. It wasn't that the receptionist didn't have the file open. The staff passed this stressed out dog submissively urinating all day, and in spite of the owners conversations and concerns, no one did anything for this dog in spite of the owner's prior attempts to have this situation managed for minimum stress to the dog -- even to call the owner to let her know the dog didn't have the surgery - she found out when she called to ask about its recovery. If my dog didn't have separation anxiety, I'd expect a phone call that the surgery was delayed. But if I had had two conversations about managing my dogs separation anxiety prior to surgery, I'd expect the staff to particularly call me in this instance, tell me how my dog was doing during the delay, and ask whether I wanted the surgery rescheduled - before my dog spent the day submissively urinating every time a staff member went by. That's the lack of competence I would not be pleased to encounter.
 

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Who's talking about getting mad? One can be upset about a lack of competence, or a failure to communicate and decide to make a change without being "mad". If I as an owner, make arrangements or express concerns for my dog having a specific issue, I'd expect at least some minimal regard for those arrangements. It wasn't that the receptionist didn't have the file open. The staff passed this stressed out dog submissively urinating all day, and in spite of the owners conversations and concerns, no one did anything for this dog in spite of the owner's prior attempts to have this situation managed for minimum stress to the dog -- even to call the owner to let her know the dog didn't have the surgery - she found out when she called to ask about its recovery. If my dog didn't have separation anxiety, I'd expect a phone call that the surgery was delayed. But if I had had two conversations about managing my dogs separation anxiety prior to surgery, I'd expect the staff to particularly call me in this instance, tell me how my dog was doing during the delay, and ask whether I wanted the surgery rescheduled - before my dog spent the day submissively urinating every time a staff member went by. That's the lack of competence I would not be pleased to encounter.
If there were emergencies, I'd be understanding. Its not a lack of competency when it comes to a life. There comes a point where you have to realize precedence. Incompetency and priority can be confusing. And if the surgery was scheduled, but bumped, the op might have been in line as next to call. We can't assume, and say that your needs weren't met. How would you feel if you were on the other end, bit you weren't taken care of because they needed to make a phone call.
At the end of the day, things happen that aren't ideal in our own world. Understanding goes a lot further than stomping your foot and demanding. My two year old is learning that lesson. Hopefully some adults learn it also.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/chat-room/667226-compassion-fatigue.html
We should all take note of this post. This is sad and we should really be thankful that these people put up with so much.
 

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If there were emergencies, I'd be understanding. Its not a lack of competency when it comes to a life. There comes a point where you have to realize precedence. Incompetency and priority can be confusing. And if the surgery was scheduled, but bumped, the op might have been in line as next to call. We can't assume, and say that your needs weren't met. How would you feel if you were on the other end, bit you weren't taken care of because they needed to make a phone call.
At the end of the day, things happen that aren't ideal in our own world. Understanding goes a lot further than stomping your foot and demanding. My two year old is learning that lesson. Hopefully some adults learn it also.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/chat-room/667226-compassion-fatigue.html
We should all take note of this post. This is sad and we should really be thankful that these people put up with so much.

If an emergency vet can't communicate with clients due to emergencies, that is also a lack of competence.

It's hardly as if the vet himself is making these phone calls. It's the receptionist and staff. I'm hardly saying the triage'd dog shouldn't be taken care of. However, the scheduled surgery clients should have been notified. It doesn't take a vet to make the call. Further, if an owner specifically tries to handle a dog's separation anxiety before the dog is scheduled for surgery, then the owner should have been called and asked if she wanted to take her dog home since it was going to be in the very situation she wanted to avoid.

This is not being a two year old. This is an adult, communicating a situation, and expecting other adults to be competent and communicate in turn. If an office can't handle this, perhaps they aren't competent. Being concerned is not being mad or acting like a two year old. It's deciding whether the professional services one is paying for are being handled in a competent and professional manner.

It's rather low to attribute concerns about this lack of professional competency to "being mad" and "acting like a two year old." Again, if the dog didn't have separation anxiety and the owner hadn't tried to make arrangements ahead of time to deal with that, the bar would be lower as far as this kind of delay and communication. But since the owner was concerned, the vet staff should have addressed that issue. Failure to manage the dog's reported stress is one thing. Failure to even communicate to the owner so that she could then make a decision as to how to manage her dog in this situation is worse.

Being a concerned client is not being a two year old, and expecting a vet to manage their clients is not being unreasonable.
 

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I hope to God you never need to take advantage of your regular practice in an emergency situation, because your responses here truly show how completely insensitive and selfish so many clients can be in regard to these circumstances.


If there's an emergency, the rest of the daily scheduled routine clients "peace of mind" is the last thing on the agenda. Emergency is emergency, period. Care of critical patients is priority, period.

Sometimes anxious animals need surgery. It's part of life. It's also irresponsible to let a dog fresh out of surgery walk home that evening, and a liability to the practice for allowing the owner to "insist" their specific arrangements.

Bottom line, if you're not happy with it, go somewhere else. Just don't complain when you take her home if she starts bleeding internally and there's no one right there to cater to it. Sometimes a little stress in the short term is worth the quality and guarantee of properly trained and educated care in the long term. That is, unless you feel more comfortable doing the surgery yourself.

If there were emergencies, I'd be understanding. Its not a lack of competency when it comes to a life. There comes a point where you have to realize precedence. Incompetency and priority can be confusing. And if the surgery was scheduled, but bumped, the op might have been in line as next to call. We can't assume, and say that your needs weren't met. How would you feel if you were on the other end, bit you weren't taken care of because they needed to make a phone call.
At the end of the day, things happen that aren't ideal in our own world. Understanding goes a lot further than stomping your foot and demanding. My two year old is learning that lesson. Hopefully some adults learn it also.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/chat-room/667226-compassion-fatigue.html
We should all take note of this post. This is sad and we should really be thankful that these people put up with so much.

If an emergency vet can't communicate with clients due to emergencies, that is also a lack of competence.

It's hardly as if the vet himself is making these phone calls. It's the receptionist and staff. I'm hardly saying the triage'd dog shouldn't be taken care of. However, the scheduled surgery clients should have been notified. It doesn't take a vet to make the call. Further, if an owner specifically tries to handle a dog's separation anxiety before the dog is scheduled for surgery, then the owner should have been called and asked if she wanted to take her dog home since it was going to be in the very situation she wanted to avoid.

This is not being a two year old. This is an adult, communicating a situation, and expecting other adults to be competent and communicate in turn. If an office can't handle this, perhaps they aren't competent. Being concerned is not being mad or acting like a two year old. It's deciding whether the professional services one is paying for are being handled in a competent and professional manner.

It's rather low to attribute concerns about this lack of professional competency to "being mad" and "acting like a two year old." Again, if the dog didn't have separation anxiety and the owner hadn't tried to make arrangements ahead of time to deal with that, the bar would be lower as far as this kind of delay and communication. But since the owner was concerned, the vet staff should have addressed that issue. Failure to manage the dog's reported stress is one thing. Failure to even communicate to the owner so that she could then make a decision as to how to manage her dog in this situation is worse.

Being a concerned client is not being a two year old, and expecting a vet to manage their clients is not being unreasonable.
 

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-- even to call the owner to let her know the dog didn't have the surgery - she found out when she called to ask about its recovery.
Not really.

Well, we got a call around noon on Tuesday from her surgeon saying they had too many emergencies come in and they didn't have time for the spay.
They did call her.

They probably waited so long as they thought they could still do her when another emergency probably came in, which would explain the delay.
 

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I hope to God you never need to take advantage of your regular practice in an emergency situation, because your responses here truly show how completely insensitive and selfish so many clients can be in regard to these circumstances.


If there's an emergency, the rest of the daily scheduled routine clients "peace of mind" is the last thing on the agenda. Emergency is emergency, period. Care of critical patients is priority, period.

Sometimes anxious animals need surgery. It's part of life. It's also irresponsible to let a dog fresh out of surgery walk home that evening, and a liability to the practice for allowing the owner to "insist" their specific arrangements.

Bottom line, if you're not happy with it, go somewhere else. Just don't complain when you take her home if she starts bleeding internally and there's no one right there to cater to it. Sometimes a little stress in the short term is worth the quality and guarantee of properly trained and educated care in the long term. That is, unless you feel more comfortable doing the surgery yourself.

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I don't consider expecting the owner to get a phone call because dog's scheduled surgery is not being done is being insensitive and selfish. It is hardly as if during the whole course of the day, the owner could not have been notified by someone. After all, when she called herself, someone somehow managed to answer the phone without risking a dog's life and updated her on her dog's condition.

I'd expect a phone call to be normal business practice particularly when she had twice expressed concerns about the separation anxiety being managed. I'm sure, while that triage'd dog was in surgery, phones were ringing in the other office, other clients were checking in and out, vendors were picking up blood samples, etc. The receptionist was not doing the surgery. Characterizing me as being "insensitive and selfish" for expecting to be updated by an office on a dog's status is, sorry, ridiculous.

As for what is a liability, I've had two dogs be spayed in the past, both went in early in the am, both were awake early in the afternoon, both went home late in the afternoon, none had any problems, nor did the vet, who was experienced doing spays, consider it anything but usual and not a 'liability'. I was told if there were complications it might require the dog to stay, in neither case was that necessary. But that's hardly the point of this thread. Nor was I suggesting the triage'd should be denied care in lieu of her own dog's schedule. What I objected to was that after having communicated her concerns well in advance, when the situation changed, the owner was not notified. I would want to be notified so that I could make a decision whether to reschedule the day of the surgery or let the dog stay there, and that would have been based, in part, on how the dog was doing.

Magward suggested that the owner have another conversation with the vet about her anxiety concerns - and I asked how she felt a third conversation would make a difference, when the first two apparently went unaddressed? That's my point.
 
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