Report: #922412

Complaint Review: Hunter Veterinary Clinic - Spokane Washington

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: NunyaB — Idaho United States of America
  • Hunter Veterinary Clinic
    933 N. Washington St. Spokane, Washington
    Spokane, Washington
    United States of America

Hunter Veterinary Clinic Callous indifference to dog's suffering Spokane, Washington

*Consumer Comment: Solve the Issue

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Misplaced Anger

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Yesterday the time came to end my beloved dog's life. As a former veterinary technician myself, I had recognised the end of her life. After 14 1/2 years of my "baby dog" being with me, her imminent loss was unbearable, but necessary. In just 6 days from the onset of her symptoms, there was no longer any prayer for her recovery and continued joy in my life. It became more evident as the morning wore on that her health would not rally again.

Phoning ahead to Hunter Vet, I notified them that my girl needed to be relieved of her pain and that arrangements for her cremation were already made. I was told to bring her in and we would be seen by the doctor who had examined her just 3 days before. We made a heart wrenching last ride. I carried her in, made her comfortable and was given the necessary forms by the receptionist, who then told me that the doctor had just gone to lunch. [continued below]....


In a 3 doctor practice whose primary clientele is walk-ins, for two hours no doctor was available. Not granting me a refund of the costs of my pup-pup's final need, I, as an indigent, was left without the funds to take her anyplace more merciful in this town where I know no one and nowhere. 

As the dog who had been the joy of my life clenched her teeth in agony, unable to adequately draw breath lay in obvious distress, the techs walked by me, the receptionists giggled about their day and I was continually reassured that it wouldn't be long. 

This sweet little soul, who had always come to me to fix it when she wasn't feeling well could only stare at me with fixed eyes while she bit into her own mouth in misery, I could no longer fix it. We trusted this clinic to send her to the "other side" with the respect and compassion she deserved, while above us was a wall decorated in awards this clinic had recieved as "Best Vet of The Year" - while the universal oath to "first do no harm" taken by every doctor was obviously a scrap of paper. In my wallet was a euthansia license from a state I had left behind in search of a job and a future. Useless to me now. I pleaded with the receptionists to allow a technician to administer the last dose that would take away my best friend's pain. No. Wahington law prohibits the substance from being handled by any but a licenced D.V.M. Oh, but the doctors would be back "real soon."

The technicians, finally shaken by my baby's anguish, told the receptionists to get a doctor back for an emergency euthanasia. The technicians tried to comfort us. One was visibly sickened and went home early. Had I had a pistol in my car I could have shot my own little angel to spare her what she went through in a three doctor practice decked with awards. This sickening notion would have been far less cruel than what those entrusted with her car - or simply caring  did to her. 

From 12:11 when I looked at the time after checking in, to 1:43, when a crabby, irritated vet was roused from his ham sandwich, or whatever he was enjoying, to perform a simple act of compassion, the dog who was so much more than a dog knew nothing but suffering. My baby-dog, who had seen me through the joys and sorrows of my life, failed relationships, success and loss, competed alongside me in the show ring despite being saved from an early death when I rescued a badly abused 8 month old puppy, my little "small one" who was constantly amazing me with her capacity to pick up and emulate human language, her gift for comic timing, everything that made her so much more than just a dog, was brough to an excruciating end. Her last moment, when it finally did come, was being manhandled by the son of the practice owner, afraid, in pain and taken from the arms of the person who loved - and continues to love her. 

Evil comes in fascinating packaging.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/04/2012 09:08 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/hunter-veterinary-clinic/spokane-washington-99201/hunter-veterinary-clinic-callous-indifference-to-dogs-suffering-spokane-washington-922412. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Solve the Issue

AUTHOR: IDQualityGuy - (United States of America)

POSTED: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
As a Process Improvement Specialist, I was very disappointed to read the above clinic's response to this complaint. How quickly they resorted to blaming the client.

Their response did not dispute that a beloved animal suffered for an extended period of time. The clinic's first question should have been, "How can we prevent this from happening again?"

I do care for animals, so I'm going to provide a free analysis for this situation. I will leave out many of the connecting "causes" in the interest of brevity.

In this case, as reported by both sides, the client phoned ahead requesting euthanasia services. A likely question asked of the client would be, "When will you be here?" It is at this point that the clinic could have acted in the best interest of their client.

A friend of mine was a nurse at a rural hospital. The hospital is so small that they do not have a doctor on staff, only on call. When she gets emergency calls, my friend would contact the doctor and find out if he could make it to the hospital in time for the ambulance, if not, she would route the ambulance to a larger hospital a little farther away. If the clinic had merely followed through as my friend did, they would have been able to prevent this animal's extreme suffering. They might have lost a sale, but they would have gained a long term client.

Hunter Veterinary Clinic needs to decide what their policy toward emergency euthanasia will be and then clearly communicate that to their reception staff and clients. It is my sincere hope that the clinic will contact the filer of this report and both apologize for the animal's suffering and explain what they are doing to prevent anyone else from going through the same pain.

I would also encourage anyone with pets to talk with their regular veterinarian about their policies toward emergency situations. Find out how they would handle something like this if it were your pet. Choose your vet accordingly.
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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Misplaced Anger

AUTHOR: Dr. Brian - (United States of America)

POSTED: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
First, and foremost, I understand the sorrow over losing a beloved pet. There is no easy way to say goodbye. I also realize that anger is the first step of the grieving process and truly believe that to be the reason for this unreasonable review. 

Yes, she did call ahead mid-morning and was in fact informed that no doctors are available between noon and 2 pm, when the walk-in hours begin. Nonetheless she came in at 12:10, and as she had been previously informed, no doctors were there. My staff attempted to call my cellphone, but I was unavailable and away from my phone. Had I been reached I would have come back to the clinic, as I have done before.

My staff then called two nearby clinics to see if they could euthanize her dog, but they too had no doctors available during this time. Not only would we have refunded any pre-paid fees, but my staff was actively trying to find care for her dog at another clinic. She never asked for her fees and her husband said they would wait until a doctor returned rather then go somewhere else.
When I checked my phone at 1:40 I noted the message and immediately called to say I would be back within 10 minutes. Upon my return I found the client with her semi-comatose pet in the exam room. I was neither crabby or irritated, just concerned for the pet.  Euthanasia is a serious procedure where respect for the client and patient is paramount.

The client had a very firm grasp of the left front leg where I would need my assistant to occlude the vein to give the euthanasia solution. I politely asked her to allow my assistant to hold the leg so I could give the needed injection. She did not tell me she was a tech and could hold off the vein for me, and due to safety concerns clients are not allowed to hold pets during injections. At no time was this dog manhandled, it was semi-comatose and needed no restraint other than to occlude a vein in a front leg. I expressed my condolences for her loss, but she never spoke to me.

I am sorry she had to wait, but she was informed of our availability ahead of time. My staff tried to assist her, including contacting other clinics, but was unsuccessful. Do we deserve to be chastised for our efforts, certainly not. We have been voted "Best Vet" for the last 3 years by clients for a reason, and this episode actually shows how our staff will go the extra mile for pets in need. The outcome is still a sad one and I wish her fond memories of her pet as she continues through the grieving process.
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