Week 2: What would you do with an injured stray?

November 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Well, it’s been a week now and it is time to look in on our green-shod friend Raul and his hapless stray dog and see how he fared.

Sincere, thanks to all the Petconnection.com community for your thoughtful (and very creative, if somewhat off-kilter) answers!

unikiltObviously, there are a lot of ways to go with this scenario, and the answers that I provided sort of limited what folks could do.  Some of you got very creative with the scenarios, and I am hoping that a Utili-Kilt will show up under my Festivus tree this year.

One thing that I noticed was that many folks wanted to pull the dog out of the ER and have their regular vet continue the care – I think this speaks a lot to how much people trust their normal veterinarian and don’t like to have emotionally charged and potentially expensive scenarios go down at the ER.  I can totally understand this – one of the biggest hurdles we face in ER medicine is establishing trust with clients and getting the point across that we are not incompetent crooks (and, to complicate matters further – there are incompetent crooks out there running veterinary ER’s). Luckily, most ER’s are peopled by caring and skilled veterinarians and technicians.

Here’s the distribution of answers from last week – some folks didn’t specifically say what they would chose, so I had to do a little interpretation.

A) Walk away:   1

B) Pay for exam and pain meds alone:   7

C) Pay for immediate care and wait to see if owners show:   11

D) The whole enchilada- fix and adopt:   3

E) Sumpin’ else:   6

I think everybody’s responses can be summed up by a simply elegant statement made by LauraL: “C for sure. I think.”  That was a masterpiece of thoughtful uncertainty, and I think it typifies the confusion and second-guessing that goes on in these situations. Every one is different, and every one has a certain set of variables; finances, availability of rescue organizations – even the hour of day or day of the week play a role in the decisions.

A few of you asked about amputation – this is definitely an option in some cases, but oftentimes it can cost almost as much as surgery to fix a leg!  I have found that many owners will look at you aghast when you discuss it as an option, but I think it is a viable alternative to being dead.  The reason that folks seem to really hate this is that they see themselves in this scenario, and tend to do a little reverse anthropomorphism; they know the limitations that this can impose on a person and think the same fate will befall their pets.  Luckily, pets don’t have to drive or be worried what others think.  I have a three-legged dog myself and he could kick the tar out of me in a race!

Amazingly, only one of you opted for A – walk away.  In reality, this is the option that most good Samaritans pick in my experience.  I think the reason for this is twofold: 1) Most readers of this website have, I have found, an amazing depth of compassion for pets and would do far more for an injured stray than Joe Six-Pack.  2) The fact that this was a thought exercise and not an actual certainty allows a little leeway in how we predict we would behave.

Many of you mentioned similar circumstances that you had been through in the past – and in a few cases this changed how you would respond to Raul’s plight.  Meaning – “I did this once and got burned; not gonna do it again. Na Ga Da.” Similarly, I have been embroiled in many situations like the one Nancy mentioned – you start out with good intentions and end up feeling dirty and exploited.  It is the classic ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ scenario. Some days, it makes you want to stop trying, and others (when it goes well) it recharges you and you are willing to go it again.

The most common answer was C – pay for the immediate care, and see if the owners show up.  From here, I will try and cook up some scenario that smacks of something realistic and post it in the coming days.  We will again be faced with challenges and have to make some tough decisions.

I kinda like the cliffhanger scenario – I hope you do to! OK – get your thinking pants on, everybody: See you soon, stray lovers!

Note from Gina on the picture: I ordered the one above. I think he comes with the Uni-Kilt, but I’m not sure …

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