Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BPAL: Snake Oil or Snake In The Grass?

One of the reasons I decided to do a blog dedicated to bitching instead of my other love, indie makeup, is that there are tons who do this so much better.  I suck at descriptions, and I'm too damned lazy to take pictures.
One subject I would avoid would be scented stuff. Scents, to me are a personal thing. It's all a matter of body chemistry. What smells great on someone stinks on another. I've got the kind of chemistry that very few scents work with, so I'm sure a review of "smells like shit on me, but you should try it!" wouldn't be appreciated by a seller. But I read reviews, and sometimes will try stuff based on that.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, or BPAL, is a perfume company that has a huge cult like following. It's impossible for anyone who reads blogs about indie products not to have come across some BPAL reviews. So I've tried several of their stock and limited edition fragrances. And no matter what fragrance I try, they all smell the same on me. Like the morning after a night of drunken debauchery. Where you jump out of bed, holding your head, throw open the window, wake up the lump next to you and tell them to get the hell out and swear off alcohol forever. Anything to make it go away.
So I've left BPAL to those who love it. Until now.
Someone who I've been a customer of, who has a small indie bath and body shop, who I LIKE (and that list is small) sells a product that she calls Snake Oil. She's not the only person in the world that sells a product that they call snake oil, but for some reason BPAL has decided to give her a ration of shit about it. Apparently, BPAL sells something they call Snake Oil, which is not the same product as the other, for more than twice the price. And they're claiming that she, who has sold her product longer, is infringing on a name that BPAL has trademarked.
WTF?! The term "snake oil" has been around for hundreds of years, long before all of us were a twinkle in our daddy's eye. We use the term "snake oil" to describe anything from that used in the Craft to anything sold by infomercial. What moron in a trademark office would allow anyone exclusive use of an everyday term?!
And why would anyone whose company has several times more volume in sales want to bother a small indie perfume maker during the busiest time of the year? Is business so slow at BPAL that they have enough spare time to act like shitweasels?! Here's a few suggestions for being more productive with their time at BPAL:

Do something about that hot mess gawdawful website. Hire someone with opposable thumbs that can create something customers can navigate.

Hire more people to spend more time filling orders. You may actually have more business if customers can get their products in the same lifetime that they ordered it.

Put more effort into your quality/batch control. It sucks to reorder something because we loved in in an imp only to find out the full size is nothing like it.

For gawdsakes, blend. Even I, who can't describe perfume, can smell when it's not blended properly.
Quit calling your stuff unique when anyone who knows perfumes knows you use stock scents.

If you're going to harass one person about using a common phrase you now think you own, then do the same with everybody else. It's a long list, get busy.

Congratulate yourself. You've made the Cranky CatWrangler's AssClown List. Not distinguished enough to be AssClown Of The Year, but you're definitely a runner up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PAYPAL: Assclown Of The Year

 ***Update 12/7/11: Due to this thing going viral the way it did, not only did Paypal  fix the mess, they are donating $100 to each of the 200 families that Regretsy is helping. You can read the update here.
This doesn't make me love Paypal any more, but it does show that with enough people coming together to right a wrong, we CAN change things for the better. Thanks to all of you who took the time to speak out.

Since I can't say it any better, I'll post the links here and here.

I'm all about helping animals, but I've always felt that no child should go without a present under the Christmas tree. Our family buys toys all year round and stashes them to give to the various charities who make a difference to the kids at Christmas. It's as much of a tradition in our house as decorating the tree. The awesome folks at Regretsy have taken it to a ginormous new level, working their butts off to raise money for needy kids, and all you have to do is click to help.

Until Paypal decided to play Scrooge. They insisted that the folks at Regretsy refund all the donations. Since they had already purchased gifts with the money, they had to dig into their own pockets for the refunds. And Paypal kept the transaction fees. According to Paypal, the spirit of giving is okay as long as it all goes to Paypal fees.

So, according to Paypal, I can put a Donate button on my site to buy myself some Clitter but I can't help needy kids? WTF is up with that?
If you're as outraged as I am over this mess, here's what I suggest:

Leave a message on Paypal's Facebook wall

Go back here, scroll to the bottom of the page and tell the biggies at Paypal what you think.

Go here and sign.

If you're a buyer, use something other than Paypal to make purchases. If you're a seller, use an alternative to Paypal for payment. There's other options, use them.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

How Much is That Puppy in The Parking Lot?

The year has passed quickly, and we're back at the season of giving. And overindulging, overspending and impulsive purchases that we wouldn't normally make any given time a year. We think we're done, and trudge tiredly to our car, when we spy a crowd in the parking lot; yet again, someone is selling puppies.
Once upon a time, we'd see boxes of mixed breed puppies and kittens in boxes in front of the grocery store that were being given away for free. A bad economy and the trend toward designer dogs has those who have intact dogs with the ability to breed looking for a way to earn some cash: sell them as the next trendy thing in a parking lot.
A reputable breeder would never take a young animal into a public place to sell it. With all the viruses that young unvaccinated pets can potentially be exposed to, they know they will be carrying that back to their own pets at home. Everyone who stops to ooh and ahh, and PETS the animal will be exposing it to everything that human has come in contact with.
And then there's the stress. No matter how good the home, being moved from one environment to another is stressful. Which is why we see so many new owners with sick puppies and kittens. Stress weakens the immune system in animals as well as people. Reputable breeders are happy to hold puppies and kittens until after the holidays.
If you must have a warm fuzzy of your own during the holidays, remember that during the hustle and bustle you're already in that you'll have to schedule at least one vet visit during this time. A well pet check and vaccinations are not something that should be put off, whether it's a pedigreed purebred or an adorable mutt.
Make sure when you're equipping your home for the new addition that you also make a safe, quiet place for the pet to go when it needs to. A crate for the puppy or a bed for the kitten in a quiet room so that they can escape all the noise is essential. Holiday time is stressful and overwhelming for pets, too. Keep them away from holiday decorations. Pets love to drink from the Christmas tree bowl, eat pine needles and ribbons from packages. Any of these can result in a serious emergency.

If you just can't resist that parking lot puppy, get in your car and go immediately to the local animal shelter. Shelters that euthanize unwanted pets will be doing more euthanizing this month than most others. They will have only a small crew during the holidays and need to keep the population down. There's plenty of choices, you're sure to find something hard to resist. And your adoption fee includes a vet exam, vaccinations, and spaying/neutering, usually for less than the price of that parking lot pup.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Whispered And My Horse Won't Stop Laughing...

..Is the name of an essay I intend to write someday. It's the chronicle of going to a clinic of a big name Guru, spending hard earned money on overpriced (but necessary to make it work) gadgets, then learning that I Shouldn't Have Tried This At Home.
I think every frustrated horse owner has at some point fallen under the spell of a Big Name Trainer (or BNT) at some point. They make it look so easy. Check out the crowds at Equine Affaire. Spend a couple of grand on some crap and a DVD or two and you're all set. I've seen more than a few people hang up their shingle and call themselves horse whisperers.
I actually considered applying to have Princess Pout be a demo horse. But he didn't meet the age and training requirements.
WTF is up with that? Isn't that the point of these demos?
I don't have the kind of money to clinic with my horse. I don't even have the extra to send one out and have him magically fixed. What I can afford is a mobile trainer who helps me fix it. The time and sweat I put into it is my own.
My first horse as a kid was a magical bombproof do anything kind of horse. Although he dumped me a few times, he was otherwise a perfect babysitter. Since then, I've ended up with the sad and the dysfunctional, the ones at the end of the line, destined for either my place or the meat truck. I found too many trainers who weren't interested-there was no way me or my horse could easily sparkle in the show ring.

Which was when I learned that finding a trainer for a problem horse separates the women from the girls.

I've been fortunate in my life that the right person to help me with my horses has popped up at just the right time. Their styles and techniques have all been different, but when they were done with me, I was a better rider, which made my horse a better horse.

For all the glitz and glamor in the show ring, there are thousands more who just want to get on and ride, to be the best rider they can be and have a good time with their horse.  Beyond the loud music and smoke and mirrors are the local trainers. The ones who teach us to develop a good seat and light hands. The ones who always have hay in their hair and are covered in a layer of arena dirt. They may never teach a horse to capriole, but they go the extra mile to make sure that the horses they train stand tied quietly, pick up all four feet when asked, and are safe for beginners. They shine with pride at our accomplishments and comfort us when we're frustrated. They push us to go forward and don't let us quit. No matter how much time has passed, every time we swing a leg over and settle into that saddle, we take them with us.

These are the true unsung heroes of the horse world. They don't do it for the spotlight, they do it for the love of the sport, to pass along the passion to others who love horses as much as they do. They knew their chosen career path would be hard, but the passion gave them the drive to sacrifice the expensive trappings of possessions to spend time with horses, and all that go with it.

Thanksgiving is the time to count our blessings. I'm going to make sure I count all of the wonderful horse people I've had in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Rave Review

A few years ago, my riding buddy helped me to buy a horse at auction. I was looking for a calm, relaxed trail horse that I could do some team penning with. Princess Pout fit the bill nicely, my buddy did the bidding and we brought him home. Mutual adoration quickly began. I fit him with a western saddle, hit the trails and my buddy made plans to do some team penning. Sadly it was not to be. My buddy's cancer metasticized to his liver shortly after his 80th birthday a year later,  and PP and I were on our own.
When I found myself flat on the ground staring at the sky during what was supposed to be a relaxing ride, I realized that Princess Pout had some holes in his training. I made the decision to restart him from the ground up so we could be a team, and my broken ribs could heal. I didn't mind the ground work, besides I had my schoolmaster to ride while PP was learning what was missing.
Except things went from bad to worse. He became increasingly tense and spooky. We'd get something accomplished, then he'd go back to his bad behavior and we'd start all over. He was afraid of the wash rack, of the sound of the velcro on his fly mask. He never calmed down with work, he always worked up.
I had him checked out medically from nose to tail, had the chiropractor out, everything I could think of. My beloved schoolmaster had to be put down and my husband aquired a young unbroke horse, the ShitWeasel. I found myself with the task of dealing with two horses that frustrated me.
Then I got lucky, a former trainer was back in town and doing mobile lessons. She made her name with unruly horses that nobody else would touch, this project was up her alley. We set right to work, with weekly lessons with each and me taking the horses out individually. We soon got the ShitWeasel manageable, but PP was another story. It was the double edged coin of I wasn't doing anything wrong, but she wasn't having much luck either.
A few months later the trainer got a position at a barn that was too far for me to travel to for lessons. PP developed a crack in his hoof that traveled up to the coronet band, so he was going to be out of work for awhile, and we were looking at a year before the crack was fully grown out. The trainer encouraged me to sell him. She said I've put so much into him and have had to keep starting over. That there are plenty of nice cuddly huggy horses that would fit what I need. It was sound advice, since even she wouldn't get on his back.
Except- I don't sell horses.
Except- this horse was everything a girl could ask for: a gay guy who adores me. He is a heart horse. Maybe I could just be satisfied with having him be a yard ornament. Except- I'm not happy unless I'm riding. I struggled daily with the thought, and even called another former trainer in tears. After all, I take in the unloved and unwanted, the dysfunctional and the issue laden. And I've turned them into ideal equine partners. Why was this one so hard?
I decided that I was going to wait a year for the crack to grow out before I made a decision. There was no way I'd sell him with that and run the risk of a career ending injury in the wrong hands. Meanwhile, I would work on him and me, and try not to cry so much.
I was tootling on my favorite horse message board and I found a long thread touting this product. I read up on the symptoms of magnesium deficiency and since it was within my budget, decided to try it.
No difference. I didn't reorder when I finished the bag. A few weeks later, after a workout that ended in frustration and tears, I emailed the owner and asked her opinion. She quickly wrote back and suggested upping his dose for a week then letting her know how it went. It wasn't successful and I told her so. She encouraged me to keep trying and give it some time. So I got another bag and continued to add it to his feed.
A few weeks ago I took him out again and it was if a switch had been flipped. He was the calm quiet horse I thought I bought-and knew I had, somewhere. He seemed happy, and nothing bothered him. He was so relaxed I wondered if he was asleep. I saddled him up, put him on the longe line and walked him down to the local show. He used to be so herdbound that other horses would rev him up, tail flagging and squealing, so much like a mare in heat I'd even check under his tail. (For those who wonder why I use a longe line, it's because it's long enough that if a horse gets unruly, I can get out of the way and still have a good hold.) I wasn't about to ruin someone's show experience with a misbehaving horse, so we approached in increments. We stopped across the street and I let him look. He answered a few whinnys, then cocked his back leg and licked his lips. By the time we got on the show grounds, he was as blase about it as if he did it every day, even happily following me under tents. He stepped on a couple of plastic bottles, usually the source of a major bitch fit, and that didn't phase him. I took him home, saddled him up and rode him on the best ride we've had in years. I'm thrilled beyond words.
For those of you who have horses whose behavior is making you ready to give up, check out the symptoms of magnesium deficiency in the link above and consider giving Mag Restore a try. Of course, I always encourage people whose horses develop sudden behavior problems to have a vet check the horse out for possible medical reasons first.
I'd like to thank the folks at Performance Equine for giving me my horse back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Pinktober!

October is my favorite time of year. I love Halloween, so much in fact that some of our decorations have a place in my home year round.
October is also breast cancer awareness month. Pink ribbon merchandise abounds in just about every public place. I was in Sam's Club last weekend and there were pink ribbons on everything from toilet paper to potato chips. It's nice to see what started out as a simple idea blossom into national awareness over the years. Even my horses have pink ribbon flymasks. Part of the purchase price went to a worthy cause, and they can help support it, even if they are geldings.
I came across something that, while not animal related, is so darned cool that I have to mention it here. Team Pinkeye Project is a group of indie makeup and other sellers along with beauty bloggers that are raising money for worthy causes, the one in October, of course, is for breast cancer awareness. You can read about them on FaceBook here and the blog is here.
I like to support indie companies and worthy causes, so I'm really pleased about this. These are an awesome group of people who have devoted their time and efforts for a worthy cause. Check them out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

High Maintenance AssClown Of The Year

When I worked for the Boss Man, we had our share of high maintenance clients. If they're frequent clients, I'd find what it took to keep them happy, and do it. If they were of the more-trouble-than-they're-worth types, I'd do what it took to blow them off. They never did get the hint and leave, dammit.
2 of the doctors that I worked with most at Epic Fail made Hell seem like a day in paradise. There was Dr. Jekyll, the client ass-kisser who was Mr. Hyde with the receptionists-the one who needs and exorcism. Then there was Dr. Menstrual, a female vet who was rarely booked mostly because she seemed to be always on the bleed. Forget slamming an occasional Midol-she needs a daily IV drip of the stuff.
So I had been working there for several days and it was decided that maybe I could be trusted to Answer The Phone (ooh, greatness is mine). So the first call I get is this:
"This is Mrs. Pita, and I sent my husband in with Fido for his vaccines this morning. I want to speak to Dr. Menstrual now!"
"I'm sorry, Dr. Menstrual is in with a client, but I can give her the message and she can call you back."
"You tell her to call me right back! She told my husband that Fido is overweight! Fido is very muscular, he is very fit, he exercises at least 2 hours a day. He is NOT fat!!!"
"I'll give her the message and she'll call you at her earliest convenience."
"You'd better make sure that bitch calls me! I don't want her to ever touch Fido again! I want a second opinion from Dr. Jekyll, he knows what he is doing."

There was more said, but by then I stopped paying attention, plus the form I had to fill out for messages was full. I see Dr. Menstrual in the hall and hand her the note. Apparently, she told the husband that the dog looked a little overweight to her. And the dog was vicious to boot.
I found out that that was the fourth time that day she had called. The fifth time she called, one of the others gave her an appointment with Dr. Jekyll. Which is good since I probably would have said something like "What time would you like to bring Lard Ass in?"
She wouldn't have lasted a minute with Boss Man.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Epic Fail

Awhile back, I cleaned up my resume and went on a job search. Mostly for financial reasons. I needed to work full time, and it would be great to get benefits. Anyone who has had to buy their own health insurance will understand that; there is a definite discrimination against the self employed.

I wasn't specifically aiming for staying in the animal care industry as good pay and benefits are rarely part of the job, but I managed to hit pay dirt: I landed a job at another small animal practice, full time, benefits, with an offer of much better pay to do way less than what I was doing as an Office Manager for Boss Man. A much more technologically modern practice with upscale clientele. It appeared that the staff made a great team. Sounds perfect, right? NOT.

I've learned that getting what I wish for means I've shit in my own mess kit.

It's not hard to check clients and patients in and out. To put them in rooms, and weigh and temp the pets. However, I came from an old school pen and paper type of practice, and this one was run by computers with software that was temperamental and virus infested. I went from one doctor to having several doctors working at the same time. Doctors who kiss the clients butt and treat the staff like dirt. Like Multiple Personality Disorder. One who is such a nasty bastard I expected his head to start spinning and pea soup to start spewing out. I made sure to stand at enough of a distance not to get splattered.

Then there were the receptionists, my lovely coworkers. I was supposed to be in training but nobody wanted to train me. One of them said "If I have to train her, I'd have to talk to her, and I don't want to talk to her." Of course where I could hear it. Derogatory remarks were made about me in earshot. I was berated for not doing my job right. I was ubraided and berated in front of clients. Before my first paycheck (which I still don't have) the woman who hired me had sudden amnesia about the wage she had offered me.
By the end of the first week I had tremors in one of my hands. By the end of the third week, I was shaking at the thought of going to work. On my last day, I had a panic attack at work and had to go to Urgent Care to get sedation. The work supervisor called me later and told me "the only complaint I've heard about you is that they have to tell you things more than once" Ya think?! Then why didn't they fucking train me? and "If you're that unhappy, then it's best that you don't come back." Well, no shit.

I have worked some shitty jobs, but this has been the worst. I'm appalled at the behavior of these women. Who the hell raised them to be these kind of people? A pack of shit throwing monkeys raise their kids with better manners than that. If my own kids had ever treated another person like I was treated, I'd pick them up by their hair, even though they're grown and I'd have to stand on a ladder to do it. And since I didn't get the opportunity say what I wanted in person, I'll do so here:

I'm editing this out today. Time to let go and be grateful I'm gone from there, away from those toxic people and that hostile workplace. They belong together, and I've learned some good lessons from my thankfully short time there.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some Favorite Things-Human Edition

Despite being constantly covered in dirt and hair, and dressing like a candidate for the People of WalMart website, I love girly things like hair and makeup products. I don't have the inclination to do a beauty blog, but there are so many fabulous ones out there, I don't have to. Here are a few of my favorites:

H2O Plus Spa Hand and Nail Cream
Pricey, yes, but it works, and a little goes a long way. The skin on my hands gets trashed with my job and lifestyle. I've still got half a tube left and I bought this in February, and I use it daily. I prefer the unscented.

H2O Plus Face Oasis Moisturizer
Another product where a little goes a long way. Perfect for my cranky oily skin, and it's cooling effect is a wonderful "ahh" feeling for skin that's been outside all day. There's no SPF in this though, so if it's used in the daytime, sunscreen is still needed. I use it at night.
**Note on H2O Plus products-I linked these to the manufacturers webpage, but they're available in other places. I bought these at Ulta. Which leads me to a semi-rant. I do a major haulage at Ulta a couple of times a year, whenever the 20% off coupons come out. The prices with the coupon means major stock up time for me. It used to be that the Ulta I go to had exceptional customer service. I got totally ignored on this last visit, except by the rep from this company.  Get your shit together Ulta.

Lucky 107 Cosmetics
I tried this company out recently based on a blogger's review. I'm really impressed by the eye shadows. Great color, easy to blend, and they stay on even with sweating in 100 degree weather. The owner's got her game on  and the customer service is excellent. I haven't tried her lip products but I have some of her lip scrubs on the way.  She just closed her Artfire shop and gearing up to launch her own site, so for now, ordering would have to be done by email, which is why I've linked to her facebook page. My favorite so far is the Sweet Tooth collection.

Linnaeus Cosmetics
I saved the best for last. I learned about this company from bloggers when she was on Etsy. Marin, the owner is a vet student who has created these fabulous shadows based on animals and wildlife. I can get lost in reading about the animals that inspire each collection on the website. The customer service and attention to detail are unequaled, with the packaging (hand stamped stationary, personal note, products in a hand stamped bag tied with raffia) being as exciting as the products themselves. Several bloggers have swatched these shadows, and it's worth a Google visit to check them out. I recently gifted some these shadows, elevating my status to "favorite relative."

So, above are a few things I like. Feel free to comment, or share some of the things you like, too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Every Ride, Every Time

I loved watching Courtney King Dye in the 2008 Olympics. I admire her as a rider, and as a person. This is the video that makes her a hero in my book. The embedding is disabled, which is a shame.
Courtney Video

Friday, July 22, 2011

Assclownism Of The Week

"Ma'am, what brand of dog food are you feeding your dog?"

"I don't know the name of it! It's the one with the picture of the dog on it!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Defy the Fly: A Review

The county I live in has unofficially declared the fly the state bird. November through February are about the only months we have off from constantly dealing with flies. I have tried every spray, feed through, covering, etc that gives a hint of fly relief for my horses. This year, with no real frost and lots of rain has brought the bugs out in record number, which means when the 747s come out in summer, fly control will be my second biggest horse expense.
I recently visited my favorite horse rescue. With so many to care for and donations being down, they've had to get really creative with fly control. All the horses have a fly mask. Those worst plagued by flies have sheets, and I've seen the donkeys wearing brightly colored dollar store knee socks on their legs (way cheaper than fly boots).  Then a package is thrust in my hand and "OMFG, you have to try these things, they work!" It was a package of Defy the Fly leg bands. Some generous supporter sent the rescue some of these, and the horses that have the worst fly problems were wearing them.
I got online and ordered a couple of packages. I gave one to my in laws for their little horse whose legs are eaten alive every summer, and kept a package for my guys. There are 4 of these bands in the package. The flies love Princess Pout's front legs, so I put a pair on him. I resealed the bag according to the directions, when these no longer work, I'll have another pair. The colt eats everything so I haven't even tried putting the bands on him.
Defy the Fly leg bands are plastic with air holes on one side like a band-aid and material that is saturated with Geraniol. Geraniol is a natural alternative to DEET.  There are two sets of snaps to adjust the fit. They go on the cannon bone above the fetlock in the front and the ankle in the back. There is definitely a strong scent when you open them and for the first week or so.
It is very important to check these regularly. Some animals are sensitive to the ingredients and the bands can cause skin irritation, which is stated on the label. In this case, they should be taken off immediately. I was especially concerned because PP has white socks, which can be more sensitive. But he and my in laws horse are having no problems with them.
Do using these mean I can stop all other fly control and quit making fly spray? No. But for horses that are plagued by flies on their legs (I'm talking Alfred Hitchcock movie here). But it is so nice to see him be able to stand without constantly stomping, not see his leg black with flies or pebbled in fly poop. Considering I can get up to 4 months out of a package (they retail for about $18-$22 for the leg bands) they're definitely being added to my arsenal.
Defy The Fly also makes neck bands (good for face flies) and dog and cat collars, which are supposed to repel fleas, etc. I did buy a neck band but haven't tried it yet.
These are sold at most online vet supplies.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'm Done

It might be because Boss Man is out of the country and as the Office Manager (read none of the credit and all of the blame) I'm left holding the bag...
It might be because I had to spend two days working with someone I truly dislike, where every minute was an eternity...
It might be because I spent the better part of the week trying to make whiny men happy....
Or the stress and body aches won't let me sleep....
It might be because my microwave caught fire and the toilet quit...
Or at the end of a long ass week, there was a huge crowd of people at shot clinic Saturday, we worked 2 hours past closing and all I'd had was a huge iced coffee...
Whatever the reason, I handed a few people their ass today.
I may be in the unemployment line next week. So I may no longer be a catwrangler, but I'll still be cranky.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


As much of an animal lover as I am, I prefer fur bearing creatures. I wouldn't do well handling reptiles. One of the kids who lived with us for awhile had a toad named Fiona, and while I didn't mind handling her, the few times I had to go get her some live crickets gave me the shivers.
Sunday morning I go into the kitchen to find hubs scooping up what we thought was a 5 inch snake. Upon closer (but not too close) inspection we discover it's the tail of a very large lizard. He mentioned Hellcat having been there a few minutes before, so I went off to search. I find Hellcat in the living room with the body of this thing, which is very much alive. So back with the broom and dustpan again to dump the other half, which was hissing at us. It was an alligator lizard, they are very quick, aggressive, and they bite. I would not have been happy waking up next to one of these.

Speaking of ewww, we had two puppies with Parvo this week. Siblings. These were older puppies, never had been vaccinated. Both died, after much terrible suffering. The most common excuse I hear for people not vaccinating is that "my dog doesn't go anywhere". Neither did these puppies, but they still got one of the most virulent strains of Parvo.  Parvovirus can remain on surfaces or in grass or dirt for up to 2 years. We have kennels that we only put dogs with Parvo in, despite our fanatic bleaching and disinfecting. This is why I don't take unvaccinated dogs to dog friendly places, and why my work shoes are only worn at work.
No matter what your view on vaccinating (and there are some anti-vaccine advocates I do agree with), when you can prevent needless suffering and death with a proven inexpensive vaccine, why aren't more people doing it? These vaccines are readily available, in most states you can purchase them over the counter or from a catalog and do them yourself. In the case of something like Parvo, there really isn't a reason not to.

Friday, June 24, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I got a call from a woman today who had been referred by the charity (who shall remain anonymous) that we work with.  She has a giant breed dog (140 lbs) that needs to be neutered. Since this would be a charity surgery, I had to give her the prices separately, with the cost of the surgery, antibiotics, etc. Not all hospitals have a policy of giving antibiotics after surgery, but ours does, no exceptions. She started arguing with me, stating that she could get antibiotics free from her vet, he just couldn't do the surgery. Rather than having a battle of wits with an unarmed person, I told her she may be happier finding a vet that didn't require antibiotics, and hung up.
Newsflash is that many vets won't alter a full grown giant breed dog, especially not at the price I quoted her. Surgery on full grown giant breeds is arduous backbreaking work.
Speaking of charities, I had a chat with one of the women who works at the one we work with. This charity has been around for more than 30 years, and they've helped many financially strapped people get medical help for their pets. Like most charities in a recession, they are short on donations and long on people with their hand out, so they are forced to only help people that are truly needy. Which means a more arduous screening of the people who call them. Sometimes they only donate $5, and they no longer are able to cover the full cost of surgeries.
She told me that at least once a day the phone call ends with the caller screaming "fuck you!" and slamming the phone down. The staff actually keeps count of the number of "fuck you"s they get. They've had their lives threatened, and bomb threats. They've had to take their sign down, only work daylight hours, and be escorted to the parking lot every day after work.
They are not fugitives, they are people who work tirelessly to help animals and this is charity, for crap's sake! Your pet needs help, friends and family won't, and a perfect stranger helps find a place that is low cost, and even pitches in some money (and even if it is only $5, it's $5 that you don't have to come up with) and your only response is "fuck you"?! Who died and left you so entitled?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Random Rant

In an earlier post I mentioned the dangers of housework when I broke the stoneware to my crock pot. So I do a search online and find a company who carries replacements. I place the order, which is to be shipped by UPS. It hits the doorstep on late Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The package rattles suspiciously. It is packaged poorly in a huge box with a bit of bubble wrap. It's in way more pieces than the one I broke. I fire off a less than pleasant email to the company, who agrees to send me a new one. Same thing with the second one. I demanded a refund. It'll be much less trouble just to go buy a new crock pot.
I won't name the company here, unless I don't get my card credited. But seriously, who in the hell is ignorant enough to package something that is breakable in a bit of bubble wrap in a too large box?! And not even mark it fragile, when it's surely going to be punted by the UPS people?  I've had nail polish delivered that was wrapped better than this was. This is the first time I've ordered something that started out in a box that I could mail back in an envelope.
And what is it with the UPS drivers being so snarky and rude? I miss Ron, who was the regular UPS driver for years. He could be a nosy pain in the ass, but at least he'd ring the bell, and if a box was dented, he'd let me know about it. Seriously, for what they're charging for shipping, the UPS guys could be a little more pleasant. Quit punting the stuff I paid for onto my porch. If you hate your job that much, trade in that shit brown uniform for something that works for you. Like a gorilla suit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fun With Phone Solicitors

"Animal Hospital"
"Yes, this is dumbass solicitor calling, may I speak to the Office Manager?"
"She's not in right now. Call back after 3" (I'm gone by then)
"Can I get her name?"
" Sure, ask for Ida Know."


"Animal Hospital"
"Yes, this is dumbass from Merchant Services. May I speak to Boss Man?"
"Well, I can save him some money if he switches to our service."
"He still won't talk to you."
"He doesn't want to save money?"
"He thinks your company sucks. He'll tell you to kiss his ass. Would you like him to tell you that or are you satisfied with me conveying the message?"

This company calls an average of 6 times a day, and leaves at least 2 messages after hours. No matter what I say to them.

"Animal Hospital"
"Yes, this is dipshit calling from some stupid company. We specialize in getting the negative ratings off the internet. Are you aware of the negative things being written about you?"
"Well, wouldn't you like to have those erased and only positive ratings showing?"
"Isn't that illegal?"
"No, it's perfectly legal. We can erase those negative ratings and comments!"
"Why? They're all true."
"We can still erase them, and get only positive ratings."
"I can erase them too."
"How can you do that?"
"I wrote them."

Long pause, followed by a click.


"Animal Hospital"
"How ya doing today?!"
"So far I've been snapped at, scratched, peed on, shit on, dropped a tumor on my shoe, stepped on testicles and got the phone receiver bloody in my rush to answer the phone and listen to some effing solicitor. But the day is young."
"This sounds like a bad time to call, I'll call back."
"After 6 would be perfect."

we close at 6

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Favorite Things-Pet Edition

Rather than save them all up for the holiday season, I'd thought I'd discuss some things I personally like. If you'd like to ask my opinion on something, please feel free to ask. I've got plenty of opinions. Everything reviewed here was purchased with my own money and I'm not compensated for my opinions on them.

Greenies Pill Pockets:

I'm not a fan of the Greenies dog chews at all, but it's about time someone came up with something easier for those of us who need to give medicine to our pets on a regular basis. They make them for cats, but my cats won't touch them. My old dog who takes a pill daily, loves them.

Natural Balance Dog Treat Rolls

I love these. They can be cut into pea sized bites for dog training.  Most dog trainers will tell you to use something of a "higher food value" for higher stress/distraction situations and these fit the bill nicely. I don't take the dog out in public without them.

Easy Walk Harness:

Recommended to me by a dog trainer, this harness has its leash rings in the front. It's wonderful for large dogs that pull. They can still pull in this harness, but not with the strength that they use with a neck collar, and you're not yanked off of your feet. Great for training as you have control without the dog gagging. My dog doesn't leave home without it.

Epona Shed Flower:

I've been using these on my horses for awhile, and I've given many as gifts to horse friends. No hand fatigue with these, and you can use them to knock mud off sensitive spots like legs, where a shedding blade or metal currycomb shouldn't go. I've recently started using these on my old dog with Cushing's as she's shedding hair like crazy, and even the cats tolerate it.

Goodlife Cat Treats:

I've never used this brand of food, but I recently got some samples of these treats. They are like crack to the Catfather. So I'm recommending them at his insistence.

Mane and Tail Spray White:

As much as I love white markings on animals, I hate trying to keep them looking white. Spray on, scrub in and rinse. It's one of the best whitening products I've found that's easy to use at a reasonable price.

So here it is. See anything you like? What have you tried that you love or hate?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ch Ch Changes

In my little world, there are a ton of major things going on at once. Some good, some bad, but a definite shift in the everyday routine to be sure. So my little blog has been getting neglected.
The change I'll address in this post is that we are definitely heading toward warmer weather. I know some of my blogging buds saw snow over the Memorial Day weekend, but still we are heading toward some definition of summer, and that means a mass influx of bugs, especially if you're in an area that had a particularly wet winter and spring without much frost. Yes, it's flea/tick/mosquito/fly season  for sure!
After a frantic phone call from a friend on Friday night, who came home from work to find her horse warm and weak on the back end (my first thought is West Nile, the vet she finally found to come out over the holiday thinks so too, blood work not back yet), I made a point to give my horses their West Nile Vaccines.
While following recommended vaccine practice is a good thing, it is a bad idea to depend on vaccines alone for disease prevention. Prevention should always be proactive.
For horses, a fly mask is a necessity in some areas. Some people use fly sheets. It depends on your area and preference, but some effort must be made to give them some relief from bugs, whether it be a fan, sheet, or fly sprays. Manure should be removed and managed to keep the fly breeding down.
Standing pools of water are mosquito breeding grounds. Some horse owners with very large ponds or stock tanks that can't be drained and scrubbed get those mosquito larvae eating fish to take care of the problem. I let my horses drink down the water in their barrels and once a week they are dumped and scrubbed out then refilled. I do the same with the dog's water buckets. If you have water barrels that can't be dumped, or standing pools of water on your property, add some vinegar or a small amount of cooking oil to it. The mosquitoes can't breed in it, and it won't hurt if a pet drinks from it.
Every summer season we see at least one dog or cat that is so flea infested it is anemic from the bloodsucking critters. It is especially important during the season to check them on a regular basis. If you find them on one, it's important to treat every pet you have, and also the premises.  Spray the yard with a spray designed for fleas and follow the directions. Treating the house should include not only the pet's bedding, but everything carpeted and upholstery as well. Vacuum the treated areas daily for a week. Important: After an indoor flea treatment, you must replace the vacuum bag, or in the case of a bagless vacuum, dump the cup immediately. You're sucking up flea eggs, which can hatch in the bag or cup, and they will be redeposited through the exhaust if you don't get rid of them the first time. Then you'll have to do it all over.
I'm not going to recommend certain products, other than to recommend staying far far away from Hartz.  It is very important to read labels and dose correctly when choosing products. Keeping the insect population as far away as possible from our pets is part of our responsibility as pet owners. I'm hoping your summer is fun and bug free!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture....

Today was a bizarre day. It was quite dead at work so I took advantage of having extra help to clean all the crap off the top of the kennels. Boss Man was for once, not breathing down my neck, so I was able to toss some 20 year old plus stuff that he'll never miss. One of those things on my "to do" list but since the damned phone rings every time I'm up on the ladder, it was nice to get this done quickly.
There was a ton of traffic and cops everywhere on my drive home. Despite that, I got nearly taken out by inattentive drivers a couple of times. It was worse than full moon fever out there.
I had an appointment with my farrier and I specifically told him "after 2" and he assured me he'd be there "well after that". So I'm looking forward to eating lunch, watching the Preakness, and winding down before his visit. I drive up at 1:45 to see his truck in my driveway. Like most men he doesn't listen, but at least he shows up on the day he says he will. The kid's truck is in his way, the dogs are outside, so I toss my untouched lunch in the house, move her truck, and call the dogs in. Only 2 show up. Shit. My ancient heeler mix, who has Cushings and I'm keeping a close eye on is missing. She finally creaks out and I get them all in the house.
I've been looking forward to a summer of riding. But Princess Pout, my principal riding horse, managed to get a vertical crack in his hoof that ended up traveling up to the coronet band. He's been on 2 weeks stall rest since it happened.
So farrier goes to work on Princess Pout's feet, and finishes by filling in the crack. It's still going to be a PITA to have grow out, but the good news is it's just a fluke, nothing vital is affected. Bad news is that the only exercise he can have can't be above a walk. For quite awhile.
So it looks like my summer is going to be relegated to handwalking Princess Pout and working on Shitweasel's training. Shitweasel is a colt that is ostensibly supposed to belong to my hubby but I've been the chief manure mover and wrangler with this one too.
The farrier tells me that for the first time in over 20 years, today two horses kicked him square in the butt and knocked him over. Even the animals are off kilter today. I'm looking forward to just getting back to the normal insanity that is life.
***Note to horse owners: Ever consider how much time you spend talking to the farrier's butt while holding your horse for him? Of all the people I know my farriers are the only ones who I'd recognize walking away from me rather than face on. I once saw a guy who I thought might have been a former apprentice of my farrier, but since asking him to turn around and bend over would have been too weird, I'll never know if it was him or not.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Sayin'

For every two of these you give to the H.S.U.S. :

This is how much actually goes to help the animals:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Closing Time....

I've mentioned before that we have shot clinics every Saturday. We are only open half days on Saturday, and unlike most offices that do vaccine clinics we also see medical patients. Shot clinics are on a walk in basis, first come first served and are basically in and out. Go in, vet gives the shot, pay, get paperwork and leave. Unlike some practices, the vet at our office gives all the vaccines. It's insanely busy with lines going outside. Medicals in the middle, which take up a great deal of time, tend to bottleneck the line. So I try to get our medical patients booked in the hour before the shot clinic insanity. I have no problem with true emergencies and am more than willing to stay beyond closing to help out when they truly happen. Here's a few simple Saturday rules:

Shot clinic has been every Saturday during these times for years. It's posted in the newspaper, on your pet's shot records that we give you, and on the postcard we send you reminding you that your pet's shots are due.
If you come in when we open or before the designated time, you will have to either wait or pay full price.
If you show up when the vet is already in his car ready to head home, no discount.

No, I can't honor shot clinic prices during the week. Yes, I know your life is busy, you just tied me up for 15 minutes on the phone telling me about it. No, I won't make an exception for you. You're not that special, and since you're annoying me, I don't like you anyway.

Yes, you may have to wait at shot clinic. No, I don't know how long it will be. If you'd gotten in line a few hours ago you'd have spent less time here than you have on the 16 phone calls asking me how long the wait is.

If your pet is sick, get your ass in here as early as possible. It's not fun to wait with a sick pet. Don't wait until 5 minutes before we close to bring in an animal  that's been sick for 3 weeks. We're already working past our posted hours now, so stop bitching about what we charge you to treat the pet you've turned into a skeleton with your neglect.

Your lack of planning is not my emergency.

I am locking the doors at closing time and your ass had best be on the other side of them.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dancing Is Supposed To Be Fun!

I had a rare Saturday off and got to play with my horses in the morning for a change. They were  finishing breakfast (listening to horses munching hay is a peaceful escape for me.) My reverie was interrupted by a BOOM BOOM BOOM, there was an electrical charge in the air, and it felt like the ground was shaking. Not a thunderstorm, just the A hole who lives behind me "training" a horse to "dance".
I've spent the last more-years-than-I-like-to-admit sporadically learning to ride dressage. I've worked hard at it. Being a realist, I'll never be a famous name, will never win a USDF medal, will probably never do more than enter a local backyard show. I'm content to be an adequate rider. To not embarass the talent I'm riding. To dance with my horse. Working as a team with my dance partner, the flow of energy as such as it's hard to discern where one ends and the other begins is like crack. When it's achieved for a whole ride or just a few strides, it's better than sex, as awesome as chocolate.
Just a disclaimer that I am not targeting a particular race or culture. I've seen people of all races do good and bad things with horses. The "dancing  horse" fad seems to be predominant in the Hispanic culture. Why anyone who thinks this looks good is beyond me, the horses are moving like they are crippled and in pain. Most have soundness issues at very young ages, and instead of being rehabbed, they are dumped at an auction and a new horse started.
If the "training" methods weren't cruel and controversial, why is it necessary to do it under cover? There used to be a chain link fence separating our properties, this neighbor attached aluminum panels to the chain link so nobody can see in. I've seen several horse properties "secluded" in this fashion, so I know exactly what is going on. So not only does my backyard look like Little Tijuana with that tacky ass aluminum on the fence, it sounds like it too, when the "trainer" is there. It does, however, make a satisfying loud sound when I throw something against it, scaring the shit out of the people and causing them to vacate the place in seconds. 
For those who think I'm talking out of my butt, I have owned two horses who were victims of this kind of training. Rehab is tough, as they are shell shocked and lack confidence. One, long gone to the Rainbow Bridge, would still tremble whenever she heard anyone speak Spanish. The one I'm working with now is young, so hopefully the physical and mental damage that's been done to him can become a distant bad memory, but it won't happen in a hurry.
I'm no Kool Ade drinking carrot stick waver. I expect my horses to behave when I'm around. They get to do whatever they want for 23 hours a day, they can do what I ask for an hour. I'm not a great trainer, and there's a lot my horses have to forgive about my riding skills. But they greet me at the gate and eagerly put their head in the halter, happy to go out. They enjoy their workouts and are sound into ripe old age. I have yet to see one "dancing horse" that is.
Here's the video, in case you missed it last time:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Boss Man was out of the country last week, so we had several different vets who came in and took over. Normally this is a nice break. It's nice to watch how others do things, and pick their brains, get their opinions. However, 2 of these vets work at corporate veterinary clinics. The advantage to corporate vet clinics is that the corporation is footing all the costs. The equipment and supplies are all state of the art and since the corporation is doing the accounting, the vet just does vet work. Everything is there, including plenty of help, and the vet doesn't have to do anything but be a vet.
The downside of this is of course, price. Which gets passed on to the client. The staff has a quota to meet, they must bring in more revenue than the cost of their salaries. Which means everyone there is upselling. The vets and staff must do everything according to corporate rules, which means nobody is actually permitted to use their brains and think outside of the box.
As I've mentioned before, where I work is ghetto. We're in an area that is the hardest hit by the recession. Cost is carefully monitored, and we don't waste things. We're one step above being a charity hospital, in fact, we do work with charities that help pay for some of our patient's needs. Many times we're treating animals not to the ideal standard, but by what standard the owner can afford to pay.
I've had an intense dislike of corporate veterinary offices long before I worked in the industry. I won't go into the reasons why, since they know why they suck, suffice to say I won't be taking one of my pets to one.
 So I get two of these assclowns. To prove that God has a sense of humor, one of my coworkers is also out of town so I'm working double shifts with them. I hate whiners, and I had a pair of them. "I can't do a good job in these conditions, with this equipment. I can't believe you work this way. We charge 5 times the price for this at my place, the client better know what a good deal she's getting having me do this for her for this price."
One thing I hate worse than whining is a sense of entitlement. And they had plenty of that. I actually had to call clients and reschedule surgeries, since they refused.
So I finally get through the week to Saturday. Shot clinic day. Another new vet. It looks to be busy, with vaccines and plenty of medicals as well, which are always rough on a Saturday. A man approaches the door. He's got a haircut that looks like something I'd do with a bowl and the surgical clippers. Thick glasses. Polyester pants that don't quite go to the top of his bright white loafers. If Revenge Of The Nerds was being remade in his country, he'd get the lead. He looks lost, and I'm hoping like hell I can understand his English.
"Hi, I'm Doctor_____.  I'm a relief vet at several different private practices. Just show me where things are, tell me what your policies are, and I'll adjust, I'm used to it."
I was ready to propose.
Naturally, the first client he had to deal with was one of the worst. This woman would actually have to evolve a few levels to get an assclown label. I felt like I was throwing this poor guy under the bus, but he handled it beautifully. As crazy busy as we were, it was one of the best Saturdays I worked in a long time. But I'm glad that week is over.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1

Happy Beltane to those who celebrate. And for those who don't I'm sure you're enjoying Spring finally getting here.
Today, May 1, is also National Holocaust Remembrance Day. Those who survived the holocaust are getting older and as times goes by we are having less opportunity to hear eyewitness accounts of those who were there. I have been honored to be able to hear firsthand stories of what it was like to live in an occupied country during that time, to have to hide, to starve, to make horrible choices because there wasn't freedom of choice. I have made sure my own kids listened to these stories as well, hopefully instilling in them what prejudice and intolerance can cause.
Those of us fortunate to have been born in a free country are inclined to think that the holocaust was long ago and far away and will never happen again. But it is happening. Hate crimes are more common. Bullying, torturing and tormenting another human being because they are "different" is firsthand evidence that we have not evolved as a human race. That generations later we are still producing subhumans who have the same genocidal mentality of those who committed atrocities to a whole generation of people whose only crime was that they were deemed "different."
We must never forget what happened, and we must stop what is happening now.
I had a long, exhausting event filled week, and I had a post queued up with my usual snarkfest.  As I remember the significance of today's date, what I have to bitch about is microscopic in the grand scheme of things. For those who have been teased, bullied, tortured, tormented (and worse) because of being different, this is your day. To those who survived and those who did not, you are all heroes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Random Musings

This morning , I broke the crock pot. I was washing it and it slipped and a piece broke off when it hit the sink. I had the same thing happen with a light globe from the ceiling fan when I was cleaning it. Cleaning things is hazardous, and I should give it up.

Seeing a semi truck's grille when it turns into my lane when I'm driving a small car is scary. Seeing the words "student driver" on a banner across the grille may necessitate a change of underwear.

What the hell did the dog eat and why must he fart in the room I'm in?

Why must 2 of the most PITA clients come on the same day? And who did I piss off that made them show up at the same time?

It's bug season, and also flea and tick season. Be Ready.

I have to work double shifts and 6 days next week and I'm already getting cranky about it.

Happy Good Friday! Happy Earth Day! Happy Easter (my favorite holiday)!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spa Therapy on Etsy- A Review

My skin is crankier than I am. Having battled acne in puberty and beyond, I'm now in that middle aged state of flux with occasional acne, wrinkling and sun damage. Finding that perfect balance between being an oil slick and a dry desert is a constant work in progress. Especially when the weather is being fickle.
One ingredient I've found that works well for me are moisturizers containing either pumpkin or pumpkin seed oil. I had found an awesome indie seller who made some of the best facial stuff containing pumpkin, along with some of the best soaps I've ever used. Unfortunately, she decided to close her shop, and I've been looking for replacements for my ever dwindling supply. I tried Mychelle's pumpkin products, and while I like them, they're pretty pricey, and I prefer to buy handcrafted.
I found Spa Therapy's Etsy shop doing a google search for moisturizers with pumpkin. The first thing that popped up was the Daily Facial Cream with pumpkin seed oil in the 2.4 oz size for $11.80, so I decided to check it out. Spa Therapy has been on Etsy since 2007 and with over 7,000 positive feedbacks, I decided to try it.
The site is typical for Etsy, with pictures of all the items and clear descriptions, along with the ingredients. Besides facial care, there are lip balms, body scrubs, perfume oils, body lotions and mists. bath and shaving soaps, and vegan deodorant. Since I wanted to sample, I ordered a facial travel pack (which isn't listed as I write this) and a full sized bar of  shaving soap in Sweet Blueberry.
Ordering was as usual with Etsy. I received an order confirmation and a shipping notice within the turnaround time stated. There was a handwritten thank you on the invoice, and a sample of body lotion in pink cupcake. Everything was well packed and none of the jars were leaking.
The travel pack was a small plastic bag with a button closure. It contained .5 ounce plastic jars of Velvet Face Daily Facial Cream, Night Repair Overnight Recovery Cream, Tea Tree and Papaya Clarifying facial scrub, and a small bar of  Patchouli Mint French Green Clay Face Soap. All you need with this package is some eye makeup remover, and you're good to go for facial skin care when you travel.
Patchouli Mint Face Soap-I like this. It takes off my face makeup and gets my face clean without it feeling stripped. Wonderful scent and not overpowering.
Tea Tree and Papaya Clarifying facial scrub-this stuff is WOW in a jar. If you've ever used any kind of papaya mask and marveled at it's drawing properties, you're going to love this. I put some on before I step in the shower in the morning and let it sit before I scrub. My face feels really clean and fresh and soft. Although it's a scrub, there's nothing harsh about it.
Velvet Face Daily Facial Cream- I'm in love. I like that it absorbs and moisturizes without feeling greasy, and my skin likes it. No obvious scent, which I like.
Night Repair-Nice, but not for me. It would be great for people with much drier skin than mine. I'm sure I'll be reaching for it when I've been outside in windy weather and my skin is parched.
Sweet Blueberry shaving soap-Those of you who have never used a good shaving soap have never experienced the joys of having the towel slide right off your legs after shaving. I've been looking for a good one since my usual source dried up, and I'm happy to say I've found it. Very creamy lathering and great razor slip, plus so moisturizing I don't have to apply lotion after I shave. Nicely scented (no fake flavoring scent here) but the scent is light enough not to clash with other scents.
The excellent customer service, good products at reasonable prices make Spa Therapy a shop I recommend. I've already made another order.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

Today, I get a call from a woman who asks me to look up her file and check records. This is a pretty routine call. I check her file and we haven't seen any of her pets for a couple of years.  Then she proceeds to get really rude and nasty and informs me that her dog that we neutered 2 years ago just fathered puppies. According to her, he was kenneled with her intact female and she's in the process of giving birth. And we're responsible for the costs, plus the female is having birthing complications.
So I put her on hold and go get Boss Man. He says "tell her to kiss my ass." Which I would like to do, but we obviously have to tell her something. Like an arrogant zit on a special occasion, she's not going away any time soon. So I tell her to bring the male dog in for us to check him.
For the uninitiated, when we neuter a cat or dog we take the testes, which are the sperm machines. It's not like a man getting a vasectomy, there is no reversal, no "growing back." It is possible (but highly unlikely) for a neutered male to have live sperm right after neutering if there are some sperm in the gland after the testes are removed but 2 + years later? NOT. Also this woman also owns an intact male dog, but according to her, it would be "impossible" for that to happen, since her kennel can't be gotten into, the female is a small breed, and the intact male is over 100 lbs. I've got news for her.  A female in heat is the doggie version of a new phone number on a bathroom wall, and all the intact males within miles will travel to get some of that. I've seen breeding happen between the very large and very small, through fences, you name it, when nature calls they answer.
So she brings the male dog in, Boss Man motions her into an exam room and closes the door.  Someone else walks in and I'm busy with them but I can hear the snarky accusing tone she takes with Boss Man. I hear him give her a name and number and tell her "This is a specialist. Take him, the female and the puppies and get DNA testing. If that dog is the father, I'll pay all the bills myself." A few minutes later I hear whining and sobbing.
She leaves and Boss Man tells me that she's going through hard times and all of this is a ruse because she can't afford a possible C section for the female dog. He asked her why she just couldn't tell him the truth and ask for help, and he'd do what he could to work with her. So she brings back the female and puppies. Nothing happens after a couple of shots, so we ended up doing surgery. There were no more puppies.
Of course, she's hanging out in the office for all of this. I do my best to avoid her, since I despise liars. We have her hold the female as we are putting her under anesthesia, and she mentions she used to work in a vet's office. So she's the worst tech to ever disgrace a vet's office, AND she's an ignorant liar. The puppies are huge, there is no way the neutered male could be the father.
I wish Mercury would get out of retrograde or whatever phenomena is causing people to behave this way. My last nerve is gone.
The obvious moral to the story: if you don't want puppies, spay your females!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I mentioned awhile back that I'd do a post on other ways to help animal rescues if you can't spare money to donate-and with prices these days, a bad economy, and others needing help, who can? Anyway, as you spring clean, here's some ideas for items a rescue may be able to use. Be sure and check with the rescue first.

The most obvious-pet items, such as beds, collars, toys, leashes, food dishes. If you have leftover food that a picky pet has refused, pass it on instead of tossing. Leftover medications may also be appreciated.
Stationary/office items-printer paper, printer ink, pens, pencils, postage stamps, file folders, tape.
Old newspapers-great for lining cages or cat litter boxes. Storage boxes/bins/cabinets are always put to good use. Old cake pans can be put to use as a temporary litter box. Reptile and  some of the small critter rescues can put old aquariums and plastic boxes to good use.
Sheets and blankets and old towels are always appreciated. Some places are willing to take old t shirts since they can be used as part of bedding or cut up for bandaging.

I hope this small list helps when you start your spring cleaning, or as we call it, decrapification. A small thing you were going to toss may make a big difference to a rescue animal.  Have fun!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Assclownery Becomes An Art Form....

Unlike their human colleagues, veterinarians expect to be paid at the time services are rendered. They can (and will) refuse to treat if they aren't going to be paid for it. Payment plans are a rarity, and if they do happen, it's an exception made for a long time client.
I'm sure we've all been there when we have a sick pet or other urgency that needs immediate attention when we have no money. So we're scrambling to borrow, or max out a credit card, or neglect a couple of bills to take care of it.
There's a great deal of variation in the cost of vet care. In past posts I've gone over some of the reasons, so no need to reiterate them. The majority of the phone calls I get are people calling for price quotes. Things like vaccinations, and spays/neuters are no problem, and I can even "ball park" price things like ear problems and dentals, and c sections. On other issues, I always encourage the caller to come in for an exam and give the exam price, and tell them Boss Man will provide an estimate.
We have a good number of people who are established clients at another vet but come in for their pet's spay/neuter, or those who use us for all vet work but get their vaccines done at the local shelter. We've done exams for estimates and had the client go elsewhere, and we've done second opinions and had the client use us. We're seeing this much more in this economy, and it's all part of doing business. I do this with my horses: for lameness, I call Dr. X, who's a wonderful "leg man"-he can see where the problem is practically without looking. But he can't float teeth worth a crap, so for that and other things I use Dr. Y. It's nice to be an established client with two excellent doctors who know both me and my horses when I have an emergency (which usually happens after business hours).
What I can't do in my job is diagnose a problem over the phone. I'm not a vet (and a vet won't do this), nor am I a psychic (if I was, wouldn't I have seen my future as a middle aged woman picking up shit for a living and gotten a better career?). Still, the assclowns will try.
Today I get a call from a very demanding woman. Demanding is a bad thing to do with me, as my rebellious nature instinctively means I will do the opposite, or at the very least make things very difficult. This woman was in another vet's office, and got a quote for a "sore on my dog's back" and wanted me to do a price competitive quote over the phone. Despite me telling her several times we couldn't do something like that she was very persistent.
"Ma'am, from what you're saying, it sounds like a tumor removal, what is the diagnosis for your dog?"
" I told you what is wrong with him, he has a sore on his back!"
And then she proceeded to read me the itemized list that the vet had given her. I repeated that we couldn't quote something like that over the phone, and offered to give her an immediate appointment for a second opinion and told her the exam price.
I don't know if she hung up on me or the phone spontaneously combusted in her hand she was so mad.
I do understand sticker shock, especially when you think it's a simple fix and it isn't. If it's not an immediate emergency, you do have the time to get a second opinion or a price quote. Many people are afraid of having to pay for some things twice, but things like blood test results, x-rays and records can be faxed over to the next vet. It's done all the time.
I've seen some interesting stunts in this business, but this was a new one. I'm thinking she was trying to get me to quote as a negotiating tool at the vet's office she was at. This was beyond tacky, it's a new level of ass clownery.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Obviously I Overestimated..

..the average IQ of some of the pet owners that come into our office. Here's the scenario:
Owner A buys a yellow Lab puppy as a family pet and brings it to our office for the first set of shots. When the novelty wears off and the kids start ignoring the dog (big surprise there) she gives the dog to owner B. Since I'm not part of the transaction, I don't know the specific details of what information about the dog A gave to B.
Owner B brings the dog in to be neutered, and tells us that dog once belonged to A. I look up A's records, note that the dog still needs more vaccines, which I inform B about. Dog is neutered, vaccinated and it's all good.
10 months later Owner B calls inquiring about whether the dog needs a new rabies shot. The dog had a rabies shot when it belonged to A, and it's now several months expired. B is upset that we didn't send her a reminder card. Of course this lengthy phone call comes in when I'm by myself, trying to clean kennels.
I explain to the newest member of the Get A Clue Club that the reminder cards are made when the pet is vaccinated, then they are stored and sent out when it's time to revaccinate. Obviously, the reminder card went to owner A who didn't bother to tell B about it. Owner B spends at least 5 minutes on the phone berating me about the oversight.
Really?! Over a rabies shot?! Had B been an honest person and actually licensed the dog like the law says, the county would have let her know the dog needed another rabies shot. And with all the expensive electronic media out there that people have to remind them of important events she's going postal with me over a 15 cent postcard?!
The friendly people at Starbucks tell me this happens all the time. I'd last maybe 15 minutes there.
Maybe it was Berate Someone Who Can't Tell You Where to Shove It day. Or she was upset over something else and I got the brunt of it. I would have loved to tell her how ignorant she was, but she wasn't worth wasting my breath on.
 With everything that's happening in the world right now, I wish my life were going so smoothly that not getting a postcard was the biggest problem I have.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Full Moon Fever...

Or is it a whole new graduating class of ass clown school eager to get The Cranky Catwrangler Ass Clown of the year on their resume?
First client in is a woman with a cat spay. She had arranged with a charity to help her with the cost of the spay, then was upset that the donation was so little. In this economy, there is only one charity left that helps with the cost of spay/neuter surgeries that can be done at a vet's office, as opposed to having it done at the local animal shelter. Funds are tight, and they handle several hundred requests daily. I pointed out to her that the charity had given her 4 times the amount they usually give for cat spays.
Second was a guy who had gotten a set of vaccines for his puppy, and was back for the second round. According to him, we had told him that this round of shots were paid for, they were not, and we told him so. He tried to argue, but we weren't budging on that one.
Third was a kid with a dog in for a spay that was over an hour late. He brought a check from his mom for $100 less than the cost of the surgery, and claimed he was quoted the lesser price. He left with his dog without getting the surgery.
I also had several people call for price quotes then complain about the prices. We are not vendors at a stall in a Tijuana market, we're a business and we don't work for free.
Seriously, WTF is wrong with people? Hubby had a guy come in last week. His business does not accept paper checks, and there are signs all over stating that fact. He pointed that out to the guy who insisted on writing the check. The guy ripped the sign down and threw it in the trash. Hubby threw the guy and his check off the property.
Now to top off my day. We had a client who came in on an appointment with a cat. The cat had ripped through the cardboard carrier, so she borrowed a leash (which is a rope with a loop) to bring the cat in from the car. The cat got away from her and ran off. I went out to try to help her and the cat ran across the busy street and climbed a tree in the median strip.
I think I mentioned that Animal Control in the town I work in, plus the surrounding cities, is contracted out to the Humane Society. Long ago, in another time, they did a wonderful job. Now they're under the control of some megalomaniac who wants to play Animal Cop and have his own show on Animal Planet. They're happy to hand out tickets and harass anyone they want to, but actual service to the taxpayers who pay their salary is non existent. But since they are in charge, I called them about the cat in the tree.
I spoke to some snarky bitch who snarled that they don't get animals out of trees. I told her the can could be caught by a catch pole. They never showed up. I called the Fire Department, who also refused to come. So under Boss Man's direction (and for once it was a good one), I called the local newspaper and explained the situation: a disabled woman whose cat escaped was up a tree in the median of a busy street, and none of the "public service" entities would help her. And I should  mention that the reason she was bringing the cat to the vet was because the cat had a scrape on her back and the Humane Society had given her a warning to have the cat seen by a vet or they would take her away.
The local police came and  hopefully they can help her out. I loaned her a large cat carrier and some canned cat food, hopefully to entice the cat down to safety. As it does every Ostara here, it was pouring rain when I left work.
Yes, it was a Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Shout Out To Some Deserving People

Combining my love of the colorful and my affinity for unusual looking animals, I have discovered the joy of being owned by a Catahoula Leopard Dog. I have totally fallen in love with the breed. (The dog in the picture is not my dog.)
Catahoulas are not for everyone, they are energetic (but not the high energy of a Lab or German Shorthair), assertive (as opposed to agressive), need a dominant human, and at least an hour's worth of exercise daily. If you're looking for a running companion, have a large space for a dog to run, and want an intelligent constant companion, consider the Catahoula.
I got mine as a puppy out of the local county kill shelter, and since they are a rarity in these parts,  I hit the internet to find out more. And discovered  Catahoula Rescue Inc., which is a non profit organization dedicated to rescuing this wonderful breed. The tireless volunteers find Catahoulas and Catahoula mixes in kill shelters and work on getting them out and transported to either foster or forever homes. Volunteers are always needed, either to foster or transport them to their new homes. I realize that with the high cost of gas that offering to transport may be a strain on someone otherwise willing, but if you are planning  to travel by car somewhere, or you drive for a living, consider having a colorful passenger. Check their message boards for the dogs who need transport if you're interested in helping them out.
Through the Catahoula rescue I also discovered another wonderful organization called  Pilots N Paws These are pilots who transport rescued pets who need rides to their new home. They are all volunteers, and these wonderful men and women have made a difference to countless pets who need a second chance at a better life.
Both of these organizations are worth checking out.

Monday's Dogs Facebook Page

Pilots N Paws Facebook Page

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why I Hate Hill's Pet Nutrition

Years ago, the first vet's office I worked in fed Hill's Science or Prescription Diet to the animals in our care. I hated having pets boarded at our place, because I'd walk in and the whole office smelled like someone blew up an overfilled port a potty. Not that poop smells good, but this was worse than usual. And there was so much of it that the first order of the day was giving the boarding animals a bath before putting them back in a clean cage.
Years later, and thankfully the office I'm at doesn't feed Science Diet. We do, however, handle Prescription Diet, which are foods formulated for specific medical conditions that are purchased through vets. We also carry other brands, but my big bitch today is about Hill's.
Corn. I have always avoided pet food with corn, wheat and soy because they are allergens, and especially cheap fillers. Corn is the cheapest filler of all (not so much any more with the biodiesel demand) and the first ingredient listed in any cheap generic dog food. There are plenty of arguments about whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores (read more here) but the truth is, dogs do need a meat based diet. To paraphrase Hill's justification of corn being the first ingredient in their food "there is no scientific proof that corn is an allergen, cooked corn is highly digestible and a source of nutrients." Which I call BullShit. How many dogs and cats do you find in corn fields, shucking cobs of corn and munching on the kernels? They go into corn fields for 2 reasons: to kill and eat something that is eating corn, or to take a dump. As for the argument that "they are getting vegetables and grains from eating the stomach contents of their prey", it's not the first frickin' ingredient or the main source of their diet.
Price. If people want to feed their pets food with corn as the main ingredient, that's their choice. But they usually do it because it's less expensive. Most of Hill's products are priced the same as all meat grain free foods. Why feed Ol' Roy quality at Orijen prices? If I'm going to spend over $40 or $50 for a bag of dry food, it sure as hell better not contain any corn. Corn based foods make more poop. Which means one dog can make a small space into a mine field in the course of a day. That's some pricey poop to be picking up. Hill's has the contract to provide the food for several county animal shelters. When the taxpayer dollars are being spent on food for animals, the county is going to contract with whoever gives them the cheapest price, NOT the highest quality. I've been in some shelters before the kennels are cleaned and the smell is enough to make you gag. That's from cheap food.

Quality Control. No matter how careful, the wrong stuff can get into bags or cans of food, no matter who it's intended for. I've noticed out of what we sell, it's more than likely Hill's than any other product. Dry food with oil in the bags, burst cans. We promptly replace it or refund the pet owner, which brings me to

Customer Service. Hill's customer service sucks. Awhile back in our Hill's order we had several cases of canned food. These are like the short round cat food cans (not like the taller dog food cans) which are very flimsy and easily punctured. They are packed in counts of 24 on cardboard and wrapped in heavy plastic.  Several of the cases had cans that were dented or burst open, and one or two cases were draining green liquid. There was a distinct rotting meat smell. We promptly called Hill's Customer Service line. After being on hold for over 15 minutes, we were told to break open the cases and count how many cans in each case were burst, for which they would give us credit for the bad cans.
WTF? Since when is Hill's blatant lack of quality control in my job description?! They sell this stuff by the case to us, not the individual can.  There is no way in hell I'm going to split up a case of cans where some are open and oozing and sell what appears to be in my novice eyes an okay can and risk the health of a client's pet. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen, and there is no way I'd knowingly do something to risk a pet's health.

Royal Canin and Purina also sell prescription diet foods, in which corn is also a main ingredient.Which I'm obviously not crazy about. But, their quality control is exemplary. If there is a problem with a food, all bags in that lot are picked up at their expense, and replaced. They give immediate credit for expired or the rare problem food and don't expect us to do their jobs for them. There is plenty of room in the prescription diet industry to make quality food, and I'm hoping some other company will step up to the plate. I'm sure we're not the only office who would love to stop having to use Hill's.

Note: Whatever you're using to feed your pet, if it works and you're happy with it, great. I'm not going to get into a debate about feeding, since I'm not a qualified nutritionist and as always, your mileage may vary. I do have a ton of opinions (no kidding) and I think that we need to know what we're buying. I'm not going to buy a bag of crap for the price of a bag of choice steak, and I don't think you should do so either. So here's a great website to educate yourself about dog food ingredients so your choices are more informed: Dog Food Advisor

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shit Happens

I pick up shit for a living. It's part of my job description. I've been peed on, shit on, puked on and bled on. I clean these up, and I also dispose of tumors, organs, and dead animals. So much for the glamor of the animal care industry. People who work with animals accept this as a fact of life, and it's not for the squeamish. Much like the Pigpen character in Peanuts, if there's a speck of dirt (or worse) within a 50 mile radius the chances are good that it will end up on me, in spite of me starting every day with a shower. And when I leave work, I get to go home and pick up after my own pets, off the clock.
I wore a dress, heels and hose to my interview for my first job in this industry. My future boss doubted that I knew what I was in for because "you're dressed awfully fancy for a job where you get shit under your fingernails." Still, I'd rather do this than put up with what food servers put up with. I've been on that side of the table.
A trip to the vet's office is stressful to even the most well trained pet. A frightened or furious cat will let loose of its bladder and bowels as a defense, and a nervous or sick dog will pee or poop, or worse, let loose it's anal glands. Hospitalized dogs with parvo leave an ocean of vomit and diarrhea. If I continue to work in this industry, I hope my next job is kennel attendant or surgical assistant. I'd rather deal with what comes out of an animal than with the fucktards who own them.
 It's inevitable that at least one animal per day in nervous anticipation will either pee or poop in the waiting room. We don't expect the public to have to sit there with it. Just let us know it's there, and we'll take care of it, we have the technology. Doesn't matter which one did it.
There's someone who gets mad at me because their pet pooped in my office. One woman who brought her dog in to be neutered wasn't watching her dog and he took a dump all over the waiting room floor. Two weeks later when she brought him back for suture removal he did the same thing. She whirled around on me and snarled "It must be you guys, he never does this in my other vet's office."  It was worth cleaning up the mess knowing the bitch wouldn't be back.
A few weeks ago we had a standing room only waiting room. Thankfully there were two of us at the desk, but still we were slammed. Some dog took a dump in the doorway, a person stepped in it on the way out, and the 15 or so people in the waiting room never said a word. My coworker discovered it and went to work cleaning up, leaving me to handle the front and bottlenecking the whole process. There was some satisfaction in knowing that whoever stepped in it got in their car with shit on their shoe, and we didn't have to clean it.
Pet owners, I have news for you: animals shit, and it needs to be cleaned up. If it happens in the vet's office, let us know it's there. You don't have to claim it or apologize (although it's nice), we'll take care of it. Deal with it. Shit Happens.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"She Don't Know Nothin' "

Yesterday I got a call from someone who explained to me that "time is tight" and her dog was in pain and needed to be seen right away. Normally this isn't a problem, but Boss Man had just left and wasn't to be back until several hours later, and I offered her an appointment then. That wouldn't work, so she got down to the real reason for the phone call (free advice) and asked what over the counter drug she could give the dog, and oh yes, it was having trouble breathing. I told her I was not "familiar" with what was safe that was non prescription. She hung up on me.
Naturally the first reaction is to say she should make the time to get her dog seen ASAP. I do know what it's like to have a busy day planned down to the wire and be running behind when my child or my pet starts puking. It's just that one more thing that throws everything into a tizzy. So I'll be generous of thought and try to be understanding.
The internet brings plenty of advice, both good and bad. Some is from professionals in the industry (who always put in the disclaimer to see your medical/veterinary professional) and some are lay people. It's up to the asker of such advice to use their brain and a smidgen of common sense when presented with the information.
There are laws to protect the consumer, client, and patient, that are there for a good reason. Unfortunately these laws are so abused and people are so litigious the professional has to be very careful about what they say. The person who answers the phone at the doctor's or vet's office is NOT a medical professional. The only advice I can give is what the Boss Man relays to me, which he will only do if he's seen the patient. If we haven't seen the animal, I tell the owner to get them to a vet.  Doing so otherwise is considered Practicing Medicine Without a License, which can cause me to lose my job, or even my boss to lose his license. And I have yet to find anyone worth risking it over.
I also have to watch what I say with my opinions, of which I have many, when I'm at work, since even voicing them can come back to bite me in the ass. So many people want something that is free so caution is the order of the day. I have recommended certain tests or products under the supervision of Boss Man. But I'm sure as hell not going to give advice to some stranger wanting to medicate a dog who is obviously not well, since the wrong thing could have the worst consequences.
The person answering the phone may not be as stupid as you think, she just may be doing the smart thing: Cover Your Ass.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Questions Get Harder.......

And the ass clowns are out in record numbers.
I've mentioned before that our office is in the dark ages and we don't have a computer. When someone brings a pet in, they give us their name, we look it up in our Rolodex file, which has their name, address and a file number. The file number contains the information we have on the pets that owner has brought in to be seen. Seems simple, doesn't it?
Some vet's offices keep files under the pets first name and the owner's last name. We don't for several reasons:
1. We'd have 5 times the files we have now.
2. Some pets are deceased, and the owner doesn't want the file named for a dead pet. Plus, pets are rehomed and their names can be changed.
3. Pets can't be financially responsible for themselves.
4. Pet's can't understand instructions we give for them. I can't call one on the phone and say "Hey, Barkley, got your blood work back and everything looks good. Keep taking your thyroid medicine and exercise. Send your human in when you need more refills. And if you try to bite me again, I'll put you on a strict diet, you little shitweasel."

So, it's less trouble to just put the file under the owner's name. The problem is, some owners can't remember what their name is. Or what name the file was put under when they first came in. This results in a search that may take longer than getting their pet seen and treated. You'd think since their own name is the first thing they learned how to say, spell and write, that they could do this. But it's harder than you think.

"Animal Hospital"
"Yes, I brought a dog in on Monday, first thing in the morning, and it had parvo, and I have some questions"
"Let me get your chart, what is your name?"
"Jane Doe" (looks through rolodex)
"I can't find a chart under that name, could it be under another name?"
"No, it's under MY NAME, JANE DOE. Don't you remember? I was there when you first opened on Monday."
My memory isn't the best, but I was the one who worked Monday morning. And I always remember Parvo cases. And who the first client in the door in the morning is.
"I can't seem to find your file, are you sure you have the right hospital?"
By this time, I go ask Boss Man. He remembers the client, and finds the file.
"Ma'am, do you know who Suzy Doe is?"
"Yes, that's me!"
I check the chart, and it's the late shift worker's handwriting. So not only did this ass clown not know her own name, she doesn't know morning from evening. I let Boss Man deal with her.

Like everything else in the vet world, we seem to get people like this in clusters, and usually when we're insanely busy. I had four or five of these in a few hours, including one kid who couldn't spell his mom's name.
I'm tempted to buy some name stickers, put their names on it, and stick in on their shirt like they did in kindergarten. How the hell these people can find their own way home is beyond me. They can't give me the right name, and the questions get harder.