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.

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