The majority of kitty guardians are very fussy when choosing just the “right” veterinarian. We look for practitioners who are not only experts in their field but are also current about the latest treatment methods, are intelligent, thoughtful, handle our cats with patience and compassion and have an excellent “tableside” manner with clients.
So mull over your inter-personal relationship with your trusted veterinarian for a moment. What kind of client do you imagine that he or she considers you to be? Do you feel you are regarded as an “exceptional” client and not someone who even may be thought of as a “client from hell”?
Since there have been times when I wonder if I am being overly protective of Dr. Hush Puppy and Sir Hubble Pinkerton, our two Oriental senior catizens, and am greatly concerned about their well-being; I worry that on those occasions I think our kitties may be slightly under the weather, that I may be calling my veterinarian too frequently.
In order to put my nagging thoughts to rest, and ease my apprehension, I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask my veterinarian to describe what she considered an “excellent” client to be, and what type of person with whom she would not enjoy having in her practice. This is what I learned.
My veterinarian truly appreciates clients who take excellent care of their kitties, arrive on time for appointments with their cats in carriers, don’t grumble about having to wait if they are late, don’t present unpleasant financial surprises and who discuss payment options in advance if needed.
She favors observant clients who make an appointment when they recognize that their cat is not acting normally. After all, being able to nip something in the bud is far more proactive and helpful to the kitty than the clients who always take a “wait and see” approach, just to save the cost of an office visit. She feels that “trust” goes both ways. Knowing that the client trusts her, and being able to trust her client’s judgment is something that is extremely important to her. It was then that my insecurity and nagging worries faded away.
My veterinarian greatly appreciates the clients who follow her instructions. She respects those who ask questions for clarification. She fully expects that any medications she prescribes will be administered responsibly, and if problems arise they will notify her immediately. After all, it doesn?t take a rocket-scientist to realize that if her client isn’t willing to help their pet, how can she do her part?
However just to be on the safe side, I asked her to tell me about some of her pet peeves concerning her relationship with clients. She said that while asking questions about what her suggested treatment is totally acceptable, what she finds distasteful are clients who act as if they are “know-it alls”; challenging every suggestion she makes. Her goal is entering into a dialogue with clients, so a discussion about her diagnosis and any available treatment options can be openly explored. Clients who may want a “second opinion” are free to do so; this request is not at all intimidating.
She doesn’t enjoy clients who repeatedly ask her to make a diagnosis over the phone. While she may be able to offer some general guidance, there are conditions that can only be diagnosed accurately in person.
By the end of our discussion I now consider that I am an “excellent” client; trusting my veterinarian that if she feels I am being overly anxious about the kitties she will let me know. Being excellent also works both ways. Both our cats and I am truly blessed to have an exceptional veterinarian.
Leave a comment and tell us about your relationship with your veterinarian.
- Note: we are the veterinarian’s client. However we are simply guardians for the true client – the patient – our cat.