Friday, September 21, 2012

The best vet in Brooklyn


The cat heard the death rattle of the catbox as I lifted it down and made at once for a place of safety: a nice solid chair beside his pellet bowl, drug bowl and water bowl. The cornerbowls of a cat's life.

He had an appointment with Dr Slade for a check up and to have blood drawn at VERG, on Warren Street - to see how his hyperthyroidism is doing.

I love this veterinary practise, and I have seen a few (seven locally, at last count) in the eventful life of this former bodega cat, not to mention the ones in Cape Town where I would haul all of my parents' cats and dogs for their check ups and emergencies.

I am deeply impressed. In New York I don't know of a better run or more professional set up. The funny thing is, some of it is so simple: every pet owner is greeted in person by a vet who comes into the waiting room to fetch the pet and owner. A vet tech or non specialist vet often sees the animal first. They introduce themselves; they have always been prepped thoroughly and know all about the pet already. They take copious notes and ask detailed questions. When the specialist comes in later you are shaken by the hand in greeting. They are well briefed. And humane. Polite. And that's it. I mean, that's the way all practises should work. But they don't.

And they have decent magazines in their waiting room. I got to read The Economist instead of Fluffie's Weekly. Didn't understand a word but felt good.

And that is the point.

Carrying the 17lb cat there and back? That's another story.


While I sat waiting for the cat, ears pricked for his howling, which never happened, another vet spoke to a Hispanic man whose dog had a torn ear. A vet tech was translating into Spanish as the man's English was not fluent enough to grasp the nuances of the options he was being offered, viz. a) cauterizing the wound and leaving it split, b) gluing the ear which might tear again if the dog shook his head a lot and, c) ka-ching, sedating the dog and suturing the ear, which would cost another $200. The man was very anxious and called his wife. The vet was very patient. The vet tech was asked to explain, again, the price differences and drawbacks. Another vet sat beside a man with a sick cat and listened to this man talk and talk and talk. The minutiae of the cat's weight loss and weight gain, for perhaps ten minutes.

I sat reading The Economist. Estorbo is a regular. I do know now that a lot depends on Angela Merkel and that Michelle Obama's carrot is more effective than Mayor Bloomberg's stick. And that UN Peacekeepers should be paid more (their country gets $1,000 a day for them) and that it costs $3,000 a day to hire professional hostage negotiators for ransom-kidnappings. And that Nigeria's economy is growing at 7%,  a lot faster than South Africa's, and that Kenya is looked upon as more favourable investment than South Africa is.

VERG - the vet for me
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