My friend Arnie and I have been categorizing veterinary clients (Soursa income) based on behavioral characteristics. However, we cannot take all the credit for these advances in pet-owner taxonomy. New
varieties are discovered every day by keen-eyed practitioners. This month, I'd like to share some of their letters to me.
(ILLUSTRATION: RYAN OSTRANDER)
Dear Dr. Obenski:
I recently noticed a new client type — the pet-care hypocrite. He came to my office accompanied by a skinny, intact, unvaccinated,
flea-bitten mongrel with a maggot-infested hot spot. The condition had been going on for three weeks, and it wasn't getting
any better. "I believe if you're gonna have a pet," he told me, "you oughta take good care of him."
Perhaps we should name this sub-species Attitudus absurdum.
I changed this doctor's original idea for a name. It involved an end product of bovine digestion.
The next letter comes from a receptionist at a veterinary hospital in California. She described an encounter with Whoos-dogzit dystime.
Dear Dr. Obenski:
The other day, Mr. His-name came in to get a tapeworm pill for his dog, Pretty Boy. After a futile search for the file, we
had to ask if the dog had any other name. He began lecturing us on our incompetence and poor record management. Apparently,
the last time his girlfriend, Ms. Her-name, was in, we couldn't locate the file either. Under Ms. Her-name, we found Pretty
Boy's temporary file that we made up when she was here. After we gave him the medicine, Mr. His-name inquired as to when vaccinations
would be due.
"He was here in September," he said.
Unfortunately, our temporary record showed April as the last appointment. We pulled all of the files under the names His-name
"Could it have been your dog, Long-gone, you brought in?"
"No, he's been dead for eight months."
"How about Sir Poopsalot?"
"No, we gave him away."
"Well, how about New-name?"
"That's who we're talking about. That was Pretty Boy before we changed his name."
By comparing the records of Pretty Boy Her-name, New-name His-name and New-name Her-name, we traced the dog's history for
two years. We explained the problem, but all we got for our trouble was another lecture.
"If the doctor wasn't such a tightwad, he'd hire better secretaries to keep track of things."
Lastly, I'd like to share a letter from a colleague in Ohio. He ran into an impulsive time consumer: Domea favor.