I am listening patiently while a man speaks, but he is getting on my nerves. He thinks his inane banter is so amusing that he can't help but laugh at his own cleverness.
The young lady with him can't stop her incessant giggling. Apparently, she has never heard anything so funny.
These two are on a morning radio program. It's their job to make me believe that the two people who have to get up at 3 a.m. just so they can get to the radio station and act like imbeciles for the next four hours are actually the happiest people in the world.
It's all a lie. I know that because the guy, Mr. Dour, is a client of mine. That's good news for every other veterinarian in the world because he is the surliest, meanest, most evil-tempered client that ever lived. (He really should have a pilot's license, he flies off the handle so often.)
Just the presence of his name on the appointment schedule puts a dark cloud over the day. At the beginning, each office call goes very smoothly. All is peaceful for the first 20 minutes or so. That's because he's late. Once he arrives, the trouble starts. (The poop hits the propeller.)
Don't even bother to tell me I'm late," he announces as he charges the front desk. "I might be on time someday if you people had more reasonable office hours. Why don't you stay open later? I always ask for your last appointment and I still can't make it on time. You're lucky I get here at all." (Yippee!)
Over the next several minutes, he will typically say lovely things like, "A stool sample? I don't have time for crap like that. Let the doctor get one while he checks the anal glands." And, of course, "I hope he's ready to see me right away. My appointment was scheduled for 20 minutes ago."
My staff knows enough to let his comments fall on deaf ears. So they take him to an exam room and hand the problem over to me.
"I'd like to know why you people think my dog should be on a leash when he comes in here. He's never on a leash at home. You know, this isn't a museum. It's a vet's office."
I mumble something about leashes and patient safety, but I'm thinking that a choke collar would be a better idea. (Not for the dog, but for his owner.)
Diagnosis always presents a problem. Mr. Dour doesn't have time to get to his appointment when scheduled, but he has plenty of time to Google his dog's symptoms before he arrives. That gives him just enough information to disagree with everything I say. Even if I win the diagnosis argument, I am usually faced with a medication dispute.
His last visit was no exception to these usual occurrences. While he was checking out with the receptionist and simultaneously complaining about our perceived incompetence, my office manager came to me with a request.
"Why can't we just get rid of this guy?" she asked. I didn't have an answer. In fact, I knew that we needed to send him elsewhere. So I gave her the go-ahead to fire him. She accosted him at the front desk.
"Hey, aren't you the guy from the radio, Reilly Dour from 'Reilly and Rachel in the Morning'? I listen to your show every day on the way to work."
He seemed almost pleased to get the recognition, so she continued, pleasantly enough.
"I like your show. Do you take requests?"
He nodded reluctantly.
"Good," she said. "Our whole staff has a request for you. Take your dog and your attitude and go somewhere else!"
We haven't seen him since.
Dr. Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.