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Local vets no help with puppy emergency

Misty Briscoe

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the some recent events that occurred. On Saturday, April 13, 2002, our three-month-old puppy was stung or bitten by something poisonous – although we did not know this at the time – at our residence in southwest Rifle.

When we realized that the puppy was having serious difficulty breathing, we immediately called the vet. Unfortunately our regular vet was on vacation, so we called around to find someone for immediate assistance.

To our dismay, we could not get help from any vet in Rifle, Parachute, New Castle, or Glenwood. If they were not in the office, several of them refused to answer their emergency pages or simply refused to even assist people who were not regular clients, even in an emergency situation.

I recall three answering services that claimed to be emergency vets who blatantly said not to page them unless you were a regular client, even if it was an emergency.

What is the point in being an emergency vet if you only want to choose whom you will help? That is comparable to an emergency room doctor refusing to help someone because they had never assisted him or her before.

Those vets who claimed to be nondiscriminatory had problems either answering the phone or returning phone calls. It seems to me that if being a veterinarian were your vocation, then you would want to help, and in this case save, an animal in need. But maybe I am just crazy.

In our time of distress we were forced to bang down the door at a vet’s residence listed in the phone book. He was very kind an immediately began to asses the problem. He even went so far as to go into town to find a second opinion from another vet friend.

Ultimately we were forced to go to Grand Junction for assistance. The vet was surprised that she had survived the ride with such excessive breathing difficulties. The puppy was rushed into emergency surgery for a very violent allergic reaction.

The doctor preformed two surgeries that day and one the following day. He stayed with her until 12 a.m. Sunday night, but unfortunately she did not make it through the night. Despite our loss, we are comforted knowing he did all he could to save her.

Justin, from PetSmart, was the vet’s name. He is what I think of when I picture a veterinarian. I believe he truly loves animals and his job.

Thank you to all those that helped us. For the rest of you who turned us away that day, thanks for nothing! In addition, if only some animals are worth helping to you, maybe you need to figure out if you still like your job or why you became a vet in the first place. I am appalled that in this valley we were unable to get help. I do not know if receiving assistance immediately would have saved our puppy’s life, but I have to wonder.

Misty Briscoe

Rifle


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