I had turned up to the my new locum job, in London. It was in a pretty upmarket part of the city, lots of very wealthy clients. I was still feeling my way around, exploring the clinic, getting a feel for the staff. The boss was interesting… He didn’t have much to say to me, seemed to be pretty wrapped up in himself. So I walked through the place, talked to the nurses, got the low down that way.
The hospital ward was fairly full of animals in cages, some with drips in, others with bandages, the usual crop of recovering or ill pets. In one of the bottom cages there was a Shar Pei, with a chewed off drip hanging out of his leg, even though he had an Elizabethan Collar on his head. I moved closer to have a look at his records – a severe gastro, no discernable cause, on a lot of different medications, looked like he had been in the hospital for days. There was also a big red tag on the cage “This dog bites!”.
I asked a nurse if we should pull him out and fix up the drip situation.
“Only the boss works on that one – and he’s a right evil bastard of a dog, I tell you! Has to be sedated to do anything to him at all. He’s owned by a lovely gay man who has spoiled him rotten since he was a puppy.”
The dog looked miserable, flat, very unwell – but when I squatted down to get a bit closer look through the cage door he came to life with his lips suddenly peeling back from his teeth, and a very threatening growl. The look in his eyes!
The boss suddenly bustled in, and I could see the nursing staff trying to bustle out without looking like they were doing so.
“Right, time to get this dog out, I’m going to sedate him and we will get that drip sorted, and then we have a whole lot of tests to get sorted.” He grabbed a catch pole, and a nurse cracked open the door. He trapped his head, and then, very effectively, injected a sedation. A few minutes later the fight sagged out of the dog, and then they had him up on a table, anaesthetising and intubating him.
I was standing over to the side, and the boss continued to ignore me, while scattering orders here and there at the nurses as he worked with intense focus, sometimes muttering under his breath. And that was how the few weeks went. He was not a communicative man, and a pretty awful boss. By god he knew how to charge people though. The bill for the Shar Pei when it finally went home some 4 or 5 days later was astronomical! It had had every test known to man performed on it, been sedated at least once, sometimes 3 times a day (you couldn’t touch it otherwise, to do the slightest thing), and at the end, we were still none the wiser to what actually caused the problem. The gastro settled down, anyway. Whether or not the truckloads of antibiotics and assorted other drugs had anything to do with this, I really don’t know.
His lovely gay owner came in every day, sometimes 2 or three times, and would sit outside his cage baby talking to him “Oh darling, sweets, you must get better, so your daddy can take you away from this horrible cage and get you home…” The dog seemed to like him. It hated anyone else with a passion. He hopped out of the cage and went off on the lead with him, and we all hoped very sincerely we would never have to deal with that dog ever again.
Except the boss. If it made money, it made him happy.