In the years I’ve been a customer of Gateway Animal Hospital on Los Feliz Boulevard at the Atwater Village/Glendale border I’ve had nothing but good things to say about the veterinary services they’ve provided my dogs and cats.
But that’s all changed now. I’ll never go back there — not even to have the stitches removed that they had to put in to close the nasty tail gash (pictured above) our 10-week-old pup “mysteriously” sustained this morning at some disasterous point during the 90 minutes that elapsed from when my wife Susan and I left our Ranger (one of those four pups we rescued during the Utah stretch of our roadtrip vacation last month) to be examined, microchipped, flea-bathed and innoculated to the time we came to pick her up.
Let me say that again (and attempt to keep emotions and expletives in check): we took our entirely healthy and well-adjusting pup into a licensed and established and respected animal clinic for the veterinary equivalent of a no-brainer: shots and a bath. For no extra charge we got her back a nervous wreck with a sutured-up slice n the base of her tail and one of those cone collars she’s now gotta wear for the next two fucking weeks.
Can I get some parvo with that?
And you wanna know the most awesomest thing? Those responsible folks at Gateway don’t know how something so fucking irresponsible and traumatic happened.
When we brought Ranger in the attending vet’s initial examination was positive and revealed what we already knew: that we were guardians to a healthy and happy pup, and we left Ranger in what I’d come to trust to be Gateway’s professional and meticulous care.
When we returned shortly before noon, we were oddly ushered into one of the examination rooms where instead of being reunited with Ranger we were somberly met by a senior staffer with the bad news that some sort of accident had happened. Before we could react the guy even had the gall to question whether we had brought the dog in injured to begin with and when we dismissed such a ridiculous implication he quickly back pedaled and said that it was figured the “serious wound” had been caused while the dog was on the premises.
He went on to explain that Ranger purportedly hadn’t been left near any other animals and so far the only thing being admitted by the handlers was that she was left alone for “a few moments” during her bath. So it’s all just a giant mystery stitched up in an enigma that he said he’ll be taking very seriously and investigating. But from my perspective you don’t need to be a detective to understand someone fucked up and isn’t of a mind to admit it.
Sorry, but that’s more than enough bullshit to keep me from taking an animal in there ever again. All I’m picturing is someone slamming her tail in a door or dropping a sharp instrument or allowing her too near an aggressive animal, and each time it adds up to me not being able to trust a place that I need to be able to trust. I have no doubt there are people who’ve gone to Gateway with their pets a helluva lot longer than I have and who’ve never experienced anything negative. The hospital isn’t successful because it fails its patients like it did Ranger, but even if she’s the exception to the rule I’m going to take irrevocable exception to it and make sure this first cut is the last.