Editor, What has happened to people in the past 10 years? Has the turn of the economy changed everyone so much that they refuse to help out others? Since moving to Hinesville almost one year ago, I have come in contact with more callous, dismal and rude citizens than I have ever been around. Decent customer service here is almost non-existent. Very few places of business that I have dealt with have gone the extra mile. One particular business is the reason for this letter.
My husband and I — like many others in this area — are a military family. We have a son who is almost 2, and we struggle to make ends meet on just one income. Until very recently, we also had a dog, Harley, that had been my companion for nine years. He had been very sick, so when we moved to Hinesville, I took him to an area animal clinic. During our first visit, the doctor was nice. He gave me a few options for treatment, only one of which we could afford. Harley had problems eating solid foods, so the doctor told me to puree his food. If that did not work, X-rays and blood work would be needed. Those options were not feasible for us. We simply did not have the money.
Pureeing Harley’s food did not work. Two months later, he had dropped from 17 pounds to 14 pounds and no longer could lift himself up off the floor. When I called the doctor’s office for help, I was denied because of our inability to pay. Harley would have to suffer for another seven days until my husband received his paycheck. Even though I sobbed as I explained my pet’s condition to the doctor’s receptionist over the phone, I was told that they simply would not help me.
The receptionist said the doctor also has bills to pay and if they allow payment plans, the veterinarian is always the last to get paid. I then called two other area veterinary clinics but was told by employees at both clinics that they also would not help Harley without immediate payment.
I finally found a clinic in Richmond Hill that told me to bring Harley in as soon as I could. They graciously helped us end his pain and suffering without question of payment. They cared more for my pet and his suffering than they did about whether or not they received payment.
I am outraged that those other animal clinics would rather let an animal suffer than help a community member and military family. Wouldn’t I be jailed for mistreating an animal? Yes. So how can area veterinarians deny emergency help for a pet due to the owner’s inability to pay? Animal care is expensive and they need care just as humans do. A human never would be denied medical treatment because he or she is unable to pay.
I fully understand a business owner having bills to pay. What grown, hardworking adult doesn’t? The callous way in which my sick pet and I were treated by those three area animal clinics is the reason I will never utilize any of their services again.
— Maria Kiser