Animal Practice…Friend or Farce?

I might be in hell. 

Well, probably not really but it sure feels slightly like it.  I’m at “Jump Town”.  It’s very loud, very crowded pretty expensive and I can’t look directly at the carpet because the crazy rainbow pattern could very well give me a headache or a seizure. 

The trade-off though is that my kids are currently off their butts and participating in a physical activity that does not involve a computer or TV.  That, to me, is priceless. 

So my original intent in this episode of my illustrious blog was to fret about the new show coming out on NBC called “Animal Practice”.  If you watched more than 15 minutes of the Olympics, you may have encountered an ad or two for it.  I’m still going to talk about the show but maybe in a more hopeful and less fretful manner. 

The ubiquitous commercials made me die just a little inside every time they came on.  I mean come on, a monkey in a darn lab coat?  I am not a monkey fan in general, they carry horrible diseases, throw poop. In addition, their human qualities stir uncomfortable feelings of amorphous guilt regarding how they generally seem to be treated/exploited.  I really think the greater and lesser primate species should be pretty much left alone in the wild to do their own thing.  I can live without seeing them bored out of their minds in zoos or doing insipid tricks on TV. 

Anyhoo, that is strike one against the show.  Strike two is that (as far as I can tell) there are no DVM’s directly involved with the development or writing of the show. There is an article in DVM Newsmagazine discussing the show and the producers said they “interviewed several vets and staff in the New York area”. 

That’s it?   

What kind of cases are they going to be seeing? Are they just going to make stuff up?  Every day in veterinary practice is different and rife with personal dramas, pathos, humor all its own. We work hard to get respect as clinicians.  Is this show just going to make a farce out of what we do? Turn us into more of a joke than we already (feel like) we are?  We DVM’s have all heard or been accused of not being “real” doctors.  Is this show just going to reinforce that? 

So that was going to be the gist of my blog. However, thanks to mobile 3G technology and my iPhone, I decided to do a bit of pre-blog research.  I was looking for more ammo to fuel my discord, but instead found a video entitled “Dr. Dognapper”.  I watched the first 45 seconds or so, then paused it and proceeded to write this. 

The video shows the conversation between the veterinarian and a client.  Vet says the dog ate something and needs surgery to the tune of $2000.  The client gets into a huff and says no way, I can buy 6 dogs for that, how much to kill it?

That exact conversation has taken place within the walls of our practice (I am so not kidding, once, after asking how much to kill the dog, a client mused to the receptionist that it would just be cheaper to tie a brick around the dog’s neck and toss it in the pool. He later informed me he was just kidding. Ha ha.)   

The DVM says what I wish I could say, but can’t if I want to keep patients:  basically that when you get a dog you enter into an unwritten contract to feed it, care for it, and yes, provide medical care if need be.  He also says “if you don’t like it, next time don’t leave your crap lying around.” 

My God how exhilarating it would be to actually utter those things out loud and not just bellow them in my head or in the back!   

I was pretty excited when I saw that.  This show could prove to be a voice for us beleaguered souls.  Saying the things we only wish we could say to that subset of angry, unfriendly, unreasonable and difficult clients. 

Maybe it will be. I guess I’ll have to watch the show to find out.   

Of course, after I typed all this I finished watching the video. The DVM proceeds to snatch the dog, run away with it and tell the monkey to prep for surgery.  Thus descending into abject stupidity, and making my soul wither inside.  (Furthermore, if we kidnapped every pet with owners who were reluctant or refused to pay for services recommended, we would be on a different show, known as “Hoarders”.) 

My feelings are officially mixed about this show. I happen to know a cranky New York vet who links his website ( to this blog.  Wonder what Dr. Rich will think of all this.

 I’ll watch the first few episodes (if I can stand it) and get back to you…


3 thoughts on “Animal Practice…Friend or Farce?

  1. i too saw those goofy looking commercials during the olympics and was wondering just how much of a three ring circus this show will be…i look forward to your insight.

    now those jumpy places are just plain horrible! they’ve got to be an adults worse nightmare…being enclosed with 500 other peoples kids running around like wild banshees. i’ve had the misfortune of frequenting such establishments and while they do serve a purpose (see your kids being active and having fun) it’s not like you can sit idly by silently reading or anything. the goal here is just to hope you don’t leave with a bigger headache than that which you entered.

    the only monkeys i like are curious george and documentaries on jane goodall.

  2. Great posting, I am not sure whether that show is my cup of tea (the monkey is kinda creepy), though I do like the actor, he’s Uncle Andy from Weeds, and he’s a nut! Will have to stay tuned to hear more of your thoughts…

  3. I had the same concerns when I watched those 15 minutes of the Olympics.

    They talked to several vets and techs in the NY area? Ack! Hopefully they – at the very least – have a DVM technical advisor. (Why do I doubt that?)

    My biggest fear is that the story lines will have bizarre medical problems, medications and treatments and people will think, “I saw somewhere that to the diagnosis is….” and believe it.

    Animals usually play well on television, even creepy monkeys.

    By the way, DVMs are the REAL doctors in my book.

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