Last week I wrote here about a terrible experience I had at Pet Haven, a local pet supply and grooming shop. A lot of people have commented since then, mostly with their own horror stories, but a couple of people have come to the defense of the veterinarian side, saying they are separate businesses not owned by the same people. My immediate response to that was that, given that they share a name, a building, and a communicating hallway, some type of relationship is implied. But, as I stated in the original post, I have always been very happy with the care my pets have received on the vet side and I was sorry to think that I wouldn't be able to go there anymore, so I wanted to know more.
So this afternoon I stopped in and talked with the vet clinic office manager. She assures me that the only relationship between the two businesses is that the vet side rents the clinic space from the owners of the grooming side. The grooming side has no say in the day-to-day operations on the clinic side and animals are never moved between the two facilities unless, for example, the owner specifically requests that an animal receive vaccinations on the same day the animal is groomed. In other words, when my cat goes in for surgery, all the shaving and whatnot is done on the clinic side. There is no need for me to worry that any of my animals will ever be taken next door without my knowledge or consent. And the grooming side does not profit from the clinic side other than through rent payments.
I'm still not completely comfortable with this. The vets do recommend to patients (including me) that they should run next door to pick up this or that item, and being willing to share a name and building space implies approval of the behavior going on in the grooming side. If I were the clinic owner, I would find another space, pronto, or at least brick up the communicating door and change the name.
But at this point I don't think that objection is serious enough to warrant taking my animals to a new vet clinic, at least during the remainder of my elderly cats' lifetimes. The kindness and excellent care I've invariably experienced on the clinic side makes it worth it to me to maintain that relationship, even though I'm disgusted by the next-door neighbor and will miss no opportunity to let clinic staff know I think they should move.
In the interest of full disclosure, the office manager, with whom I've been friendly for a while, did hand me a stack of coupons for Edgar's food, but not until after we'd been talking for a few minutes, and I had already said I would probably continue to use the clinic. I promise I wasn't bribed. : )
Finally, I would like to respond to one commenter who suggested that I should not have published my previous post and should instead have simply left the store and silently resolved never to shop there again because criticism in this format (or on Facebook, where the blog post was reproduced by a friend of mine) can harm the reputation of innocent people. I want that commenter and others to understand that I did not lightly decide to publish that post. Had I seen an adult treating a child in the manner that I saw Ms. Thompson treating that dog, I certainly would not have written a blog post about it. I would've just called the police! But at the time I doubted whether the police would've responded to a call of animal abuse in that context, so I believed my only option was to let my neighbors know what I had seen to try to prevent other animals from being hurt in the future. I did write the original post in anger, but I then spent several hours revising it to make sure it was scrupulously accurate, and I also asked the advice of two people I trust and respect before posting. I would also like to point out that my full name is attached to this blog. I take all responsibility for the content here. As with any content on the Internet, you, the reader, must evaluate its validity for yourself.