In order for my cats to live with me in my government-subsidized apartment, I’m required to keep current with their rabies and distemper shots. I couldn’t afford the annual vet bill before I moved last May, and didn’t worry about taking them since my boys never go outside. But, being a rule-follower in general, I scraped up the money last year and took them to my friends’ vet. Condescending, unprofessional and snarky are but a few of the choice words I would use to describe that particular clinic. This year, I was determined to do better by my boys.
Top of my wish list for a new clinic was that it accept Care Credit. This service is a revolving credit card. It’s used to pay for health care needs not covered by insurance—specifically dental, veterinary, cosmetic, vision, and hearing. The fees are charged to the Care Credit account with the option of paying off the balance without any interest accrued for twelve to eighteen months. I used Care Credit to pay for teeth implants a couple of years ago, and always use it for my biannual dentist checkups. It’s wonderful to be able to pay an affordable amount each month instead of being forced to pay the whole bill at once or foregoing dental care altogether because of the cost. And there’s lots of time to get the bill paid before they start adding interest. I found a vet in town who accepted Care Credit, so I crossed my fingers and took the boys to see her.
What a delight to find office staff who welcomed me and immediately called the boys by name. There were cats and dogs roaming the corridors and lounging on the desks—official greeters, I was told. Dr. Summers and her staff handled my cats gently and skillfully. These were folks who truly loved animals and let it show, remarking on Emmett’s pretty coat and Henry’s gentle nature.
When Dr. Summers palpated Henry’s bladder, he hissed, which told both of us his “bladder infection” from last month was still troubling him. But, this time, I felt completely at ease leaving him with these kind people so they could get a urine sample. It took two days, but he finally gave it up. And, of course, he never had a bladder infection at all (a misdiagnosis from Snarky Clinic). Dr. Summers reported that Henry had bladder crystals, a condition that could become life-threatening if not treated. Luckily, all he needs is a special cat food that will dissolve the crystals. A little expensive, but well worth the health of my good buddy.
When I came to the clinic to pick him up, I’d been having a rough day with depression. I got a little weepy when I told the staff how grateful I was for their kindness. I shared that I was bipolar and living on Social Security Disability, so being able to afford health care for my cats was only possible with Care Credit. I knew the boys and I had found the right clinic when all the office girls came around the counter and hugged me. “Goodness,” I told them, “you all just made a hard day so much easier.”
The clinic was an unexpected gift, a pool of light in the middle of a spell of dark days. I doubt anyone there will ever understand what a lifeline they threw me simply by caring about my cats and treating me with respect. But, the boys and I know. And we’re purring.