About two years ago, we parted ways with the group of vets we’d been using for ten years. The quality of the care was not at issue, but the prices they were to charging were. For years, they had been reasonable, caring. You could set up payment plans for the most costly procedures. They worked with you to keep prices down so your pets could get the care they needed.
In came new management. Prices skyrocketed, service slumped. No more payment plans. No more affordable dental care. No more multi-pet discounts. The cost of routine medications and shots went sky-high. A trip to the vet for anything cost at least $100, no matter how minor.
I objected. Then, I got mad. They got mad, because I had no right to get mad. With medical care, whether human or veterinary, the doctor’s front office is always right. Just ask them, they’ll tell you. We left.
We have too many dogs to go for long without a vet, so we defaulted to The Convenient Veterinarian — Agape Animal Hospital in Northbridge — the one nearest home. How bad could they be?
Our dogs have been mostly healthy. Bonnie has an issue with her eyes requiring twice daily medicated drops. Nan is arthritic — she is 13 – and she gets a low dose aspirin with her dinner. Nan and Bonnie both needed dental work. To hear Dr. Lawrence explain it, their teeth were in horrendous condition, dangerously, lethally infected. A disaster area which would kill them.
Kill them, that’s what he said. As in death.
He knew we had limited resources. Retirees are typically strapped for cash. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our dogs. It means you can’t squeeze us for more money because we don’t have it. And won’t have it in the future. We can usually pay over time, but we can’t come up with big lump sums.
Price for Bonnie’s teeth — no payment plan option, and no negotiation — would be no less than $800. For Nan? Minimum $1190.
I pointed out if my teeth cost that much to do, I couldn’t do them either. He shrugged, looked sympathetic, but didn’t give an inch. The medication for Bonnie’s eyes went up from $97 to $110 per month. No discounts there, either.
She needed drops twice a day, but usually only got them only once because we couldn’t afford more medication.
I’d have sought a new vet sooner (like immediately), but I was facing heart surgery and I just couldn’t deal with it. After the heart surgeries (all 5 of them) were done and I was back to being a person, I knew I had to get a new vet. This one was interested in money, not the health of his patients.
We got a recommendation from Furry Friends in Milford. She is the groomer my son had discovered and she’s wonderful. Not only does she know what your dog is supposed to look like (our Scottie looks like a Scottie again), but she charges based on the amount of work involved in grooming your dog rather than how much she can squeeze out of you.
She suggested we go to Metrowest Veterinary Association in Milford. And we did. It’s not as convenient, but it is — sorry for the pun — what the doctor ordered. Bonnie’s teeth got done for under $500 (payment plan, too) and came out with teeth white as snow. Turns out her teeth weren’t all that bad, either.
Bonnie has her smile back. The $110 medicated eye drops now cost $58 and for 50% more drops. Because we can give her the drops twice a day, her eyes are clearing up. Eventually, she may will longer need drops at all.
Not only was Dr. Lawrence screwing us for money, he was also lying about our dogs’ health. Bonnie’s teeth needed work, but they were not infected, not killing her. Nan is next up and we are assured her teeth will cost about the same. They will let us pay with post-dated checks and meantime, she’s okay. Not an imminent medical emergency.
Sometimes, when you think someone is out to get you it’s because they are out to get you, or at least out to get your money. That Dr. Lawrence could say this stuff to us and not care about its impact on the dogs — or us — is hard to comprehend.
If you live locally, don’t take your pets to Agape Animal Hospital. It’s a ripoff. Worse, it’s bad care with a dishonest veterinarian at the helm.