Our clinic does free shelter exams for first time visits of just-adopted animals. This is nothing unusual, virtually every animal hospital in the area will do free shelter exams. It is a way to get these animals checked out fairly quickly after leaving the shelter, and also to get new owners to develop a relationship with a clinic.
Last week, a woman came in with her new dog. She was a new client to us, and brought all of her paperwork from the shelter. The dog had just gotten neutered, and was coming in for his first healthy visit to the veterinarian.
The owner was very friendly, open, and had a very interesting job. She was very funny and interactive and we had a good conversation which lasted about 30-40 minutes, while I also examined the dog and figured out which vaccines it would need next. I knew I didn't have any appointments after her, so I didn't mind spending the extra time, even though I knew the exam fee was waived.
Then, as we were wrapping up, I mentioned the dog would need two more vaccines and some flea/heartworm control, and that I would have the receptionist come in with an estimate for those services.
That's when the owner said that if the dog needed vaccines, she would take him to her regular veterinarian.
What??? I just spent 40 minutes with you, talking to you about your dog, the shelter, vaccines, training, plus a number of other things, for free, and you're going to take him to your regular veterinarian? If you already have a veterinarian, why on earth didn't you just go there to begin with? I guarantee the clinic that you go to does free shelter exams as well. So thanks for coming and wasting all of our time.