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Working with Social Distancing

“Aww! He’s so cute!”

Our next patient was a nine week old black kitten, called Sooty.

He had a thirty minute appointment for his first ever health check and vaccinations.
I reminded the nurse that, immediately after this appointment, we needed to anaesthetise
Freddie, a sick cat. We were going to skip our tea break to get this done urgently between

Gently I checked Sooty over, ensuring he felt confident and loved. He was in fine fettle, so I
administered his vaccine, and created a long list of kitten care topics to review with his

COVID-19 guidelines have meant that all clients are bravely sending their pets into the Clinic
unaccompanied. This client had thoughtfully provided his mobile phone number, so that’s the
number I dialled, but there was no answer.

I re-dialled. Still no answer.

Then I popped my head outside – there was no-one in the courtyard, so I walked right down
to the bottom of our car park. No-one.

I waited a little, and checked with the team. Where had Sooty’s owner gone? I re-dialled
twice more, sent a text, then tried the alternate numbers on the pet’s card. Nothing.
Now I had a dilemma.

Should I start Freddie’s procedure? If I didn’t, he would not get his procedure for several
more hours, which could be critical for his care. If I did, sod’s law states that Sooty’s owner
would reappear, and I would have nobody to run through all the important kitten care topics
with them, and provide the level of service he deserved.

It was stressful, and an unnecessary additional burden.

We don’t know how long social distancing will be with us. With our tiny rooms inside the
Clinic, we are not hopeful that it will end anytime soon. But it is making communication with
individual clients so much harder.

If you are coming to the vets in the near future, could I request that you stay in our courtyard
area, please? Save any little jobs, shopping, chores or coffee collecting until after we have
completed our interaction with you and your pet, please. Thank you.

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