Health Requirement Enforcement

The Health Requirement is required – not an option!

Today I had to do the unthinkable – I had to cancel a pickup because someone did not obey the health requirement.  This business is about helping animals and their families.  It is not a “get rich quick” plan (thank heavens, because we’d be sorely disappointed!!) … but we do have guidelines and policies … and today one of the unpleasant policy options had to be enforced for the first (and I truly hope, the last) time.

The particular health requirement policy in question is something that is explicitly outlined in our contract. The policy states: “A valid HEALTH CERTIFICATE issued by a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine no sooner than 10 days before the scheduled delivery date must be obtained and travel with your pet. Complete medical records or shot records are not acceptable and CAN NOT be used as a substitution.” … “Cancellations made six (6) days or less before transport are non-refundable.” (For clarification: A health certificate will not be issued if a pet is not current on immunizations or has other unaddressed health issues.)

The particular client is a representative of a rescue organization out of NYC.

Someone we have dealt with in the past who violated this policy, but we worked through it with them and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt … and give them a second chance. I took extra, extra pains to make SURE they understood that the health requirements were absolutely non-negotiable. (I still have those chats/emails … it is crystal clear … and he assured me all aspects would absolutely be taken care of, this time.)

So fast forward nearly 3 weeks to pickup day: Today. I arrive at the animal hospital where this dog has been boarded for AT LEAST the past 3 weeks. (Pay close attention: The dog has been in a veterinarians’ care for AT LEAST 3 weeks!) When I arrive, I patiently wait for 20 minutes while they call the client in NYC to get payment cleared. (I actually waited 35 minutes, since I arrived 15 minutes early – but “on the clock” it was 20 minutes … but I digress).

Once they finish clearing payment, I asked them for the dog’s paperwork so I can make sure everything is in order. Missing from the list of health requirements are: Current immunizations, worming, flea and tick prevention, current rabies certificate, Health Certificate. The veterinarian will need at least 20 minutes to get everything caught up on this pup … making total wait time about an hour. My next client’s pickup time will be delayed significantly. Add to that … none of these measures will be effective immediately.

My current passengers would now be at-risk because of this rescue organization’s worker’s blatant disregard for a very necessary policy.

The dog could not be transported. I would not wait, and according to company policy, their money will not be refunded.  We drove several hundreds of miles to pick up this dog. Fuel is expensive right now, so I would be paying out-of-pocket for this person’s irresponsibility. I could have sold that space to another customer. I turn customers away nearly every day. We stay very busy. But I sold it at a significantly reduced price because it was a rescue animal. And … just like last time I transported for him, he attempted to take advantage of my kindness. He had no consideration for my other customers’ pets.

I am responsible for the safety, health and care of ALL pets I transport. Not just rescues. Yes, they have a special place in my heart, but I cannot and absolutely will not jeopardize the other pets because of an irresponsible human. Isn’t one part of being a “rescue” worker … responsibility? I believe it is a HUGE part … that is why we rescue these pets, get them proper medical care, spay/neuter, screen adopters, etc.

So when I notified this “gentleman” that his failure to arrange proper vetting of the dog over the past 2+ weeks was going to result in the transport being cancelled, he got ugly with me.

VERY ugly. I ended the conversation quickly and abruptly by saying, “Our conversation is over. Goodbye.”

He did this on purpose. Once may have been an oversight or misunderstanding. After his ugliness THAT time, I told him not to call me again. But apparently he has done this with other companies and had no more bridges to burn. Because over two weeks ago he emailed me, and against my better judgement, I agreed. My payment for hoping he was actually a decent human being was to be verbally abused and ordered to do as he wished.

I am sure I haven’t heard the last of what he has to say. However, I am now sure that I will not deal with his rescue organization again. Too bad … I’m sure there are some animals who will not be transported, whom they could have saved if only.  If only this one human would play by the rules, instead of trying to cheat.