My family and I travel home every year for the holidays. Every year we have to board our dogs for a few days. We have a Boxer and a Miniature Dachshund. Gunner and Cash, respectively. An odd combination, I admit. For the last 2 years, we have used Crain Veterinary Clinic in Grain Valley, Missouri to take care of our boys. This year, I have had enough. Below is what happened.
When we originally made the decision to use Crain, my sister-in-law warned us about them. She had taken a cat there once for something (the exact reason escapes me at the moment). They gave her an acceptable price and she left the cat. When she returned to pick her cat up, the price had jumped another $300.00. They told her it was because they had tested the cat for a bunch of things and gave it a series of shots. Ordinarily, this would be acceptable practice if the animal needed medical care, but they never called my sister-in-law to approve the charges.
We decided to still use them, but only because we had already made the appointment, and they were the only ones that would let us drop our dogs off on Sunday (I verified this TWICE over the phone prior to booking the stay). When I arrived at the clinic to drop the dogs off, they were closed. I was only stopping through after driving 1,100 miles and still had another 60 to go to meet my family for Christmas. I called the office number, but did not get an answer even though I saw a person inside. I knocked on the door, but they did not answer. I was a little irritated.
I got on my BlackBerry and started searching for another number. I stumbled upon the cell phone number of one of the doctors at the clinic (I love my BlackBerry). The doctor stated it was not their policy to accept animals on Sundays because they were closed and that they only came in on Sundays to care for the animals they already had. After about 15 minutes of arguing, he said that he was on his way to the office anyway and would accept my pets when he got there. When I returned a few days later to pick up my dogs, amazingly enough, the price had increased about $20.00. I was in a hurry, so I did not argue. It seemed to be a legitimate charge, as I recall, but I am not sure what it was. I paid the bill and left.
This year, I decided to use them again. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have gone elsewhere. I was quoted a price of $176.00 for boarding and vaccinations (Rabies, Bordetella, and distemper). My wife had told me before I had dropped them off that she had been quoted $156 over the phone. We were short on time, as is usual when traveling for the holidays, so I did not push the issue. Again, probably not a good decision, but it was only $20.00. I showed up with my boys to drop them off on Friday, December 18, 2009. I brought their food, their blankets, and two toys. They might be a little spoiled. I asked if they could share a larger kennel so they could be together. They explained that would not change the price, even though that was not my motivation. They are like our children, and however silly it might sound, I wanted them to at least be with one another while they were there. I said that was not a problem and turned them over.
I was asked if I wanted them bathed before I picked them up. I told them it was not necessary. Gunner gets excited in the car, and as anyone who knows anything about the Boxer breed will attest, this means slobber…and a lot of it. I have become accustomed to bathing them at the destination just for this reason. As I was walking out the door, the lady behind the counter said I needed to call them 30 minutes prior to picking them up so they could have them dry from the bath before they went out in the cold. I was a little taken aback by the comment as I had just told her that I did not want them bathed. I explained a second time that a bath was not necessary because I was just going to have to bathe them again anyway. After that, I left.
On Monday, December 21, 2009, I returned to pick up my boys; I was greeted with a $199 bill. Now I was mad. I made it clear that I had been quoted $176 and that my wife had been quoted $156. When I asked what the additional charge was for, they said for the bath. Ok, do I just not have a firm grasp on reality, or did I not say not once, but twice that I did not want them bathed? I refused the charge. They removed it from the bill leaving a $183 balance. Again I asked why it was not $176. They explained it was for trimming Cash’s nails. This was supposed to be included in the original quote, but they said it was not. I agreed to that charge and handed the lady my credit card. After loading up my boys and their stuff in the car, I went back into the clinic. She gave me my card and my receipt. I asked, “Is that everything?” She said that it was and I left.
On the drive back to my in-laws house, the stench of urine got worse and worse. I know I decided to forgo the bath, but now I am faced with the fact that my boys had been laying in their own urine. The smell was almost overwhelming. The more I drove, the worse it got. When I returned, I bathed the boys and grabbed their blankets to put in the wash.
When the blankets had been returned to me, they were in a trash bag with the toys. I assumed this was done to make it easier to carry. As I opened the bag, expecting another overwhelming urine scent, I discovered something quite to the contrary. The blankets did not smell of urine at all. Now I was even more outraged. Not only did my boys have to lie in their own waste, they were not even given the blankets and toys I had brought for them for a quasi-sense of home. I washed the blankets anyway and made the decision to never take them back to Crain Veterinary Clinic.
Later that night, I received a phone call from the clinic. The lady on the other end was asking for my credit card number claiming that it had never been charged. Naturally, I was a tad suspicious given the circumstances. I told her I would not give her the number over the phone and that I would return the next day to pay the bill in person. My bank is usually pretty good about posting authorizations within minutes, so I decided to wait a full day to see if in fact it was charged. I waited for an authorization to post. It never did, and I did not recall signing anything, so I returned to the clinic and paid the bill. I got all the print outs so in case I was charged twice, I would be able to prove what had happened.
I noticed that Cash had been developing a cough, but it seemed to subside. Then on Thursday, December 24, 2009, Gunner began to cough. It sounded like he had something caught in his throat and was trying to get it out. It got worse and worse to the point that almost every exhale was a cough or throat-clearing sound. After quite a bit of research, my wife and I came to the conclusion that he has Kennel Cough which continued through the night. The next day being Christmas Day, there were obviously no vets open, so getting him seen was not possible.
I took Gunner to Oak Grove Animal Clinic on Saturday, December 26, 2009, where I was told what he had was most likely Kennel Cough. Two injections, a bottle of pills later, and $100 later, we returned home.
This has been my experience. If you use Crain Veterinary Clinic Grain Valley and are happy there, more power to you. If you have never gone, I wouldn’t advise it. If you are looking for a replacement vet, I would recommend Oak Grove Animal Clinic. They were very nice and got me seen in one day.
If you know anyone in the Oak Grove, Grain Valley, Blue Springs area, please send this to them. If nothing more, it will warn them.