Another first when the need for a vet visit arose. I discovered a nickel-sized lump on my dog’s belly, not much of a concern. Till three days later when we returned from a day long family outing to discover Argos had chewed the spot into an open wound and an area the size of my palm was inflamed. My poor pooch!
A quick online search gave us the location of the nearest vet, and rather than call and be told “no” we decided to show up first thing in the morning. This is a big no-no in Holland. We suspected as much but were too anxious for a professional opinion. We arrived five minutes after the office opened (i.e. 9:05), the vet took a quick look, saw how bad it was, and recommended I come back around 10 am when she could fit us in.
To me, a forty minute wait at the doctor’s office is not that big a deal. I had come prepared with a book to read and my journal to write in. By sitting and waiting that long I was breaking a cultural norm of timeliness. Three dog-owners arrived while Argos and I waited. I greeted each, asked about their pets, basically did the usual waiting area small talk. Each of these people apologized (rather profusely) when their dog was called into the doctor’s office before mine.
Argos’s treatment was efficient and thorough. Wound cleaned with trimmed hair, shot given, medications dispensed (pain-killer and antibiotic), information put in the computer, payment made–all by ONE person, the vet. It was all economical, pragmatic, and very Dutch to my new comer sensibilities.
Our follow-up appointment was more typical. I parked my car 2 minutes before my pup’s appointment, entered the vestibule, so small I had to close the outside door to open the waiting room door (a third door opens on this tiny square but it is how you exit your appointment without crossing paths with another patient), and barely sat down before Argos was called for. The wound cleaning and exam, recommendations (honey creme for irritation, cone of shame to stop licking), data entry and payment had me out the door 15 minutes after I arrived.
The ah-ha moment occurred. This is why everyone apologized, why each time another pet was called in the vet urged me to run errands and return as the forty minutes ticked on. My my…this is timeliness I could get used to.
Kristin King is an author, publisher, and non-profit president recently relocated from the United States to the Netherlands.