Doggie Needs E.R. (Living in Holland Series)

07 Mar

IMG_0298Our family dog, Argos, needs emergency care in the off hours. As I blogged previously, when my son needed the ER (i.e. emergency room), in the Nederlands you must call a “speed-number” (for people SMASH number) to find out which doctor is on duty and where. However, the person who answered for animal care last night didn’t speak enough English or us enough Dutch to figure out where we could go. It was an anxious night with me out-of-town and my husband laying on a pallet next to our family pet.

This morning, we are finding more information and hope to get Argos into care. Your quickest resources are much like mine: friends, local Facebook group, google. Which was best?

Friends had the same local number I had, and on the local Facebook group someone offered our area emergency number. No one answered at either number on a Friday at 9pm. Later in the night we got the translation issue and decided to check the animal ambulance service which I’ve never seen outside the Netherlands. Who knows what it would have cost since the service put us back to square one: they have a van, do nothing medically for the animal, take your pet to whatever vet you tell them, and they have no additional information on which vets might be available. That’s on you.

Argos was at least drinking water, so we decided to wait for the morning.

The online site for vets in the Hague area lists 27, 2 different emergency numbers, and a weekend roster of who is supposed to be open to handle emergencies.  All of this is getting us no where except more worried as our golden lab struggles to walk, throws up occasionally, and has even soiled himself.

Google has finally given us an option. The search was for “weekend veterinarian Den Hague” and helped us reach the Animal Emergency Clinic of The Hague where we can call 24/7 including weekends and holidays (070-3660701).

Great news, right?


 We explained our night’s vigil and were informed that for emergencies they are open from 12-2pm Saturday. (See my jaw drop in astonished disappointment). Their website says they are available for emergencies at all hours, but I guess an emergency is your pet got hit by a car? I don’t know. Needless to say, this all taxes the nerves already strained with concern.

One of the great benefits of living in the land of bicycle travel is that our family only needs one car, most of the time. Today I have the minivan in Germany, and my husband is calling around to find a car to borrow. Although public transport is great, you don’t want to carry a sick dog to the bus station. The ambulance is a fall back if no one is around.

I am waiting for more news and will update you as well when I hear something. Always hoping for the best…


Kristin King is an author, publisher and an American expat living in the Netherlands with her husband, four sons, and their golden lab, Argos.

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