Dog Gone It!
We had a little mishap at our house the other day. Our 7 year old Corgi named Gizmo got into a tussle with one of the other dogs, and broke his leg in the process. So much for my evening of relaxing; we’ve got to make a trip to the vet… ASAP! The only place close that was open was a large (as in barn yard) animal 24 hour emergency clinic. We’ve never been to this one, and didn’t know quite what to expect. But, we didn’t have much of a choice at the time.
The vet took Gizmo in for some x-rays. The vet was back with the pup in just a few minutes, and showed us the x-ray. From the looks of the film you couldn’t see a break. The vet said it might be, but couldn’t tell for sure. She suggested cage rest for a week or two, and see how he feels then. So we paid the bill, packed up our pup along with a few pain meds for his discomfort and headed back home. The next day I was still pretty worried about the little guy… something told me that vet didn’t look hard enough. I texted the wife on the way home and told her, “If he isn’t looking any better… I say we get a second opinion.” She agreed with me, and made a phone call to the breeder we got him from and asked them what we should do. By the time I pulled into the garage, she had the pup ready for a road trip to another vet, this time to one that was recommended.
When we got there I explained the whole thing to the new vet. This time the vet felt around the leg and said, “I think you’re right… I think it’s broken too.” The vet picked the little pooch up, and went back to take the x rays. It seemed to take forever compared to the first vet, but eventually she came out with the x rays and gave us the results. Sure enough… it’s broken. Now it’s time for some splints and a visit with the surgeon to see if it will need pinned back together, or whether or not splints will do the job.
As of now, poor little Gizmo is on meds, and complete cage convalescence. No running, walking, jumping and limited standing. He’s supposed to be on complete non-mobility status for 8 weeks. Then the cast comes off and re-evaluated.
Generally, I don’t write about personal family issues, but this time I saw something in this story that reminded me so much of the activity at the repair shop, so I had to make the comparison. First off, the original vet made a hasty decision without a complete diagnostics, (In my opinion) which led to seeking out another doctor. Now the second vet was not only more through with the evaluation, but was also a highly recommended referral.
Gee, that sounds just like what goes on at the shop.
There’s one thing I’d like to point out about this whole endeavor with little Gizmo and the first vet. I didn’t try to cross examine the doctor who said it wasn’t broken. I never asked for my money back, nor raised my voice in contempt. I paid the bill and got out of there. The only thing I lost was a little time and money; the vet on the other hand lost a future customer.
Each of these vets did what they thought needed to be done. Each of them arrived at a conclusion based on what they saw in their diagnosis. However, as the “owner” it’s still my judgment call. Because ultimately… I am the one who makes the decision on what repairs are going to be done.
Here’s something to think about: Did you ever notice when you’re in the doctor’s office there are all these plaques with diplomas, certificates of achievement, board certifications, and all kinds of awards? It’s a way for the doctor to introduce themselves before they even come into the room. As technicians we should be doing the same thing.
I used to tell this little riddle: what do you call a guy who barely passed his medical exams, and came in last during his internships, but squeezed by with a passing grade? A “Doctor”. But, at least he had to be graded by his peers, evaluated by a board of experts, and was tested over and over again to make sure he knew what he was doing. Not so in the automotive world. There is no board of experts that evaluate you or grade your performance. With the industry changing so rapidly and the technician’s skills changing as well, it won’t be long before more training won’t be optional, it will be mandatory in order to stay up with the technology.
Taking a page from the vet’s office I’ve started hanging all of my certificates up in the front office for all my customers to see. I think a lot of customers would like to see the achievements of their mechanic proudly displayed on the wall too. It might ease some tension that’s sometimes there when it comes to car repairs.
Just like a doctor, all the schooling in the world won’t make you a good doctor… experience and talent will. There is no better job training than experience, however it takes a lot of hard knocks and days under the hood to gain that experience. With the number of technical colleges, training facilities, and training conventions, there are numerous ways of bringing the new and old technicians up to speed much faster than the old “learn as you go” method of old. I, for one would like to see even more training and classes made available in the future.
I may not be a vet… I don’t set broken bones on little Corgis named Gizmo. I’m like a lot of guys and gals out there in the automotive world… I fix broken cars… I’m a certified, trained, and experienced mechanic/technician and … Dog Gone It! … a pretty darn good one.
After a day at the repair shop I spend my evening hours working on my columns while still trying to maintain all the household chores that need done. I never know which story or what topic the editors want to use to fill their pages. That's why I try to come up with a different subject line each week.
Your input helps decide which ones I try to push for publication. So... the more you tell me about it, the more likely it will go into my column. You get to see them first even before the editors do.
So keep those comments coming, always enjoy them. Gonzo