The following is a response from the owners of Posh Paws to the above complaint made by a former client:
It has taken us 17 months to provide an accurate response to this matter due to threats of an impending lawsuit. Our purpose is to protect our valuable reputation we have built in the business community and with our customers over the past three years. We want to provide a factual account of the incident. We are completely transparent on this issue and have the necessary documentation to back up our statements. After reading the following, if you have any doubt about this issue, please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we are more than happy to speak with you personally and provide full documentation.
We want to start by saying we are saddened by the outcome of this incident. We take our job very seriously, knowing that your pets are your family. In our work, we make them our family as well.
We had provided services for our client once before the incident. Before attending this two-day, overnight visit, our client had written us stating concern with Rupert’s (the dog in question) health due to a kennel cough and pneumonia, and was “trying to convince our vet to keep him while we are away in November because I am terrified.” Rupert has been in and out of the vet for the majority of his life with various illnesses, including Pancreatitus. Pancreatitus in dogs is the result of overindulgence in dairy products. We were not aware of this fact and the owners did not make us aware when we filled out an intake form for Rupert regarding his medical history. Even though the owner’s vet diagnosed Rupert with Pancreatitus, the clients noted on the intake form that Rupert was to be fed cheese with his medications.
From the start of the job, I (Randal) noticed Rupert’s lack of motivation and energy right away. The client went over the same instructions as a previous visit. Rupert took (6) different pills every 12 hours. The client joked about Rupert’s mounting vet bills because of his illnesses.
After the client’s left on their trip, I carried out the pet sit as instructed. During the period, I noticed Rupert become “lethargic.” When the client called later that day, I notified her of Rupert’s loss of energy and his occasional cough. They didn’t seem too concerned about his energy level and explained that the cough is likely attributed to his recent kennel cough. I continued to monitor Rupert that night and into the morning.
The client called again the next day. Again, I told him of Rupert’s lack of energy and that he seemed to be “moping” around. The client asked if he was hanging out around the front door and I said, “yes.” The client told me he does that on occasion when they are absent and “not to be alarmed” with Rupert’s condition. Later that night, the client’s daughter arrived at the house to take over the pet sit. Upon her arrival, I briefed her on who had been fed, medicated and Rupert’s condition. The daughter didn’t seem alarmed and asked no further questions.
Three days after we concluded our pet sit; we received a blanket email addressed to the client’s friends and family. The email was addressed, “Rupert… yes… again.” The email stated that Rupert was back in the hospital for Pancreatitus and Addison’s disease and he was under 24-hour care. Concerned with Rupert’s health, we called the client to get details on Rupert’s condition. They asked us a few questions about the pet sit and we answered them to their satisfaction. The client’s did not blame us for Rupert’s then current complications.
The next day, we receive another blanket email explaining Rupert’s miraculous recovery. The client stated that Rupert was “100% improved” and that “His temperature is normal, the potassium level has returned to normal, and his heart, liver, kidneys, look good.” The client goes on to state the findings of Rupert’s year-long illnesses, “We will be testing for Addison’s disease, he appears to have EVERY single symptom of that which would certainly explain this past year’s nightmare.” (documentation available)
The following day, we received another blanket email from the client who sites their vet’s conclusion that Rupert is suffering from chronic Pancreatitis and not Addison’s disease. The client’s statement explains that Rupert “is looking good test-wise” and that “It’s apparent that the stress of leaving home caused this attack, for which we feel awful.” (documentation available)
Three days later, we received our first personal email from the client. The client states dissatisfaction with our service, something not expressed in any earlier conversation or email. She made accusations that we did not attend to her dogs 24/7. I (Randal) never left the client’s house during the contracted time.
The client goes on to accuse us of not informing them that the dog was ill. Rupert was showing signs of illness. I explained that in the calls with the client and which the client corroborates in their complaint. Even if I hadn’t explained this, the client was fully aware of his condition before leaving on their trip. In an email dated before leaving, the client states, “ Rupert got some form of kennel cough …He went to the vet immediately and was put on a very strong antibiotic, yet managed to go into pneumonia within a few days. He was hospitalized for a week and then came home, went back for another two days. He finally came home and was doing great for a week, when the kennel cough returned with a vengeance and we darn near lost him. As of Saturday, he is finally improving. I am trying to convince our vet to keep him while we are away I am terrified.” (documentation available)
The client stated she left Rupert in good health. Rupert was not in good health. The client’s past emails clearly show Rupert not only had a long history of illness but show Rupert had a current illness (Pancreatitus) that we were not made aware of. Rupert also had prior cases of Pancreatitis, which was not divulged when asked of Rupert’s medical history at our initial consultation. As a result, Rupert continued to receive cheese with his medications, per the client’s instructions.
On the same day, the client sent two more emails explaining that they hired an attorney and plan on filing a claim with our insurance company. This has never happened to us in our three-year history. Our attorney advised us to contact our insurance company and have them launch an investigation into the matter.
We made a claim with our insurance carrier, giving them all of the information we had. Our insurance contacted the client and when asked about Rupert’s medical history, the client became irate and refused to cooperate. Our carrier said they couldn’t follow through with the investigation until the client cooperates. The claim is still open.
Eleven days after the completion of our duties, we received an email from the client saying, “Rupert has gone to the Rainbow Bridge” with no body copy. We assumed Rupert had passed.
Numerous reviews from the client then started to appear on the Internet, claiming our business had “killed Rupert” and neglected their pets while they were away. Included in the reviews, the client threatens a lawsuit. Every three months, a new review appears. It is a continual, blatant attack by this client on our business and good reputation. We did not kill Rupert in the two days we sat for the client. To date, a lawsuit has never been filed over the accusations that took place more than a year and a half ago. The client never again pursued the insurance claim that is still opened. We have been falsely accused and maligned in this matter, and we have the documentation to back up our case.
We got into the business of pet sitting because we love animals. We cared for our client’s pets just as we would our own. Posh Paws has served more than 150 satisfied clients and we have many references available that can speak to the trustworthiness, reliability and loving manner you can expect from our business. If you would like to speak with a reference personally, we can arrange a conversation. We appreciate your business and hope you will call us with your pet-sitting needs.
Randal & Katie Griffith