Angry Yelp Review Therapy & Other Bay Area Dumb-Dumb Decisions

It is a common practice in anger management to write letters to those you perceive in an ill light, but to never actually send them. It is also common practice to project your own unhappiness about your situation onto others as a means of avoiding blame. The Internet has conveniently combined these two activities in a service known as Yelp.

I don’t have a Yelp account registered, but that doesn’t prevent me from logging on and reading way much about people’s lives in the context of how much they like or don’t like Payless shoes.

Life got the better of me these last few days, and after an experience at the vet this morning, I found myself so incensed that I downloaded the Yelp app and wrote my first negative review.

Before sending it though, I took a step back and had lunch with a friend. We went to the bluegrass festival and walked around for a bit. I came back to the review, glad I never sent it. Why? Because so many things happened that I didn’t want my bad day to effect the livelihoods of others, whether they did something to me or not. I still do not agree with many of the things the vet did, AND THEY ALL ACTUALLY HAPPENED but at the end of the day, Patches is okay, & happy as ever. I have however, copied it below, simply because I think it’s still enjoyable to read and it highlights some of the more ridiculous outcomes of San Francisco’s sometimes oppressively accepting attitude.

So for your consideration, here is what a bad Yelp review from me would look like:

Balboa Pet Hospital

If you want to give your pet unproven Chinese herbs and electric needle voodoo, then this is the place for you!!! If you want science and respect for your culture, then maybe try one of those dumb corporate vets, run by the man.

My dog hurt a leg, and was limping so I went in to just make sure everything was fine. She was clearly just limping on one leg. Our doctor came in in a homemade silk robe with pictures of animal skeletons.

How comforting.

His diagnostic procedure went like this: Your dog’s leg and neck hurts? Ok, what I’m going to do is put a ton of stress on that point until she yelps in pain. Ok she hurts there. How do I know? Because the dog is freaking out.

You know,

He then told me, “Yes, her neck is hurt. I can give her Advil as a painkiller.” Yep, that’s what I expected. (I won’t go into how the Advil cost twenty dollars, that’s just how city vets are, according to my vet school friends. Business is business.)

So fine, I’ll buy a twenty dollar Advil. Why not? Human hospitals do the same thing.

But then he turns to me and says there is an alternative! He is personally trained to administer acupuncture to dogs!

As a point in practice, try this for me.
Say the words, “Hello! I’d like to get my dog acupuncture, please!” And don’t laugh.

It’s impossible.

So let’s break it down.
To make sure my dog is hurt,
You hurt the dog.
Then you offer the solution,
Which is stabbing my dog with needles
& running electricity through them.

But wait, that’s not all. He also offered to give my dog, “Chinese herbs.”

Oh, that sounds interesting? What kind?

“A blend.” He says.

Can you speak more to that?

“There’s a lot of stuff in it.”

What kind of stuff?

“A lot of things.”

Can you tell me what it does?

“It helps me.”

Oh! Personal, unverified anecdotal evidence? My favorite! And it’s good to know you experiment on yourself too.

After prodding him a little, he couldn’t tell me what was in the herbs, or what any of the components was supposed to do. He was basically banking on the “it’s an ancient Chinese secret,” thing, which honestly may have been alright, and not weirdly racist, if I wasn’t Chinese and he wasn’t a white guy, and he wasn’t telling me how wonderful and misunderstood the medical techniques of my people were.

He showed me the bottle, and it looked like algae powder, or spirulina. Now, if he said it was algae, or spirulina or anything really in concrete English and/or Chinese even, I might let it slide, so at least I could Google something. But the label was so worn and old, I couldn’t even be sure that this was the original container. It could have been refilled countless times with whatever.

What kind of container was it? A sealed glass bottle, or perhaps something that DIDN’T look like a value sized Folger’s pre-ground coffee container? Nope. Folger’s box is good.

I really wanted to stay off yelp, so I went in a few months later to for a visit and to make a formal complaint in person. They were highly dismissive and defensive. The vet’s defense of him was, he’s an interesting guy. Kind of a hippie. He was born at Woodstock! So he’s not racist.

Cool. Not a racist,
But probably had LSD in his placenta.

I asked a vet tech (fellow Asian) if he thought it was all on the up and up. He said yes, unconvincingly, again offering unverified anecdotal evidence. I asked him if he would let Hippie Longstocking stick him with needles. He said no. The doctor wasn’t trained to do it on humans. But I was assured that Dr. Windchime Scissorhands had studied eastern medicine extensively. Which is comforting. You know, how there are doctors of ufology, and Canadians with degrees in Beatles history? He’s like that but with stabbing your dog with needles.

Interestingly enough, human acupuncture in San Francisco is a fraction of the price of dog acupuncture, and I’m thinking that’s because there is not really any competition for dog acupuncture in the area, because it’s not a real thing…

I won’t be negative though.
This place is perfect if you live in San Francisco, don’t have a car, are within walking distance, and you have an old dog who can’t walk much farther. Or maybe you’re someone who likes to experiment with your pet.

They also claimed that it is California law to have a vet give a full exam at most one month before a rabies vaccine can be given. That sounded like nonsense to me because even human doctors will forego the semantics of a routine physical if you’ve had one in the last year or six months. I did some research on the matter, and that happens to be a lie. I read the California laws on rabies while in the exam, pointed it out that the law said no such thing, and was told, “I don’t know the specific law.” Really? I do. Here’s the link.

So there’s that too. Now, what they should have said was that it was a liability issue. If they give your dog a shot without checking stuff out and it dies, then they are at fault. But to say they are bound by law is deceptive. So if you like doctors who make up laws for the protection of your pet (sorry, I mean themselves), these are the people for you.

My only suggestion for change is the name. “Balboa Pet Hospital” sounds so boring and medical. They should try to be true to themselves, and what they believe in. How about “Balboa Voodoo Shack?”

“Balboa Acupuncture For Dogs: No Really, We’re Serious”

“Balboa Center for the Misappropriation of Chinese Culture”

Or BCMCC for short.

Either way,
Five stars.


52 thoughts on “Angry Yelp Review Therapy & Other Bay Area Dumb-Dumb Decisions

  1. Love the post, but acupuncture for dogs actually does work so studies show – but yeah maybe not from this hippie guy!

  2. Sorry to hear your dog was had the interaction with Hippie Longstocking. It’s hard enough trying to cope with knowing a pet is in pain let alone seeing someone who is supposed to be knowledgeable do more harm than good to them. Hopefully your dog is energetic as ever and will be out running in the park some day when both of you see Hippie Longstocking. Then it can be time for your dog to give a little payback with some acupuncture via canine teeth… run, Hippie, run… chomp!

  3. Money and wishful thinking produce bizarre results. I’ve seen adds for courses in acupuncture for veterinarians, and I’ve seen a couple chiropractors trying to “adjust” the spine of a cow with a sledge hammer (they were hitting 2x4s they had tied to the cows back). I’d love to see somebody try aroma therapy on pigs. Given the infinite number of idiots our society produces, it will happen.

  4. San Francisco is a hotbed of belief in magic. I wasn’t aware that veterinary medicine had been invaded by the forces of woo. No, not that Woo, the other lot, as in woo-woo, juju, and such..

  5. Dr. Windchime Scissorhands is hilarious. I have had so little success with western medicine in the past decade that I have resorted to what I often call hoodoo guru voodoo, so I am glad that you also see how inane it is when a group of thinking humans get together and agree that they will believe something akin to witchcraft. Perhaps you could have contacted a pet spirit via Ouija Board while singing Koombaya with underwear on your head to the same effect. These people would have gotten along well with last night’s “Chopped” contestants, which included a vegan who believed we are all made from aliens but raised by humans and then proceeded to serve the judges eel blood, which by the way, is poisonous. Any self-respecting alien should know that.

  6. Thanks for the “like” on fractions. I just read the above. Hilarious. Even “normal” vets are unable to give good explanations. “Your dog has a virus infection. I’ll give it an antibiotic.”. “What for? “. “Just in case”. I actually got a vet to agree that antibiotics are no use in this situation. The “Yelp” method doesn’t sound too stupid, however.

  7. This was the first thing that I read this morning and it was wonderful! Not for the dog, of course, but for all of us that have tried to reason with the unreasonable. As to not sending emails in anger – good practice – but the Yelp review may just help another dog, with an owner that loves him/her, not to have to ingest mouse turds, grass, and leaves or have acupressure on a wounded leg. As to the notion that animals “get better” after any of these practices – um – if the dogs are as smart as the owners claim, perhaps they are faking wellness so as not to have their legs pulled, needles shoved into them, or given voodoo compounds again. Just saying…..

  8. I love dogs, even though I don’t have one (my wife doesn’t want to get one, even though she can imitate a dog’s voice convincingly, and likes to watch pet-related videos on YouTube), so I can imagine how unnerving it would be to have a vet you considered a quack. And it’s equally distressing that they charge so much, as if they were in cahoots with the undertaker. I don’t know about Chinese herbs, but I will say that acupuncture can be effective as a palliative, although it can also wreak temporary havoc on your hormones. Anyway, I hope your dog is feeling better. Thanks for liking my latest post.

  9. Brilliant! So, so funny. And, of course, true. who bought out the practice we take our animals to is a “holistic healer” who has speaking engagements all over and holistic herbs, acupuncture, massage, his medicinal bag. I’m not opposed to alternative medicine for people or pets as a complement to something scientific. So I’m open-minded. But this rakes in big money. He also stocks a New Age vet paper and various holistic pamphlets. There are also retreats. Sigh. It does comfort many owners, not sure about the animals. However, he is not now, nor has he ever been our vet. The elderly Polish emigrant vet who has been in the practice for years, before the other’s gospel arrived, is a traditional, excellent, old-school vet the animals love. Because he loves them, and you can see it. But I think maybe your rant is extra relevant to me and therefore even funnier. I really did laugh out loud, no cliché. Thanks so much! (btw, we live in Pittsburgh, so the word has spread : )

  10. If we had gotten connected sooner you could have avoided all this. All you had to do was have the dog wear a green hat and then a red hat alternating for 10 days and everything will be OK. I am sending this cure as a one time without fee consultation. However, these hats cost $100 each. Thanks visit my blog.

  11. Hate to say this, but when we took our dog – 11 years old and a doberman cross afghan – to the vet’s because she was limping, he told us she had spinal degeneration which could be fixed for AU$500, probably around AU$5000 today. Not only could we not afford it, we didn’t to put her through that sort of pain and stress. So I went to the vet’s at the university around the corner for her to have acupuncture. The vet said she could have 3 treatments and if they didn’t work, that was it. When the vet stuck then needles in, we had to rock our pooch as she became so sleepy. The next day her back legs gave out and I was really upset. Not so the vet who said it was a healing reaction and a good sign. We went regularly to the clinic ($20 a time) and our dog improved out of all sight and our regular vet was absolutely gobsmacked. The acupuncture vet told me they also used acupuncture to operate on cows, much cheaper without anaesthetic, and the only problem was making them chew on hay to keep them awake as they got so sleepy. Acupuncture gave our dog another 3 years of pain-free life. Having said that, the vet had trained in China and was fully qualified, no mumbo-jumbo. And no excessive fees. My husband also watched an operation in China where a woman had a tumour removed from her belly, she got acupuncture anaesthesia. She waved, clapped and laughed at the onlookers – one of my husband’s group fainted and half had to leave! I’ve watched people sneer at alternative therapies and all I can say is that an open mind is far better and healthier than blind prejudice.

  12. *laugh* I have had the craziest experiences with vets as well…too funny/sad! No idea, sometimes what goes on with them….

  13. Love our pets and they are like family for most of us. Hilarious story and hope your dog is better. As for the SF hippie vet story it’s self…well done sir.
    Lastly thanks for the like on my last post! It is always appreciated.

  14. I love what you wrote! I am all for real practitioners of alternative medicine, but there are far too many quacks out there (a fitting description for vets, I guess…). I always wanted to open a chiropractic business for pets and call it Animal Crackers. Alas, no guts, no glory. Thanks for visiting my blog – I’m so thrilled you did, because I then found out about yours. Looking forward to continued reading! ~Audrey

  15. Oh, this is hilarious! I believe in acupuncture and herbal remedies, but I also believe that if you’re going to tout it, you should at least know what it is and what it does!

  16. Yikes! Poor pup! Hope she’s not too traumatized. Crazy vet, I totally would’ve posted that on Yelp. I actually do my complaining on the Better Business Bureau, there’s an amazing comfort once you’ve let it all out in a text box and you’re about to click “send”. Then when Dish Network calls you apologizing for their terrible customer service, you get a weird kind of a high only attainable from posting complaints on the internet. Life is good.

  17. I’ve used every cure from Chinese cures and acupuncture to chiropractic and allopathic. I prefer Chiropractic for most things, but in my state a chiropractor is not allowed to work on animals.

    Try a country vet well away from the city. I have the best vet in the world and his patients include everything from horses to lizards. 🙂

  18. Like many human doctors, there are good doctors whose hands mere touch relieves pains. But there are harsh doctors too, hot tempered even, no patience and don’t know much in good dealings with patients. Glad that there are good pet doctors who understand the feelings of the owner. Maybe he has a pet too so he’s eager to ease that tension to pet patients and the owner as well.

  19. Great post. Acupuncture for dogs is a real thing, but I wouldn’t trust someone who couldn’t talk intelligently about it. Same with the herbal remedy. My daughter’s cat did great on a holistic herbal blend, but the doctor knew what she was putting in there, and could explain why and what each ingredient did. Dr. CrazyVet wouldn’t get anywhere near my pets.

  20. THIS was hands down the best post I’ve read since I starting blogging this July (2014). Wow. My weak and lame words cannot do justice to compliment this post. I am a BIG user of Yelp and love reading many of the reviews.

    As far as acupuncture for dogs … hmmm, who knew? I’ve had acupuncture … like a whole bunch over a few months. It worked great at first. Seriously. I’m a big skeptic and don’t know how the shit really and truly worked. However, towards the end of the acupuncture sessions I could not tolerate it anymore and could barely stand the needles in me for even 5 mins! It’s like I became hypersensitized and acupuncture no longer worked at all for me.

    I think it’s worth a try on your pooch, but it sounds like the “doctor” that came with it was a hokey dude — definitely makes trying new therapies for the first time a hard sell. Anyway, I see this experience made for a great post even if it wasn’t the best for your canine. 🙂

    All the best!

  21. Hahaha, reading Yelp reviews is so addicting but I only ever wrote good ones. I don’t use it anymore. It’s the single reason that I stopped being in the skincare industry. People can honestly ruin someone in the service industry’s life by writing something that they have absolutely no idea about. I had a lady say that I used “X” chemical on her daughter’s face, because her daughter had a bad reaction to the exfoliant I used. I didn’t use the chemical she claimed, and I have no idea where she got the idea that i did, as I’m sure her 17 year old daughter wouldn’t have known what it was. Anyway, I’m glad I’m out of that business. But I still relish in finding bad reviews on places I dislike.

  22. You have my sympathies for your dog, and even now I’m sending out wicked vibrational forces in the direction of that fraud you went to see. He’ll be sorry when his belly starts to gyrate like an out-of-control hula-dancer on steroids. Your writing is amazing, and now that I’m following you, I will certainly be back this way.

  23. Hi! I’ve been following your website for a while now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!

  24. Although I am extremely grateful to the chiropractor who worked on my dog when she threw her back out (and also used acupuncture on her), I really enjoyed reading your post about voodoo vets. Your spirited writing style is very humorous and made me laugh. Keep up the good writing.

  25. Ya know, replace the term voodoo vets with voodoo psychiatrists and this is my life story. I have zero doubt I am imbalanced and need meds but the whole lack of explanation…Yeah, I relate to the dog.

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