It was a very sad Sunday ..
I came down the stairs to let our four legged one, Mr Bing out and I couldn’t believe it when I found him lying there, half on and half off his bed in the kitchen.
It was obvious that our 13 year old precious dog had passed away during the night unexpectedly and the moment we always dreaded had arrived – he was gone.
I had the awful job of telling Dee and then we had the even more awful job of figuring out what do to next. I had no idea as I was never in that situation before.
Outside the rain poured down and I briefly imagined that we would have to bury him in the garden – is that what you did? I had no idea.
In between the tears and the upset we managed to gather ourselves and call the local vet. We were the worst customers ever as Bing had only ever been there twice (just as well as he hated the vet!) – he was the most convenient dog ever, including picking a Sunday to wave goodbye to us!
The vet had a ‘for emergency use only‘ number and within seconds I found myself explaining our situation to the kind voice at the other side of the phone.
“I’m so sorry to hear your news, you must be very upset. I will be at the veterinary surgery at 11 if you want to bring him over. Don’t worry we will take good care of him”
He immediately settled us down and now we had the very upsetting job of carrying Bing from the house for the last time and into the car to make our way to the vet surgery in Togher.
Poor Dee was inconsolable as we drove to the vets. When we arrived there I went inside and was greeted by the loveliest and gentlest person, a girl called Karen.
“I am so sorry” she said . “Let me open up the door at the back and I’ll help you bring him in” . This gentle woman helped me carry in our precious Bing and she covered him respectfully in a blanket.
As I went through the details with Karen I realised that I had to bring Dee in to figure out some of the options about cremation and what we wanted to do with his ashes. Karen realised how upset Dee was but we managed to get through the arrangements before saying goodbye to Mr Bing for the last time.
Dee wanted to put our own blanket on Bing, which we did. “Don’t worry , I’ll take good care of Bing until he is collected next Friday” Karen reassured us.
Before we knew it we were on the way home with empty hearts and plenty of tears but Karen made this horrible experience so much better.
She could not have been better, she fully understood how upset we were and she was absolutely perfect with us. She emotionally attuned to us and delicately went about the job that had to be done efficiently and professionally.
Our scenario was a very obvious emotional situation and she read it and attuned to it.
Not all emotional situations are as obvious as this one: I can’t afford to pay, the last customer caught us, the last work was shoddy, someone is sick in the family, I’m not well in myself, I’m worried about my kids or something bad has happened on my way here…it could be anything that has you in that emotional state.
The emotionally attuned person might pick up on this and flex accordingly but unfortunately many won’t do this even when the situation is very obvious. We are all too familiar with these situations “I’m sorry but there is nothing that I can do” might sound familiar! This is when it is too easy for someone to say the wrong thing and upset the situation, which could easily lead to it spiralling out of control.
The next time you are dealing with a customer try to emotionally attune and if you are the customer assume the person serving you is not a mind reader and do your best so they can understand your state of mind. We can all do better if we understand how the other person is feeling.
A huge thank you to Karen from Abbeyville Vetinary – you were absolutely brilliant with us and as for Mr Bing, we will always miss you xx