New Shoes & Other Stuff

I was in a meeting the other day and got a text from my husband, “A woman came to pick up her cat after surgery, and when she received her bill, she said, ‘Wow! I’m glad I get to keep Dr. Suazo’s wife in new shoes!”

I read the text out loud to my friends at the meeting, and we all had a good laugh at this woman’s expense. My friends know better. So I have a few things to say about my shoes and other stuff.

I texted my husband back, and said, “Please show her this.” shoes

These are my shoes. That I was wearing in a meeting. That I wear almost every day. They are in pretty good shape, and yes, they are Nikes, so they weren’t super cheap, but they weren’t super pricey either. And I wear the shit out of them. Literally. I step in animal poop daily and keep going until it falls off on its own. These are the kind of shoes that Dr. Suazo’s wife wears. Because Dr. Suazo’s wife also works. A lot. And I can buy my own damn shoes, thank you.

But, that part is not really important. The part we thought was really funny was that she thought that her pet’s bill keeps me in shoes. Lady, your stupid is showing. Any small business owner can tell you, it’s hard to make a living as an entrepreneur. Our overhead is high. So let’s break that down for you a little bit.

I don’t know how much this woman’s bill was, but for fun, let’s just say it was $200. Our profit-margin hovers around 12%, so the animal hospital’s net on your bill was about $24. Why is our profit-margin so low? We have a beautiful building that you enjoy coming into. We have a DVM who spent a lot of money on his education, and he happens to be extremely good at what he does. We have a very highly-skilled support team, who go above and beyond every day to exceed your expectations. We have a state-of-the-art facility and equipment to insure your pet gets the best available care. Your pet gets care that rivals what any human would get in a hospital setting. Your pet was monitored and kept comfortable during every part of his stay with us. Our entire team attends training and continuing education to insure that they are always ahead of the curve on new advances in veterinary medicine. All of this costs money.

So now we’re at $24. That would buy a pair of Nike running shoes on deep, deep discount. But that’s not what Dr. Suazo takes home. We believe that good business includes doing good. So, as a business, we tithe. We give back 15% of our net to non-profits in our community. We provide no cost and low cost services to shelters, rescues, and people who are just going through a rough patch. We give to non-profits who provide services to humans in our community too. So that takes our “shoe money” down to $20.40. That would still get a pretty decent pair of shoes. . . at a thrift shop. . . but. . .

Before I buy shoes, we have to provide food and shelter for my family. We have other non-luxury needs that come first. If you know us, we live a very comfortable, but relatively modest lifestyle. We bought our house fifteen years ago and paid $107,000 for it. We will live here the rest of our lives. Both of our cars have over 100,000 miles on them. (Our kids have nicer cars than we do, but grandparents and good bargaining skills came into play there.) We have one kid in college at Texas A&M and we have one kid going to University of Texas next year. That’s a BIG expense that comes before shoes.

And then there are our own pets. They take priority over shoes. We care for a dozen cats and half a dozen dogs in our family, and that doesn’t include the fosters. They all get premium quality food, monthly flea and heart worm preventative, and lots of nice beds and toys. These all take priority over shoes.

Not to say that I don’t have some nice shoes or that our family doesn’t enjoy some indulgences at times, but lady, YOU didn’t buy them for me. So next time you pay your vet bill, think before you speak. A lot goes into what happened to your pet at the hospital, and I hope that you chose your veterinarian based upon the quality of care and service that you received. So if you don’t want to pay for high quality care and service, go somewhere else. There are plenty of Kristin Lindsey’s in the world who would love to take care of your cat. But if you chose a veterinary hospital because you expect compassionate quality care for your pet, then pay your bill, and say, Thank you. Have a nice day.”