Originally Posted by Mirinae
That's pretty much it. In my customer service experience, you never let the customer know you think they're a moron, and you do your very best to work through their problem. But afterwards, if their problem was something like them not plugging in their computer in the first place, or leaving on the cat's collar when they tried to give it to the Humane Society as a found "stray," yeah, you gotta laugh about it. (Or cry. Or scream in anger.)
I think the majority of the people you deal with while working in animal shelters are well-meaning, good-intentioned folks who have fallen on hard times, or who have found themselves in over their heads, and who genuinely need help and intend to do their best by their pets or by the animals they've found. It's the ones who aren't -- the ones who surrender their pets because they don't match the decor, or the ones who claim their cats are actually strays to avoid paying a $50 surrendering fee (when they can well afford that price), or who blame the shelter workers for something that's their own damn fault -- that get absolutely no sympathy from me. If, after dealing with these kinds of people, shelter workers feel the need to vent or laugh it off, I can completely understand where they're coming from.
Obviously, I'm not going to look down my nose at people. I am, after all, pretty capable of being caring, reasonable, diplomatic, gentle and helpful for most of the day, but there's that moment you get home (or onto the computer) and you just need to let it all out. Of course if someone's declawed cat is peeing on the carpet, the FIRST thing we do is tell them to get the cat to a vet if they haven't already. If they have, for example, THEN we disclose that it's a common side effect of declawing that can often be solved by using a softer litter. This way, they get a solution, but maybe they'll also think twice about having their cats declawed. We can't blame the people who don't know the truth about the surgery...but we CAN educate them so they never do it again. There have been a handful of people who are essentially like "Ok, declawing hurts the cat. So what? They'll get over it. And if they pee on the couch, we can just have it put down and get a new one". Yes, I've heard that. You can't tell me these are people who are just begging for me to educate them. They're begging for a fight, or a challenge, or to just be jerks or something. So we just politely decline them and send them to one of the municpal shelters and hope against hope that the poor cat doesn't have any nasty side-effects.
And yes, totally serious. The lady who wanted to surrender the cat because of the decor didn't want an "animal print" theme anymore, and so the black cat wouldn't match but she "didn't want to see the poor thing get killed" so could we take it? Seriously. I didn't know it was possible to be that stupid, but evidently it is.