This actually happened. A man took his dog, named Woofie, to a pet hospital because of an acute stomach disorder. The man was distraught. Woofie was 12 years old and had been this man’s lone companion through his declining years.
He was so attached to the dog that when he got home the name of the pet hospital slipped his mind and he wound up calling General Hospital instead. The conversation went something like this.
Man: Hello, can you tell me how Woofie is?
Operator: Certainly sir, can you tell me what room he’s in and what his full name is.
Man: What do you mean his full name? His name is Woofie.
Operator: Sir, we need more than the patient’s nickname. We need his full name to enable us to tell you his condition.
Man: That is his full name. His name is Woofie. Please, can’t you help me? Just tell me how Woofie is.
Operator: We’ll need a last name. Sir, what is your last name?
Man: My name is Smith -- Dan Smith.
Operator: That’s a good start, Mr. Smith. Let me check my records for incoming patients. Smith, Smith. We have an Abner Smith. Is that the patient you’re referring to?
Man: No, his name is Woofie.
Operator: Woofie Smith let me see. Sir, we don’t have any record of a Woofie Smith having been admitted. What was the nature of the illness?
Man: He started throwing up. He couldn’t handle the food in his bowl. He was whimpering badly and I had to bring him in.
Operator: A stomach disorder. Was he able to walk in on his own or did he need a wheel chair.
Man: A wheel chair? Woofie doesn’t use a wheel chair. I carried him in.
Operator: That’s very courageous of you, sir, for cradling the patient in your arms. Did you bring him into the emergency room?
Man: You don’t have an emergency room. But when the doctor saw the condition Woofie was in, he took him in immediately.
Operator: Was Woofie able to tell the doctors what was ailing him when you brought him in?
Man: Of course not. I had to do it for him.
Operator: Do you mean that Woofie is unable to speak? Perhaps his disorder was more complicated than just a stomach disorder.
Man: Woofie was whimpering and didn’t have the strength to bark.
Operator: But was he able to put sentences together?
Man: Madame, whatever are you talking about? The most Woofie can do is stand on his hind legs and lick my face.
Operator: Sir, this is no time to be humorous. I would think you’d be somewhat more serious about the condition of the person you brought in.
Man: What do you mean serious? Woofie means everything to me. Can’t you just find out for me how he is? That’s all I want to know.
Operator: But I’ve checked our records and no Woofie Smith was admitted today.
Man: What are you talking about? I brought Woofie in myself. I carried him in. Don’t tell me you’ve lost Woofie.
Operator: I think I need to put my supervisor on the phone.
As you can imagine, a huge mix up and communications glitch was deep in the works. The supervisor was able to determine in short order that Woofie was a dog and helped Woofie’s owner reach the right facility.
Woofie did recover and he and Mr. Smith lived happily ever after.