Saturday, December 15, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Coworker: So...Mrs Smith called, she's coming in tomorrow on ER. Dog has vomiting, lethargic, and a loose stool. She can't come in tomorrow for an appoint because it's packed. The schedule is packed!
Me: I bet she wishes the same could be said of her dog's stool.
Take, for example, this familiar scene from an ER visit. The client has handed over paperwork, and Fluffy has been taken to the back.
Me: Ma'am? About how old is Fluffy?
Her: We don't really know.
Me: Do you have an idea, roughly?
Her: He's a RESCUE dog. Our vet said between seven and nine years old.
Them: Zumba....she's a rescue dog.
I guess it's not difficult to figure out why people do this.
First off, they may be trying to make conversation, maybe hoping for the following:
Me: Oh, a rescue dog? Fascinating! Do tell me the particulars, as I am doing absolutely nothing else at this time!
Them: Well, it all started one day in the ghettos of Auburn (Does Auburn even have ghettos?)...
Possibly, this is their reasoning:
Ohmygawd I'd better tell them it's a rescue dog, otherwise, they'll think that *I'm* the reason he has a broken leg and an oozing contusion on his rump when that's not the case. I FOUND him like that, and they'll think I'm a horrible person if I don't clear that up right away!
Don't worry. We don't judge.
Honestly though? Most of the time? I think this is what they're looking for:
Me: Oh, a rescue dog? You rescued this poor unfortunate? Good for you! You must be a fantastic person, full of goodness and rainbows! You deserve an award of some type!
I realize that I may be simplifying or putting things way over the top, but attend:
There are reasons people actually rescue dogs (and cats), and those are perfectly valid. What I want to know is the motivations for mentioning it constantly for no discernible reason.
Me: Do you have pets?
Them: Yes! Our poodle, Stevie. He's a rescue dog.
Why did you add that? The dog is still just as rescued without you telling the world that you did it, and in my field, everyone can claim to have a rescue dog. Lets pull the definition of rescue, shall we?
1) To free from confinement, danger, or evil.
Hmmm. Okay. This one makes sense. At the pound in danger of being euthanized works. Moving on.
2) To take (as prisoner) forcibly from custody.
This could be stealing your neighbor's dog. Look! Here's Fifi, our new cockapoo!
Them: Hey! But that's our dog!
Them: We rescued him....
3) To recover (as a prize) by force.
You just finished winning the "Greenest lawn in a drought, by golly" contest, and have decided that your prize is the loser's Brittany Spaniel. Good luck convincing the Home Owner's Association of the spoils of war there.
4) To deliver (as a place under siege) by armed force.
This just goes to show that a "rescue" dog can be saved or wrested with the help of canons and land mines from anyone you feel is undeserving. Your mother-in-law. Those neighborhood kids who never fessed up to denting your car with that baseball.
So go forth, rescuers! Go forth and rescue dogs! For how else to make yourself feel good this holiday season but to obtain an animal and then announce to the world your good deeds....
You can stop now.
I mean it.
I need a raise.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
2: My poor little _________ (dog breed) is TREMBLing! Not like normal. I think something’s WRONG.
3: My __________ (dog breed) has back problems and can hardly walk. I think he needs and MRI.
4: My dog was attacked by a ________(dog breed) at a _______(location).
5: My __________(dog breed) is vomiting and has diarrhea. I have no money; what can I do?
6: My dog is so lethargic, I can’t wake him up! He just lays there, trembles, and pees himself. What could possibly be wrong?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Found this and realized I hadn't posted it yet.
I give you my most recent court observation write-up!
Picking a floor at random, I stroll down the hall hoping to catch whiffs of interesting legal material. Outside of Department 28, a uniformed police officer sits conversing with a suited man. Both direct me to a preliminary trial going on inside that they will be testifying in. Score! I settle into my plush chair and wait for the games to begin.
I enjoy coming into a case cold – half the fun is figuring out what happened. First thing I notice is that the witnesses had obviously never seen a court show in their lives to know what the deal is as far as the swearing in process. Very similar to depo introductions, the lawyers counsel the witness on the fact that the court reporter cannot take down uh-huhs and hu-uhs…which the court reporter promptly takes down for the record. I find it interesting that the lawyers made a point of finding out that the child (14) understood the difference between the truth and a lie, but such conversation is never had with adults. I’m thinking some adults could use it.
Seeing/hearing that the witness seemed to lack adequate vocal chords for a room of that size, Prosecution asks that the microphone be turned on. Before he is done with the second syllable, Madame Court Reporter is in action. I’m sure she has been waiting for the chance.
Witness is asked if he recognizes someone in the room. I realize that it might be like that in all cases we hear in class…there is only one person in the room besides counsel, clerk, et cetera. How awkward t’would be if the witness recognizes someone they weren’t supposed to!
The witness continues shyly and inaudibly answering questions, hesitating before each “yes” or “no” and I’m thinking that this sounds easy. I pull my air writer out and throw down a few practice strokes. Piece of cake. I’m confused, though, because presumably, the kid had been asked these questions before, yet he seemed to be hearing them for the first time now. Prosecution pulls out his phone while hurriedly saying, “Your Honor, just using the phone for the calendar.” Well played, well played.
I lean forward with anticipation as the story begins to become clear. We have John and Jane. Jane has two kids from a previous relationship (Son 1 and Son 2). John gets together with Jane and they live at Jane’s parents and subsequently produce offspring (Son 3 and Baby). They then move to a house to themselves. Our alleged altercation begins when, around1:30am, John comes in and wakes up Son 1 and 2 to “help clean” the kitchen. His demeanor? “Acting dumb and complaining.”
Prosecution tries to extract the story, but Son 2 doesn’t seem to remember ANY of the events that night…except for the fact that it involved sitting on the couch at some point. Thereafter, the police report states that Son 2 alleged the night in question that the John was pacing and yelling (and acting dumb) about their lack of respect and that Son 2 was “the weak one.” Son 2 then says to back off of the family. John subsequently takes a kitchen knife and holds it to Son 2’s neck and says he will kill them all. There is a scuffle, Son 2 escapes out the door into the street, followed by a large pot thrown by John which subsequently shatters in the street.
Areas of contention seem to be the ownership of the knife recovered by police at the scene. None of the witnesses recognize the knife in question as even coming from their kitchen. Photograph exhibits showing red scratches and marks alleged at the time to have been caused by the knife were from a “skating accident.”
DEFENSE: You told him to sit down. Was he standing up or sitting down?
WITNESS: I don’t remember.
Q: was he walking around?
A: I don’t remember.
Q: Would you tell someone who was sitting down to sit down?
A: I don’t know.
Q: When you walked out the door, did you take a frying pan with you?
Q: Do you normally walk out of the house with a frying pan?
Q: So you would remember if you had?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Did the defendant throw a frying pan at you?
Q: Do you remember telling the officers that your step-dad was swinging a knife around in the air yelling, “I’m going to kill you all!”?
I think that Prosecution is getting a little miffed with the witness, and I know for certain when he says:
Q: Do you routinely come up with stories to get people arrested?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Do you normally spend time making up stories to get the police involved?
A: I don’t remember….
When the next witness is called (Jane), I really wonder if there is TV in the house to familiarize the witnesses with the swearing in process. At least Jane seems to want to answer the questions. Too bad she doesn’t remember anything about the night in question except for what John didn’t do and that she and the offspring sat around while she coached them with a story to get John arrested…the details of which are hazy at best.
A: I don’t remember anything that happened that night.
Q: You don’t remember anything from that night?
A: Well, I remember some, but not very much.
Q: You were awake when you woke them up, correct?
Well, if she hadn’t been, that would answer a lot of questions.
The story appearing to be the one that the witnesses want to spin (possibly with help from the defendant) is that Son 2 got into a physical altercation with the John in the same period of time that he, Son 2, had a case open in court. To avoid getting slapped into Juvie, he fabricated a story about John that was convincing enough that two police officers showed up in court and lied their heads off about how realistic it was.
The bench really heats up when the suited police officer was asked about things that Son 2 had told uniformed police officer (still in the hallway). Defense didn’t like that one bit and put on his objecting pants.
DFNS: Hearsay within hearsay under 115.
DFNS: Your Honor, that’s TWO LAYERS of hearsay!
PRSC: It was in the police report, Your Honor. Under 115.
His Honor decides to break for lunch, as it is noon. Both lawyers, having heard I am there for observing, approach me and ask if I have any questions (to my surprise). I clarify what 115* is and Defense tells me that he still didn’t think it should be allowed. Prosecutions confides to both of us that he didn’t think it should either and that he was surprised it worked. When Defense walks off, Prosecution asks me if I think the defendant is guilty.
“Well,” I say, “I doubt it went down exactly like the kid originally said it did, but something happened, and it’s not what they’re saying.”
He gives a shark grin. “They’re all lying right now. It’ll go to trial.”
Conclusion: Domestic abuse cases must be really frustrating for the lawyers and the judge.
*115 has to do with hearsay rules and that police officers are allowed to recount things other officers have said, like a verbal report or something.
Friday, March 2, 2012