RANT – VCA West Seattle Animal Hospital

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    My name is Joe Crevling and I am the owner of Camp Crockett Dog Day Camp. I am writing this to get some things off my chest, a rant, if you will. I have to write this because if I talk I will start yelling because I simply can’t register the last 24hrs.
    Last night, November 28 there was a terrible accident outside of our West Seattle location. As one of our campers was leaving and heading to their car he was able to get away from dad by slipping out of his collar. The pup immediately ran into the street and was struck by a car. A member of our staff was outside taking her break and saw the accident, she jumped into action and got another employee and they got the pup out of street and into our grooming area. They were able to do a nose to tail inspection, found the pulse, cleared the pups tongue from his airway (the pup had a severely broken jaw but started breathing directly after the airway was clear.), and preformed basic first aid to help control the external bleeding. There were several other pet parents in our lobby and everyone rushed to see how they could help. I believe this is a normal response from anyone who truly loves animals. Do to the severity of the injuries this dog needed to be seen by a vet NOW, not 15min, NOW. This is where the story takes a horrible turn. We found the closest animal hospital which was VCA West Seattle Hospital and about 10min away. The dads’ phone wasn’t working properly and he was in a state of shock. We gave him directions to VCA, he left right way. Our manager called VCA to give them a heads up of what was coming in and the receptionist was about as cold and rude as you can be. She said that he couldn’t come in because they weren’t an emergency clinic and that they only had one doctor on staff. Again, the dads’ phone wasn’t working properly so when we tried to call him back it would go straight to voice mail. So, when the dad got there with his dying dog VCA did NOTHING! They told him to go to Blue Pearl in Renton during rush hour traffic 40min away. (The dad had no GPS, he’s in a state of shock and they give him written directions.) This is the part that ticks me off – I can understand that VCA is not an Emergency Hospital, but I thought that there was at least an ethical obligation, a Hippocratic Oath to help an animal in severe distress and fighting for its life. They didn’t even see the dog! I don’t believe that at a Veterinary HOSPITAL that there wasn’t anything that they could do. At the absolute least, see the dog, change the basic bandages that my employees applied, try to stabilize the dog for transport and give the hospital that you do recommend a call to let the Vets there know that you are on the way and they can be immediately get him in for surgery. VCA West Seattle Animal Hospital did NONE of this! The dad gave us a call to let us know that they turned him away and that VCA recommended Blue Pearl 40min away. Our manager let him know that South Seattle Vet Hospital was only 20min away in Burien. Again, the dads’ phone wasn’t working properly effecting his GPS, so through many phone calls my wife was able to get him directions to South Seattle Vet and the pup went into surgery and made it through the night. I gave VCA West Seattle Animal Hospital a call this morning to talk to a manager about the receptionists (incredibly rude) and the Vets table side manner. The manager stuck to their POLICY that they aren’t an Emergency Hospital and had the gall to say that if anything happened to the dog it was our fault for wasting precious minutes by having them come there first.
    In conclusion, Camp Crockett is no longer supporting any VCA facility. They have shown themselves in this instance not to have an animal’s best welfare in mind. Not only did they turn away a critically injured dog, they didn’t even recommend the closest hospital, they recommended one of their corporate partners. This is a corporation with policies, not a friendly clinic with care and compassion. How can you be a Vet and see a dog in this kind pain and do nothing? Like, ABSOLUTLY NOTHING!!! This place has POLICIES not ETHICS.
    Also, I would like to thank everyone from my staff, to bystanders and pet parents that all did anything and everything they could to help. I’m so happy to know that we have such incredible and caring people in our Camp Crockett family. Our thoughts go out to Arrow and his family and wish for a full recovery.
    Thanks for reading. RANT OVER
    Joe Crevling
    Owner, Camp Crockett



    Yes KUDO’S to South Seattle Vet in the Top Hat area, I had an injured neighbors cat and my regular vet could not take her in and they told me to go to Pearl WHICH I CHOSE NOT TO SINCE IT IS SO FAR AWAY but I called around and found SSV and they had no hesitation taking me and the cat even though I had never been there before in my life!

    I hope Arrow pulls threw and shame on you VCA of WS!



    Unethical, to say the least. I don’t see this as being any different from a critical human accident happening in front of a medical office, and the staff refusing to provide even minimal medical attention because they are not an ER. The difference. of course, is that an ambulance could probably arrive pretty quickly in the case of a human accident. It would be great if there were the equivalent for pets. I’m not a vet, but I would do anything humanly possible to help any animal in distress. I can’t imagine turning away a seriously injured animal, regardless of ANY policy.



    I am saddened to hear that VCA West Seattle still sucks. About 2 years ago I found an injured dog roaming the streets. I took the pup to VCA West Seattle which happened to be close to where I was. They checked the microchip, called the owner and left a message but REFUSED to see the injured dog unless I agreed to put a credit card down for the cost. The dog was bleeding all over their floors and they literally offered me a simple bowl of water for him to drink. That’s it. They were rude, and cold, and didn’t give a poo about the dog. However, as SOON as they received a credit card that their attitudes changed…they started calling the dog by his name, all of a sudden he was “poor baby”, it was downright disgusting to me that they didn’t seem to have the pet’s best interest in mind. Since then I have had nothing but disdain for VCA West Seattle, refuse to take an animal there and have advised others to do the same.



    Thanks for posting, Joe, so we know where NOT to take our beloved animals particularly in times of distress. Prayers for Arrow and hoping for a happy update! Shame on you VCA!



    VCA is the worst! They had no problem taking my money and recommending expensive and unnecessary tests/treatments, etc when my dog was healthy but when my dog had ripped out her fur and was bloody from hotspots I was told that there is nothing that can be done and that we would just have to deal with it. I asked about allergies, diet, etc and was told “no, just deal with it”. I didn’t know any better so we suffered and “dealt with it” but a friend saw my dog and said that I needed a new vet. Went to West Seattle Animal Hospital, got antibiotics and steroids and the hotspots cleared right up.

    Fingers crossed for Arrow’s recovery!


    Michael Waldo

    We have taken our cats to VCA for 10 years. Never had a bad experience. The vets there are very kind to our fur babies. They helped us deliver palliative care when one of our cats had kidney failure. When we took him in to be put to sleep, they were kind and compassionate. Allowed us all the time we needed to grieve and cry in the exam room. VCA is not an emergency clinic. I agree it was wrong for them not to direct you to the nearest emergency vet clinic on 1st ave. There may be liabilities issues with treating an injured animal at a non-emergency clinic. Plus in this rant we are only hearing one side of the story.



    Im glad youve had a great experience. But if want to hear it from the Dad himself we shared this post to our FB page. Just look up Camp Crockett. I do want to mention one thing, I called several vet clinics around Seattle and Burien and asked them what they would do. Every single one said that they would triage and stabilize him. EVERY ONE!!! According to the American Veterinary Medical Association they have a Hippocratic Oath to provide care.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by WSCamper.


    I wish Arrow a speedy recovery–pets are our part of our family and it’s always heartbreaking when they are ill or injured.

    I adore the staff and our vet at VCA West Seattle. We’ve received fantastic care under regular visits, under tragic circumstances (the sudden loss of our cat), and also great urgent care (even when we couldn’t receive treatment there). They provided referrals to both SVS/Blue Pearl and small, independent clinics when necessary. I have friends who are also extremely happy to be clients there. I was hesitant because it’s a bit “corporate”, but I would follow our vet because we’re so pleased with the care our family has received.

    I’d love to hear a response from VCA, hear their story of how everything unfolded and what why. There are (at least) two sides to every story.

    Arrow and family are in my thoughts.



    Dear WSCamper, Arrow’s Dad and others that care about animals: I am so glad to know what to expect if I would need emergency services for either of my pets. I am not EVER likely to go to or recommend VCA to Anyone. I have, however, a recommendation for West Seattle Animal Hospital which was recommended by a friend who had great service there for years. I took both of my pets there and had GREAT care from nice Staff and terrific Vets. I can highly recommend Dr. Johnson as one of the best Vets I have ever had–and I have had great service from two other Vets there. SHAME ON VCA! Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Arrow…



    I’m so sorry that this happened. I don’t have to imagine the kind of stress that was involved, as I’ve unfortunately witnessed far too many dogs and cats getting hit by cars — the memories are real.

    I do want to add that I was a bit taken aback by one element of Joe’s account — “We found the closest animal hospital which was VCA West Seattle Hospital”. Wouldn’t a facility whose job it is to care for (dozens?) of dogs every day have the nearest vet on speed-dial? And hopefully have pre-existing, well-nurtured relationships with such a practice in the event that something of an emergent nature happened?

    If not, surely someone on staff should have strongly recommended the nearest *actual* animal hospital (specializing in trauma, open odd hours, etc.) instead of VCA (especially since it sounds like neither Camp Crockett nor the dog’s owner had an existing relationship with VCA)? It’s great that the manager recommended South Seattle Animal Hospital, but that really should have been the first choice, not VCA. As other animal lovers can attest, it’s often not the closest facility, but the one most equipped to quickly address the problem. Emergency animal hospitals have well established triage protocols and often use much more sophisticated interventions.

    Obviously, the dog’s owner can make their own decisions, but I would have hoped that the Camp Crockett folks could have counseled him more clearly and with greater experience during this terribly stressful situation.

    That said, I remain terribly sorry for all involved and am certain that the Camp Crockett folks did the very best they could at the time. Just a plea to, perhaps, work on the education and relationship-building (with nearby veterinarians), in the event that something similar happens in the future.



    I have been a surveyor of the West Seattle blog for a couple years, but have not felt it necessary to comment on any article or forum post until I was informed of this one. It is absolutely negligent and revolting that Camp Crockett, who are daily charged with nurturing and caring for the animals of West Seattle residents, do not have the basic understanding between a general practitioner veterinary practice and an emergency vet (further, i follows that they don’t seem to realize the difference between a minor ailment and a serious emergency). Just imagine, if you will, that you had a medical emergency, say your toe was cut off, and were sent by a trusted caretaker to a general practitioner. That practitioner would surely be sympathetic, but would be required to direct you to an emergency room because they don’t have the facilities and day-to-day knowledge to help you. You lose time gong to the general practitioner, and when you arrive at the ER they tell you it has been too long and there is nothing they can do to attach the toe. Who would you hold accountable, the ER, the general practitioner, or the person you entrusted to provide you with accurate medical advice?

    I worked in animal rescue for a time, and I can assure you that our rescue and all the vet clinics we ever had connection to were well informed what the emergency clinics were in the Seattle area, because for our staff and those of vet clinics such as VCA it meant so much more to see the animals in pain, and have the responsibility for their medical care. That’s an emotional roller coaster most owners, kennels, and day cares never have to experience.

    I admit, I have no needed to make use of Camp Crockett’s services, and until now had only heard one review of the business, which was positive. However, now I feel it necessary to share my knowledge with the West Seattle blog community because I cannot imagine trusting either of my dogs to a facility that does not have the basic knowledge and procedure in place to ensure that my animals are connected quickly to the appropriate medical services should they need it.

    In addition to their own shortcomings in knowledge of animal medical care I am appalled that Camp Crockett is laying the blame on transportation to said emergency care on VCA. They call out VCA for sending the owners to another facility, but if Camp Crockett was accurately informed they would have sent the owner in the proper direction from the beginning, saving valuable time and resources. To lay that blame on anyone else is simply accusatory laying the blame.

    As I already touched on, general veterinary practice clinics like VCA and others that we take our pets to for shots and checkups are NOT equipped for emergency services. Period. They could theoretically be able to stop some bleeding, but they do not have the equipment or day-to-day experience to be able to complete the emergency care required. Anyone with a bit of sense in the animal care field knows this. That’s also why every one of the general practice clinics that you go to has a sign recommending emergency clinics for emergency care and 24/7 services. Further, with their expertise I can assure you that emergency care facilities prefer to handle the whole process themselves, so that there is not added work and lost time trying to investigate and fix any potential mistakes a general practice vet may have made. As I posited at the beginning, in a similar situation with human care you would NEVER rely on general practice for an emergency. It is common knowledge, and therefore negligence on the part of Camp Crockett to not understand that.

    In sum, it is outright negligence on the part of Camp Crockett to not understand the differences in animal medical care services and to have sent the owner away from those necessary emergency services. It is also callous and shameful of them to lay the potential blame on the VCA facility, which should not have been involved in any capacity. I can’t imagine someone coming back to blame me for the loss of an animals life just because I could not provide the necessary care, and instead sent them to the person who could. I imagine that must feel terrible, don’t you?

    If I were the owners I would gather up the medical and transportation costs for the animal’s care and take Camp Crockett to court for negligence. I would even have to add in some additional damages for emotional distress. I can’t speak for the owner, but I can’t imagine how it would feel to know someone I entrusted with my animals care was not knowledgeable enough that they may have cost my animal their life? Can you?

    Camp Crockett is supposed to be a staple of this community, as evidenced by their sponsorship of this blog and accompanying ads/banners. However, I can’t see how they should be considered a caring, informed guardian of our animals and our community with such a clearly uninformed, blaming, and retaliatory response for an incident they should be apologizing for. Personally, if I were running the blog I would consider rejecting them as a sponsor. You have to earn your spot as a pillar of this community, and it is clear from this post that they have lost that credibility.



    After following this story on both the West Seattle Blog and Facebook, I would agree that Camp Crockett should have know where to send their client with their injured dog. Times like these are very stressful for all involved and being prepared with accurate information can save precious time. I don’t think blaming VCA is in any way appropriate or fair. Hopefully this unfortunate accident has brought attention to the fact that many veterinarian offices are not equipped for serious emergencies or trauma and as pet owners we should know who is and where they’re located before we need them. I certainly hope Arrow makes a full recovery.


    dee kalani

    First of all ,I hope that Arrow recovers along with his family. I agree that Camp Crocket should have all local veterinarian and emergency clinic numbers available and posted !! For the prices they charge and with all the technology available it would be good customer service to also have live cameras available for customers to view their dogs activity from a app while their dog is there so that the customers can decide if this place is safe and dedicated to the care of their dog and to also know what state of mind your dog is in when you pick them up. Didn’t want to take away from the seriuous situation at hand, just wanted to include that in my post.




    Just got off the phone with a reporter from the Seattle Times. Hopefully they look into this story.



    There is no story, though. You and your staff didn’t provide appropriate information as to where to obtain emergency care for serious wounds and, instead of offering a mea culpa and ameliorating these issues you’re choosing to blame a business that doesn’t offer those services and, had the VCA staff intervened, it would’ve delayed the care that Arrow required.

    Your rage about this is misplaced. If you want someone to blame, look in the mirror.



    I am a primary care provider and while we don’t provide emergency services, we are all trained healthcare providers in my clinic who can triage, bandage and then call 911 or emergency services. I’m going to have to agree with the OP that the lack of action on VCAs part was wrong, giving the animal any kind of attention until the appropriate destination could be decided would have been helping the overall issue at hand–at some point it’s not about the reimbursement and the money, if you’re truly a compassionate healthcare worker whether it’s of humans or animals and you see someone in danger you act, that’s plain and simple.



    @Greystreet: Have you ever seen an ambulance stop at a clinic to comfort the patient on their way to the ER? no, you haven’t. The focus is getting the victim to the people and facilities that can provide to appropriate treatment. Based on your references to 911 and to yourself as being a PCP I presume that you treat people.



    I would expect a professional pet care organization to reliably know where the nearest available emergency service is. What if something had happened while a pet is in their care?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by scott.


    Perhaps VCA West Seattle Veterinary Hospital should consider a name change, say VCA West Seattle Veterinary Clinic? The very presence of ‘Hospital’ in their name implies to the casual observer that they are equipped to handle emergencies. When people have need of emergency services they go to a hospital.

    West Seattle Animal Hospital does handle emergency visits – performs surgery, etc.. They do so with caring and compassion for both pet and their humans.

    What I get from reading this thread is that the complaint isn’t that they were unable to treat, but that they were cold and uncaring in their communication. Perhaps just as Crocket should have a list of emergency vets, so should they. What if both organizations had a print out readily available with driving directions to the nearest emergency services.

    Given that they are licensed to provide some basic level of care – it does seem that they could have handled the situation better.



    Yes Mark, I treat humans. However, again, I can triage (assess the severity of the situation) and get them to the right place. I agree with Franci, calling oneself a “Hospital” is a misnomer if they can’t treat an emergency situation or even assess it because of its proximity and get them to the correct place in time. You’d be surprised at the number of humans who go to a clinic and end up being sent to a hospital, but that was only after an assessment was performed and any care that was able to be rendered was done. I see your argument and sass and I raise you a common sense of “If you can, you should”.



    According to what the OP wrote, VCA provided them with with a referral and written directions to an emergency facility.
    That said, we can’t assume what the OP wrote is entirely true. Emotions were understandably running high when that was posted, and we still haven’t heard from the OP except to say he’s raising funds for potential vet bills and is still trying to disparage VCA, without taking any responsibility for the lack of an emergency plan or knowledge of local veterinary and emergency services. That’s a red flag.
    Both of my petsitters provided me with emergency protocols before I hired them. I would expect Camp Crockett to have this on hand for their pack as well. The nearest 24/7 pet emergency hospital is about 10-14 minutes south from Camp Crockett–where the pup ended up receiving care. The side trip wouldn’t have happened if Camp Crockett had a plan for emergencies for their pack members and families.

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