Emergency Pet Hospital
by Eric Marion
There are cat people and there are dog people. I’m a little of both but a lot of the first. Three cats, one parent. My big baby was born in 2000. I adopted him from a shelter in Boston. I was perusing the cages wistfully imagining myself as a cat owner when I came upon a cage blocked by a huge cardboard sign reading “DANGROUS. DO NOT TOUCH THIS CAT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!”
Ooof. Must be a real tiger. I started pass over to the cage when a small grey paw reached from behind the cardboard and snagged my wool sweater (my rather expensive wool sweater). That paw snagged me and hasn’t’ let go after 13 years. Turns out the cat attached to that paw had upper respiratory syndrome, a common but easily transmitted feline virus. The warning was in place for the protection of the other cats in the shelter.
Mr. Kitty was with me when my dad visited, and comforted me when the call came that dad had died. Dad used to call him “dawg” because of Mr. Kitty’s obedient, humble nature. Mr. Kitty was with me when my grandfather and grandmother visited – traveling from Virginia to Boston was a once in a lifetime experience for them. Mr. Kitty instinctively knew something was wrong when I received the news that ‘papaw’ had passed on, and that ‘granny’ followed him three days later.
Mr. Kitty followed me to Providence, RI, and later to San Juan. That was a singularly difficult trip. Cramping Mr. Kitty’s 16 pounds into a carrier was a fete. (Mr. Kitty has insisted on being well fed over the years).
When I noticed last week that Mr. Kitty was dropping small bits of pee pee around the apartment, I assumed he was marking his territory against the new kitten that had found its way into my home Mr. Kitty’s home. When Mr. Kitty started spending long periods at the litterbox, I knew something was wrong. I googled the symptoms, and learned that Mr. Kitty had signs of urinary tract infection. A disease that is fatal if not treated immediately.
It was a Saturday during one of Puerto Rico’s many (many, many, many) holidays. Nothing would be open. I remembered that I had listed a 24 hour pet emergency location when developing La Bochinchosa. I located the information and called the number. The receptionist advised me to do what I already knew – bring in Mr. Kitty immediately.
I looked into those wide gold eyes and told Mr. Kitty to ‘hang in’. I arrived at the hospital not know what to expect. Would this be a dirty cramped hovel, an impersonal large office space? Would I be price-gouged in my moment of need?
The 24 hour pet vet at 270-A Avenida Pinero, Rio Piedras-(787) 751-3737, (787) 758-4624 was an inviting (and surprisingly busy) establishment. The hard-working staff was making inroads into pet treatment at the very odd hour of 6 pm on a Saturday night (during a long weekend). Aware of the emergency, Mr. Kitty was immediately examined by a vet, and then admitted within 45 minutes. He received a life-saving medical procedure within an hour and a half of arrival. And the damages were only $276. Turns out that the ‘emergency’ hospital visit fee is $39. (In Ocean Park, the vet charges $35 for regular visiting hours). The fees and costs were amazingly low – about half what I would have incurred in Boston.
The vet, assistants, and receptionist were warm, informative, and compassionate. I admit to breaking down a couple of times. I am not emotional by nature, but Mr.Kitty still has a grey paw snagged deep into my heart.
My ‘babies’ now have a health care provider. The 24 hour pet vet is their go-to for check ups and vaccines. I have been through a half dozen vets across the eastern U.S. I’ve seen good ones, and not-so-good ones. The 24 emergency pet hospital ranks in the top echelon.
If you are only visiting Puerto Rico, but especially if you are resident, there is a safe place to bring your puppy or kitty cat. From personal experience, and with the upmost respect. I give the Rio Piedras Pet Veterinarian at 270 Avenida Pinero a solid A+ five star rating.