Kelsey Beth Carpenter is a registered vet technician who posts some of the strange, hilarious, and quirky comments she overhears at work to social media. She calls the series “Things Heard At An Animal Hospital” (or THAAAH, as it’s more snappily known). To give you an example of the sorts of peculiar things that might crop up in conversation, one nameless dog owner was heard to remark, “My dog doesn’t have fleas, we live in a gated community.”
Kelsey took a break from curating comments to talk about the origins of THAAAH, her take on animal hospital humor, and her sideline of writing and performing canine-themed tunes like “Crazy Dog Lady” and “Flea Prevention.”
Dogster: What inspired you to start Things Heard At An Animal Hospital?
Kelsey Beth Carpenter: Working in an animal hospital, there is never a dull moment — and those moments are especially hilarious when taken out of context. I am constantly saying things I never expected to come out of my mouth, or having people tell me things that are hard to believe, or overhearing things that are just too funny not to share. Working in a field that combines animals and medicine and people makes for some super unique dialogue, and I felt the world needed to hear it.
Also, pets do the darnedest things, and their presenting complaints are priceless.
When it comes to dog-related comments, what’s the craziest thing you’ve heard someone say in the series?
Oh goodness, it’s hard to choose! I think my all-time favorite has to be one of the earliest posts: “My dog doesn’t have fleas, we live in a gated community.” If only gates could protect against fleas, the world would be a better place!
And what’s the most common thing you overhear at an animal hospital?
Temperature jokes! I’m pretty sure every vet tech has to sit through at least three temperature jokes a day. Everyone takes it as an opportunity to break the awkward silence with a joke they think is super creative but has actually been used a thousand times before. It’s amazing how immature adults can become when a rectal thermometer is involved.
Are they all real comments or are some made up? Did someone really say something like, “My dog isn’t aggressive — just don’t look him in the eyes.”
I get that question a lot actually, and yes, they are all real! I am nowhere near creative enough to make this stuff up. I will change or remove names to allow for anonymity, but other than that, these are 100 percent direct quotes.
Honestly, what I post doesn’t even begin to cover the kinds of things we hear. A lot of the crazy stuff is just too ridiculous to express within the confines of a little square. For example, I once had a woman sing the Barney theme song to her dog while I was expressing his anal glands. I have no clue how to turn something like that into a THAAAH!
You also perform some dog-themed songs. What was the inspiration behind writing “Crazy Dog Lady”?
I’m a super neurotic pet owner. I joke that my dog and I both have separation anxiety from each other, but it’s actually pretty true. Honestly, I prefer my dog to a lot of people — there are plenty of days where I’d rather hike with my dog than another person or stay home and watch Netflix with my dog rather than go out with friends. And I like to think I’m not alone in that.
It really is true what they say, that dogs are man’s best friend, and I think it’s totally okay for that to be the case. So writing “Crazy Dog Lady” was my way of embracing how obsessed with my dog I am — and not apologizing for it.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to date a Crazy Dog Lady?
My advice? Treat the situation the way you would if you were dating someone with a child — it’s a package deal, whether you like it or not, so you’d best get on board.
Also, bonus points for participating in the obsession: Make the dog the background image on your phone, demand that the dog accompany you on dates, incorporate the dog into all selfies.
And if you want to go the extra mile, invest in matching outfits for the three of you.
What’s the hardest part about writing a song like “Flea Prevention“?
The struggle I have found with these songs is that there is so much to say and never enough lyrics to say it in. The hard part is narrowing all the information down to just a few verses — the rhyming part is easy after that.
If your own dog, Birdie, could write a song, what would it be about?
It’s hard to say. It would either be about the struggles of being so popular, why squirrels are the spawn of satan, or how to manipulate an audience with cuteness. I imagine the latter would go something like this:
“Bat your eyes and look up at the moon / Play a Sarah McLachlan tune / Cock your head to the side and whimper too / They’re sure to give all of the treats to you!”
You can check out more of Kelsey’s songs and THAAAH on her Facebook and Instagram pages, and watch more of her videos, including the earworms “Your Dog Ate Weed” and “Dr. Google” on her YouTube channel.