Workplace antics and the CIA


Last in a series

I’m residency trained in veterinary behavior medicine; I have no business venturing into the brains of humans. But, in this case, I did it anyway. Looking back on Kendra, it was clear that our effigy planting, blood gutter knife displaying, wicca enthusiast, short-term employee arrived with her own agenda. I don’t believe she was proselytizing her spiritual inclinations; her behavior was attention-seeking. She was good with clients at the desk and helpful in caring for pets like Princess, the fishhook swallowing poodle, but her shenanigans had become a serious distraction.

Owning a veterinary hospital was harder work, requiring greater multitasking skills, than I ever imagined. The dogs and cats in our care surely have better outcomes if the entire staff stays focused. After Kendra stalked out the door we heaved a collective sigh of relief, Amos and Martha wondering aloud, “Who would want to hire somebody like that?” Then the CIA arrived.

The agent was punctual and impressive. Clad in a snappy navy blue uniform, sporting a shiny gold badge and rather conspicuous heat on her belt, her appearance was arresting. She proffered her business card, took a seat in my office, and got right down to business. Kendra Franklin had applied to the agency for employment.

Hoping that this no-nonsense official was a fellow pet lover I tried hoisting a feelgood anecdote up the flagpole, recounting the story of Princess and her excellent family. My friendly overture was waved off like so much fluff. The officer immediately drove hard into her questions. I shared Kendra’s good points but felt the need to be thorough and completely honest. My recounting of the unsavory episodes was met with disbelief. “Well,” I replied, “I am a taxpayer and a US citizen. We need mature, competent personnel in the CIA. I don’t recommend Kendra for intelligence work.” My interviewer left in a quiet huff.

I was now free to return to my real work. I spayed a dog and a cat, treated a case of vomiting, and consulted on a dog with separation anxiety. I really love veterinary practice, well, most of it anyway.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.