can I offer to pay a coworker’s vet bill? — Ask a Manager

Remember the letter-writer wondering if they could offer to pay a coworker’s vet bill (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

I reached out to my coworker the evening that the letter was published. I texted him and made the offer to cover the testing for a diagnosis, up to a certain amount of money, and that if he was uncomfortable with it, he was free to ignore the text completely. He responded back and was very grateful for the offer! He said that he had just been telling his partner that he wished someone would offer to help him. I told him he could just call me from the vet’s office and I would give them my card information.

Neither of us brought it up at work. We both acted like our normal, friendly selves, as if the conversation had never happened. I didn’t hear any updates on the cat for over a week, and I didn’t want to ask, afraid I would make him feel pressured. So I waited. On Friday, about a week and a half after I made the offer, he texted me that he was on the phone with the vet and they just had something open up and could squeeze him in that day, and was I still willing to help? I told him yes.

He took the cat to the vet and was very sure they were going to find something terrible and that he would have to have the cat put down. Fortunately, it was only a (very severe) infection! The vet called me and I paid for the testing and the antibiotics, which only added up to about half of what I had offered.

That was Friday, and today is Monday, and he told me that the cat has improved drastically already! It sounds like most of the symptoms have cleared up after some aggressive antibiotics. There’s still a little ways to go before the cat is 100% better, but it sounds much less miserable now.

I’m glad to have a happy ending for you! My relationship with my coworker doesn’t feel awkward at all, and we are still just as friendly as always. Thanks again so much to you and your readers for advice!

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