I recently mentioned to a friend that going to Disney World was like standing over a toilet and emptying your wallet. Similar is the current financial situation with our dog.
Eleven years ago we adopted Vegas from our local SPCA, pre-kids as a 9 month old puppy. Her history was she had been returned to the SPCA after the adoptive parent, "couldn't deal with the hyperactivity of a beagle/jack Russell mix." Uh... hello. Were you around this dog for .912 secs to not notice her activity level at the shelter? Over the last 11 years she has brought us much joy and I secretly don't see walking her each day as a chore, especially if it gets me out of doing baths.
Vegas is a good dog and is never aggressive. The boys love her, attempt to ride her like a horse. If they are outside playing, she is as well. Over time she has moved from 100% active all the time to about 10% active some of the time. She sleeps most of her days away or stares out the window from her perch checking out the scenery on the multitude of animals just out of her reach. I have though, in the last year, seen her personally kill a squirrel and a baby rabbit. Sadly, the boys were with me both times on a walk so it played out like an Animal Planet special gone very, very wrong.
About three years ago she started having seizures and after a very expensive summer of tests and some overnight calls to the emergency after hours vet, she was put on phenobarbital twice a day.
Let's come back to Summer 2013.
Cost 1- The week I was gone to DC in June, Bill forgot to give her any of her medication. She became very sick and started having seizures. The morning after I got home, I took her to the Vet where they hospitalized her, ran a bunch of tests, and finally determined that she would be ok, but we would have to repeat the blood work to make sure her blood levels stabilized. Total- around $400 initial with additional $85.00 specialized blood tests to be completed multiple times for the next 6 months. What fun for something so completely preventable.
Cost 2 - About a month later I thought she had eaten a couple of raisins while I was cleaning up the kitchen. She seemed fine and I began to think that maybe she hadn't actually eaten them anyway when she didn't show any stomach issues. Around midnight, when I took her out one last time, she seemed completely normal.
Just before 6 am I was awoken to quite possible the nastiest smell ever, waffling up the stairs into my bedroom. I find her collapsed in a giant pool of her own bloody vomit and diarrhea. The "pitch the rug as there is not amount of carpet cleaner out there to help", kind of mess. I called the emergency Vet who recommended that we immediately take her to our normal Vet that was opening within the hour. I take her, where they again admit her to the dog hospital for 2 days of observation and multiple tests for multi-organ failure. At one point I said to the Vet, "we love this dog, but please tell me if we are fighting a loosing battle". Luckily after two days of hospitalization, lots of medicines and even more tests she came home and has been fine. Cost: $ 600.00
*Note- If you didn't know raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs, you have been schooled.
Cost 3- We subscribe to our Vet's wellness plan that allows us to pay a monthly charge and get multiple services at a discount. If ever it was a good call to enroll, ahem... this was the year. As part of the plan she get a dental cleaning each year. Seeing that her favorite thing to eat on a walk around the lake is goose poop, yeah.. let's take full advantage of the plan. Except it really wasn't free when I went to pay on Monday. I was contacted during the cleaning that she had a cracked tooth that extended into the gum line and that the humane thing to do was to extract the tooth. What kind of person says, "hey my dog needs to be in pain every time it eats so I'm going to do nothing." So I consented and another $244.00 later I am $244.00 poorer.
Plus I get to take her back for several visits to make sure the area that included three separate root extractions are infection free along with more blood tests! I even played the "hey, I'm a teacher who has gone without a paycheck, since the end of May. I love my dog, but also making sure I can feed my kids is important." Luckily the Vet consented that she would do the necessary follow up but not order anything else unless it was dire to use as a diagnostic tool and would contact me first.
So the moral of the story is, yes I love this animal, and for the boys sake alone, will continue to provide her the best care we can, I can't help but wonder if the dog is a parallel to Disney. You get all hyped up on emotion to ride Space Mountain until you are puking and wishing that someone had talked some sense into you.
On a side note, I let the boys pick out a treat for Vegas during the hour we spent waiting to pick her up. This is what they selected. Somehow the phrasing "needs a soft chew" went right over their heads.
*Note- mom went for something else
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