Let me preface this post with the fact that I have an 11 1/2 year old dog who I adore. That said, I also have 2 kids in college and money does not exactly grow on the trees in my yard (although we are pretty convinced it might on the trees of others in our zip code – note to self: buy one of those houses).
This week our dog, Mel, was diagnosed with diabetes. I am happy to report that after a rough few days and fear that I would be working the night shift at Dairy Barn to pay for her treatment, the financial hit was not that bad. We will manage because… well because she is our friggin’ dog, for G-d sake and it is hard to put a price on her head… ish.
Which brings me to a story about my dear friends in Rhode Island who called in a timely fashion as we were going through this with a story that is not to be believed. This is a bit long but worth following. And it has a major ‘ish’ to it.
Their dog had a tumor in her eye. She is also almost 12. No pain, happy as can be, just an eye tumor. Vet recommended removing the entire eye and the cost of surgery was $2,800 plus-plus (hospital stay, meds, etc). They opted out and the vet had an attitude. Fast forward a few months or so and the tumor had grown out of control. They went back to the vet who then wanted to charge $4,000. They hem and haw and realized that with all the unexpected expenses that month (wisdom teeth, new boiler, etc) they simply didn’t have the cash and $4,000 to do surgery on a 12 year old dog seemed crazy. She had a good long life and their hearts were broken but they decided they had to put the dog to sleep.
They say their goodbyes the night before. They bring her into the vet. They are sick. The receptionist tells them the vet wants to see them. They are then told that they have found someone who will adopt the dog and pay for the surgery but they have to sign the dog over to them.
WTF! They are freaking! “Sure”, he says, “they have now embarrassed me that I will not save the dog, then they knock her out and she wakes up without an eye and has to live in some alternate reality where they start calling her Daisy and want to be her family. Now how the hell can I do that?! This is a tiny town in RI. I can see it now, I am going to pull up in a parking lot a few months from now and there will be my freakin’ dog sitting in someone else’s car. She will see me and give me the ‘where the hell have YOU been’ look and ask me why everyone is calling her Daisy.”
At this point of his telling of the story I am both laughing and crying and cannot breathe.
Needless to say they grabbed their dog, left the vet and went for a second opinion. They went to a well known animal hospital that quoted them $2,000 for their canine opthalmic surgeon (still wondering why they need the specialist if they are taking out the whole damn eye) and they schedule the surgery. Of course there is a snowstorm and they have to reschedule.
It gets worse. The next day they see blood on the kitchen floor and they find that the tumor has burst. They wrap the dog in a blanket and rush her to the doggie ER where they do emergency surgery, remove the eye, the dog is fine and the cost?
$1,000 because it was emergency, not scheduled, and they did not use the specialist.
Happy to report the dog is now happy as can be – sans one eye – and barks with a bit of a pirate’s accent. They are using the money they saved to buy a wardrobe of eye patches for her.
Can’t make this stuff up.