About two and a half months ago, I wrote about spending about $500 on our 15 year old dog, Miss Doxie. She had a lump removed from her belly and I was really hoping it wasn’t a complete waste. Well, I have good news!
In the last 2 months, Miss Doxie is acting like a much younger version of herself. She still has the beginnings of cataracts that they can’t do anything about, but she is bouncy and is taking the stairs on her own every time. She also has her appetite back and is even feisty enough to try to take Mr. Pug’s food when he isn’t looking. I mean, we don’t allow it, but at least she feels good enough to try.
I am amazed. We only had the lump removed because she was finally noticing it and licking at it. I didn’t think it was slowing her down at all. Apparently it was sucking up some major energy just by existing and I’m a douche for ignoring it forever. But yay for having it removed! Even if she dies tomorrow, at least she showed major improvement. Hubby and I agreed yesterday that no matter what now, the $500 was money well spent. Yay!
She’s a ball of happy without that lump!
Sometimes You Just Follow Your Gut
So we could have spent $500 and Miss Doxie could have stayed sick and passed away. We still felt obligated to go ahead with the surgery even with that as a huge possibility. But it would have stung. It’s always nice when stuff works out.
I may not be super old yet at 30, but I know that poop happens sometimes no matter how diligent you are. I know that you need to be as grateful for the good times as you are pissed off about the bad ones or your personal equation won’t balance, and you’ll just slowly fade inside wondering why the world sucks all of the time. Even perky Crystal has been there several times.
Me Being Thankful
So let me say that we are super happy that this $500 lumpectomy was totally worth it. I also will admit that the $638 I just had to spend on new struts and strut mounts for my stupid car was worth it. I am super happy that my 2005 Chevy Aveo is paid off and is running as well as it ever has. Fixing the struts has made it drive better – no more shaking and even the road noise is deadened a bit. It may not be my favorite vehicle in the world ever since I found out that Chevy would even make thermostat housings out of plastic, but it has driven me from Point A to Point B faithfully for 8 years and has only needed about $2000 in work (the thermostat housing, belts that should have lasted longer, brake pads that would have happened with any car, and new struts which is also normal). So I will stop holding the thermostat housing grudge. I officially don’t hate my poor little car and will continue my pledge to drive it until it just won’t drive anymore.
What are you thankful for today? Anything crappy that needs to be counteracted with some good vibes?
Today is completely, utterly sucking for my immediate family. Today they are saying goodbye to two close friends, Abbi and Rootbeer, their awesome family dogs.
About 14 years ago, while my dad was helping to build a plant of some sort, my mom adopted the cutest Old English Sheepdog puppy ever. Seriously, she looked like a cross between a giant hamster and a raccoon. My parents, sisters, and I were living in Argentina and this puppy was an absolutely awesome addition to the family. We didn’t need to know Spanish to talk dog. I was around 16, Ambi was about 8, and my youngest sister was about 3. We all loved this little, furry creature but the baby named her – Abbi.
We all helped a little to raise her, but Abbi was obviously mom’s pet. Mom took care of her the most (as usual with family pets, right?) and Abbi took to mom like a fourth child. She was a great hunter (sad for many not-fast-enough birds) and a fun playmate. And she grew fast. Who knew a tiny puppy can turn into a 70 pound herding dog? It is a little like magic.
Her weight meant that she took Ambi and me on a ton of walks, lol. She was always willing to sit on us while we whined too. The years have gone by but Abbi has always been the same, great dog. I went off to college in late-2001 when she was still a young upstart, but as all family pet stories seem to go, Abbi got old faster than we humans do.
The larger the dog, the less time she has. The last year or so has been pretty bad. Abbi’s hips have given out and she can’t get up on her own anymore. She has lost most of her bladder control. She just isn’t herself at all. So my parents and youngest sister have decided that today she’ll go to the vet and cross the rainbow bridge.
But today won’t just suck because of Abbi. About 7 years ago (after I left for college), my younger sister talked my mom into adopting a dog of her own. They took a trip to the SPCA and Ambi fell in love with a Chow/Chesapeake Bay Retriever, middle-aged pup. His fur just screamed bubbly to her, so Rootbeer was his new name. I always thought he loved it – fit him perfectly.
Rootbeer was Ambi’s best friend and another pet to add to my family’s household, lol. Ambi went off to college about 4 years ago, but Rootbeer was able to tag along the last year or so. His joint custody between my parents and youngest sister in the Houston area and Ambi in Austin meant that Rootbeer is loved by all 4 of them. He and Abbi took a few years to really like each other, but now they are best buddies. And he was maybe even a better hunter than Abbi…freaking impressive. The real problem is that he was about Abbi’s age, is a big 75-85 pound pup himself, and he just had less time to spend with them all.
Rootbeer has developed some major tumors that are restricting his airways. Those tumors have been making it hard for him to eat, swallow, or even walk too far. Given that and the fact that he is at least 13 or 14 himself, surgery is just not a solid possibility. So Abbi and Rootbeer will be crossing the rainbow bridge together. Ambi is taking the day off work to be there.
So yeah, today sucks. My best wishes are with my family right now. My own Miss Doxie is 15 years old this year, so I know I will be writing another sad post sometime in the near future. I truly wish dogs had more time here than 10-18 years.
Heaven will have some pretty awesome company heading their way today.
And in case you were wondering why I keep referring to a rainbow bridge…
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
- Author unknown
Anybody else need to share some sorrow from loss? Any great pets you want remembered?
Mr. BFS and I own two dogs right now. Mr. Pug is a 100% inbred Pug that we adopted in 2009 from PugHearts Rescue and he is around 9 years old. I write about him the most since developed allergy issues in 2010 that cost about $2000 to clear up over a year and he still has to take a daily steroid pill and eat special vegetarian dog food since he is allergic to meat, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn. Miss Doxie is a Dachshund mutt that we adopted in 2005 from the Houston SPCA. She is around 15 years old and has never had many problems. But she had surgery yesterday.
Quick Miss Doxie History
Miss Doxie came to us in 2005 pretty healthy except for her teeth. We spent a few hundred on her then to have some rotten teeth removed and the rest cleaned. Since then, her only vet bills have been for basic checkups and pneumonia that Oreo gave her a couple of years ago. She has the very beginnings of cataracts, but there is nothing they can do about it at this stage. And she has had a lump on her belly for a few years. They did a quick scraping in 2009 and made a guess based on a microscope view that it was non-malignant cancer. Since she didn’t seem to notice the lump, she was 12 years old, and it was growing slowly, we decided to ignore it unless it started hurting her.
$500 in a Week
Last week (the Sunday before this past one), she started licking at the lump regularly and actually licked a raw spot on her skin by the end of the week that looked really red. So last Friday, I took her to the vet to get a general checkup and to ask about removing the lump since it was obviously annoying her at least. They agreed that it needed to be removed, so we scheduled her surgery for yesterday and they sent her home over the weekend with some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to take to make sure the infection wouldn’t spread in the 4 days between visits. So Friday’s vet visit was around $130.
Since she was being put under anesthesia, we decided to have her teeth cleaned for $40 yesterday as well (they had a $25 off special for February). Between the pre-op liver and kidney checkup, the anesthesia, the lumpectomy, the teeth cleaning, the vacinnations she needed to be current for the surgery, and the post-op pain meds, the total bill came to about $370.
Was This Stupid?
So I spent $500 on a 15 year old dog over the last 7 days and have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I hope this means that she won’t be in pain because of that stupid lump. I also think that we have the responsibility to take care of our pets. But I am not sure if lumpectomies on 15 year old dogs are exactly in that category.
For example, they asked to charge an extra $35-$50 to have the lump sent off to find out if it was malignant or not for sure and I declined since the point is moot. If it isn’t malignant, I just wasted $35-$50. If it is malignant, I still wouldn’t pay for cancer treatments. So, it really didn’t need to be checked out. I have no mental hang-ups on that decision…but the lumpectomy and all of the other stuff…I don’t know.
Anyway, as I try to point out in all of my pet posts, please remember that they cost money and time. I am a huge fan and proponent of having pets, but make sure you can afford it before jumping in. If we didn’t have spare cash for pets, we wouldn’t have them. I’d suggest that for anybody.
So, what say you? $500 well spent or well wasted?
Last week I posted that Oreo had completely destroyed the carpet in our master bedroom after breaking out of a very heavy duty metal kennel. Well here’s the whole story and what we’ve been up to recently.
Adopted Oreo March 25th
As I posted, we welcomed Oreo into the family on Sunday, March 25th. She was completely calm, sweet, and loved hanging out with Mr. BFS. She and our Pug fought for the first evening, but everything calmed down by Monday. Since she could climb the baby gates we use in the kitchen for Mr. Pug, she slept in her doggy bed in the upstairs guest bathroom. That worked great Sunday and Monday night.
Since she seemed to be doing really well like that, we left her in the upstairs guest bathroom while we left for poker night Tuesday evening. Four hours later, we got back and found out that she had chewed on the towel rack above the toilet and eaten through the interior door trim on both sides of the door. Crap.
Okay, so now we knew what the HSPCA meant about separation anxiety. That said, we had a heavy duty plastic kennel that we used for our 90 pound lab about 4 years ago. Since we were going to see The Hunger Games with friends on Wednesday morning, we put that kennel in the guest bathroom with her doggy bed in it, and placed Mr. Pug and Miss Doxie in the bathroom too to keep her company.
Well, we got home 4 hours later and there was a small hole eaten out on the side of the kennel and Oreo was out with Mr. Pug and Miss Doxie. There were a few more bites taken out of the trim and a little one on the wall. Oreo coughed a little but we made sure we found every single piece of the kennel that was missing so we were sure she wasn’t choking.
Okay, so plastic doesn’t work. Mr. BFS picked up one of those black metal wire travel kennels Wednesday evening. We placed that downstairs Wednesday night with her bed inside again, but she literally popped the sucker open in less than 20 minutes and ended up sleeping upstairs.
Now Comes the Pneumonia
At this point, we were freaking out a bit. We knew we had our bowling league Thursday evening for 3-4 hours, so I looked around online to find a heavier duty kennel that should hold up to everything from pitbulls to a small Bull Mastiff. I found a great, screw together, metal one that looked like it fit the bill. But while I picked it up from the other side of town, Oreo’s little cough from Wednesday turned into a big hacking cough so Mr. BFS took her into the vet again that did her basic checkup on Tuesday.
After some tests and a few false guesses, they figured out that Oreo had pneumonia and kept her Thursday night to give her a few nebulization treatments of some antibiotics. We also saw on the xray that Oreo had been shot at by a BB Gun before enough times that one was lodged in her back. It wasn’t a medical problem, but it said a lot about her sad past.
By Friday afternoon, they sent her home with 6 different medications after 5 nebulization treatments. Two were antibiotics for the pneumonia, one was for her stomach, and 3 were anti-anxiety meds and sedatives since the vet had seen her separation anxiety up close and personal. She also sent home a bunch of paperwork explaining how to start kennel training a dog and slowly desensitize it from separation anxiety.
We started the training regimen Saturday and continued through Tuesday evening. We tested her for 5 minute, 10 minute, and 30 minute increments over and over. She even spent the whole night in her new kennel Monday night with the help of the sedatives and the fact we were in the room.
The Ultimate Destruction
Since she seemed to be coming along so well, we decided to try out the new kennel along with sedatives for poker night last Tuesday, April 1st. We gave her the maximum double dose as prescribed 20 minutes before we headed out and she walked into the kennel. We left on the radio and the kennel was in our room like it was the night before.
When we got home 4 hours later, we saw this at the top of the stairs.
Yep, that is our Berber carpet with runs in it like pantyhose for a good 3-4 feet. We knew we didn’t want to open the door, but we sucked it up and saw this.
That is a big ball of ruined carpet, shredded carpet padding, and the white part is our subfloor. Everything that was on my dresser or my jewelry armoir was on the floor in a pile with the destroyed carpet. Further investigation showed that she had scratched up the top of my jewelry case and drawers a little with her paws…she was literally on top of them. Then we found that she tore up another corner of carpet just a little, chewed on this interior door frame trim too, and ruined the bottom of our bedroom blinds.
She had literally pulled off a couple of the metal kennel’s bars…
Since we had run out of ideas for anything to keep Oreo in while we are out the couple of times a week we leave, we drove Oreo back to the HSPCA Thursday morning. We just couldn’t come up with ideas to keep her and our home safe while away. And I was already having nightmares about what she could do to other people’s homes if they were kind enough to watch her for us while we are out and then had to leave for some reason.
The volunteer that had us fill out the return paperwork acted like we were just whiny. She didn’t actually look at the photos and blew off my description with “she’s a rescue”, like that explained it all. Our other two dogs are rescues too…what BS. So I upped the ante, explained the entire situation including the fact that we work from home and she was never kenneled for more than 4 hours, and I explained that she could call the vet on file to get a professional’s point of view. I left crying from some guilt and angrier than I have been in a long time.
The original owner of Oreo should hope to whatever he/she believes in that they never meet me. If I ever meet the person that shot her with BB’s and damaged her so badly that she couldn’t be alone, I would have to be restrained. As bad as I feel, I just can’t come to any conclusion that would have meant Oreo could stay with us.
The last bit of this saga is that even though Oreo is no longer in our home, Mr. Pug and Miss Doxie contracted the not-easily-contractable pneumonia strain. They are both on antibiotics now and recovering but they sound awful. We are hand feeding them to keep up their calorie intake. It has not been fun.
In the last 2-3 weeks, here is the my best rundown of our expenses:
- Adoption Fee plus Small Donation – $20
- Dog Food (35 pounds) – $40
- Dog Bed (yes, now washed and adopted by Miss Doxie) – $35
- Harness – $10
- Toys – $10
- Non-skid food bowl – $5
- Vet Visit for Checkup – $0 thanks to the one free visit you get from the HSPCA with an adoption
- Vet Visit for the Pneumonia – $596 (the HSPCA covered 25% after also covering the first $500, but that still left us with this bill)
- Interior Door Frame (estimate) – $70
- Other Interior Door Frame Trim (estimate) – $70
- Metal Crate off of Craigslist – $85
- Vet visit so far for pneumonia for other two dogs – $175
- New Carpet – $1760
So, our grand total has come to about $2876. That truly sucks. And we actually got a great deal on the new carpet that is being installed this Wednesday, but I will cover that in a different post.
Anyway, goodbye Oreo. Sorry it ended the way it did.
And before anyone asks, yes, I still think pet ownership is worth it. I truly wish this didn’t happen, but I know we will adopt another dog in the future. I also know that I will continue to stress that pets can be extremely expensive, so please take that into account before getting a furry cutie. We had money set aside for something like this (well, I thought it would be for vets, not carpet and trims, but at least it was there…) and I would suggest that for anyone with pets.
As I mentioned in passing before, Mr. BFS has been interested in adopting a dog that would be mainly his own. We had been putting it off since we were traveling so much, but now there is a few month break and we took the plunge.
Our Current Dogs
Miss Doxie is 14 now and acts more like a cat than a Dachshund mutt - she wants love when she wants it and then she ignores us completely. We adopted her from the Houston SPCA in 2005 and she is still the queen of the house.
Mr. Pug, 9-10 right now, is a momma’s boy and is sitting in my lap as I type this – excellent arm rest. We adopted him in 2009 from Pugearts: Houston Pug Rescue and he decided to be mainly my dog within that first week.
So Mr. BFS has been wanting to find a dog that would adopt him and who would be big enough to play with.
On Sunday afternoon, we visited the Houston SPCA once again and came home with Oreo. She is a 3 year old white and black mutt that seems to be a mix between a Pointer and a Hound or Labrador. She is 38 pounds and comes to right above my hubby’s knees. I will not lie, she is gorgeous and sweet to boot. And she is totally my husband’s dog. She would lay right on him 24/7 if we were okay with it.
Apparently, she had been given up in early March because they couldn’t afford having a pet. Then she was adopted in mid-March and returned because of “separation anxiety”. She tried chewing out of her plastic cage after being in there for 10 hours straight, taken out for the evening, and stuck in there again for 8-10 hours at night a few days in a row. Yep, a young dog did not do well with only being out of her kennel 4-6 hours a day…that was no surprise…or so I thought…
When we went to the adoption counter to finish the Houston SPCA paperwork, we were super happy that the normal $75-$150 adoption fees are only $16 for the last 2 weeks of March…Sweet Sixteen pricing on all animals for those two weeks – cool beans!
Getting to Know Oreo
Since we do work from home now and are not gone for long periods of time very often, we decided we would take the “separation anxiety” risk. Sadly, she does have major issues when left alone. We already have to replace the interior door frame of our guest bathroom since she tried to gnaw through it while we were out for 4 hours Tuesday evening. So we will be buying a metal crate.
She and our dogs had a rough start, but everything settled down after the first couple of hours. On Monday, Miss Doxie decided to ignore her as much as possible and Mr. Pug was fine with her unless she came close to me. Then he growled, I thumped him on the nose, he shut up, and everything stayed good. Oreo growled a little when Mr. Pug went near Mr. BFS, got told “No”, she shut up, and everything stayed good. We tried a firm “No” on Mr. Pug but he ignored it completely every time – hence the nose thump. He is soooo stubborn.
As I write this on Tuesday, we haven’t had to intervene much at all. They growled a tiny bit at each other once today, we yelled “No”, and they both looked all sheepish. Other than that, she is sleeping on the couch in hubby’s office right now, Mr. Pug is sleeping in my lap, and Miss Doxie has claimed both of their pillows as her own – body on one and head on the other. I guess she figured they wouldn’t miss them…
Costs of Our New Pooch
So far, she has cost about $250:
- Adoption Fee plus Small Donation – $20
- Dog Food (35 pounds) - $40
- Dog Bed (yes, Mr. BFS decided the $3 pillow wasn’t big enough) – $35
- Harness – $10
- Toys (one for each dog) – $10
- Non-skid food bowl – $5
- Vet Visit for Checkup – $0 thanks to the one free visit you get from the HSPCA with an adoption
- Interior Door Frame (estimate) - $70
- Metal Crate off of Craigslist (estimate) – $60
Since she was adopted from a rescue, she is already spayed. She also already had her flea and heartworm preventative for the next month, so I am looking into my options there. It looks like it will be about $175 a year for a monthly chewable tablet that covers fleas, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. She shares the huge water bowl in the kitchen and we already had leashes. An annual checkup and whatever shots she needs biannually will come to an additional $150 or less.
Overall, she will probably cost $500-$750 a year while she is healthy and who knows whenever she gets sick. That’s about what Miss Doxie costs (closer to $500) and way less than Mr. Pug who is allergic to everything ($1000 is a good year).
My View on Pet Ownership
I know that our dogs are a big expense. I never tell anyone that they should jump into pet ownership without closely looking at what it takes. It costs money, time, and huge emotional turmoil when you find your door frame gnawed into itty, bitty pieces. But it is worth it to us 99% of the time…the trick is not killing them during that 1%…
Any new pets in your home?
A couple of weeks ago, my husband’s aunt mentioned that her friend’s Dachshund just had a litter of long-haired puppies. She asked if she should keep us in mind. We talked about it over the next few hours and then threw our hats into the ring.
Over the next few days we went over all the little things, good and bad, that would come along with having a puppy.
- CUTE! That is the biggest selling point. Puppies are freaking adorable!
- Will have grown up in our household. Our two dogs were middle-aged rescues that came with some issues that we can’t untrain. Miss Doxie is a racist and Mr. Pug is scared silly of small children for the first hour they are in the room.
- May keep Miss Doxie young. Miss Doxie is 13 years old now but small animals and kids seem to revive her quite a bit. She gets peppy.
- Time. I know I’d be spending significant time every day on everything puppy since Mr. BFS would only be home during the day on weekends and school holidays.
- Money. All of the shots and having a dog fixed adds up to a few hundred dollars right there. Then there are the basics like food and emergency funds to deal with.
- Potty training. I have never potty trained a dog…that would be messy.
- Teething. I remember one of my dogs growing up when it was a puppy – it chewed on everything!
- Interaction issues with our other two dogs – Mr. Pug and Miss Doxie. What if they didn’t all get along?
- Having three dogs at once. It would be alot and asking my in-laws to take care of three dogs when we go out of town would be alot to ask as well.
Okay, we aren’t stupid. I know that those cons completely outweigh the pros, but did I mention that puppies are sooooo cute?!
In the end, it didn’t matter. The puppies’ owners started asking $400 per pup. We didn’t even think about the fact that they may be asking big money for the little cuties. Mr. BFS and I both balked at the price and decided we were better off not starting a new adventure right now anyway. Plus, when we are ready, we rather adopt another rescue…they get puppies too. So, sometimes, things just happen the way they should.
Have you recently avoided a bad decision? Or have been presented with a good one unexpectedly?
If you are having a meal, I am sorry to have disturbed it. But my inbred Pug has decided that poop is the best thing since Pupperoni, which has led to yet another skin infection. Yay…
Meet Mr. Pug
For anybody who hasn’t met Mr. Pug, he is my 9 year old that we rescued 3 years ago from Pughearts. For a full year, he had no issues. Then he developed allergies…not Claritin-can-fix-it allergies, but the I’m-going-to-slowly-kill-you kind. After much guessing and checking and $2500 of visits and meds, the vets came to the conclusion that my poor dog is allergic to all meat, dairy, soy, corn, wheat, and a few environmental things as well…like grass and pollen.
This means that he is going to be on steroids ($4 a month) for the rest of his life as well as vegetarian dog food that costs $50 for a 16 pound bag. He also has to be treated twice a week or more for dry eye with $40 eye drops, face stuff at $15 a bottle, and have his ears cleaned with $20 a bottle antibiotic cleaner. In short, he is a high maintenance pet that costs a minimum of $750 a year.
Vet Visit for Poop
Most recently, all of his allergies has meant that his new infatuation with eating poop has caused him to break out into a skin infection because even though he is a vegetarian, Miss Doxie isn’t. Ewwwwww. Now I have to monitor him anytime he is in the backyard. Yay…
Anyway the skin infection that popped up actually could have cost way more. Normally I would have taken him to the doggy dermatologist, and she charges $130 to see him, do a skin scrape, and give him an antibiotic shot. I couldn’t swallow another $130-$150 without weeping, so I made an appointment with our old vet, who is further away by 15 minutes but is $40 cheaper. He took one look at the skin and gave me a $6 prescription for antibiotic pills that I could get from Kroger. The $90 also covered a new shampoo and ear cream that should be able to keep these infections from getting bad enough to even need antibiotics.
In short, I actually wasn’t nearly as sad as usual for spending this $90 since Mr. Pug is already looking better and we can hopefully keep him from getting sick as often from here on out. I am still bummed that people have inbred Pugs to the point that they can’t breathe right and can develop crazy allergies out of nowhere though. He has a good 5-6 years left in him even with the steroids, so we are looking at these issues for quite a while. Miss Doxie is a mutt and is never sick at all. There is my lesson to be learned…
Do any of you need to vent about recent pet expenses? Just let it all out…and don’t eat it…