My Little Doxie
Taking Care of Our Pets - An Expensive Enterprise
I love animals and I have had them all of my life. Currently, I have two little dachshunds. One is purebred and the other one's pedigree is in doubt, but they are both cute as the dickens. At least I think so - just like any other doggie parent thinks their doggie is cute.
Lately, however, I have been giving some thought to how much money our pets cost us. Besides the usual cost of things like shots, nail cuttings, wellness checks, toys, bedding, doggie houses, boarding expenses, licensing, chewed household items that need replacing, professional training, doggie clothes, dog collars and leashes, food, treats, special food, traveling expenses, shampoos, grooming, blankets, kennels, doggie carriers, dewormings, spading, flea powders, flea collars, flea shampoos, rug cleaners, doody bags, gallon size bottles of Nature's Miracle, etc., we also have those special trips to the vet for such things as removing items from one's belly or for treatment of any number of diseases that humans also get.
Take for example our older dachshund. Her first visit to the vet was within three days of our bringing her home (after spending over $700 for her and who knows how much for all the rest of the stuff you have to buy when you get a new dog), because within three days she had a rash on her ears. The next visit to the doctor was when one day she screamed every time we touched her. Of course, when we got to the vet she was just fine and we looked like two fools. To demonstrate to the vet that we were neither fools, liars, or delusional and that she indeed had screamed every time we touched her, my husband proceeded to squeeze her all over and shake her violently. Not a peep came out of her. She was just fine. I wonder how much that visit cost us?
After that, the next medical emergency was when she suddenly had a couple of seizures. She would go rigid, stare, and tremble all over. Off we were again to the vet. Of course, with the seizure long gone, the vet had no idea why she had had them. I'm sure I have the bill for that visit somewhere, too. After that, for while at least, it was just the usual expenses for food, treats, toys, shampoos, shots, flea treatments, grooming, boarding expenses, etc. Then came the rashes. Oh wait, before the rashes there were the sudden face swellings. At first I thought it was because she had licked some yogurt out of a carton. But then one day it just happened spontaneously without any food being eaten or anything untoward happening. Just all of a sudden I was looking at my dog with a face three times its normal size. We still don't know what caused the face swellings, but we still have the a copy of the vet bill.
Then came the thirst, hunger, and uncontrollable urination (once right on the arm of our couch - thank you, puppy). Off we go again to the vet where she gets a diagnosis of diabetes. At that point I started calculating just how much this was going to cost us for the rest of her life. And it came to something like, oh, I don't know, about $65 a month (did I mention how long doxies are known to live?) What with pee sticks to test her blood sugar, insulin, and the cost of needles, and doxie longevity, we were looking at our retirement nest egg circling the drain. After one month of sticking her with needles (by the third day, despite bribery, she knew what we were up to - did I mentioned she has a zero pain threshold - she was having none of it) and trying to catch pee from under a dog whose short legs make her butt about one inch off the ground (my 6'5" hubby squatting under a minnie doxie trying to catch her pee was quite a sight), her diabetes disappeared as quickly as it arrived!
After that, she starting getting rashes all over her tummy, and her back, and with it loss of fur. So, of course, off we go again to the vet where we purchase creams, lotions, and potions. And where we also purchase special food to help with the diabetes that is no longer there and to help to prevent her getting rashes again because we still don't know what causes them, or why her face swelled, or why she had those seizures, or why her urine was full of sugar. Recently, one vet speculated that she might be allergic to Fabeze, which gets into the rug fibres when we spray (which we probably wouldn't use if we didn't have smelly dogs in our house, except hubby is a little smelly, too - he blames the dogs - and they just look innocent) and what with her belly being so low to the ground that it gets on her fur and causes the rashes. Maybe, but we still don't know
Why was she at the vet recently you ask? Because now she's sporting what feels like tumors or perhaps cysts in her groin. One day they weren't there and the next day they were. Are they swollen mammary glands? Cysts? Tumors? Are they benign or cancerous? Well, after spending $184 to have our vet feel her up and take some blood, we're pretty sure it's benign but we don't know what it is. A hernia was also mentioned. So now we are off to a specialist.
Apparently he is still paying off his student loans because he's going to charge us $125 for about 10 minutes of his time. How do I know this, you may ask? We know this because we asked how much a consultation would cost us and we were quoted $125. And when the receptionist was giving us our appointment she offered times 15 minutes apart so now we know this particular specialist likes to schedule his appointments so that he can squeeze in four visits every hour (for a nice hourly salary of $500 per). I think this guy is making more than a high-priced lawyer. I'm sure his opinion will be to do some exploratory surgery. We've already had a benign cyst removed last year. Poor doxie lost one boob in that little operation. I'm sure I have the bill for that surgery around here somewhere, too.
Dogs, just like people have to have blood taken before they can have surgery. We can expect to pay for the consultation, then the prep, then the exploratory surgery, then the real surgery, then the aftercare and then for the followup and the extra visit to the vet to purchase another dog collar because she's managed to take off and chew the first one. Did I already mention that we've already spent $184 to have someone tell us they don't know what's wrong?
This year hubby asked me if we could put the dogs on our income tax returns or at least the medical bills.
No, dear, we cannot.
Was that the sound of our retirement funds actually going down the drain?