I don’t know if I wrote about my dog’s illness last year and I’m too lazy to go through my postings to find out so I will just mention it again. About a year ago my dog was standing in the yard, in the stance of a male dog that hasn’t learned to cock its leg when peeing, almost female like. At first I thought he was peeing then I noticed that nothing was coming out. He was trying so hard to pee… and as I approached he looked up at me, kind of sad. It was a weekend as it usually is when such things occur and it didn’t really seem to be an emergency however the next morning he wasn’t sleeping by my side as he usually does and instead when I called his name from my back porch he came creeping out from behind an old RV that sits in the back of my property and I could see that despite coming out from behind a camper he was not a happy one. I had to go to work so my spouse said that he would take the dog to the vet first thing after they opened. Well long and short the dog had a urinary blockage, small stones in his bladder that kept the pee inside. First they used a catheter and drained a huge amount of piss. They said his bladder would not have withstood much more pressure. They kept him for days medicating him to break up the stones and all the while he laid in a cage barely bigger than his body with his catheter dripping pee at a steady rate. Finally the doctor said that the only thing that would help my beloved dog was a surgery so thousands of dollars and a year later my dog seems to be back to normal.
My eldest dog has had hip dysplasia for quite sometime. The doctors recommend having his hips replaced but I cannot even think about that surgery as the cost is way beyond my resources and although he is still within a few years of the life expectancy of a German Shepherd putting out that kind of money and making him endure the recovery period could speed up his mortality. Of course this is only a guess on my part. I have decided to try and keep him as comfortable as possible. Now to make matters worse he has torn a ligament in his leg. The doctors have assured me that the likelihood of this damage healing on its own is slim and recommended surgery which would be at minimum thousands of dollars. I just don’t have the money. I asked for an alternative and they told me that there is always a chance that he could recover with anti-inflammatories and pain-pills so that is the route I have decided to take. It is costing about $40 per week for the medication but the good news is that we have seen improvement, so much so that they doctor recommended splitting the medication in half to help preserve his kidney (or was it liver?) which as a result of the medication have elevated something or another that while at this point is not a huge concern but at some point could become yet another health issue for my poor kid.
It seems like something is always going wrong. Some people might read what has happened to my dogs and say “HAH! You should have had pet health insurance you stupid, stupid man” and honestly that route is such a gamble too. I mean I have three German Shepherds and two cats and the one or two times we looked into insurance it was in the neighborhood of $140 per month for just the dogs. Now that might not sound like much to some people but to me that’s a lot. So you might be saying “Well you stupid man, then you obviously cannot afford pets” but I would counter that with over my 30+ years of owning pets I have always cared for them medically and believe me there have been other issues too… so again you are saying “You stupid man… insurance!” Well, again, insurance on pets is a HUGE gamble. I know people who have had insurance on their pets that when they submitted their claims the result was denial in coverage meaning they were out their monthly premium and in addition their vet fees as well. Most recently my boss told me of taking his dog to the vet confident that his insurance would cover the expenses only to be told by the insurance company (and despite the vets insistence to the contrary) the illness was a “Pre-Existing Condition” and therefore not coverable. His attempts to have the insurance reconsider with a second opinion (in which the second vet agreed it was not pre-existing) resulted in yet another denial, so my boss has decided to cancel his pet insurance and roll the dice. The difference between he and I is that he can afford much more than I can afford.
I have given my dogs a good life, as best as I can but I worry every day that had I not intervened and adopted these dogs and cats (except the one cat adopted me, showing up as a stray and not leaving) would they have had a better life elsewhere? Would some RICH guy like my boss have adopted them and given them a much more active and fulfilling life? I like to believe that my giving them a home and caring for them had taken them out of what could have resulted in shorter lives, homeless, sad, in a shelter only to await their demise buy gas or lethal injection or whatever they do to the poor animals that find themselves on the street but my mind goes in the other direction, not giving myself an ounce of credit. I envision had I not been in the picture, my dogs frolicking on a huge lawn with wealthy children as their lifelong companions. Dog walkers and no expense spared vets and doggy day care. You know, those dogs you see on TV and you know that they are living better than you are or ever will. I look at my dogs sometimes and wonder “Are you happy?” I know they love me, they are so happy when I come home from work that I can actually see the smiles on their faces. My baby with the torn ligament hobbles over to me smiling, looking for some loving and I bet him and tell him I love him and ask “Did you miss me?” followed by “I missed you”. My youngest, runs over, smiling, whining, and if I don’t give him attention fast enough nudges me in the crotch with his snout as he has learned this is a sure fire way for me to focus on him (good or bad….. because it usually pisses me off … IT HURTS). Then my female I can’t forget my girl who wants her loving too. Then within the next minute the females wanders away to urinate and the two males follow her to sniff the grass she just contaminated and I am forgotten for a bit, that his until I get in the house and change into my shorts. The dogs see my changing clothes, out of my work clothes and into house casual, as an indicator to play, and I usually do. I walk around the outside of the house with them (I have almost and acre) and I have a ball launcher I use to throw tennis balls. I know they enjoy this, but all too often and generally rather quickly I go back into the house (I’m tired… I get up at 4:30 AM) and my dogs stand in the yard with a perplexed look on their faces. “Where are you going” they seem to be thinking and I feel that guilt thinking that if I were truly a good owner I would be outside with them, playing until they want to stop, but I don’t. They follow me in the house and plop on their dog beds or at my feet until I am ready to go outside again and the cycle of excitement begins again.