Wednesday, August 31, 2011
My "kids" are getting expensive.
That's how much the bill was (after a discount) when I picked up the pooches this evening after their dental cleaning at the vet.
But it was hard to be mad at Plucky and Elmo. They looked so pathetically cute and loopy as they walked. They had been sedated for the procedure. (You think you don't like going to the dentist? Imagine trying to probe a dog's teeth and gums while getting it to stand still.)
I was partially mad at myself for waiting so long to take them in. I kept thinking, surely everything I was doing at home was delaying the inevitable. I gave them dry food, dental treats, etc.
But the tartar was winning. So I sucked it up and took them in. Plucky came through like a champion. Elmo my geriatric poodle left the vet with five fewer teeth than he went in with this morning. And of course, each tooth extraction came with a price. Then there were the antibiotics to fight any potential infections and pain meds to keep them comfy. (Oh, and don't forget the price of the sedation and the cleaning.)
To keep myself from grumbling (which I did a lot of after I paid the bill and left the vet's office), I started counting my blessings:
-- I got paid today (Thanks for the very first paycheck, University of Tennessee!)
-- My animals are in better health
-- They are such amazing companions. (They don't complain. They still like me even though I don't give them human food when they beg ... and even when I lose my temper and yell at them.)
-- They follow me around everywhere. I'm thankful for their faithfulness. Elmo would go into the bathroom with me if I left him. Sometimes I hear him sniffing under the bathroom door. Not always a good idea ;)
-- They're great with kids and adults and they bark at those who need barking at.
Doggie health care is something I've been seriously thinking about lately.
Plucky, who celebrated his 7th birthday this month, is still chugging along and being his ever spunky self.
Elmo, my little old man (he's 11ish in dog years) is slowly going blind and deaf. It's been a bit sad to watch him look for me and Plucky and we're in the same room. His vision is worse at night than daytime.
At first, when I would call his name and he would not respond, I thought he was being disobedient. Then I would gently touch him and he would be startled and turn around.
Frankly, I sometimes wonder how many more years I have left with them, especially Elmo. Both pooches are in overall good health -- for now.
As age takes its toll, I wonder what decisions I will have to make. If they developed a serious illness, would I pay for treatment, for surgery? How far would I go to prolong their lives? Or would I make the ultimate decision to put them down?
I decided a long time ago that as much as I loved them, I would not go into debt for them because ... they are dogs.
Of course, I say that now but who knows?