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what a day...

April 2nd, 2022 at 11:58 pm

So today we put down our beloved family friend.  He was not yet 6 years old, but he had had chronic medical conditions since we adopted him. He came to us in the fall of 2017 after we bought our house.  He was a little over a a year old and seemed fine.  We adopted him at a resecue event and fell in love.  He was a great dog.  Super smart and well behaved and just overall good.  Honestly the best dog we've ever had.  

About a month later the medical problems began.  It started with rushing him to the ER when blood was dripping out of his nose.  They told us he had immune mediated thrombocytopenia.  After that it was constant vet visits, no vaccines, titrating different medications to stabilize his health.  Eventually after a year we removed his spleen in massive surgery.  He had also these open wounds from the predisone he was one that we were unable to lower the dose.  Anyway last year he tore partially his back acl but there was nothing to do because he wouldn't heal from surgery.  The orthopedic surgeon even said it would be cruel so we just meandered along.  As the vet said he's had 9 lives.

It has been a very tough journey but good at the same time.  I definitely can say this time I know we'll get another dog.  Last time it was really hard,  This time it is hard but different.  This time I can say we miss having a dog. Last time I wasn't sure if we were going to recover enough to have another.  We had had that particular guy from 2005 to November 2016 and we had lost his partner in 2010 after having him from 2002.  So we had those two guys long before kids and I don't know why it was so hard to imagine having another dog after them.   

But this time I think our experience was so lovely that I can definitely see us adopting another dog.  See you at the rainbow bridge.

spending this year so far...budget blown in some ways...

December 8th, 2021 at 05:56 am

So actually I shouldn't say that.  Actually our spending hasn't been all that terrible.  There have been bad months here and there.  And overall we aren't blowing the budget out of the water.  A bit higher than perhaps it should be.  And a lot more than I would expect but honestly we are right where we need to be just about.  We have spent on average $7000/month on stuff outside our mortgage and property taxes.  With all that it's around $11k/month.  We are bordering on our $120k/year spend that I had guessed and estimated.  

Not terrible considering I didn't feel too deprived.  We traveled a lot considering it was covid.  We spent an entire month away and not grocery shopping.  We didn't track spending to the penny for the first 2 months of 2021.  Yet once we became conscientious we got a firm handling on groceries, eating out, and spending in general.  Had we had a handle on our spending these past few years we probably could have saved even more.  But i'm pretty sure we didn't spend as wildly as one would think, mostly it was just a bit more on traveling and eating out.  For us we had always pretty much only lived on base salary never bonus or stock.   Interestingly DH is getting a raise which we didn't expect and I'm guessing the money will go into savings.

But what happened?  Well I hate, hate, hate one thing and I have never tracked or added up before this one category.  Our spending on our pets.  So far this year we have spent $8703 on our dog this year.  This is tons of vet visit in Jan/Feb we spent $3650 on the his medical bills alone.  And in 2019 I know we spent like $8000 on his spleen removal surgery.  This is top of medications and vet visits month.  His average bill is like $700/month between prescriptions and vet visits, blood tests, etc. 

FWIW the orthopedic surgeon in January (turns out he had a torn ACL due to his weakening joints and ligaments from his condition) said he couldn't do surgery.  He also said he didn't expect him to live past 8 years and he's already almost 5.  It's amazing he's alive this long.  

Our last two dogs were not this expensive until the last 1-2 years of life and both had chemo.  One lasted about 11 months but had a week in the hospital in the beginning when we found the tumor.  The other lasted almost 24 months and during that time has tooth removal surgery and chemo and also a torn acl (no surgery though).  So we were pretty used to spending a lot money on our pets. 

I am not sure if this is because we keep getting dogs from rescue groups/shelters instead of buying a dog.  I wonder if next time we should buy a dog from a  breeder.  But then I feel so guilty spending that much but they seem to be healthier.  But do I really want to pay someone $4500 for a dog?  I mean yes i pay that to a vet, but at least we adopted a dog someone else didn't want.  Kinda like reduce, reuse, recycle.  

Anyway since I was tracking spending this year pretty carefully again I had a slight heart attack at the sight of my vet bills.  

Murphy's law - the dog

October 31st, 2019 at 07:18 pm

For some reasons we get very unlucky with what we spend on our pets. Perhaps the real reason is we don't pay on the front end, we adopt dogs, so instead we pay on the back end.

Anyway last year I think I mentioned our dog we adopted in October 2018, a gorgeous standard poodle, was diagnosed with immume mediated thrombocytopenia. It's an autoimmune disease where his body attacks his platelets. We've spent a fortune this year, I'm not adding it up, on medications, and going to the vet every 1-2 weeks for blood draws to measure and see if it's being controlled.

Well it's been a year on steroids and lots of medications and it's not. The long term steroids usage is causing cyst formation and we are at a crossroads. We've been trying to lower his dosage and medications but it's not working. His platelets if they go lower he'll likely bleed out and die.

We were kicked off our pet health insurance I bought because we just bought it and had no idea about background. Anyway we'd have gone over the lifetime $10k limit probably anyway with nationwide and I'm not sure they would have covered all of this treatment. It's more for in case of injury kind of deal.

But he's a fabulous dog. He's 2.5 years old, great shape otherwise and seriously the best dog either of us have ever had. He's super well behaved, really smart. I mean ridiculously smart. DK1 teaches him trick in an hour. He can open doors with his paws. He totally gets our routines, can hear our cars up the street, and just is really a great dog. I don't know if all standard poodles are this smart, but even the dog trainer we worked with said he's EXTREMELY well adjusted, smart, and perfect.

The dog trainer we hired was used by the rescue group we got him from and he'd kept him. He'd used our dog as a training dog for other dogs who were aggressive or shy. He was so even keeled, well mannered, good size that he was perfect. We used the dog trainer so we could control him off leash with voice commands and walk perfectly. He can place easily for 60 minutes outdoors. He can walk without leash and sits in the car perfectly and can be walked by our kids.

So anyway we are at the point of having tried all medications. So the vet suggested that we remove his spleen and his cysts. The surgery will cost $5-7k. I'm a little nervous however because of his low platelet level that surgery is dangerous. This is the same scenario of what happened with our last dog that we had to put him under to remove his cracked tooth or put him down. The cysts also had a rare strain of bacterial infection because of compromised immune system.

I guess I'm just freaked out. I hope this works out. What we're hoping is to reduce his immune response and while he will be compromised without his spleen(he already is majorly immune compromised) he can reduce his medications and we can keep him at a relatively normal level and ease off of weekly blood checks. Something like 2-4 times a year.

Maybe it would have been better to buy a dog next time. But I feel guilty even from a breeder. Who knows. I'll update again in a couple weeks after we do an ultrasound to confirm we can and should do the surgery. Fingers crossed. If this works he'll have another 8-10 good years with us. He's truly been a great addition to the family. He sleeps with us and the kids and is so big and funny he climbs right in bed when we read books and love to just sleep all day.

insanely busy week

November 17th, 2018 at 01:07 am

So my DH has been traveling this week for work. Things have been super busy. I went to the podiatrist on Tuesday and figured out that I had plantar fascitiis. I ended up buying new sneakers and inserts, and getting on a 6 day regime of steroids. I walked into a store and bought the Brooks GTS Adrenaline sneakers and with the SOLE inserts my feet feel amazing. Guess going to buy cheap sneakers was not the right choice.

Anyway Wednesday morning I awoke to finding out our new dog Winston was bleeding over the house. I spent over an hour trying to clean it all up and figure out where. I checked dew claws, checked his body, and it appeared to be his teeth. I put the kids on the bus and went to the walk in dog clinic. Took 2 hours to figure out that we needed to go to the ER for emergency blood tests. He was actually bleeding from his nose. I figured that out while waiting and he sneezed. I thought it was a cut in his mouth or bad teeth.

So they ran a full blood panel on him and found that he had an extremely low platelet count of 14000/mL versus the normal 175,000/mL. Everything else was fine. We also ran a full tick screen since he'd been at an acreage with a foster home and hadn't gotten tick treatment.

They wanted to do the x-rays, scoping, and urineanalysis which I did not do. It was $500 for the day. Finally by the end of the day I had heard back from the rescue and they said to go to the vet they used for discount rescue rate.

So I took him home rather than paying $600 to board him overnight in the "ICU". Then on Thursday we went to the vet and did the x-rays and urineanalysis and found nothing. A slightly enlarged spleen. So we started him on antibiotics and steroids. The plan is to monitor him and go back for another blood panel in 2-3 weeks. This was $300. They could not find out what sort of infection or inflammation that would cause this low platelet count.

The vet suggested it could be an abscess tooth. I had been planning on having his teeth cleaned actually today but we can't do it until his platelet level was above 50,000/mL. Why did I wait almost 3 weeks?

Because when we got him he and dual ear yeast infections and had to go get them cleaned and have both oral and topical medications to clean it up. Having not been treated for a LONG time. You could smell his ears when we got him. So the next step was the teeth treatment. This will be around $300. And we had spent $300 on initial vet visit and treatment.

If anyone asked I bought him pet health insurance from nationwide for $416 a year. It would have covered this if it were active which will go into effect 11/28/18. It took that long because of the yeast and teeth and initial checkup. So it takes awhile for the underwriting and "effective" date.

That being said today was the first day I managed to sneak back into the office. Along with my DK1 being sick on thursday and today and having to be dragged around me.

On top of normal kids stuff all week and homework and cooking, etc. Monday my DK1 gets her first round of braces. I'm wondering what that will cost me. They never called me to tell me. So far we've paid $2500 about 50% (insurance covered the rest) of the headgear from May. It's gone so well regarding her crossbite we are moving onto the next step sooner than expected because her teeth can't come in without more space. UGH.

I did however negotiate to not pay until January 2019 so I can run it through our new FSA for the year since we already maxed out in 2018.

Now onto thanksgiving.

We got a dog!

October 29th, 2018 at 08:46 pm

So 22 months later we got another dog. It took a long, long time but we got one! He is a black 1 year old standard poodle from a rescue group. His name is Winston. He cost a lot more than we expected and he is slightly bigger than we thought.

We went on Saturday 10/20 to an adoption event to see a 35 lb labradoodle. We weren't a 100% sure we'd adopt but were testing the waters again trying hard to find a dog by the end of November before we decided to buy one. Well by the time we got there another family (we were 10 minutes early to the opening) had already decided they wanted the labradoodle and we just decided to walk around.

My husband saw him and said he's cute and hypoallergenic. So we asked and they said he was a turn in and around 48 lbs. Our plan had been between 25-35 lbs with a maximum of 40 lbs. Well that went out the door.

But he's a super sweet dog. Extremely well trained. He's completely housebroken. He cost us $2365 with $65 going to a dog trainer and $2300 for him. Now it is $2200 tax deductible because it's a non-profit rescue group that uses the money to pay for vet care, fostering, crates, etc.

Yes he's probably more than we would have spent on buying a dog (well maybe because the schnoodles and cockapoos I was looking at for puppies were more like $2500-3000+). But I do feel a little better that it's not going to a breeder, it's tax deductible and I didn't get a dog, instead we gave one who had a home a home instead of a new dog.

Ah well things are buzzing along great. Can't wait.

Dog Adoption Lament

May 21st, 2018 at 05:50 pm

So most of you know we've been without a dog now almost 18 months. This is pretty much the longest DH and I have been without a dog but life's been busy. And we've been on wait lists for about a year with rescue groups. But we haven't been proactively looking either other than putting our names on lists.

But on a more serious note. I want to write about how weird this experience has been. This is the first time we've tried to adopt a dog post-kids. Our kids are now 8 and 5. We've finally also moved into a house with a yard. So we seem like an ideal family now right?

WRONG. Now we have kids and a lot of rescue groups or petfinder don't want to talk to me anymore. Apparently when we were young and dumb DH and I were great candidates. Now with 2 "small" children we aren't. We're next exactly new to this rodeo but they aren't thrilled without "candidate" package.

So right now I'm mulling buying a dog. I cringe as I write this because that makes me choke a bit on how expensive it is. Plus truthfully I feel really guilty based on how many dogs need homes. But now what? We need a dog that is hypo allergenic. But other than that age isn't a big deal and type isn't either. A good disposition. We can work with them.

I'm unsure where to go from here. Do we really buy a puppy?

Goodbye my friend

November 30th, 2016 at 05:48 pm

We put our dog down last night. It was time. The cancer had mestatisized to fluid in his lungs. Though his blood work came back fine last week he wasn't eating and having trouble walking. He seemed to rally a little over the weekend but seemed ready yesterday night when DH got home.

First time in almost 15 years we've been without a dog in our lives. It's hard and lonely. The house seems empty and quieter. I don't know if we'll get another friend. I think it'll be awhile. I'm so glad he got to spend his last year in a house that was easier for him to be comfortable in. If I can stop crying. Well the saying is death comes in threes and it has this year for us.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try to donate some stuff to a rescue group. Or sometime soon.

The dog

November 22nd, 2016 at 05:31 pm

I'm a little worried. Our dog has been on his "last" legs for over a year. But he seems more tired and lethargic and just sick. I feel like it's getting to the end. I'm very sad and not sure if I'm ready to let go.

People have told me to get another dog but I feel like I'm not interested or ready. I'm not sure when I'll be ready. I just want to not feel ridiculous for crying right now. The kids saw other people's new puppies and said they wanted one. But right now the idea of another dog is just not vibing. I'm just hoping he makes it through Thanksgiving. And yes I'm aware he's a pet but he's been a really good friend for many years and to me he's family. He's someone I walk and talk with quite a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving in case i don't get back before Thursday.

owning a pet is expensive

October 10th, 2016 at 11:39 pm

So this past year we've spent $7938 on our dog. He's still alive amazingly. He was diagnosed with cancer left september and he torn his ACL and was 14 years old or so. He's a rescue so we're not really sure how old he is but we've had him for 10 years and they thought he might be around 3-4 years old in 2006 when we got him. The acl healed, we did chemo, and he's in pretty good spirits still.

When our other dog died 2010 I would guess I spent even more in his last year of life. I wasn't ready having been pregnant and just had a baby. I wasn't ready to let him go. When he did go I was ready and we'd had a good year with him.

But now I see lots of families who go to school with my kiddos getting a new puppy. For the "kids" to grow up with. I hope they understand what they are getting into. A huge commitment both of time and money. It's expensive to travel and when they get older you don't travel unless they are with you. Hence for now we're stuck driving because he can't handle plane rides anymore and we're too nervous he'd die if we left him at a kennel for more than an overnight. And a dog walker wouldn't work since he'd get upset being left alone so long.

Truth is I get that pets aren't family. He's not my kid. But he is I will admit probably my best friend. I am the one who walks him 2-3x/day. I'm the one who cares for him by brushing and bathing him. He sat next to me on the couch when I cried with post-partum depression. I was medicating halfway through my second pregnancy it was so bad. He walked with me when I pushed the stroller 365 days a year and when I felt lonely. I admit that he's not a person and he's not "family". But he is my friend and I've never admitted what we spend on him or our previous buddy.

I don't think that we'll get another dog anytime soon. Certainly not while he's alive. But seeing the numbers in black and white now before he passes is easier. It's not a pretty number, but it's real. I guess we know where a good chunk of our money last year went. LOL.

If anyone ever gives you a "puppy present" give it back. It's probably one of the most expensive gifts you'll ever get.

Do you know what you spend on your pets? I feel a little sticker shock since I've never added it up.

And the dice says...

June 25th, 2016 at 04:06 am

Well it turns out the gamble was correct. DH landed his dream job. He got two very solid offers from two great companies. Company A offered $x + bonus less money than Company B. But Company B is a lower salary and higher bonus guarantee. He likes Company A but asked for more money. Company B told him to name a number that would guarantee he'd work for them. He's spending the weekend thinking because he really loves Company A.

We've decided he'll take company A even if they can't match the compensation of Company B. It's worth it. Besides the biggest thrill? It turns out that he's making more money than he was making last year. Cheers! Lower cost of living, more money, happier/closer to family, and DH got a year to be with us. Life couldn't be sweeter. Guess the gamble paid off.

We spent the last two days desperately looking at home to buy for pricing ideas and rentals. We decided we just aren't comfortable taking the risk of moving into a shorter commute with the chance we might hate the neighborhood. We don't want to risk moving our kiddos three times in three years. So instead DH has agreed to suck it up and try this commute. If it's miserable our new goal and plan is to spend every day/weekend looking at homes and neighborhoods to figure out what might work. We're going to hang out this weekend in the cities and walk around, see shops, libraries, parks, and overall impression.

We've been very insular since we've moved focusing on where we are and making friends in our area and it's been successful. But now we are honestly able to not focus on studying/school and get out more.

We made a plan that in 1 year we'll be moving into a rental or house no matter what. That we will have a decision made. We've also decided that if DH is miserable we'll hasten the timeline and take a hit on our lease agreement. I'm really impressed DH is taking this hit for the family's well being by making a commute I know will make him unhappy. But this is delayed gratification and in the long term we'll be better off is why he's making this sacrifice for me and the kids. We've always valued minimum commuting time and time as a family has always taken #1 priority. He proved it last year walking away from his job and moving into the unknown. So this sacrifice I know is huge.

Finally our dog survived his surgery. Sounds stupid but I was super worried with him being put under for anesthesia and the dr did say it was possible he wouldn't pass the liver test and the surgery was impossible. He had a fractured tooth that had to be extracted along with other teeth and 10 skin tags that needed removal. He did great and survived. I know it's ridiculous but we were really worried that instead of helping him we might have sent him to die on the table. I'm really glad he's okay. I know our time is limited, but he really is my best friend and support. I walk him 2-3x a day and it's the only time I get to really think and clear my head alone. He listens as I talk and think.

Well life is beautiful. If you had told me we'd be in this position a year ago I'd tell you it'd be a dream. Turns out sometimes it happens.

Now I'm off to figure out the next steps of our plan.

irresponsible pet owners

March 18th, 2016 at 04:00 pm

I'm just annoyed with irresponsible pet owners. I have to complain here because it real life I don't know what to do. I was walking DK2 in a stroller for nap yesterday and I saw a neighbor walking with her two dogs let them take a "dump" and not pick it up. I was shocked. In case it's not recalled I have a dog and always walk and pick up his leftovers. But what do you do? Confront this person just walking away? I felt not because sometimes that's me. Sometimes I have forgotten a bag and will come back and pick it up. But I think this woman didn't forget a bag, rather I don't think she ever does it. People who forget a bag have certain demeanor when leaving it behind. Besides the fact in our neighborhood there are SIGNS with dog litter bags to pick up after your dog!

I am annoyed I guess because recently I've found three piles of dog leftovers on my front yard and it's obviously a very large dog versus my small dog. Really? You can't be bothered to pick up after your dog on someone else's yard?

Then as I've mentioned this to a friend, she runs a doggy daycare, she says there are a lot of rotten owners out there. She ended up recently with a 3rd dog, a bull mastiff no less, because the owner dropped the dog off and refused to come back and pick it up. You'd think this was a one time thing? NOPE. This is the 6th dog she's had to rehome because owners come and drop their dogs off at her daycare and treat it like a shelter. Fortunately she's been able to place the dogs with other owners or her staff, but still the nerve and irresponsibility of these dog owners. She questions how they can afford to buy a "pure" bred dog and then pay for daycare for awhile then decide to just leave it behind for someone else to take care off.

Sorry for the rant. I'm just annoyed by owners I question their responsibility. Ugh.