Author Topic: The same old pet surgery thing  (Read 3213 times)

Home Stretch

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The same old pet surgery thing
« on: December 14, 2015, 11:25:17 AM »
I was going to post this in "Ask a Mustachian", but I was able to find a dozen posts that already covered my exact questions and concerns, with lots of thoughtful discussion on all angles of these types of decisions.

So, I really just need to vent/confess how ridiculous my life has become that I have committed to spending between $7,000 and $9,000 on surgery for my dog over the next few months.

Holy shit, that's a lot of money. I feel guilty as hell that I am not only not able to save this money, but it's going towards something that is objectively selfish and trivial. By spending this money, I feel like I'm looking every poverty-stricken El Salvadorian family right in the eye and saying "hey, I know I could support your entire family for a year, including housing, food, medical care, and everything else you need, but I decided to spend it on making my dog's legs work instead".

So, feel free to ridicule me, tell me I'm an asshat, or if you're in a good mood maybe commiserate with me and share tales of your own similar situations so I don't feel like I'm the only idiot who has shamelessly thrown away their savings for their furry friends.

former player

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 11:36:46 AM »
No ridicule here.

I have pet insurance on my boy simply because I didn't want to ever be faced with making decisions for him based on finance (child of the NHS, here) but arguably it just means that I'm not sending that annual sum to a human charity, which is the same effect as your decision.

cheddarpie

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 11:39:48 AM »
I'm sorry and good luck! This is the pickle we knowingly put ourselves in having pets ... my dog is my rock, my adventure partner, my therapist, my personal trainer, and my best friend. He 16 years old and has had lymphoma for the last FIVE YEARS and, amazingly, keeps on going with so much love and spunkiness. I wouldn't trade that for the world, but can assure you I've spent an asshat's worth of money (THOUSANDS) on various chemo, meds, and caretaking in his older years. I don't regret any of it, but I do give myself a few facepunches for good measure every once in a while. :)

(I had insurance when I first adopted my dog, but after a year of paying $30/month I canceled knowing that I hated paying that monthly fee and when it came time that there was an actual emergency, I wouldn't think twice about it ... this was true the first two years of big expenses, but now that he's kept living so long (yay!), if I had to do it over again I would get the insurance...)

Home Stretch

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 12:28:09 PM »
I have mocked people for buying pet insurance in the past, using the whole MMM-inspired self-insurance theory. My dog is only two years old. Even if I'd been paying $50/mo I'd be looking at $1,200 of pet insurance bills vs. the insane amount I'm paying now.

Ah well, lesson learned I suppose. Still not sure if I'll get pet insurance... Also I'm not even sure if this operation would be covered.

celticmyst08

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 12:36:37 PM »
No ridicule here. My husband and I love our two cats dearly and would gladly shell out what it took to keep them happy and healthy (assuming whatever illness/injury was treatable and not just prolonging their pain). We have a nice big e-fund just in case.

Our cats are part of our family. I know MMM did his "dogs are unnecessary" post a few months back, and sure... pets are a luxury. But goddamn they're loveable and they enhance our quality of life so much (and we've enhanced theirs as well, compared to their alternative of being feral or stuck in a shelter).

Home Stretch

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 01:04:14 PM »
Yeah, at the end of the year I'm pretty sure I won't even notice the two large credit card bills (gotta get those points, yo).

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 01:07:02 PM »
What pet insurance do you all have? Based on the research I've done, pet insurance plans are all really pre-paid routine care plans, not catastrophic insurance. If I could get a catastrophic plan for my dogs, that's something I'd consider (depending on cost of course).

flyfig

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 01:15:50 PM »
My sympathies. Having a pet is a responsibility but they bring so much joy and love.

I'm in the camp of no pet insurance. I've taken that money and put into a investment account for my pups for major surgery. It's running just above $5k right now so fingers crossed.

GreenSheep

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 02:58:51 PM »
No ridicule here, either. I'm thrilled to see so many people here who take the task of pet ownership seriously. Too many people would have given up on their dog.

I'm also in the self-insuring camp. I only have one small dog, and I hope for her sake and mine that she'll just die in her sleep when she's very, very old. However, thanks to my Mustachian lifestyle, I'd have no problem paying for surgery if necessary. I consider it a small price to pay for her years of love, companionship, and wagging-tail greetings. If you break down $10,000 or whatever over several years of daily quality-of-life enhancement, it doesn't seem so expensive at all.

Bajadoc

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 04:11:32 PM »
An animal deserves to live and die with dignity. Will this surgery fix the animal or just postpone death? Will the dog suffer during recovery? Are you doing this extensive medical treatment for the good of the animal or for yourself? Are you doing what is best for the dog in the long run? Sometimes even people need to be let go. Things to think about. Wishing you and your dog the best.

Mr. Green

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 04:31:11 PM »
If you believe spending the money as the right thing for you and it will bring you the most happiness in the end then other people's situations and how they responded to them don't matter. Feeling guilt because someone somewhere needs something is only enslaving yourself emotionally to the notion that others would spend your money differently. Our own personal happiness is typically a selfish endeavor.

Rural

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 06:13:03 PM »
It has been my observation that most dogs are better people than most people anyway.


Which is a perhaps too lighthearted way of saying you should do what you can for your dog's well-being, and the last thing you should do is feel guilty about it.

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 05:35:06 AM »
Being a dog owner and having spent a lot of money on surgeries for them, I can relate to your predicament.  I say do whatever makes you feel right....if you can afford it and it adds value to your life (through having your dog companion) then do it.

But to address the other issue you raised, here are a few comments.
If you feel guilty because you are spending the money on your dog and not on (as you say) a "poverty-stricken El Salvadorian family" you could always donate equivalent amounts to some charity that you support.  I did that when we spent $1000 on dog training school for our new dog (we needed a place to board her while on vacation and figured the extra cost per day for obedience training was worth it).  Our church was raising money to help children in Mexico that need cleft palate surgeries and I donated $1000 to that cause because it's a life changing surgery for them and because I figured that if I can afford to spend $1000 on dog school, then surely I have enough money and can support some human causes.   

the other thing you can do is to ask friends and family to donate to the surgery costs.  Especially this time of year, if you know someone is looking for gift ideas for you, you could let them know that donations to help with the pet surgery would be really appreciated.  people love to give things that others truly value and sometimes it's hard for them to know what is a gift you would appreciate.  So some might really appreciate knowing that they are not only giving you something you appreciate but also helping your pet.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 05:38:14 AM by HAPPYINAZ »

Fishindude

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2015, 07:56:49 AM »
I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I think spending that kind of money on dog surgery is ridiculous, particularly if it squeezes you financially.
Put it down and go to the shelter and get another one.

It's a "dog", not a person and there are thousands of unwanted pets in shelters being put down every day that could use a good home.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2015, 08:27:09 AM »
The Lone Mainer

Dogs are family. Someone you love is hurt and in pain and you can alleviate that by throwing some money at the problem?

That's a no brainer. Do it, be thankful you have the cash on hand to do it, and move on.

I will say that TWICE vets have told me "that dog has an ACL tear and if you don't operate the dog will never walk again". Both of those dogs are fine and chasing rabbits today. So....get a second opinion. Certain dogs are better with pain/more stoic than others.

I had a doxie once who never made a peep as he walked on a fractured leg: too stubborn to admit getting run over by a Toyota had put a crimp in his day.

But I currently have an EXfighting pitt rescue that held her leg at such an angle and whimpered that one idiot vet (who I think was afraid to touch the dog) said "we need to schedule surgery immediately".

"Without an exam or an x-ray??"

"I can just tell it's an acl tear."

My 'gut' said the vet is a fucking moron and I took the dog home: dog is fine today and runs like a racehorse. So it was some major sprain from chasing rabbits or jumping the fence or whatever.

If you are sure of the problem and have some film or true hands on exam justifying the diagnosis...it's a no brainer.


fishingdude: dogs are not Kleenex. They are not disposable when they are "inconvenient' any more than children are. Neither are they interchangeable units that can be replaced by swinging by the store for a new one, like paper clips. Each is a unique, living, loving being that deserves love and respect back.

I hope you never get a dog. Because they deserve better.

But as for the comment up thread by Bajadoc....yes....there is a time where the dog is in such pain, or at such an age, and the 'treatment' won't cure the dog or alleviate their pain. There truly IS a time for dogs----and I agree.....for people too-----where throwing more meds/surgery at a problem is just torturing them.

At that point, death with dignity is the kindest gift. And the most difficult to perform. In the case of people....illegal except in Oregon, I think.


But the OP mentioned the operation would fix the dogs legs. Case closed.

If anyone on this thread does know of true catastrophic pet insurance that's worth the money, I'm all ears.


Jeddy

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Re: The same old pet surgery thing
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2015, 08:34:25 AM »
The Lone Mainer

Dogs are family. Someone you love is hurt and in pain and you can alleviate that by throwing some money at the problem?

That's a no brainer. Do it, be thankful you have the cash on hand to do it, and move on.

I will say that TWICE vets have told me "that dog has an ACL tear and if you don't operate the dog will never walk again". Both of those dogs are fine and chasing rabbits today. So....get a second opinion. Certain dogs are better with pain/more stoic than others.

I had a doxie once who never made a peep as he walked on a fractured leg: too stubborn to admit getting run over by a Toyota had put a crimp in his day.

But I currently have an EXfighting pitt rescue that held her leg at such an angle and whimpered that one idiot vet (who I think was afraid to touch the dog) said "we need to schedule surgery immediately".

"Without an exam or an x-ray??"

"I can just tell it's an acl tear."

My 'gut' said the vet is a fucking moron and I took the dog home: dog is fine today and runs like a racehorse. So it was some major sprain from chasing rabbits or jumping the fence or whatever.

If you are sure of the problem and have some film or true hands on exam justifying the diagnosis...it's a no brainer.


fishingdude: dogs are not Kleenex. They are not disposable when they are "inconvenient' any more than children are. Neither are they interchangeable units that can be replaced by swinging by the store for a new one, like paper clips. Each is a unique, living, loving being that deserves love and respect back.

I hope you never get a dog. Because they deserve better.

But as for the comment up thread by Bajadoc....yes....there is a time where the dog is in such pain, or at such an age, and the 'treatment' won't cure the dog or alleviate their pain. There truly IS a time for dogs----and I agree.....for people too-----where throwing more meds/surgery at a problem is just torturing them.

At that point, death with dignity is the kindest gift. And the most difficult to perform. In the case of people....illegal except in Oregon, I think.


But the OP mentioned the operation would fix the dogs legs. Case closed.

If anyone on this thread does know of true catastrophic pet insurance that's worth the money, I'm all ears.

Well said