My Three Pound Budget Buster

I wasn’t going to mention this, but since Crystal over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff has a dog with serious allergies, I thought I would add my little rant to the pet pity party.  My mother-in-law had pugs for a long time so I know how crazy those dogs can be.  But I suppose I should really start at the beginning.

It all started when our 7 year old cockapoo got killed in a tragic car accident.  It happened about 14 months ago.  My wife and a couple of the kids were on the way home from the groomer with the window down.  They were at the entrance to the neighborhood and who knows what goes through a dog’s head (maybe he recognized the area), but he jumped out the window into oncoming traffic.  There was no way for the car to avoid him.  My wife scooped him up and rushed him to the vet, but you can guess that it was moot.  He was dead at the scene as they say.

Of course, the family was devastated so the search began for another cockapoo.  No big deal.  During this whole escapade, the kids (maybe with some encouragement from my wife?  Not exactly sure how it all happened) got the idea that getting two cockapoos and having puppies would be some great adventure.  So that is what happened.

The First Litter

Fast forward to this summer when, in August, the first litter of 4 puppies was born.  We got 3 boys and 1 girl who are mostly black.  The little girl went to some friends but the others are ending up for sale, although one puppy will be going to a fund raising auction at my daughter’s school.

Puppy #3 is the one being donated and is also the runt of the litter.  Well, he is the one that just happened to be underfoot when my 12 year old son stepped backwards while taking them outside to do their business.  Fortunately, he says he didn’t step down all the way, but the damage was done.  Puppy #3 didn’t look too hot afterwards.  He was breathing hard and making some funny noises.

At the vet, he was found to have broken ribs (5 of them) with a bruised lung.  He was gulping a lot of air while struggling to breathe which made his belly big (I learned that at the hospital).  He looked like he had swallowed a grapefruit.

First Vet

This is what we found out at the first vet which is our local vet.  Unfortunately, they close for the evenings and puppy #3 needed to be closely monitored over night.  So after paying the first vet bill of $400+ for xrays, blood work, pain medicine, exam, etc, I transported him in a little cardboard box to the animal hospital on the north side of town.

They confirmed the diagnosis and at least didn’t feel like he needed an abdominal ultrasound for his big belly (at $200) but felt that he was gulping air.

ICU Care and Oxygen

It turns out that the puppy had to stay for almost 48 hours at the animal hospital plus had to stay in the ICU with oxygen therapy that first night.  I took the kids to visit and he looked so pitiful in a little oxygen aquarium looking device.  He looked bad enough that I thought he might not make it, and the vet was unwilling to commit to what he thought as well.

The next day, he was breathing a little better but still wasn’t really interested in eating or drinking.  He was off oxygen but everyone involved felt that it would be better for him if he stayed in the hospital another night.  At least now, it seemed like he would survive.

We took him home the next day after paying $900+ to the hospital for 48 hours of care.  Ouch!  But, I am pleased to report that he improved greatly while at home and as I write this just 7 days after the initial accident, he is running around and acting just like nothing ever happened.  We have allowed him to spend a little time playing with Puppy #1 who is not much bigger but have been keeping him away from the other dogs due to the size difference.

Even though I don’t have an emergency fund per se (I need to work on this), I was able to take care of paying the cost.  But it still hurts to have to deal with the expense.  I had hoped to put that money toward some debt.  At least my son isn’t too bothered by it.  He felt really bad initially and that first night in the ICU but at least the puppy is doing well.  I told him that it isn’t that much different in cost from when his sister wrecks the car and we pay the insurance deductible of $1000.  I think that helped him feel better.

So, there is my pet rant.

Readers:  Feel free to add to the rant and expense of raising pets.


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