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Another trip to the ER…


On Sundays, my husband and I drive up to hang out with my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and grandparents at my parents’ house. We take our dogs since my parents have a large fenced backyard. We’ve never had a problem and our dogs love running around for hours.

Tonight was different.

As we sat relaxing, a loud yelp broke the calm night air and my dog came running to the house making pained noises I have never heard him make.

We thought he had scraped his face on a wood pile but as I sped down the freeway, his face swelling more with each passing minute, my hopes of a simple puncture wound faded. The 30 minute car ride seemed to take hours. His pained whimpering broke my heart.

The vet said my dog had been bit not once, but twice by a rattlesnake and they weren’t sure if he would make it.

I have always said I would never pay more in vet bills than I paid for the animal and have routinely been confused when people spend thousands on dogs.

I am no longer confused.

When they brought me the bill, I was already crying, but when I saw the $2,500 decision, I started sobbing. I had my head in my hands for ten minutes, my mascara streaking down my cheeks. “I can’t do it” I said to my husband, “I can’t make this decision. I’m sorry.”

I appreciate that my husband knows some things are simply too big for me. I get too emotional and fail to think clearly.

He rubbed my back, stood up, and walked to the front desk. Thinking he would ask them to put Hutch down, I couldn’t breathe through my tears.

He came back and calmly started filling out admittance papers and the veterinary financing paperwork.

We took a big debt step back tonight and we won’t even know how big of a step for three days.

By the way – if you are thinking about making comments about how stupid it is (I already know) to take out a $2,500 loan on a dog, could you please wait a few days until I find out whether or not my dog is going to live?


  • Reply christy |

    I totally understand. You love your dog. Deciding to end an animals life isn’t an easy decision (and it shouldn’t be). I would have done the same thing.

  • Reply Amanda N |

    Do not feel bad for one second. I hope your dog recovers fully. I am probably the most frugal person I know. My family makes fun of me for pinching every penny. Still, I pay over $100 a month for my dog’s meds. The fact that it makes her feel great and makes her fetch and play is worth it. She loves us without condition and if set amount of money makes her feel like a puppy, I will pay it every time. You are doing just fine with all your priotities in order. Dogs are a special thing.

  • Reply Jen |

    I hope that your dog will be okay. I would have absolutely done the same thing in a heartbeat. Anyone who wouldn’t shouldn’t have a pet.

  • Reply amy |

    Healing thoughts for your dog. Our four-legged babies are as much a member of our family as our two-legged ones–their love is irreplaceable.

  • Reply N |

    Aw, poor dog! I hope he heals quickly!

    Just last week our cat (whom we’ve had for 7 years) developed an abscess by her nose. $200 to have it drained, get meds, and find out that it was caused by one of her canine teeth…and said tooth needs to come out to prevent further infections. The quote for the surgery was $400. Everyone has been telling us to put her down. Are they kidding? She’s like another one of our children! We didn’t take her into our family in order to put her to sleep at the first sign of medical issues. I’d never ignore my children’s medical problems, and I won’t ignore her’s, either 🙂

  • Reply Vicki |

    Beks – your dog is part of your family. If I was in your shoes, I would absolutely do the same thing.

  • Reply Evan |

    I didn’t read ALL the comments, but you aren’t stupid at all – it is your dog! and a young one at that.

    It does make you think about pet insurance huh?

  • Reply WicketsMom |

    You absolutely made the right decision. You can’t put a price tag on a pet’s unconditional love. Hope he gets better soon.

  • Reply Susan |

    I hope your dog is going to be okay. That’s so upsetting. At a time like this, who cares about money? That’s why you worry about money during the good times – so that in the bad times like this you can just worry about what is truly important – getting your dog well. If you live frugally the rest of the time, you’ll have the bills paid off before you know it. For now, focus on what is really important – the health of your very special animal companion, your friend who looks to you for his daily care.

    Please let us know how Hutch is doing.

  • Reply Starr |

    Sending thoughts and prayers about your dog. and you’ll have that money paid off before you know it. Yes, you will. There will be no regrets.

  • Reply Angie |

    Bless your heart. I have been to where we had no choice but to put our dog down. So, no stupid comments here. Sending good vibes your way. I sure hope he gets better.


  • Reply James Hess |

    Like you said it’s easy to say you will never pay for crazy vet bills until you are in a bad situation. I hope your dog gets better please keep us up to date.

  • Reply Gina |

    I sure hope the pup makes it – we are all pulling for him.

    And I will personally kick the butt of anyone who gives you grief over this decision. It is only money – you will get it paid off and this is a pet, a loved one.

    I am sorry you are going thru this, but I am so very proud of you. Wishing you all the best.

  • Reply Jesse |

    I really hope your dog pulls through, thats scary!

    All I can say is that when I was growing up I never had pets so I thought it was crazy to spend big money on pet doctor bills. Fast forward to now where my wife and I have two dogs and I can say that I am not sure if there is a limit on what we would pay if one of our dogs was bitten by a snake and needed medical care…2k? Yup, 10k? Yup. Dog = part of the family.

  • Reply Beckik |

    you guys made the right decision! I would have done the same. I was faced with the possibility of my 12 year old dog having cancer and how thousands of dollars would only prolong his life for a few months…that is a situation which would require thinking through….thank goodness it wasn’t cancer.

    Your situation had to be decided immediately.
    I’m praying for your dog and that he makes it through this!

  • Reply Mar |

    Been there, done that – more than once – even after I had a human child (well, she’s a teenager now, but I hear she’ll be human again one day – but I digress).

    The ONLY time I regret the cost of emergency care for one of my cats is when I didn’t take her in soon enough because I decided to wait until the morning to see if she got better. I was broke and didn’t want to spend the money if it wasn’t necessary. She ended up being put down later that next day because the rat poison she had ingested had done its damage. It may have been/probably was too late the night before, but she would not have suffered so much.

    We got back from vacation last Saturday morning and were at the vet’s less than an hour later because the cat had developed an abscess on his back that broke open and the hair fell out of that area. It cost only $100 and I say only because if it had been 40 minutes later, the vet would have been closed and we would have been at the emergency vet and that is a couple hundred just to walk in the door. Since we took him in so quickly, the antibiotics have done the trick and he is just about healed.

    One final note to all cat owners (or slaves, depends on your cat…): If you need to give pills to your cat, ours highly recommends Greenies Pill Pockets. Just make sure you cover up every little itty bit of the pill.

  • Reply Mar |

    One more thing – is someone “taking care of” the rattlesnakes? I would save the dog, but the snakes are gone, gone, gone if I have anything to say about it! Thank heavens no one else got near them,including your other dog and your nieces and nephews.

    I’m in line behind Gina to kick the butt of anyone who says anything about spending this money – they aren’t in your position and this isn’t just a financial decision. As far as the line goes, I’m envisioning something from the movie Airplane where everyone, including June Cleaver, lines up to take their turn at the person who is getting hysterical.

  • Reply debbie |

    Not stupid at all – if something like that happened to my dog I would do everything I possibly could to save him. I’ll say a prayer for you and him.

  • Reply Stefanie |

    Not stupid! Memories and loved ones are the REASON we work so hard to cut elsewhere. Experiences, family, pets – those are the things that make life worthwhile.

    Think of how much easier it is to spend that $2500 now that you’ve worked so hard to cut in other areas. So many of us spend an extra $2000-3000 on a car just in silly options or not shopping around enough…and yet we worry about spending money at the vet? Don’t feel bad about this. Your priorities are in EXACTLY the right place.

  • Reply Beks |

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I cried through all of your comments. I couldn’t ask for better readers.

  • Reply Heather |

    Please do not think twice about your decision to provide emergency medical care to your pup. Our pets are, believe it or not, a very strong emotional support system for us. (My husband and I do not have children and our 8 year old boxer is a vital part of us…I cannot imagine losing him.) I will be thinking of your pup and you and your husband. Hope he makes a full recovery.

  • Reply James Hess |

    Hang in Hutch you can do it. He looks like a strong little fella. He looks like a little pig now . lol . The best of luck to you and Hutch.

So, what do you think ?