The High Price of Having Pets

I've posted numerous pictures of my precious pup, Lily, over the years. She is the cutest, sweetest little dog in the world. And I love her. I LOVE HER! But for such a tiny little creature - she weighs in at a whopping 4.7 pounds - she has become intensely expensive.

Allow me to explain.

On the Friday I was to return home from staying with Mom in the hospital, Lily had a bit of an accident. You see, she has a tendency to stay under-foot all the time. She walks in front of you, not behind you. She does little circles as she's walking, usually because she's trying to do anything that might catch your attention so you will reward her with a treat. ("Treat" is now a word we have to spell at our house, because if we say the word out loud she gets uber-excited and starts jumping around, whether she's done something to deserve a reward or not.)

She also has a bad habit of trying to slip out the door with anybody who walks out of it. You have to really be on your toes sometimes to prevent her sneaky little rear from slipping out with you. And thus is the cause of the latest visit to the dog doc.

That Friday morning as my husband was hurriedly leaving for work, Lily tried to make a mad dash out the door, unbeknownst to the poor Hubby. As the door closed, it hit Lily in the hind leg. Keep in mind that the leg of a not-quite-5-pound-pooch is really, really small.

Teddy and Emi left the house that morning, thinking Lily was okay, though. And as of early this week, she seemed to be fine, running around playing and jumping on and off the couch. But then two nights ago I heard her yelp, and walked in to see her limping, favoring her back right leg. So we decided it would be best to take her to the vet, in case something really was wrong.

Basically, after two sets of X-rays, one shot, three bottles of medicine, and a few routine procedures (cleaned her eyes, clipped her nails, etc.) we paid a vet bill of $322.19.

I'll give you a minute.... I choked, too, when I saw that big number.

The verdict? She has a hairline fracture in her hip, which is common in this small breed. AND THERE'S NOTHING THEY CAN DO TO FIX IT.

We, however, have a very large job. For the next 6-8 weeks, we have to keep Lily from... are you ready?... running and jumping and standing on her hind legs.

Are... you... SERIOUS?!? Okay, people, if you know that a hairline fracture in the hips of Maltese dogs is common, shouldn't you also realize that keeping one of these tiny, hyper little dogs from running and jumping is next to impossible? Here's why...

Apparently, they do understand the difficulty, which is why we were instructed to keep her locked up, either in a cage or bathroom, while we are not home. They actually told us to keep her locked up pretty much all the time, whether we are home or away, but I think that's a bit cruel. So instead, we will all take turns watching and/or holding her while we are home.

For two months.

That's a whole lotta holding. Granted, Lily won't mind that part of the deal at all.

As you can see, she thoroughly enjoys being held. My husband has said on many occasions that he believes her reason for living is to show and receive affection. She is a true lap dog. The minute you pick her up, she goes limp. I think the main reason she is constantly trying to get our attention by walking in front of us and staying under-foot is because she wants us to pick her up. It's like having a toddler that never ages.

But as with anything, sometimes our desires can come back to bite us in the rear. Or as with Lily, in her hip. And thus, in our wallet.

After the 6-8 weeks of keeping her still (Heaven help us!) we have to take her back to the vet for more X-rays, which will no doubt cost us another 300 smackers.

 The vet has also told us that Lily needs to have her teeth cleaned because she has a lot of plaque and gingivitis. The ticket on that will be $200. It doesn't cost that much to have my teeth cleaned. And my teeth are bigger! Every time we take Lily to the vet, whether it's for annual shots, allergy issues (yes, she has food allergies)... whatever it is, it always costs us at least $200.

Now, you can look at these pictures and see that we love this little animal. And I would do anything to make sure she's okay. But I do not understand why her doctor visits are so expensive. Since January, we've easily paid over $1000 in vet bills, and until now with the hip thing there wasn't anything ever really wrong with her. Are all vets this pricey?

I asked my veterinarian yesterday about pet insurance and whether or not he had any recommendations, since the costs of owning a pet are so extraordinary. He said he doesn't recommend it, and that we should instead just put away a little money per month for Lily to cover her costs. OOOHHHH! Okay! I guess he means along with the $2000+ for my daughter's cheer expenses, her varying school and clothing expenses, and her upcoming car expenses, among other things. (Bless my husband's/ Emi's stepfather's heart for helping me with all of this, otherwise I'd be trying to handle all these financial expenses completely by myself.) It's times like now when I wish money really did grow on trees and that I had a green thumb.

Since it doesn't, I will just do some more research on pet insurance, and probably on other vets in the area. I really like our vet, but maybe he just charges more than others. We shall see.

In the meantime, I'm slightly concerned that after a two-month lull in activity Lily may become a bit out of shape. I'd hate for my dog to go from this sweet, healthy little thing...

to this portly "pick me up NOW" kinda dog...

Of course, if that's the case she might not be able to sneak out the door anymore. Situation solved!


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