Life

Vet bills mount for author's pet

National Dog Day, which was in late August, right around Ginnie’s birthday, found Buddy a little worse for wear. It has been a bummer summer for the ole Buddy Boy.

First of all, in July, he ate a bunch of dark chocolate that Ginnie had gotten me for my birthday, and spent two nights in an animal hospital in Iowa City. Ka-ching!

Did I learn my lesson about what Buddy could and could not consume? Nope. On two consecutive nights, Ginnie and I had beef for supper, first a roast and then t-bones. They were nice bones, without any sharp edges that Buddy would surely love. And he did love them. He proudly carried them off to his favorite corner of the outdoor pen, chest puffed out, and proceeded to devour them. On the third day, I noticed that he was having trouble pooping. He would strain and strain and nothing would come out. Uh, oh. I told myself to keep an eye on him. On the fourth day, same thing. Only this time, his hind end was bloody. I put in an emergency call to the vet and rushed him in. Sure ‘nuff, an x-ray revealed a chewed-up, undigested bone mass stuck in his gut. Buddy got two enemas and a bunch of medicine. Ka-ching, ka-ching.

Then it was time for grooming. Buddy always looks so cute after a grooming. But he started scratching, and digging, and chewing at his paws and anywhere else he could reach. Yep, fleas. Where did he get them, the vet or the groomer? What difference does it make? A flea treatment was in line for ole Buddy Boy, which he hates. But it got rid of the fleas.

He started digging at his ears and shaking his head. For heaven’s sake, what now, ear mites? I couldn’t handle another vet bill. I picked Buddy up, held him under a light and, much to Buddy’s chagrin, studied the inside of his ears. Yep. Way down deep, I could see little, tiny black specks. Once again, where did these come from, the vet or the groomer? I called the vet and begged. Could I please pick up some ear-mite treatment without bringing Buddy in for an office visit? Pretty please? I was tapped out on vet expenses. The vet decided I could pick up the ear-mite treatment and apply it. I congratulated myself on a little cost-saving victory. Until I picked up the ear-mite treatment--$89! I about fainted. Was Buddy worth all this? I must admit, I was having serious thoughts about the advantages of being pet free—not having to make arrangements for his care when we went away, no more vet bills (he goes to the doctor more than we do), and no more of Buddy getting into Ginnie’s purse and chewing up gum, mascara, and anything else that smells good. But the ear digging did subside.

Now we’re just worried about Buddy’s weight. He has turned into a tank. I switched him off dry food to canned. I would limit him to one can of dog food per day, and no table scraps. Buddy gobbles his food, then begs for more. When we open the dishwasher, he tries get inside and lick the plates and silverware. Mercy!

Now he’s chewing his paws. Skin allergies! If it’s not one thing, it’s 18. Please God, we love Buddy, but his care is almost too much for us. A bath with special skin treatment, and a vitamin supplement on his food seemed to cool down the skin allergy. What’s next? Heart worm? Parvovirus?

Buddy gets up on our laps in the evening when we’re watching television. He’s quite affectionate, and so soft and cuddly and warm. Is he worth it?

Yeah.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at HYPERLINK “mailto:curtswarm@yahoo.com”curtswarm@yahoo.com, or find him on Facebook.