People have been very generous in complimenting my wife Clara and me for rescuing Lance and then sticking by him despite his unpredictability. Financially, Lance didn’t cost us a lot of money (apart from that time he got “porcupined”). After all, we got him for “free” and he was incredibly durable health-wise. Lance was expensive in the sense that he nearly cost us our sanity. Was it worth living with a dog that had us on pins and needles? Definitely. As I mention in the book, “I would take that dog back in a flash, baggage and all.”
Our current dog Buddy, a poodle/beagle mix, was diagnosed with congestive heart disease several months ago. He is now on a regular regimen of visits to the veterinarian and an assortment of medications. We’re spending about $400-$500 a month on visits to the clinic and another $270 a month on medications. This is money that—as the saying goes—we don’t have.
While Lance had us on edge because of his biting tendencies, Buddy has us on edge financially but much more so because his life is literally a day to day thing. He has wheezing spells when he can barely breathe. Clara and I can only sit, watch and hope. So far, Buddy has survived these fits.
At night, Buddy has taken to sleeping in the living room by himself. When I get up in the morning and come out into the dark I’m never sure if I’m going to find him alive or dead. I’m afraid to turn the light on and find out. I go into the kitchen to make coffee and wait for him to show some signs of life. Invariably, I start hearing his tail thump. My first feeling is one of relief—he’s lived to see another day!
So, in a sense we’re spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars and living on emotional pins and needles just to hear a tail thump in the morning. Dog lovers know that’s a worthwhile investment.
What sacrifices have you made for your dog?
Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch bad movies. Major accomplishment : He entered a 26.2-mile marathon following hip replacement surgery and finished—dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog Buddy (another rescue), and cat Winky (yet another rescue).
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