Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pet or Family Member?

We got our dog Tanner 8 years ago this week, back then he was our first born. When you are a couple with no children, your pet quickly fills that role. Tanner literally "ran" our life. When we selected a Vizsla we knew they were a high energy breed and that was an understatement. Even family planning centered around Tanner's high energy since we were waiting for him to calm down before we had children. He hit three years old and hadn't calmed done and so resigned ourselves to the fact that he would forever be high energy. As the children came along Tanner's center stage life took an inevitable back seat. He wasn't happy playing second fiddle to Cole and then third fiddle once Cecily came along. He still had his mountain time
with Rich and somehow found his way into our bed beofre the sun came up each morning.
In August on a week long trip to Pennsylvania, we thought he was stung in the eye by a bee. Once Rich arrived home with Tanner and I got a good look at him, things seemed really off and they ventured to the Vet. We were expecting an infected eye, a dose of antibiotics, and the usual $200 Vet bill. Instead we found that our seemingly healthy 8 year old dog had cancer.
Devastation set in at our house, what a shock that in mere days our healthy dog was literally dying. We had a choice to make and we thought that we would let him go as long as we could before putting him down. The next week we met with our Vet about his prognosis, expecting the only solution to be chemotherapy at Penn in Philadelphia with a hefty bill, we were ready to turn down long term care. It turned out that the cancer had an 80% treatment rate and the Vet could do the treatments in his office with little side effects. The cost however was not inexpensive, but would be spread out over five months. What would you do? It is a tough choice to make especially once the doctor explained that in two weeks the cancer would spread and he would start to shut down in front of us. We had the emergency savings and Rich could handle the weekly visits to our Vet. Tanner is our family member so we are working on saving him. The chemotherapy seems to be working and it is not disruptive to his energy level at all! The cost is high but we decided more time with our dog was worth more than a week at the beach, so the money went to Tanner. At least now we can know that we did everything we could to give him the best shot at life and for that I am thankful!

1 comment:

  1. In our case, our "first baby" got sick at 7 years old right in the middle of our divorce. Her liver had shut down, apparently something genetic. I ended up taking her by myself to put her down after trying ways to keep her going for about 3 months. All the guilt over not paying enough attention to her or making her take a back seat to the boys sunk in. I still miss her, but wouldn't get another dog now because I just wouldn't feel it was fair to the dog.
    Excuse me now while I go get all nostalgic and look for her pictures.