The above photo is of my brother's five and a-half month old bulldog Tucker in an oxygen cage. Tucker, who couldn't be sweeter if he were made of gum drops, developed aspirational pneumonia and nearly died several times last week. He is now through the worst of it, we hope. I can only imagine the vet bills. Catastrophic in many ways. It didn't use to be like this. When my black lab had an ACL surgery in the mid 1990's the total bill, including anesthesia, medicine and two nights stay was $180. When my yellow lab had the same operation ten years later the bill was over $2000. And that doesn't include treatment for the subsequent kidney failure that resulted from the pain medication. It can't just be inflation. America is pet crazy. And I say that as one of the deeply crazed. Vets just happened to be the beneficiaries of our madness. Anything is possible now, transplants, cloning, the sky's the limit. Three years ago my vet was stunned by my refusal to put my 12 year old lab through chemotherapy. (In fairness, if Clio had been young at the time I might have been tempted.) This pretty young vet told me, in all earnestness, "Old age is not a disease." Ha!
Canine allergy tests start at $600. My god-dog Sam went through a battery of them when the kangaroo and red lentil diet proved futile.
Sam is staying with us while my son and his wife enjoy Napa Valley. While I was at work yesterday Sam discovered a wicked, horrid monster cleverly disguised as a 6-foot bath mat. Sam to the rescue. He dragged the 'monster' down the stairs and thrashed it soundly, whacked it against furniture and water bowls. He seemed to expect some reward for his efforts.
Sam has developed a whiny quality that I thought only existed in pre-school children. Whatever we are doing for him it is apparently, not enough. The house is littered with his toys and bully sticks (for those happily unaware, a bully stick is a dried bull's penis) but he wants to munch on my collection of vintage windup toys. He wants to chew the down comforter. He wants the monster/bathmat released from the closet, where apparently it is issuing a siren song of taunts. He just whined at my husband who commented: "Oh for heaven's sake. He has a bull's penis, what more does he want?"