Sunday, September 19, 2010

When You Love a Dog

A lot of people are very deliberate when they choose a dog. It has to be a certain breed. It has to have certain characteristics. It has to have papers. It has to be a certain color. It has to cost a certain amount of money (because if you don't pay enough, it's not status-worthy).

Somewhere in there, people forget that they're adding to their family. You don't pick children that way - you get what you get and work with it.

My blog-friend, Ari, recently wrote a post about a woman who was looking at Ari's foster dog and making judgments about it (unfounded and kind of crazy, actually), but it did make me think about obtaining pets in general.

All of our pets were "deals". The cats were given to us, Stormy the gerbil and Larry the Betta were pretty cheap. Kida was given to us and we adopted Revan from a Big Dog Rescue. But the cost of having a pet doesn't end with the purchase price - or even with the dog toys or food.

We are lucky in that all four cats and Kida only require the once a year checkup and shots.

Revan, however, is a different story. We originally got Revan because I sent the guys to the pet store to get a new fish. They came home with a dog. He's big and stubborn. He only likes peanut butter chewies.

He's part Chow, part German Shepherd and part Siberian Husky. His fur is long and thick and sheds like you wouldn't believe. He loves to go on runs with Darling Man and Kida, but it was killing him, the heat - so I clipped him down to short fur.

And under that shorter fur, we discovered that he had a nasty staph infection. Very expensive trip to the vet. Drugs and special shampoo and the suggestion that we look into food that doesn't have much corn in it. Well, we did all that and the skin problems just kept coming back. I resorted to Desitin to soothe the hot spots and it actually works really well. He doesn't like the taste of it, so he doesn't lick it off (bonus!). We thought we had a pretty good handle on his issues until the other day when ZBoy was petting him and giving his ears a gentle tug (which Revan loves), when Revan cried out.

It was odd, so I looked at his ear...

It was all red and swollen and full of black gunk and smelled awful! Hair can hide a lot. So back to the vet he went. This one is a yeast infection. We got a bottle of stuff to squeeze into his ear once a day for a week. So far this year, I'm guessing this dog has cost us upwards of $800 - and we haven't even gotten to November and his yearly checkup and shots.
And apparently, he's allergic to just about everything. Shampoos, food and who knows what else. So our inexpensive rescue is costing us big bucks.

Hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner - $20

Dog food with no corn, no wheat, no eggs, and no chicken
(apparently all common allergens for dogs) - $30.

The love and adoration that goes both ways between this dog and his humans?


Pamela said...

The problem is - - we can't measure the love, the adoration, the deterrence of thieves, the blood pressure lowering when you pet him and he lays his head in your lap ... etc

I wonder if you need a dog whisperer.
One came in to my "last" work place quite often. One of the ladies who worked in another area of the bank paid the fee for her to "whisper" her dog.

Whisperer told my co-worker that her dog had cancer but didn't have physical symptoms as yet. But she felt the heat from it when she ran her hands over certain parts of the dogs body. Coworker took dog to the vet, and sure enough he did.

~sWaMpY~ said...

All of our babies are rescue dogs and they know how very much they are loved. You know one of our babies, June Bug...
What a precious look on that fur baby's face ! Hope the ear is better.

karisma said...

He is adorable! All of our pets pretty much chose us when it came down to it. I don't have the heart to turn them away. Miko is the only one with papers, they mean nothing to me. She is a norty norty girl! LOL unlike the mutts around here.

It funny though how some people are so fussy over pedigree, I have witnessed quiet a few people who opt to go that way who are the worst pet owners on earth. Dogs end up neglected as quite frankly its just another way to show off their money rather than their love for an animal. So sad.

Janis said...

I hear you on the expense of caring for a pet. Both daughters have had to fork out lots of money on their dogs. The one now has allergies and is constantly licking his paws and he is prone to hot spots also. The other dog has diabetes and requires shots twice a day and special food. Way back when I had a dog, she was a mutt and only required once a year check ups and shots. I was very lucky! Good luck with your dogs infected ear.

Floridacracker said...

Oh yes, don't I know it.

He has a sweet face!

Sandy said...

Poor Revon! I hope the new food helps and thanks for this post. All of my rescues are short haired dogs and I think I'll try and keep it that

Faye said...

Revan is such a grand dog. I can see why you do all you can for him. I had a border collie that had me skittering to the vet every month, it seemed. In fact, I often asked: "Okay Zack, how are we going to spend our extra cash on you this month?" He more than made up for it by making me laugh and just being a beautiful creature. I'm sure that with Revan it's an equal tradeoff as well.