Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Personal Goal - Judge less

Mom - this will probably make you cry - don't say I didn't warn you:)

I realize as I have become a member of the larger dog community, that I can be very judgmental about other dog owners. It is now my goal to be less judgmental. It is not like I have the perfect dog:)  [See previous posts as well as follow the daily check in for time without destruction on twitter.]

Besides judging about dogs behaviour, one of the areas that I have the most trouble not being judgmental about is vet care. This is funny because I know many people have judged me on the amount of money I spent on Loki in his final year. (The post the cost goes over that).  I have been thinking a lot about why I am very judgemental about vet care and because I love lists, here are my reasons.

1) My vet is a very close personal friend. I trust him and his staff with my animals more than I think I would trust doctors with my own medical care. (I tell them this all the time). I know if he or one of the others recommends something, it is what I should do. (They often give me all options, but are always clear on what they think is the best).

2) I can afford vet care. Knock on wood, so far my pets have never required care I could not afford (the joys of being DINKS!) I am not saying I haven't had to give things up to pay for the care, but I never, ever had to decide between something like eating and medicine for a pet. I am blessed. (I think I judge people who can't afford extra-ordinary care the same as people who can afford it, but don't see the value in it).

3) I have very clear personal views on acceptable medical care for myself and loved ones. (My living will reads like War and Peace).

4) My pets are my family members. I have become "that" dog owner (I am not sure when I got that crazy, that is for another day). I would do almost anything to have more quality time with each former and current pack member. As much work as they can be, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

5) I don't believe in having a pet suffer because it is too sad or hard to say goodbye. I think that is shelfish. I considered trying to keep Gemi alive when she was dying so my husband would be home to say goodbye, but in the end decided this would extend her suffering and it wasn't likely she was going to make another week.

So when I read things about other people choosing to provide medical care that I think is crazy (there is not much, I considered letting my dog be the first dog to try blood doping at one point. For both Loki and Gemi I did everything medically reasonable. I am also the proud owner of a magnet that was removed from Bagheera's intestine - don't ask -) or when I hear about people who refuse any medical care, I will say "Just because it is not what I would do, it doesn't make it wrong." I will probably have to say that a million times but I am hopeful eventually I won't judge others. I know how hard it has been for me to make certain medical decisions (even some that turned out ok in the end). It is hard to stop the " should have/could have/would haves" during and after. I will give others the benefit of the doubt and assume their decisions were as heart wrenching. Or maybe it would jut be easier to pretend I didn't hear them:)

My angels, Gemini and Loki.
If money could have bought us more medical care that = quality time, I would have spent it. 


  1. We had to look up the word DINKS! My people fear being in a situation where I need health care & they can't afford it.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  2. Hi Oskar,

    Thanks for reading!

    I hope that you are a very healthy dog and you never have crazy medical bills.

    Loki had crazy ones because he has "the weirdest thing I have ever seen" according to my vet. He had immune mediated hepatitis that caused cirrhosis of the liver. Hopefully you will never have anything like that!

  3. I fear medical bills as well, but know that if an emergency comes up and *I* don't have the money at that particular moment, I have wonderful family who will lend it to me.

    Unfortunately not everyone is as lucky, and it's hard to tell people that they shouldn't own a dog if they can't afford a $10,000 emergency vet bill. You just have to hope that other arrangements can be made, or better yet - that it never happens.

    That being said - when our first foster dog got adopted, it was to a family who had been saving and saving to renovate their kitchen. When their dog got sick, they had to use that money for his vet care. Some people just have different priorities, I guess.

  4. You know when a family gives up a new kitchen for the pup you picked the right family.

    It can be a very hard decision. I think I am less judgemental about the people who have HUGE bills like $10 000 verses the ones who would have a few hundred dollars for something that will be ok in the end that is frustrating. (Having a vet as a friend gives you some bad stories in this domain!)

    There is a great organization: http://www.farleyfoundation.org/ that helps people with vet bills. I have been fortunate to have had donations made on my behalf in memory of my pups.

  5. I was in that situation almost exactly a year ago :(
    My 14 yr old dog Max, who was being treated for kidney disease and liver problems suddenly collapsed. I brought him to the vet in a taxi and they managed to bring him back for me. But we still had no idea what was wrong. I brought him home that night because I could not afford to pay $1000 for one night in intensive care. I stayed up with him and made sure he was okay. Next morning started the round of going back and forth in taxis and getting all sorts of expensive tests done. This lasted 4 days, and still we had no idea what was wrong. All this time Max was just barely responding to me. By the 5th day he started having convulsions and we decided we had to put him out of his misery since no one knew what was happening and the only test we hadn't done were just way too expensive. It was the most heart wrenching decision I ever had to make. In the end it was discovered he had a fast growing brain tumor and we had finally taken the best decision for him.
    I would never judge someone who had to make such a hard decision but I do judge people who do not care enough about their pets and see them as disposable objects.

  6. It really sounds like what you did for your beloved Max was amazing. Our Gemi also ended up having convulsions that they couldn't stop. It is really a horrible thing.

    I think I am bothered the most by the people who either see their pets, as you put it as "disposable objects" or don't even want to do the basic medical care (annual check ups for example). I think when you get a pet you need to acknowledge there is going to be some medical costs (and hope and pray it is nothing like I am sure you paid for Max).

    I recently had to make a decision regarding one of my 16 year old cats. The original quote for dental care was almost $2000. I must admit I laughed when they told me (note: For everything I did to save Gemi - 5 days of intensive medical care and drugs and tests was only around $3000). In the end I worked with my vet to do only the needed work (removing the rotten teeth for example). I could personally not justify spending that much money on something I deemed cosmetic (some of it was) on him. (And it is not because he insists on peeing beside the litter box!)


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