I’m about to get sappy on you. You might want to get your tissues handy.
This is my dear Siamese kitty Evie. She’s nine years old, and she’s been in the hospital since Weds. Three weeks ago she had a seizure for the first time, and she’s gone steadily down hill since, refusing to eat or drink. The whole time I was away last week, she stayed under the bed. She only weighed 7 pounds to begin with and now she feels like an anorexic looks. There is still no definitive answer, after 6 regular vet consults, 43 possible diagnoses, an MRI, and abdominal ultrasound. We’re currently awaiting blood work to come back from Texas A&M vet school. And I visited her in the hospital today–who would have thought they had visiting hours at the specialty vet clinic? And of course Evie, like many in this country, has no health insurance–so I’ll just let you imagine the bills.
The entire experience has brought the ‘who says?’ mantra into my head incessantly. (I’m not just writing this for sympathy, truly–I do have a slight point.) When I related this process to someone I know well, I heard a story in return about a dog who was ‘just a pound mutt’ who was diagnosed with cancer. The treatment estimate was $5300, and so the owners chose euthanasia. And, the storyteller related, the veterinarian was a bit outraged and critical of their decision. While that may not have been a helpful stance from the treating doctor, who can judge? Until we’re in those butt-numbing vet hospital waiting room chairs for six hours, we just don’t know. Who says that we can put a dollar amount on our pets?
Research about the benefits of our valued pet friends is continuing to amass. Pets help us cope with stress, increasing our resilience in the face of change. Pet ownership is tied to improved health, from blood pressure to psychological well-being. I know that my three furry friends seem always attuned to my mood and plop themselves nearby when I’m feeling down. ‘Just a pound mutt’ can be your most stalwart ally. Difficult choices abound, when faced with serious pet illness, and we each have to choose what’s right for us. Today, the most helpful information I can offer to my readers who have beloved pets is: buy pet health insurance, if you can afford it. It’s certainly a value, cost-wise, if you ever have to face a critical pet health challenge.
Please send out healing prayers and thoughts for my Evie.