When my A-hole ex went off the deep end in April of '07 and went into rehab AGAIN, he left behind Annie, his 11 year old dog. Since the ex had exhausted all good will he could from his friends, it was either take her to a shelter or take her home, which of course I did, because being an animal lover, the shelter was not an option. I already had a dog and cat in my new life, but Annie and I had history.
Travel back in time with me to when about she was about 6 months old. A better time in life, when the family was still together and all were relatively happy. Annie kept getting out of the yard. On a routine visit for shots to the vet we brought up her escapes to him. "Well, she's like a teenager with a six pack right now. She just wants to get out and party. If I were you, I'd consider getting pet insurance." We ignored his advice and within a month she escaped from the yard once again and was run over by a car, requiring a titanium plate in her leg to the tune of about $1200. It was then that my mom nicknamed her Timex. Takes a licking...
Back to 2007. A week or so after I brought her home, I discovered something not quite right on her backside while giving her a bath. I asked A-hole ex about it when bringing some clothes to him in rehab and he said "Oh yeah, she's been like that for a while." I immediately took her to the vet. When they told me it had likely been going on for about a year based on the severity I cried silently, looking at the old gal sitting askew on her back haunches, gazing up at me lovingly. Not only did we start her on antibiotics, but we got her on some medicine for her arthritis as well.
Fast forward almost 2 years. Annie is now 13 and every one of her litter mates has croaked. I take her to the vet for some issues with incontinence. The vet recommends a medication to tighten her sphincter to the tune of about $30 a month. Let's see - $38 a month for arthritis meds + $20 a month for food + $20 a month to wash & dry her dog bed in the jumbo washer at the laundry mat = almost $80 a month for a sweet old bitch who I wish half the time would just go to sleep for good so I could be done with it. Hell, I'm gonna be 50 this year and likely I'll need sphincter meds soon, so I say thanks anyway for now.
This week I received news that changes my economic situation from stable to critical, to put it mildly. This when I already as a single mother with 4 pets and one teenager live pretty much hand to mouth. Bummer. So what happens? The old bitch decides to eat about 4 cups of an almost empty bag of organic fertilizer. Greeeeaaaat!
Had it not been for the inordinate reek of ammonia in her urine, I wouldn't have even suspected. That reek caused me to snoop around the garage where she had been hanging out a couple of days before on a rainy day. A couple of feet from the dog door, under the washroom sink, I found the telltale ripped up gallon freezer bag that the Dr. Earth Tree and Shrub had been in. How the hell that 13 year old arthritic dog got the bag off the top of the dryer I'll never know. One vet visit, one urine test and one blood test later = $215. How's the dog? Perfectly damn fine, that's how. Here's where perhaps a little Round Up would have come in handy. Better dying through chemicals! As I type that though, my sweet old bitch Annie stands looking at me, tail wagging, waiting for her evening walk. D'oh!