This Thanksgiving, through the tears, I gave thanks for having my wonderful rescued golden retriever, Bailey, in my life for the past nine years. Sadly, she died suddenly from cancer.

The end for BaileVeterinary_symboly was at an emergency hospital after exams, procedures and ultrasounds. (Program the name/number of a 24/7 pet hospital into your phone. Seriously, you never know when you may need it. The one I’ve used is VERGI.) Emergency hospitals are not cheap. Fortunately, I had the money to cover these expenses, but I’m sure many would not.

There are some things you can do to better prepare for emergencies. I came across an article today about dealing with unexpected vet expenses. One idea mentioned is pet health insurance. This was not something I had for Bailey. After incurring expenses for her care over her life, I decided pet health insurance would be a good move for my younger dog. I did a lot of comparisons and selected Embrace Pet Insurance. (Some day I’ll do a post specifically dedicated to pet care costs and insurance!) I haven’t had to use it yet, but like my own health insurance–it’s good to know it’s there.

Costs can be managed. Make sure you have a good relationship with a quality veterinarian. Also, take a look at my list of Houston-area low-cost vet clinics and financial assistance for petcare emergencies.

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Just found this coupon for $2 off Nylabone. My dogs love the “Souper” size–they chew then down to a small nub with a sharp point. I always wonder if they’re trying to make weapons…

The Hairless Dog

April 16, 2009

Do dogs just seek me out? I was fixing my fence that had been tagged over the weekend when a dog walked up and stared at me. He has less than half his hair, isn’t neutered, has several sores and is underweight. Dammit.

I’d seen him in the neighborhood over a week ago—but at that time he wanted nothing to do with me. Well, not yesterday. Yesterday, I was his best friend. He gladly let me put a leash on him, feed and water him, and put him in the garage.

After about an hour, I went out to check on him and he’d busted out of the garage (if you saw my crappy-ass garage, you’d see just how easy that would be). I walked down the street and found him and he happily followed me back home. I put him in a crate in the garage, gave him more food, a treat and a Benedryl and went to bed—thinking about what I’d do in the morning.

Well, morning came and I decided to take him to my vet. If mange was his only issue (and likely heartworms) and he was young, I’d treat him and try to find him a home. If he was an old dog and had a long list of ailments, I decided I’d put him down and end what must be pure agony.

Well, other than being extremely unattractive, he’s a nice boy and young and in pretty OK shape. He has demodectic mange, which I’ve read about but don’t really have experience with. So the vet is treating his mange and hanging on to him for now.

He looks like he’s probably mostly black with white feet. He’s tall and maybe a lab/pit mix, but even the vet couldn’t tell. Because of the hair loss, he just looks like a really wrinkly, old fart dog. We’ll see how he progresses.

One more bit of proof that Houston’s City Pound, BARC, is truly a disaster.

BARC’s head vet, “Dr.” Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze (Eunice Ohashiegbula-Ozuzu), had her vet license suspended in New Jersey after she provided poor care that lead to the death of three dogs in 2003-2004. Oh, and she failed to mention it on her employment app with BARC. Apparently, a couple of years before, she also received a fine associated with poor care and poor record keeping.

Houston, the fourth largest City in the country, and this is the best we can do? How many times have I asked myself that very question when thinking about BARC?! Yeah, it’s a lousy job. But it’s also a job where you have a chance to make a difference and bring an ailing and backward program into the current century. It’s an opportunity to be a hero, a leader, a forward thinker. But the City of Houston hires an incompetent butcher and two-time loser? Houston animals and Houston tax payers deserve better.

Most adopted dogs have the birthday of January 1, but in Remy’s case, his birthday really was January 1. I adopted him on Valentine’s Day 1998 at the Houston SPCA as a 7-8 week old puppy. He was one in a litter of 4 pointer/terrier mixes that had been surrendered by their owner. He put his paws around my neck when I picked him up. I guess he picked me. He went home with me in a cat carrier.

For the past 10 years, Remy (Remington) has been a perfect dog–sweet, loving, smart. But he’s also has medical issues off and on his whole life. In November 2006, he was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease. He responded well to meds, but hit a point where his little body was no longer responding to them.

Here is a picture of him I took yesterday when we were spending some time outside together. He looks so tired. 

Sweet Remy 031208

Today I put my baby Remy to sleep. While I am suffering from the loss, I know my sweet boy will no longer suffer.

When I was in college, I saw a woman and her two kids walking down the street with their dog who was off leash. The dog ran out in the road and was hit by a car. The people stopped, but then decided to walk away, even though the dog was still alive–laying injured in the street. I jumped out of my car to help, then started screaming at the people because they didn’t have their dog on leash and now they were walking away from their dying dog. I remember the woman saying they didn’t have any money to help their dog.

I can’t imagine not being able to afford medical care for my pets. I know medical costs for treating an animal that’s sick or injured can be prohibitive. I’ve put together a list of organizations who help people and organization who are trying to help sick or injured animals. Maybe this information will help someone.

So back to that dog by the curb–he was a shepherd and he was beautiful. A passer-by helped me move him out of the street and over to the sidewalk. I waited with the dog as he struggled to breathe until animal rescue showed up. I helped load the dog into the truck. I’m sure he was euthanized as soon as he arrived at the shelter. I’m so sorry I couldn’t help him.

Great V-Day Gift from SNAP

January 15, 2008

SNAP is offering to spay female cats free on February 14, 2008. This is open to the whole community, but an appointment is required. I’ve had great luck having several animals fixed at SNAP.

Even if you can’t get an appointment on the free day, their regular spay/neuter rates for dogs and cats are very reasonable. And there are plenty of other discount spay/neuter clinics in the Houston area.

I like to look at my blog stats to see what people search for that brings them here. Lately, I’ve received a bunch of traffic for the term “intusucception” since I reference it in a previous post. After about 10 seconds of my own searching, I realized I’m spelling the condition incorrectly. D’oh! The correct spelling intussusception.

Anyway, here’s an informative article about intussusception in dogs.