Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Dog With Nine Lives

.... also known as the Ten-Thousand-Dollar Dog. Also known as Tucker Bug.

Precious little Tucker Bug, the Yorkie my husband inherited when we got married, has been super sick, which is probably not a shocker to those who know him because he is sick ALL the time. But this time he happens to be super sick.

Let me give you some history on him-
  • He's my grandma's favorite grand-dog. This is not something she outwardly admits, but she does confide in me when no one else is around and listening. I will say, however, when I purchased him while in college, she told me it was the dumbest thing I had ever done. Ironic, huh?

  • He's the most cuddly, sweet, lap dog you have ever met.
  • He's almost nine years old.

  • He's not a friendly dog until he gets to know you.

  • He LOVES my best friend, Peah, and she is NOT a dog person. Actually, I take that back- he ADORES her and wants to be with her every waking minute she is at our house, and she wants nothing to do with him. Literally.
  • He may have the worst breath you have ever smelled of any dog, even after multiple teeth cleanings a year.

Now, on to why he is called "The Dog With Nine Lives" and the "Ten-Thousand-Dollar Dog."

  1. Within the first twelve weeks of his life, when he weighed a mere two pounds, he fell off the second story stairs of my apartment. No joke. He screamed, cried, had his head twisted so badly that my girlfriends and I thought he had broken his neck. Upon rushing him to the emergency vet, we were told he had just over-stretched some of his neck muscles, were lucky he was a puppy and had major flexibility, and were sent home with some medication to relax him. That trip cost me about $1200 on top of the $1100 (okay, probably more) it cost to purchase him and all his necessary "supplies and shots" as a six-week old pup. I didn't feel right complaining about the medical costs at that point in my life because my poor baby has escaped the throes of death. My family thought he was a goner and began planning his funeral. Thank goodness there was no funeral, only family donations and chip-ins to my bank account so my check didn't bounce at the emergency vet.
  2. The grandma that loves him most also almost squashed him flat when he thought he was "going for a ride" in the car, jumping into the car as she was sitting down. Poor dude whimpered but no vet trip was necessary.
  3. The same grandma almost closed Tucker Bug in the car door several years ago. Again, no trip to the vet, but the poor baby had a bruised ego because his favorite grandma was trying to kill him. 2nd attempt, no less.
  4. He's had impacted anal glands on multiple occasions, which I roughly estimate to cost about $400 to "fix."
  5. He has had multiple urinary tract infections. Again, another $500 or so with meds.
  6. He also has had some skin allergies, so the special shampoo we have to use costs extra. Let's say that's about $200.
  7. He also has MAJOR stomach issues. He pukes about once a week and has been to the vet many times for this one symptom alone. With all the Pepto Bismol and antibiotics for his weak stomach, I would say we have spent about $300 on this particular expense for him.
  8. These stomach problems led the vet to diagnose him with "Separation Anxiety," which basically means he cannot go without his mama for very long or he doesn't eat. Or he pukes on the floor. Or he shreds Kleenex and toilet paper. Or he refuses treats. Or he finds dirty underwear and chews on them. Or ..... you get the point.
  9. Two summers ago, Tucker started puking blood. We waited until the next morning to take him in to the vet, but we thought he had either been poisoned by chemicals/ toxins he found or eaten a toy of some kind. The vet could not figure out what was wrong, and the x-ray showed nothing in his bowels or belly. We were given some meds in case it was an ulcer and sent home to observe him. Trip #1 for this cost us about $350.
  10. During the weekend, Tucker began puking massive amounts of blood again. Being that he is so small, we couldn't wait until the weekend was over to take him in to the vet, so we had to rush him to the emergency vet. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, but he was so dehydrated that they had to keep him overnight and give him fluids via an IV. Trip 2 = $900 with a note to go back to the vet early Monday morning.
  11. The final trip for this was just a check to ensure his fluids were where they needed to be. Nope. No bueno. Poor dude spent a night at the vet with still no explanation for the blood vomiting. Trip 3 = $300. We finally got to bring him home, and he has not since puked blood. Mystery diagnosis never to be revealed.
  12. The last incident began to occur about a month ago. Tucker stated having accidents in the house, but we could tell he was trying to make it outside. He would take off running toward the back door, jump through the doggy door, and leave little dribbles of urine on his path outside. After about two weeks, he began to get very clingy, a common sign he is not feeling well. This progressed to more accidents in the house and "spots" left where he slept. We took him in the the vet about two weeks ago with a urine sample and the vet prescribed some medication for what we all thought was an infection. Trip #1=$160
  13. Another week passed, and we were asked to take in another sample to ensure the infection was gone Still blood in his urine, so a new medication was given to knock out the infection. Trip #2= $60
  14. Last Friday, I took the final urine sample in and could tell there was still blood in it just by looking at it with my own eyes. The vet called to let us know he needed to do an x-ray to check for bladder stones because the antibiotics should have knocked the infection out, yet there was still an obvious amount of blood in his urine. Trip #3=$52
  15. We'll head to the vet next Monday to do the x-ray and into surgery from there if there are bladder stones. Trip #4= to be determined, but I see major dollar signs.
All this to say that I love and adore my little dog. It is obvious he has been a sickly little guy, and I will likely never have another Yorkie because of this; but he is my number one bud and cuddler. It is hard to spend this much money on our pup with two babies on the way, but we can't let him suffer either. There is no question about moving forward with x-rays and examinations.

How can you refuse this precious face? How can someone say he isn't worth it when that sweet little dude kisses you with the nastiest breath you have ever smelled (said sarcastically)? And how does anyone leave ANY animal to suffer? I surely can't..... in fact, the nicknames give Tucker Bug his character: the Ten-Thousand-Dollar-Dog with Nine Lives!

P.S. We have another dog named Moxie too. I didn't want to not mention her and have someone think I'm showing favoritism...

Tucker Bug & Moxie


The Design Girl said...

Thanks for not going into detail on #4. That is just gross.

I am all of a sudden feeling a little better about my little buddy who needs a $2000 operation. I thought my pets were expensive.

I do have a $6000 cat. Literally. 6k.

Those babies are going to be a piece of cake next to this guy.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Ash! That makes me feel so much better about our recent 2 trips to the vet and emergency vet for our Sam that totaled around $900. We got NOTHIN' on you and Tucker. She was SO sick, near death actually! But better now, and also...a mystery! Hmmm?
Anyway, it is hard to see them suffer, but when ya got a baby on the way, or in your case, babies, it's so hard to shell out that kinda dough! Sounds like you need dog insurance! :)
Oh, and I remember his first trip to the emergency vet very well. What an adventure! Poor little Tucker!
And the picture of Leah CRACKS me up!

Mel said...

Poor little baby! I just lost my two dogs (15 year old mix breed from the pound) and a 8 year old boxer (purebred) My boxer was a costly dog as well...and my pound pup? Not a problem in 15 years. They were my kids and it killed me when they passed. He is worth every penny and had to LOL at the anal glands being impacted. My boxer had the same thing..all I am going to say is that we had to do daily cleanings that involved rubber gloves and tea tree oil. :)

How do you think they will do when the babies get here? Mine were okay...just didn't really care too much about him unless he cried and they wanted to know what the loud noise interrupting their sleep was!

Cello Girl said...

it's a good thing I ate no solid foods for breakfast this morning...ANAL GLANDS?? UGH. Either way, I love your little beasties so much, and next time I'm over, I'll even let that little turd breath lick my face if it makes him feel even the slightest bit better. Your puppies are angels, and I LOVED the pics you posted. Esp. the one of Leah covering her face as Tucker tried to slather her in kisses. Adorable. I hope that little toots gets better soon...

Chelle said...

I have a costly dog too!! In fact, if we go to the vet and escape with a bill less than $300.00, the vet even says "wow, you got off easy this time!"

BUT, I love our little buckaroo, and always pay whatever I need to. Just like you!

Photogrl said...

Poor Tucker...

I hope the little guy gets better soon!

Mandy Miller said...

What's with Moxie I am interested to learn more about her. Her Photo looks hilarious. What the hell kind of dog is she? And little Tucker is the background looking like she steals his thunder. Too funny. I am literally laughing at this photo out loud.

Mindi said...

Oh man!! This makes me think I got lucky with our Yorkie and makes me think twice about getting another one! But, I can so relate to you...spending whatever it takes to take care of our "babies". I'd give any amount of money to have Toby back!! You're a good Mama!! Good practice for those real babies that will be here sooner than you can blink!