Day 10: on which I learn that my dog has a secret other life as an international soccer star.

And when it raineth, boys and girls, it poureth.

Astrid the hound has a torn cranial cruciate ligament, the dog version of the ACL. This little problem is only really fixable with surgery, and since she weighs more than 50 pounds, she's not eligible for the little fix, a $1300 band around her femur/tibia area that'll keep her bones from grinding into doggy-bone dust. Noo, MY dog, my elephantine dog, is only eligible for the super grande mother of all dog leg surgeries, the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. I feel like there should be a row of identically-dressed, tights-wearing midgets with bugles, bugling out a tibial leveling fanfare, because YA-DA-DA-DAAAAA! this particular surgery is going to cost more than $3000.

I talked to the vet at great length (after I finished sobbing uncontrollably) about what happens if we don't get the surgery, and whether or not I was a horrible person for not selling parts of my liver on the black market to pay for it. She said that several weeks of almost complete rest, combined with painkillers, should ease Astrid back to a semblance of herself; however, not doing the surgery will pretty much guarantee some vicious arthritis in a few years, which will lead to daily painkillers for the rest of her life. It's manageable, but her hiking days are over, so to speak.

I have never felt the guilt I felt when I heard that number and thought, "Weeping Jesus, we don't have that! No one I know has that! Surgery is out!" How could I sit there and put a price on what I'm willing to do for the one creature on the planet who has never asked me for anything? How can I say, "Oh, sorry, Toots, you're just going to have to be cripped up for life, and it's because I have nothing to sell, nothing to pawn, no way to get the money for you. You, who would jump in front of a team of rabid hyenas to save my baby."

I can't afford it, and we're just going to have to learn how to make her days as easy as possible. That's all there is to it. What a complete butthole of a day.


  1. Oh! I am sooooo sorry for you and especially for Astrid. That's a lot of money to spend on anything, but I can't imagine being in your position. Ugh. I am so sorry.

  2. Annie, have you looked into insurance for your dog? I don't know if it would cover a pre-existing condition, but it might help. Or maybe a payment plan with your vet? If nothing else, I am totally giving you part of my bonus this year. And don't you dare tell me not to, because Foozle is my niece, darnit.

  3. I can tell you a little bit about pet insurance (my parents are looking to buy a new dog, and after a HUGE surgery our DeeDee had to have, my dad is adamant about pet insurance):

    VPI is the big pet insurance company--I don't even know if there are others. Under What Is Not Covered, it says this: Diagnosis, medical management, or surgical correction of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage or rupture during the first 12 calendar months of policy effectiveness.

    Which means, after the first year of insurance, Astrid would be eligible for surgery, I think? The policies run about $20-$30 a month. I hope that helps!

  4. Oh honey, I know EXACTLY how you feel, I’ve been there before with my Grendle. But PLEASE don’t give up… there’s always a way to work these kinds of things out. Adrienne and Diana are right – look into pet insurance, even if you have to wait a bit. (Ask your vet if it’s a “now or never” kind of surgery”). Also, get a second opinion – you may find another vet that says Astrid can have an alternative treatment… or maybe they can perform the surgery at a reduced rate. If all else fails – see if the vet will finance the operation (but don’t miss a payment or they’ll come and repossess your dog!)

  5. A-kins, I am so so so very sorry to hear that Astrid isn't doing well. You guys have always given her lots of love and a great life. Li

  6. Everything everyone else already said. Having just recently having put down one of our cats, a quality of life issue, I can only imagine what you are going through with Astrid. Whatever choice you make, I'm sure it will be the right one for all involved. And definitely get that second opinion.

  7. Until Annie posts, I'll let you guys know that I talked to Annie and Astrid will okay. I threatened her with violence if she wasn't telling me the truth, but Foo will conquer all, and then shover her head under your hand for a scratch. :)