Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

My dog ate toys. I paid. Literally.

You might have noticed some deficiencies in my posting schedule last week. There were a couple of reasons for that. For starters, due to some events in my personal life, my depression and anxiety ramped up big time rendering me unable to do anything except cry. Forming coherent thoughts and writing them down became as impossible as me playing in the NBA. It was at that point I was left kicking myself for not having a queue of posts that can serve as a sort of blog emergency fund for times like that (which, sadly, are becoming more and more common). Needless to say, that didn’t help the depression. Or anxiety. Or crying.

Then Thursday happened.

What he's thinking "I haven't eaten a toy in 8 hours. I think it's time. But which one should I choose?"

I’ve mentioned before that I have two dogs. What I don’t think I’ve mentioned is that one of my dogs, Dobie, has an affinity for eating everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. His most recent obsession is my daughter’s toys. Especially Barbie’s shoes and purses (and that bitch has a lot). Despite the fact that we try clean up every tiny little piece, it is inevitable that we miss one or two. But Dobie? Does not.

That dog is able to find even the tiniest toy that was left out of the storage boxes. I don’t know how he does it but I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve found that dog chewing on a boot or a purse or even a head (or foot or arm. One time, he ate a plastic table). We’re typically able to wrestle the toy away from him before he does anything bad and, even if he does consume a bit of a toy, it’s been nothing to worry about.

Until Thursday.

I was awoken at 5 am on Thursday to the sound of my dog gagging. This means that he’s about to throw up. In my groggy state, I was able to get him into the bathroom before he puked all over the carpet. As he is a champion puker, this was nothing to worry about. Then he did it again at 6. And throughout the day while we were at work. And 5 more times after we got home. It was so bad that by midnight, Dobie and I were on our way to the emergency room (I should note here that I did try to call our regular vet around 7:40 PM. Apparently, even though the vet’s office doesn’t close until 8, they turn on their answering service at 7:30PM . I did not know this. I do now).

If you’ve never had the pleasure of taking an animal to an emergency room, let me tell you here and now that it is EXPENSIVE. For instance, just for him to walk in the door it was going to cost us $130. I had called before we left to make sure that it was okay to take him (there are some emergency clinics by us that will not see animals that are not their patients) so I was prepared for that fee. I also was prepared for some meds and some other expenses like x-rays. What I was not prepared for was the $1300 estimate for him having to stay to be observed.

That’s right. After Dobie’s x-rays, the vet (who was super nice and a really good doctor) came out and told me that it would be to Dobie’s benefit for him to be monitored at the hospital. The observation was going to include several different drugs as well as a second set of x-rays about 8 hours later. Now, I’m all for doing whatever is necessary to help my dog but there was one problem with Dobie staying. That problem? My family had plans to go out of town for the day to celebrate Passover. If something were to go wrong with Dobie at the hospital, we were not going to be around to deal with it. Or go over to the hospital.

So the vet and I talked. Based on the location of the foreign objects (have I mentioned that the x-rays were inconclusive as to what exactly my dog ate?), the vet was comfortable with me taking Dobie home, monitoring him and having him rechecked by his regular vet on Saturday morning. Before we left, Dobie was given a pain medication, a medication to stop vomiting, and a subcutaneous fluid injection to combat the dehydration. I was given very explicit instructions, a prescription of Tramadol for Dobie’s abdominal pain and a $577 bill for the 4 hours we were there. Compared to the $1300 I thought I was going to have to pay, this was cheap.

Except it didn’t end there. On Saturday, I had to pay another $229 for his follow-up visit which included another set of x-rays. (I feel that I need to pause here and thank the receptionist at the vet’s office who, when I called, was so kind as to tell me that if my dog did need surgery, there was no way my regular vet was going to be able to do it and he was going to have to have it at the animal hospital where we brought him Thursday night. Thank you receptionist lady. I very much needed that extra anxiety.) Fortunately, our vet–who is just the most amazing vet I could ask for–did not think that surgery was necessary and said that, based on his assessment, things were “moving along” nicely. He sent us home with the instructions to continue the medication and bland diet regimen until Dobie becomes “regular” for a few consecutive days.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this. First, since I appreciate all of you who read this little blog regularly, I wanted to explain my absence over the last few days. Second, I wanted to share that all of Dobie’s medical expenses were paid for in cash. We did not have to put one single penny on credit. I have never in my life been so relieved to have no debt as I was this past weekend. Yes, we got lucky and he didn’t need surgery or an overnight (overmorning?) stay and that might have made a difference. But the fact that we were able to pay for his treatment in cash meant that we could concentrate on making sure Dobie gets better rather than stressing about having credit card debt again.

I always knew that there was reason financial bloggers and experts extol the benefits of being debt free. This weekend was the first time I really understood what a difference it makes.



  1. Andrea @SoOverDebt

    So I guess I’ll be the morbid one – what exactly did he eat that upset his stomach so bad? Was it a Barbie head?

    My dogs feel it’s their duty to eat everything from my earrings to one of Jayden’s teeth when he was younger (sorry, Tooth Fairy) to the corners of my living room tables. I’m always waiting for the day when one of them eats something serious enough to cause damage and/or a huge vet bill. I’m glad Dobie’s stupid ass is okay and that your Easter weekend wasn’t completely ruined. 🙂
    Andrea @SoOverDebt recently posted…When it Comes to Money, One Size Does Not Fit AllMy Profile

    1. Jana

      I really wish I knew what his dumb ass ate. Looking at the x-rays, it was really hard to tell. Even the vets (both of them) had no clue what it was.

      And, wouldn’t you know, after we got home from the vet on Saturday, I went into the kitchen to get a drink, go back into the living room and there he is, with a toy right under his face. I might have yelled.

  2. HS @ Our Debt Blog

    That dog is not so cute anymore LOL.. I can’t believe pet care is that expensive! I try to keep at least 1,000 saved up in case anything crazy like that happens but 577 for 4 hours?! that’s insane..

    HS @ Our Debt Blog recently posted…April 2012 UpdatesMy Profile

  3. Jordann

    Wow that’s a lot! Though not really surprising. My father in law’s dog got hit by a car a few months ago and the vet bill was $1500 without surgery.

    I’m planning on getting a dog soon and I’m really going back and forth in the whole pet insurance thing. Have you ever considered getting pet insurance?

    Glad to hear he’s ok!
    Jordann recently posted…Always Be Prepared: Living On One Income Part 2My Profile

  4. Daisy @ Add Vodka

    OMG. That’s intense. I hope he feels ok soon – dogs are so funny. That’s insanely expensive!

  5. Jeff @my multiple streams

    I feel for you on the anxiety and hope you feel better soon. I’m going though another bout of it since last Tuesday, luckily not as bad as last year at this time that shut me down for weeks.

    Our puppy last year did the same thing and unfortunately did to much damage. Vets are the sucky side of pet ownership
    Jeff @my multiple streams recently posted…How to Spread Bet on a Falling MarketMy Profile

  6. Nick

    Oh wow – poor little dog. Sounds like we have the same appetite…

    But very happy you were debt free and able to knock out the bills with cash. Hope he’s ok.
    Nick recently posted…Don’t tick off the Girl Scouts…My Profile

  7. Michelle

    Wow that’s sad! Luckily my dogs have never had a chewing problem (their problems are jumping and knocking people over). So expensive!
    Michelle recently posted…Spending, Life, Income and Food Updates… 4/9/2012My Profile

  8. Bryan

    Glad to hear Dobie is ok. The only weird thing our dog eats now (though he used to gnaw on and eat the soft plastic in his toys) is strips of this old blanket that he rips off. When he’s not biting off pieces of the blanket, it sort of looks like he’s trying to nurse from it. It seems to pass through him ok.
    Bryan recently posted…Friday LinksMy Profile

  9. shanendoah@The Dog Ate My Wallet

    *hugs* Glad Dobie and you seem to be doing better now. Trust me, I know the anxiety (we paid for the surgery and lost the dog anyway). And I also know the joy of no debt. Moree’s surgery went on Care credit – 0% apr for 12 months and we did get it paid off in time. When we had the lymphoma scare with June this past winter, it all came out of the EF. What an amazing difference in my anxiety levels.
    shanendoah@The Dog Ate My Wallet recently posted…Sunday Evening Post #37My Profile

  10. jefferson

    Wow.. Doggie bills sure can be expensive.
    Does ObamaCare cover dogs?.. No?.. Too bad.

    Did you have to drain your emergency fund to cover the unexpected bills? It’s very impressive that you were prepared to handle that kind of expense, without needing to dip into credit.
    jefferson recently posted…The Best Bunnies of the WebMy Profile

  11. Well Heeled Blog

    Have you thought about pet insurance? If your pets are the accident/illness-prone kind, it might make sense to look into some type of coverage for them.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted…Our $7,000 Wedding Budget… In Color!My Profile

  12. Kari@Small Budget Big Dreams

    Oh boy, what a scare. Glad that he’s OK. Our cats are pretty dumb. One of them eats plastic (like chews and eats plastic bags). I’m always terrified he’s going to choke or ingest something and it won’t come out. How does he find them, I have no idea. But we have to actively hide all plastic in our house (trash bags, grocery bags, anything wrapped in plastic).
    Kari@Small Budget Big Dreams recently posted…Buy a Home in 16 Steps: Step 3-Buyer ConsultationMy Profile

  13. Money Beagle

    One of my cats has issues with constipation. There was a period where he would get so backed up that he would start howling in pain. I now see some of the warning signs so that I can get things taken care of before it becomes a big issue, so the last few years have been major problem free. Prior to that, he would have times where he would get so backed up that he would start yowling in pain after not being able to go for a few days. On one such occasion it was around 11pm and it was so bad that I knew he couldn’t make it to the next day so I packed him up and headed up to the emergency vet, knowing it was going to cost a fortune. As we pulled up to the building, the cat must have sensed what was about to happen and used all his power because he suddenly ‘went’. We took him back home, and save for a smelly car ride and somewhat of a cleanup once we got home, it was cost free. Sorry you weren’t so lucky but I figured that story has to get a smile or two…
    Money Beagle recently posted…Be Versitile With Your Furniture PurchasesMy Profile

  14. 101 Centavos

    Our tiny toy poodle (looks much like Dobie) likes to eat used ear plugs. We know because we find them in the backyard, in slightly modified state. Didn’t we already say dogs are gross?
    101 Centavos recently posted…Bonuses and IncentivesMy Profile

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