This is Lila our high maintenance dog.
I was thinking that it might be interesting to total all of the money that we’ve spent on Lila over the past six years, but then again, I’m not sure Grandpa or I really want to see that number.
What has cost us so much, you ask?
Naturally, we had Lila spayed as soon as she was old enough for that surgery. She’s had regular shots, regular doses of Frontline Plus, had an extra tooth removed, been treated for Lyme disease …. twice, had her teeth cleaned under anesthesia, was attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets, had infections and fevers, has an undiagnosed skin disorder, and now she has a torn ligament in her knee.
Yesterday when I was paying our bill at the vet and making another appointment for Lila to be rechecked in two weeks which will probably cost even more money, I was wondering how long we are going to continue to absorb these expenses.
The problem is that we like Lila. Some days we even love her. But yesterday when our vet told us that if Lila’s knee cap is permanently displaced, he will have to refer us to a specialist, I was thinking that we may be approaching THE LINE. You know what I mean. The line that we are willing to walk up to and place our toes on but not step over.
1. Spray Lila’s boo-boo on her skin with a steroid spray.
2. Add one teaspoon of antibacterial dental stuff to her water bowl to ward off gum disease because she is genetically predisposed to rapid build up of tooth placque.
3. Massage her gums with oral care gel.
4. Squirt a syringe of anti-inflammatory medicine into her mouth making sure she has eaten enough food to prevent nausea but not so much food as to make her gain weight or cause more placque to form on her teeth.
I really don’t mind doing any of these things for Lila. What I mind is paying for all of these products. The world is full of sick and starving children, and I don’t like spending all of this money on a dog. I know that to some animal lovers I may sound callous and uncaring, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m an animal lover, too, and I abhor animal cruelty or neglect.
Yet, I struggle with this dilemma of when to say, “Enough! We cannot continue to spend more money on this dog no matter how much we like her and enjoy being her owners.”
This isn’t an easy decision, and it’s made even more difficult because the expenses have occurred over time rather than all at once. This isn’t a decision that I want to make at all, but there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves if we are being caring pet owners or poor stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.
How do you feel about spending money to care for your pets? How much is too much for you?