Tuesday, January 19, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 19

Taken: January 19, 2010, approx 2:10 p.m.
Location: UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Davis, CA

Everything in this picture belongs to my pug, Louie. That's his leash and his dog tags and yeah, that's his UC Davis VMTH file.  Seems like it should be bigger to me. It is in dollar signs, that's for sure. Louie's back in Davis for another procedure, this one to investigate why he's been coughing/gagging since an operation he had done in December, also at Davis. It's been a long time without a diagnosis. Hopefully this time, we'll figure it out.
Louie and my husband and me have been on a brief, yet long journey together since we got him from rescue in 2005. He’s had numerous operations to repair a chronic bone infection in his right ear and for awhile he was taking more medications than my Pop, who is 83 and recovering from a heart attack. The money wasn’t all spent at once and nobody really knew the total cost until I added it all up trying to get Uncle Sam to let me write it off my taxes – you can pretty much figure out how that went. We’re talking five figures people. Yessir, that’s serious coinage.
And yet, here we are again.
Everyone I know and who knows sweet Louie is rooting for him to get better.  And yet more than one person has inquired about the cost, suggesting directly or indirectly that I ought to have a limit. I’m not mad. It’s a fair question. Hell, it’s a question I ask myself all the time.  I don’t have an answer.
The last two months will set me back another five grand. It’s money I can hardly afford to spend right now.  I’ve heard the arguments about quality of life, about being too selfish to let an animal go when it’s his time.  And while, I’m not going to be one of those people that keeps a suffering dog alive just to save myself from a broken heart, I’m also not going to let him go before his time.
People don’t always understand spending thousands of dollars on a pet’s medical care but those are the same people that wouldn’t think twice about spending it on a sick person, maybe even a stranger.  I often wonder why anyone sees logic or humanity in putting an animal to sleep because its care is too expensive. I don’t know how anyone could put a price on a beloved pet.  I just can’t do that math.
Things I do know: Louie is a fighter.  He stands tall and wags his tail. That twinkle in his one good eye is real, the up-tick in his step when he greets me at the door is genuine, the joy in his pug dance when he knows we’re going for a ride in the car is authentic.  This dog loves life. Who am I to tell him it’s only worth x number of dollars? Yeah, fuck that.
It’s obvious I love Louie with all my heart. He’s very special to me. I’m as close to him spiritually as I am with anyone, four legs or two. I don’t expect anyone to understand it and I don’t even care.  Hell, I don’t know much about anything but I know Louie will find a way to let me know when he’s had enough. I know it like I know my own heart.
Here's to the fight, and to Louie.  

Shot with my iPhone 3G, minimal editing in Photoshop.

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