Venus Trapped in Mars

21 January 2015

Those Tough Dog Mom Decisions

I am mom to two of the sweetest little pups that ever lived. Well, all pups are the sweetest that ever lived, but these two just happen to be all mine. I adopted General Neyland (Nicknames Include: Gee, Gee Unit, Gee Neyland, The Sir) in February 2009, right after I graduated college. In case you were wondering, General is named after the great Robert Neyland, the most winningest football coach in The University of Tennessee history. Yeah, we all know, I'm a super fan. Gee was about a year old when I got him, and will be 7 next month. He is a mutt... a mutt that is 100% howling beagle, in my expert veterinary opinion. 

While Gee is a good ole Tennessee boy, Venus (Nicknames: Veenie, Vee, Veen, Veenie-Bo-Beenie, White Dog) is a born and mutt-bread Texas gal. About 7 months after moving to Dallas, I started volunteering for Paws in the City, a rescue organization in Dallas. When I first began volunteering, I was just doing their social media and graphic design. I really wanted to help, but also wanted to keep a safe distance from alllllllll of the sweet baby adoptable pups that needed a furever home. I didn't trust myself to volunteer at the adoption events.  

And with good reason.

Welcome Veenie-Bo-Beenie to the family. She was at the very first adoption event I ever volunteered. Go figure. But really, look at her adoption photo. Like, really? 

I'd like to meet this photographer and shake his or her hand... because how he/she ever got Veenie to sit still for this photo, and at less than a year old at the time,  is BEYOND me. Veenie is also a mutt, like Gee. They told me she was part Doxen, part Jack Russell. But like Gee, in my expert veterinary opinion, girlfriend is a 100% bonkers Jack Russell Terrier.

While Veenie is seemingly bullet proof *knocks on wood of course*, Gee has really struggled with a nagging health issue over the past few years. Two years ago, I was told by the Vets that they were quite certain that Gee had a tumor in his jaw and they gave him a handful of months to live. Gee was 5 years old at the time... FIVE. No, my dog is not dying at age 5, he just isn't. I of course had a nervous breakdown. 

Ever since my Dad passed away in 2006, I've really struggled with separation anxiety. Obviously it doesn't take a PhD to figure out why that is. Ever since CB came into my life, I don't fear goodbyes as much... hey, that is pretty cool, that just dawned on me!!... But for the longest time, I couldn't do "goodbyes" with family or friends without spending the entire day in a fit of tears. So getting the news that Gee most likely wouldn't make it... well I was a complete and utter wreck. 

Long story short, Gee had a tooth pulled and a section from his jaw biopsied and he DID NOT HAVE CANCER. Cue the tears of the most insane joy of my whole life. I hugged that sweet baby so hard that night. 

But here we are 2 years later, and after a visit to the vet yesterday, that tumor word is being tossed around yet again. Gee needs more teeth pulled, but they are worried his jaw my break in doing so. I have choices to make. 

Do I spend a small fortune, an amount that could be as much as three or four months rent, and play it safe by doing a biopsy and x-rays? This option would confirm to the vets that his jaw can hold up. It would also confirm that, god forbid, there isn't another culprit like a tumor that can't be seen by the naked eye causing this disease. 

Or do I take a chance and simply pull the teeth, which has worked two different times in the past without complications, and hope that his jaw won't crumble, and that a tumor hasn't developed in the past two years. 

The good news in the short term, is that it doesn't seem to slow him down from his very important squirrel hunting duties! He is eating and drinking and hopping and skipping and jumping and playing just fine. I know whatever decision I make, it will be the right one for Gee, for me and for our little family. 

Sometimes it helps to just get all these thoughts organized and down on paper, or on blog in this case! Just do me a favor and hug your fur babies for me tonight, will ya?
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39 comments :

  1. *hugs* No matter the decision you make, please know there are people out here who understand

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  2. Ughhh. This is precisely why I don't get a dog (that and travel concerns). I can't deal with bad/scary news like that and seeing their sweet little faces? I just can't. Best of luck with whichever decision you make and I'll be thinking of Gee.

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  3. Poor Gee man!!! I'm sorry friend, these decisions are the worst as fur moms. I would be in the option A or B turmoil as well, but my husband is usually in the "it's better to be safe than sorry" mode.

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  4. I'm so sorry, Sarah. Making these decisions for our babies is not easy. Whatever you decide will be the right choice, though, because you'll be doing everything you can.

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  5. Awww. Sending hugs your way. It's so heartbreaking when one of your babies has a problem you can't immediately fix. One thing I've done in the past to cover an obscene vet bill was open a Citi Health card and put it on there. If you pay it off within a year, you don't pay any interest. It's still a bill each month, but paying it over 12 months made it a little less painful than all at once. Good luck!

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  6. I'm sorry you have to make this decision, but I know whatever you decide will be the right thing.

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  7. I know how hard these decisions can be. I've mainly grown up around and have had bully breeds like bulldogs and mastiffs and so far, all but two (three if you count the puppy) has had to have at least one surgery besides being spayed or neutered. If I can, I always try to avoid anesthesia because I'm worried they won't wake up or something. Gemma has had to have a surgery in each eye two different times. The first time, they gave her too much anesthesia and I had to wait like 7 hours until she was awake enough to be discharged from the vet. She was so out of it and confused looking. The second time, I don't think they gave her enough. I only had to wait maybe 2+ hours to pick her up and when they brought her out, she had her bitch face on and was extremely grumpy.

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  8. I'm sorry Gee :( There's nothing I wouldn't spend on Hawkeye. While I love being debt free, if I had to get that credit card they offer for pet medical bills and rack up 10s of thousands, I'd do it.

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  9. I'm sending hugs and prayers. I understand the territory that comes with making big decisions about the health of your fur-babies. It's hard, but I know the decision you make will be the right one for you and your sweet baby.

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  10. I sincerely think that this is one of the hardest decisions to make. I'm so incredibly sorry that you are having to go through this, it's just not fair. I'm thinking of you. And General. Whatever you choose will be the right one.

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  11. Ugh I'm so sorry. Robert and I actually had a similar conversation last night about DeNiro... the whole "what if" and what about the money... this came up because my co-workers cat suddenly had heart failure and they had options (at first) and had to decide the whole money thing.. unfortunately he had to be put to sleep that day, but not due to money. So that got us talking about what if it were DeNiro, how could we afford it? And our immediate conclusion was WE WILL DO ANYTHING to get the money. If the case was like my co-worker, his cat was not going to be able to use his back legs, he would be highly medicated, he just wouldn't be living a good life, he would be miserable, it kinda makes the decision for you. But if Gee is going to be fine and still living a boss ass life after spending that small fortune to find out if there is something else in there and to keep him healthy and happy, spend the small fortune. I've seen A LOT of people get help for their pets surgeries on those gofundme type sites. I follow a dog on instagram that got hit by a car and her hip was shattered and had rods put in and all this stuff and the family had a bill over $20,000 and they earned about $15,000 in donations.
    You know that all of us here have your back. the blog world, social media and pet parents are so powerful!

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  12. Awe I feel so bad for you having to make these decisions. We dealt with cancer (bone cancer) with our baby last year at this time too. Whatever decision you make will be the best for him. Prayers and hugs for both of you xoxo

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  13. Aw! I hope he's okay. It's always tough when it comes to situations like these. However, it is great to know that he is still happy and running around on his squirrel duties like a champ. I hope everything goes well for you both!

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  14. I'm so sorry, I hope he will be fine and it'll be all okay. Stay positive & keep updating us on how he is doing!

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  15. Aww, poor you and poor Gee! Dog health problems are so incredibly stressful, both because of emotional reasons and financial ones. Ru had major skin allergy problems the first year I adopted her, which can basically be impossible to figure out. We eventually figured out that taking a daily Benedryl helps (it's the simple solutions right?), but I put her on doggy health insurance after that in case, god forbid, something more serious happens. I never want to be a position where I have to choose between my animal's health and happiness and financial restrictions!

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

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  16. My parents had to put down our childhood dog about a week ago. It's one of the hardest things to go through, but he was already 11, the vet said even if they spent the large fortune trying to find what was wrong with him, as a lab, he wouldn't live for more than a year or so if that anyway. My dad didn't want him to spend his last year in a vet most of the time running tests so they made the decision. It's hard to make a decision when they can't tell you "yeah mom, my mouth really hurts." But as dog moms, we're in tune with those things. You'll make the right decision. And Gee will love you no matter what.

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  17. I'm so sorry you're going through this. We have gone through it over the past year and a half. Gus is a Bernese mountain dog, a breed that has a pretty bad cancer streak. They can't cure him of the cancer, but we can do our best to prevent tumors. He has had two removed, the most recent on December 30. It isn't easy to go through it or to make the decisions about whether or not to have surgery. Best of luck to all 4 of you!

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  18. I'll be thinking of you and your pup! I'm so sorry, those decisions are the worst. You know the little one better than anyone, so I'm sure you'll make the right decision! xoxo

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  19. Bummer about your puppy. Such a difficult decision, wish I could help. But I will hug my Penny Candy when I get home.
    Texas Jak
    www.novermyhead.com

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  20. Isn't it something how our furry little dogs and cats become like our kids. Hope that Gee is ok!

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  21. Sending lots of hugs!!

    While not as serious, we've been having the 'do we spend money on allergy testing for Floyd?' convo. His itching it out of control and I feel like a terrible dog mama that I don't know what is wrong.

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  22. Aw, sweet pup! That's such a hard decision to make. My little yorkie Knox ate rat poison back in the fall and it was awful. I was blindly saying "yes" to things - whatever it took to save him. Almost $900 later, he's just fine. It was terrifying though! Prayers for Gee! And you!

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  23. I know you will 100% make the right decision for you and your pup. We were faced with a situation with our last rescue. She was a sweet maltese that we adopted. All we knew about her is that she was found on the street with another dog and hadn't been properly nourished and was most likely a puppy mill dog. Fast forward three years down the road and she was suffering from repeated bladder stones that were causing other issues for her little body. We found out that she was much older than the rescue place told us and would continue to have the issues we had been facing. It was a very hard decision but we had to give her up. We couldn't keep paying for bladder surgery to remove the stones. As much as we loved the sweet girl, we couldn't afford to keep her anymore. It was so hard.

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  24. Oh I completely understand your situation. I have a hyper active, cat hating, Tiffany guarding, always shaking, i-want-somma-that-food-you're-eating, check-out-my-pouty-face Jack Russell who, at the best of times, grates on my last nerve. That's just who he is and I love him for it. I could never give up my angry little guy. A few years ago, he got heartworms (even though he was on preventative meds) and had to go through two rounds of treatment (ie - the arsenic based heartworm treatment). I was a total basket case. I called the vet wayyyyy too many times to check and make sure he was okay and that I wasn't going to lose him. I made the vet swear he'd be okay. It was expensive. Very expensive. In my mind, though, there was no option. I had to do what needed to be done so he could be okay. (He made it through everything with flying colors & he's just as ornery as ever.) Pets are family. My thought is that, based on your personality through your blog, you are a caring, loving person. I think that you'll do what's best for you and your pup. I truly hope everything turns out just fine. Sending good vibes your way:)

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  25. So sorry you and Gee are dealing with this! I know this has to be a difficult decision but I'm sure you will make the right one!

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  26. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry that you even have to make that decision. It is a very difficult one, but no matter what you choose it will be the right thing for your little one. Thinking about you and your little furbabies <3

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  27. I'm a dog mom, too, and having to make these decisions sucks. Just do what you feel is right for you and your adorable fam - that's all you can do!

    Alyssa

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  28. HI Sarah!! Awww poor Gee.. :((( Please know he is most definitely in my thoughts and prayers and I genuinely pray for a speedy recovery. Its never easy being a parent to an animal. I've been worried sick about my cat Sabrina who was just diagnosed with pneumonia. Sending well wishes for you and your sweet Gee! Please keep us posted love, and talk soon!! XOXO

    Lisa,xo

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  29. I thought I was the only one that went through sep. anxiety when my mother died. I'm happy to know I'm not alone.

    I'm so sorry about Gee's teeth/jaw/gums etc. Have you gotten a 2nd opinion on this time around? I would do that first then sit down and make the hard choice. I will be thinking of you and praying for Gee, but you have to go with your gut on this. I love my fur babies like no one's business and often times I think that vets or doctors freak us out a bit but they HAVE to tell us worst case in all situations you know? I'd love to say just do what you've always done, but I fear you might have to do more in the end go with your gut, it's your instinct and is almost always right.

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  30. Thinking of you! It's so hard to be a pup mom! If only they could tell us how bad it really is or isn't so we don't worry about them ALL of the time.
    My German Shepard had to get his nail completely cut off by the vet last week and there was a small amount of blood and little bit of howling. I literally bawled in the vet's office.
    & I am going to be a mom to a real human in 3 months? I have no idea how I am going to handle this....

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  31. That's rough. I work at Best Friend's and we have to make these hard decisions all the time in the rescue world. Just consider the quality of life your pup has and go with your heart, it usually tells you whats the right thing to do. LOVE that you volunteer in a rescue! You should come volunteer at Best Friend's sometime.. you would love it!

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  32. I'm so so so sorry. This makes me want to hug you and both of your babies. I wish there was something I could do to help you out. Please keep us updated!

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  33. sending extra hugs your way, what ever feels right will be the best decision for all of you.

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  34. I know how you feel! My little 12 year old pup was just diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is only treatable with meds and can't ever be cured. For right now, he is responding to meds, which is amazing. But I've already spent about $1500 on him so if he stops responding to meds, some difficult decisions will have to be made. Personally, I think it's better to be safe than sorry. If something did happen in the tooth pulling process, often the corrective or surgical repair procedure is more extensive, expensive and often much more hurried/rushed and immediate since they are fixing something big and not just exploring. Sending good vibes/thoughts/puppy breath your way!

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  35. We are super fans together. Heisman Barkely hello!! Sports Nerd right here. Heisman is also doxie/jack russell, but I swear he has more jack russell traits than anything else. That dog is straight crazy!! I am so sorry with everything going with Gee. It's so tough.

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  36. I hate this so much. I have no idea what I would do if that was Westley, but I am sure you will make the right decision.

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  37. Oh man, he's just a pup. I hope doctors figure out an easy way to cure him, don't worry girl x

    Noor's Place

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  38. It is so tough to be a doggie-mama when they are hurting - I hate that they can't tell you what's wrong. Good luck and make sure to update us! I'll be sending lots of positive-puppy vibes your way <3

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  39. Sending prayers that all works out for Mr. Gee ... making decisions regarding a pet that is as human as the humans in your family is never easy. I've been lucky that the vet bills I've incurred have never been ridiculously high, but if you're unable to qualify for Credit Care or have a credit card with a good balance transfer offer to pay it out, there's a group on FB that I follow that helps people with vet bills that have financial difficulties & no where else to turn. Just search for "For The Love of Alex" to find it :)

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