Home > dogs > Driving Miss Daisy to the Pet Hospital

Driving Miss Daisy to the Pet Hospital

Recently, my friend Eric asked me to watch his dog Daisy while he went to Puerto Rico. Daisy has often come over to stay when Eric is out of town and I rather enjoy her company. She is a mid-sized black dog, of the type I describe as “default”, where mongrelization has removed any trace of breed type and they just become a dog (they seem to come in black and yellow and their owners always describe them as a lab mix). She has been a farm dog for most of her life and never wore a collar or had been on a leash until she came to stay with us for the winter last year when Eric was experimenting with town living. For all that she is surprisingly well behaved. She sits, which is nice, and knows how to “go lay down”. If a dog is only going to know one trick it ought to be “go lay down”. She’s not much of a winker though. Have I ever mentioned I like to wink at dogs, cats too for that matter, and occasionally birds, although they never wink back. Cats and dogs do surprisingly and once it gets established they will often spontaneously wink at you as a gesture of connection and affection. I learned this from my Mom who used to wink at me as a kid, usually in a group of adults when i was sitting off by myself in a corner feeling like an outsider and a little lonely, as has always been my wont to do. Well when i was away travelling and settling down in Cali for the first time she had taught Tiger (a mongrel of the Benjy type) to wink. It freaked me out when i returned full blown crazy and the dog started winking at me, but a lot of freeky shit was happening then. To pile an aside upon aside one thing i have noticed is that when your crazy its not just in your head, the whole world goes crazy and you are just unfortunate enough to notice. So anyway Daisy was coming to stay for 10 days or so and I was looking forward to it as I have been trying to get going on walking (i’m as big as a house if you haven’t seen me lately) and thought she would help me make my miles. I thought she was a little sickly on arrival with her ribs more pronounced (she’s a trim thing her own bad self). Sarah and I had talked about trying to fatten her up during her stay and if she didn’t put on some pounds suggesting Eric get her checked for worms. A couple of days into her stay she stopped pooping, and spent a lot of time squatting without results. When she puked up her dinner and wouldn’t eat her breakfast I knew their was trouble. I tried Eric’s cell and left a voicemail, unsure of how semi-internation cell phone coverage works. Sarah, Eric’s ex and my housemate, couldn’t track down his parent’s #, so I made an appointment at his usual vet, and Sarah and I speculated on how much Eric would want to spend on Daisy. Eric obviously has some love and a since of obligation to the Daismeister but he got her as a farm dog, a watch animal, a farm implement you have to feed every day or so and pat on the head on occasion. When Eric moved into town with Daisy its become this whole other deal, a big fat hassle. Eric’s not the town dog type, Daisy never went to Puppy School and her Kong is never filled. He seems uncomfortable with poop scooping and even having the dog in the house. As a farm boy myself I understand, its a whole different type of dog lover than the type that sends out pictures of their dog in antlers for a christmas card (no offence intended John the card was lovely, I’m just painting a picture of contrast here). So I said would Eric want to spend $1,000? “Um I don’t know.” What about $500. “Oh yeah, he’d want to spend that”. So I took Daisy to the vet. X-rays showed her distended tummy was filled with trash (she is a notorious trash eating hound). They then did a barium thing to see if their was blockage and sure enough their was. She said Daisy needed surgery or the tissue would die from lack of oxygen and she would die. She said the surgery would be $400, and I agreed. She talked some more explaining the procedure and then said the grand total would be $800. We were already in for $400, and i debated which would be easier to tell Eric, that I wound up an $800 bill or I had his dog killed, and opted on the bill (he could always kill her later and not pay the bill but bringing the dog back from the great beyond seems a little out of his power). So I reluctantly agreed and I reflected on “the bait and switch”, which i understand is under consideration for replacing e pluribus unum on our coinage. A couple of days I picked her up (I didn’t visit her at the hospital she’s just a dog). She had a ridiculous cone on her head which I enjoyed teasing her about and had a case of expensive vet pet food. I also got the bill which was over $1,000. Now missing her estimate by 25% is outrageous. There was no complications or unexpected expenses and this is a super-common procedure so it was bald deception, because she could sense i would have taken the $100 dead dog option had she been straightforward. And this is why i hate veterinarians and our greed driven capitalist enterprise of a society. She is the expert, I am just a nice guy trying to do the right thing. She uses her special knowledge to paint a picture that makes her the most money. I had the same issue when i had a cat (a good winker that i lost in the divorce) and our vet was always going for the add on sale. The final straw was after jacking us for 3 canine leukemia vaccinations (unnecessary for indoor cats i believe, but they guilted us into it) they tried to sell me a test for canine leukemia. I asked: “Is their a cure?” knowing from their previous sales pitch their wasn’t, and they said no. “Then we’d rather not know”. Now, i’m not saying we need a “truth in veterinary care” law or a government ombudsperson to do personal consultations. I’m just saying we as individuals have a sacred duty to honesty, integrity, and fairplay, especially when their is wild disparities in power, and knowledge is power my friend. There are more important things than the bottem line, and quarterly profits be damned, because this sales methodology creates doubt and confusion and these are not good things. Its the same reason I don’t go to the dentist. I just don’t trust them to tell me the truth. No matter what the condition of my teeth i know they are going to hard sell me a procedure i may or may not need. I’ll take my chances with nature taking its course. She can be a harsh mistress but she at least knows how to tell the truth and can give a flying fuck for the bottem line.

Categories: dogs
  1. chad1972
    January 26, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    What did Eric say? I have payed over $1000 for the an animal’s care (the dog bites cat fiasco). I likely would have gone with the dead cat option, as we had the kitten for less than 24 hours when my dog bit him in the head after the kitten had gotten into the dog’s food. Melissa turned to me and asked, with tears welling up in her eye, “Is he part of our family or not?” What choice did I have? I have have $1000 fewer dollars and a brain damaged cat. Nokomis now ets only when the cats cannot get to her food.

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