Can a Dog Bankrupt a Family?

I believe the answer to that question is . . yes, it can!

Speck went to the vet on Sunday or Monday as an emergency visit when they were closed . . not cheap!  He went back on Tuesday for a nail trim.  That was inexpensive.  Today we saw a different vet.  He was very thorough and I think we made the right choice switching to him.  He’s doing some kind of laser treatment on Speck’s back and shoulder.  He was such a nice, nice guy!  He told us the price, which wasn’t cheap, and he said “Since there’s no guarantee, we’ll do six treatments and if you don’t think it has helped, I’ll give you your money back!”  I told Vince . . I could tell him right then it wasn’t going to help . . just do the treatments and don’t charge me anything!  🙂

Seriously, we wouldn’t do that.  If it helps at all, we’re happy to pay the money.  Who needs to retire anyway?  The vet in MO was real apprehensive about putting Speck to sleep for his dental so he hasn’t had his teeth cleaned in a couple of years.  I know he had it done twice when we were there but it must’ve been after he was so sick that the vet didn’t want to put him to sleep any more.  When he barks, all the smell good that Bath & Body Works has to offer isn’t enough!  I asked the vet about cleaning his teeth and he looked and said he has a real bad infection so wants him to be on antibiotics for 2 weeks, then he’ll look at his gums again and see if it’s ok to clean his teeth at that time.

So, for the next few weeks, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Speck and I will drive 20 miles each way to town to have his laser treatment.   In MO, it was 2-1/2 miles to Wal-Mart,  1/2 mile to the grocery store, 2-1/2 miles to the vet.  Here, it’s 20 – 25 miles to anywhere.  I’m not adjusting well.  Vince said “All you do is moan and complain. (Bet you hadn’t noticed!)  If you don’t stop griping about the place, you’re never going to like it here.”  I said “OK, can I just leave now?”

Time to go upstairs and moan and complain knit.



  1. 1


    Yes pet care can cost more than children!!! Our first English bulldog has massive medical issues and we spent more on him than on our newborn daughter. But pets are a member of the family and most of us would do anything for them.

    And yes, Texas is big!!!

  2. 2

    Laurel from Iowa says

    Wow, vets are expensive down there (maybe it’s true that everything’s bigger in Texas, including the vet bills). We had three vets do after-hours surgery on our Brittany spaniel a week ago. They ended up doing a hysterectomy (spay?) and removed 10 lbs of infection. They kept her two nights and when my husband picked up Molly, the bill was $243! Of course, if we lived in a big city, we’d pay big city prices. Hope the treatments work on Speck. I hear you about the drive, though. My boys’ school is 10 miles from our front door and I complain every time I have to drive there, even after living here 10 years!

  3. 3

    Trina says

    this may not be very encouraging, from my own experience in moving, took me nearly six months to a year before I adjusted.
    And I moved eighteen times.I found even moving back to what was familiar in this last move still challenging. what is even strange on my part, I am thinking about moving again. It must be that moving sickness that comes from moving so much.


    • 3.1


      Other moves have been fine for me and I was ok right off the bat (unless I’ve already forgotten being miserable) but I do think this one was doomed from the beginning. I will adjust. I will be just fine but for now, I’m still moaning and complaining! 🙂

  4. 4


    I hear from my friends that live in Texas, it’s a long drive to most places as every thing in Texas is so spread out and it’s such a large state. Vets are very expensive here in Calif. too. After all the money we spent on our poodle mix over the years, with our new puppy , we opted to buy pet insurance. The first time ever. I hope the treatments work for Speck. That would be wonderful! and that the gum or tooth infection improves too.
    I think the heat, this boxes, the missing things (and Chad) and the move, and the adjusting to a new place could have a lot to do with your mood right now—it too will pass.

  5. 5


    I’m glad the vet is so thorough and it sure doesn’t take long for the bill to be outrageous. We just went through that with our DJ.
    It looks like you will be going to town just for a runaround day unless the vet has a day care for Speck while you do errands. Hope the treatment works for him.
    I bet the mood passes soon. 😉 Or not!

    • 5.1


      I wouldn’t leave him there. He panics if he thinks Vince or myself will leave him alone in the vet. Vince said “You can just email me your grocery list.” The thought never occurred to him that I might want to walk around a store and see other humans, even if I don’t know anyone to talk to.

  6. 6

    Marla says

    Judy, you have been through more than most women could ever stand so you sure have my permission to moan and gripe and you can tell Vince I said so. I never remember once you griping when you moved to Missouri so it has got to be the combination of your horrible house hunting experience, leaving Chad, the heat of Texas plus coming in the middle of the drought and fires, strange food (big smile inserted here), loss of chickens, loss of long arm parts, well….I should stop here. All I can say is that you have the makings of a book. Remember Erma Bombeck and her books? You could out do her in your writing.

  7. 7

    Pat C in Washington says

    My late husband brought a $10 “pound puppy” home from the animal shelter many years ago. Max was a huge German Shepherd, with many medical issues, we later discovered. He had an enlarged esophagus, as well as hip displasia and spinal deterioration. He couldn’t digest normal dog food well, so we mixed up canned dog food with Ensure in the blender into sort of a thick milkshake. To this day, I think of Ensure as dog food! He was prone to lots of infections but remarkably lived to be about 13 years old, with all our babying and constant trips to the vet. I’m sure we spent $20,000 on him over the years and didn’t begrudge a penny of it.

  8. 8

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    I’ve learned to consolidate my trips to town now that we live 15 miles from the closest one. I buy groceries only once a month. We keep lots of bread and milk in the freezer as well as all the regular frozen items. Before we retired we lived in OKC and everything was just five or ten minutes away. However, we LOVE the country life and would never move back to the city. Of course, it is lush and green here and water is no issue.
    Poor little Speck. Give him a pat-pat for me. Hang in there Judy, surely winter will bring better times.

  9. 9


    Knitting tends to help me through some of the worst of times, I hope it does the same for you (I did a dish cloth tonight, just finishing something in a sitting was priceless)! Enjoy.

  10. 10


    To Laurel in Iowa. I paid twice that to have a small growth taken off of John’s lip. It did include a biopsy. This was not an overnight stay. And I live in the country. Hang on to that vet!!!

  11. 11


    Try living in the middle of north Dakota! I’m 30 miles from any town, including where the kids attend school. Sam’s club is about 100 miles….where we mostly shop. My husband packed up my sewing room in the move up here and mentioned that I probably didn’t need to purchase any more fabric. I nicely mentioned that he better appreciate the fact that I like to quilt, cook, and read or he’d be divorced.

  12. 12

    Kate says

    Judy, don’t even think twice about this – with everything else in your life, keeping Speck healthy is worth whatever it costs. Just hang in there.

  13. 13


    I’m glad to read there are so many others who don’t think it’s crazy to spend thousands on pets…because I could have sent my dog to college on the amount he has cost us in medical bills…but he has an amazing will to live and is the sweetest boy. There is no other choice as long as there is a way to pay.

    Most of us have moved in our life times and I bet most of the time it goes well but sometimes it just doesn’t. I love hearing about your adventures because they are “real” and despite your obstacles I would describe you as an upbeat and optimistic gal!

  14. 14


    It seems that the more remote you are, the higher Vet bills are! I am 35 miles from Safeway, about 40 miles from Walmart, and almost 100 from a big city mall or good movie theater! 70 miles minimum to go grocery shopping, I go as infrequently as I can possibly manage!
    Our vet recently sold her clinic and the new guy is WAY higher and WAY less nice!
    I sure hope Speck gets great results from his laser treatments.
    We do what we must for our furry kids! I love my dogs dearly and they are my kids now that my skin kids have families of their own!

  15. 15

    Linda in NE says

    Here it’s 25 mi. to anywhere. Dr. in one town. Dentist in another. Courthouse in yet another. Kids and grandkids 45 mi. away. Nearest Walmart is 60 mi away. Needless to say when I go there I start early and have a list as long as my arm. With a few other stops it’s an all day thing. THEN you get to bring everything into the house and put it away. Is it any wonder I hate shopping?

  16. 16

    Glen in louisiana says

    And I really thought I had the most expensive dogs in the world.

    The laser treatments will work wonders for speck


  17. 17

    Karla says

    Judy, I drive 37 miles one way to work 5days a week, I live in a small town and to me it worth it just so I don’t have to live in Waco. I too have expensive dog habits! I am the momma of 4mini schnauzers. The oldest has allergies so I have to feed him special grain free food and keep Zertec on hand when my husband does stupid things like giving him ice cream :(. Jasper loves it but then I have to listen to him scratch all night!

  18. 18


    Judy, do you like to read? Maybe books on cd in your car would help the drive. Check with your local library. I never thought I would like a book on CD but I really do. I can hardly wait to hear “The Help” on CD even though I have read the book….I want to hear the southern voices. The first book on CD I ever listened to was The Notebook and it won me over. Makes driving time fly by — Vince might like that too. Hang in there…I second everything Marla said….this has just been a very difficult move for you and one of these days things will settle in for you. And we know you aren’t complaining about Speck’s bills, he is just a furry child you would do anything for. Venting is good for you so vent away with us!

  19. 19

    Penny Holliday says

    Judy ~ I hope the treatments help little Speck. Re: update or move to TX, housing woes, your lost handles, etc. sometimes it just helps to vent, vent, vent ~ so continue on!!

  20. 20


    No, one dog can’t bankrupt a family, but three sick back to back can! First, Lilly, a 6 lb yorkie, was attacked by the big dogs across the street and during that exam, they found she had heart worms. Then, Lorenzo, a 7 lb chug, was attacked by the same dogs and has 5 broken and displaced ribs. As soon as he and Lilly were somewhat better, Leeapaul, a 5 pound yorkie, decided to herd cattle and got kicked. There are still more vet bills to come after this first $10,000 since Lee’s leg is still at risk. So, Yes, your pets can bankrupt you!

  21. 21

    pdudgeon says

    i agree, it sounds like you’ve got the right vet, and probably just in time too! When his teeth get right and his shoulder and elbow get right and he’s not in so much pain, Speck will be one happy little dog
    this new vet could be your first good thing about moving to Texas.

  22. 22

    Diana in TX says

    I had the same comment from DH after a good 10 months of complaining about our move to Asia. And i think he made it a little stronger-like leave and don’t come back until you are ready to decide you are going to like it. Once I got a car there it did help. I stayed, decided to give it a try and hated to leave when we moved back to the US! Everything is a drive in Texas and I enjoy it most of the time, it’s my down time.

  23. 23


    So often a pet becomes more than just a dog or cat, they are truly a friend and/or a member of the family and I always feel so bad for people who can’t afford to help their animals.

    I tell everyone about our free $13,000 dog Teddi. We rescued him and his packmate Nikki a couple of years ago. He’s had one major thing wrong each year and I just thank god that we have the funds to take care of him.

    I know a lot of people won’t spend that kind of money on a pet. I know a lot of people can’t spend that kind of money. Circumstances are different for everyone. I just know that when I lost my last dog, I lost a true friend and I still miss him to this day. And I’d help any human friend that I could, so I can’t do less for the animal ones.

  24. 24


    We were fostering an English Mastiff prior to adopting him from a rescue group when he had to have emergency surgery- bloat, perforated intestine and aspirational pneumonia from the hospital draining off 7 buckets of fluid from his body cavity. The rescue group told us that they couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery, (they had already treated him for heartworms, had 2 other surgeries and multiple vet trips!) We couldn’t say no to the surgery knowing that he had already survived so much! $3700 later- he was all better and the rescue group waived our $300. adoption fee!! He’s now 200 lbs of furry fun!!!

  25. 25

    Cathi Harry says

    Ha. Yes, vet bills are high. We have an old cat that we’ve invested what seems like a zillion dollars in! A few months ago he got into a scrap with another animal, either broke his leg or dislocated his shoulder. He hid out in the garage for months (we fed & watered him out there). He finally came in a couple of weeks ago…still walks with a limp but figured it was too late to take him to the vet.

    RE: Texas. We moved here (40 miles NE of Dallas) almost 11 years ago & after the first winter I was ready to pack my bags & move back to Nevada. It took about 2 years to finally adjust (with the help of Prozac) & now I do like it. Our daughters are both here now with their families which makes it a lot better.

  26. 26


    Oh Judy, you are so funny!! I think that’s one way of coping and adjusting is moaning and complaining, we have to get it off our chests. But at some point Vince is right. We have to start seeing and saying the good points of a place in order to like it. And as Cathy Harry said it takes time to really feel at home, it took me two years.

  27. 27

    Trish says

    You may want to forego the laser treatments and check into acupuncture instead. We had a dachshund that became paralyzed from a slipped disc in his neck; this happened 3 separate times and, each time, the vet was able to get him walking again by using acupuncture. Our vet here in VA only charges $25 per treatment, and he was only seen once a week for about 6 weeks. Just a thought…

    • 27.1


      Speck has almost made a miraculous recovery after receiving one laser treatment so we’re going to go ahead with those but if he doesn’t recover more or if his recovery isn’t permanent, we will check into acupuncture. Thanks for the recommendation.

  28. 28


    I’m always telling people to get renters insurance. Now I have pet insurance. Thought I couldn’t afford it until I looked at the costs of the care. I don’t know how much it costs for an older dog. My dopg has to get a physical every year and her shots, etc. I do that anyway. Good anywhere in USA. Hope Speck continues to do good.