We spent $5000 on Grimm's emergency medical bills in his first year, most of it on a credit card because we suck at saving, so we're still paying for them. Then Husband made me talk about how much more we could pay (which was not much since the car decided to have a broken engine mount and take up all the rest of our plastic money.) He comes up with the eminently practical solution where the next emergency is Grimm's last.
If that seems harsh, his last emergency consisted of him screaming in pain (I never knew a dog could scream before that) and several thousand dollars in tests that found nothing. We still don't know what caused it. The next step was a neurologist, but then he got better.
Because we never figured out what caused it, we could also never figure out what solved it and I began to live in fear of it happening again. Because Husband makes sense. We cannot lose our house on a chance of not making him better, but of possibly figuring out what's wrong.
But that last solution was so horrible to me that I was struggling for other possibilities. Generous donors paying for doggie medical tests? (we didn't qualify) The Animal Hospital Credit Card we did qualify for? (No, if I could afford more payments, my current card wouldn't be maxed out.) A new home with people who weren't so far in the hole with medical costs? (Grimm has a good many behavioral issues we work around, so it would be difficult to find someone we could trust and how do advertise a troubled dog in a way people will believe?)
Then I went to a garage sale where this family was selling a python and we started talking about pets and medical expenses and I liked them. We talked for a half hour or more about surprise vet bills and training solutions and rescue dogs and then I found out that French Bulldogs were their dream breed, but they didn't have one. Yet.
And I took their number with the idea that when Grimm got sick again, I had a solution other than that bad one. Then I came home and told Husband about it, and saying it out loud made it feel very selfish. Because somewhere in my head I'd decided to call them when he got sick again. Not today, tomorrow, or next month, but when the choices were sleepy-time for Grimm or new people.
So, once I realized that, I called them. I told them I fully expected several thousand more in medical costs over the next few years. Not that he's sick now, but after our first year together it doesn't feel safe to depend on him staying that way. We had already talked a little about that at the garage sale, and his behavioral issues as well, so I asked them to come over, meet Grimm and talk about it all again.
They were still thrilled with the idea of taking him home. We talked about the cherry eye, how the vet said no-surgery at first, but now that he lost the other eye how they want to do surgery and how that's a thousand right there. How I'm putting it off because they said the surgery wasn't worth the drawbacks in the beginning and I'm worried that the change is more to line their pockets than to help Grimm, but that they should check with their vet.
We talked about the jumping muscle in his chest -- I don't think I mentioned the screaming in pain part because I was focused on the way to tell if it's the same thing and what we think might have helped. (He could scream in pain for other reasons and that's a whole new set of diagnostic tests). We talked about the heart murmur and the vets we've been to see and our time at the Small Animal Hospital (the teaching vet school where they can do the big stuff like eye surgeries or cancer treatments for dogs.) We talked about the expensive dog food for his sensitive stomach.
So now he's staying with a new family who are not several thousand in debt or terrified each day will bring a new condition.
It all sounds like a good decision. A practical useful decision.
But it doesn't feel like one.
I can't seem to stop crying and I want to go over there right now and bring him back. But that won't solve the problem (If he can't acclimate, he'll come home no matter what and we'll keep him for as long as he has) so for now, here are the old posts about Grimm to help exacerbate my crying binges.
Brand New Grimm
His Eye Issue (and other frustration-fueled thoughts)
All the Dogs
And this one.
I think this might have been my worst idea ever.
Except for Grimm, maybe. Maybe he's doing better than me.
I hope he's doing better than me.