Working Around the High Cost of Vet Care


I love our vets. They are bright and cutting edge, and have provided wonderful care for our fur kids for the past fifteen years. But, they are expensive. One dog’s annual will run us anywhere from $200-$350, depending on how many vaccinations are given, and whether or not we do a senior exam with special testing. Being on a fixed income, and having five dogs, it can be tough to come up with that over and over again throughout the year. Fortunately, our vets work with us, and will give us 60 days to pay. But to be honest, I don’t like being tied down to multiple payments. God forbid if anything goes wrong. So I’ve started looking for bargains where I can find them. If I can get vaccinations cheaper from the county or a clinic, I’ll take our dogs there for that. If I can get heartworm testing at half the price, I’ll go wherever it’s offered.

shotclinic2_sept15

Check your local health department for rabies clinics in your county. You may have to stand and wait, but the savings are worth it!

Maria has been needing a rabies booster since August. I’d been hoping on a county shot clinic, but they reduced the frequency of them this year and I couldn’t get to the one in September. Our vets want $25 dollars for a rabies shot, and although that’s not a lot of money, Waldo and Rocket Boy both needed their annuals, one in September and one in October, and I knew that was going to rack us, so I was trying to save money wherever I could. I finally called a vet that I had used once to get a heartworm check for Taco, (exactly half the price of our regular vet) and they told me that they have rabies shots for $10.00, with no office fee. That last bit is important, because there are vets in the area who offer lower prices, but then they tack on an office fee, whether the dog has an exam or not. $10 for a   rabies, is less than half the cost at our vet’s office. So I made an appointment for Maria, and took her in.

While we were there, I wanted the vet to look at her paw because she has a bump on her toe that’s been worrying me. I’ve seen so many cases of dogs with a bump on their foot that turns out to be a mast cell tumor, that every time a see a growth on one of my dogs’ feet, I go in to panic mode. The receptionist asked me if I wanted an exam for Maria, so I asked the cost for that — $5.00.

Wait. That’s 9 times less than I pay our regular vet. Yes, you bet your boots I want an exam, (which was exactly the same as the exam she’d have had from our vet — and the bump…probably just a sliver of glass from the storm window she broke last week.)

The exam revealed that Maria could use a dental cleaning, and probably a few tooth extractions. I knew that, but it was something I was avoiding thinking about, because those are crazy expensive. When we first adopted Zoey, she had a bad infection in her mouth that was causing kidney issues. She needed an immediate dental, which resulted in the extraction of every one of her teeth. It was more than $800. We’d received help for that from a local rescue group.

banana

Banana, brushing her teeth.

So, out of curiosity, I asked…”how much for a dental”. And although I’d been teetering, this is where I began to feel like we’ve been being ripped off for the past 15 years.

$100. Flat fee. Includes any extractions and post dental pain meds.

I’m not sure how to reconcile this. I love our vets and feel a sense of loyalty to them. But, wouldn’t more people take care of their pets and get them the vet care they needed, when they needed it, if it were always this affordable?

It’s kind of looking like the girls and I may be changing vets.

Do you live in the Greater Cleveland area and think you are paying too much for vet care? Here are some vets and clinics that might help you lower your costs (info is 11/25/16). (If you know of more that I haven’t mentioned here, please comment or email me.)

  • Premier Spay Neuter & Wellness Clinic    7876 Broadview Rd, Cleveland, OH                 216-573-7387                                                                                                                                             $10 rabies, $5 exams, $20 heartworm check, $100 all-inclusive dental. Great prices on spay & neuter.
  • Aaron Animal Clinic      7640 Broadview Rd, Parma, OH 44134                                               216-901-9980                                                                                                                                           Free exams for senior pet owners, pets adopted from shelters, and low income pet owners. Dental savings during month of November. Vaccination packages.
  • Gateway Animal Clinic  5606 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, OH                                                      216-771-4414                                                                                                                                            Low prices all around. Good price on ACL surgery.
  • Quick Fix Low Cost Clinic  930 Lafayette Rd, Unit A, Medina OH 44256                               330-558-1540                                                                                                                                             $15 DHLPP, $20 Heartworm check
  • Copley Pet Vet  1245 S.Cleveland Massillon Rd. Suite 314 , Copley, Ohio 44321                 (330) 576-3095                                                                                                                                           $8 rabies, $14 DHLPP, $12 Bordetella, $16 Heartworm check.

 


We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons,  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.thanks

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides in your store, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated.

Things we need Up on the Woof

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Books: The Lost Dogs & Dog Inc.


The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

Rating: 4 paws & a tail wag!

Every once in a while a story hits the press about a dog fighting operation that has been busted. None of these stories has been more notorious than the one involving NFL star Michael Vick. In 2007, when a dog fighting operation was discovered on his property in Virginia, there was a media frenzy. Although it appeared to get a lot of coverage, what the public saw was only a portion of what was going on behind the scenes. A gag order kept much of the information about the investigation and the Vick dogs out of the media.

lost-dogsJim Gorant has done an amazing job bringing the story to light in The Lost Dogs: Michael Vicks Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Gorant’s narrative takes the reader from the preliminary days of the investigation through every step of building a case against Vick and his friends. He introduces us to the investigators who broke the case at the Bad Newz Kennels and the difficulties they encountered while uncovering evidence. As details of the case come to light, he paints a disgusting picture of dog fighting in general, and Michael Vick in particular. Gorant’s writing is compelling and engaging. Readers will find it difficult to put the book down.

The true stroke of brilliance in the narrative is the way Gorant writes about the dogs. They are not just intangible objects secondary to a celebrity story. The dogs are the story: they are the victims, and the book, after all, is about their redemption. Gorant describes with vivid detail what it means to be a fight dog, describing their existence from a dog’s viewpoint. Then he makes the reader fall in love with each of the 51 unique dogs, as he draws us through the story of their individual struggles during the rescue process.

Of course, not all the dogs make it through the process. But the efforts of the multiple rescue teams that work to save them is nothing short of heroic. Ultimately, the final outcome for the dogs is a thousand times better than any of the rescuers had dared to hope.

Gorant doesn’t leave the reader hanging with the story of the rescue. In the final chapter “Where Are They Now?” he gives a final update on each dog for closure.

Although readers can take some comfort in the final outcome for the Vick dogs, it’s impossible to come away from the book with anything but utter contempt for Vick; and disgust that he continues to reap the financial rewards of an adoring public.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (September 6, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 159240667X

Jim Gorant is the senior editor at Sports Illustrated. He has also written for GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Outside, Sports Afield and Popular Science among others. His previous books include Fit for Golf and Fanatic: 10 Things All Sports Fans Should Do Before They Die.

NOTE: The Lost Dogs was published before the latest development in the Vick story. The rescue group, Dogs Deserve Better, has purchased the former Vick property in Smithfield, Virginia and turned it into the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.

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Dog, Inc. – the launching of the dog cloning industry

Rating: 4 Paws

It was 1997 when John Sperling, his friend Joan Hawthorne and her son, Lou, were talking about a New York Times article they had all read about cloning. During the natural progression of the conversation, John suggested that maybe Joan’s dog, Missy, could be cloned. It was an offhand remark, but it took hold, and before long, Sperling was financing a full scale scientific operation to make it happen.

dog-incIn Dog, Inc., author John Woestendiek takes the reader behind the scenes during the advent of the pet cloning industry and tells not only Sperling’s story, but the story of his competitors domestically and abroad, and the first pet owners to enlist their services. It’s a must-read for anybody who has ever entertained the thought of cloning their pet.

Woestendiek doesn’t make moral judgements or take sides in the cloning controversy – he merely introduces us to the players, explains their motivations, and reports the obstacles they encountered as well as the final results achieved.

It’s not a pretty story. The author goes beneath the superficial ideal of cloning and exposes the con men, legal battles, animal abuse, scientific fraud, and dissatisfied pet owners. Much of the story is very disturbing; from the financial exploitation of grieving pet owners to the sheer volume of animals involved to achieve the cloning of a single pet. Readers will draw their own conclusions about the ethical implications of cloning as the scientists involved reveal their true motivations: the drive to do something no one else has done, national pride, and greed.

The quest to clone man’s best friend proved to be a daunting task, indeed. Although sheep, cows, pigs deer, and even cats were successfully cloned, cloning dogs involved unique complexities; perhaps mirroring the integral complexity of the human/canine bond.

Woestendiek does an excellent job of putting the complicated scientific process into terms that laymen can easily understand. He also underscores the fact that cloning is reproduction, not resurrection; a point that some pet owners refused to acknowledge.

Many readers will find Dog, Inc. informative and interesting, but there’s no doubt that animal advocates will be troubled by what they learn. This book will spark hours of discussion.

  • Softcover:310 pages
  • Publisher:Avery (First paperback edition 2012)
  • ISBN-13:978-1-58333-464-5

JohnWoestendiek is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. He is a thirty-five-year veteran of newspapers, including: Arizona Daily Star, Lexington Herald-Leader, Charlotte Observer,Philadelphia Inquirer,and the Baltimore Sun. He lives in North Carolina with his shelter dog, Ace, maintains the popular blog, Ohmidog! and the website Travels With Ace.

 

 

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The “Bake A Bone” Biscuit Maker


I love the idea of the Bake A Bone, but the reality has been nothing but disappointing.

Once in awhile we like to bake treats for our five dogs, because we’re pretty careful about what we put in their mouths. In the past, that has meant recipes that we can roll out and cut with a cookie cutter, then bake in the oven. When we saw the Bake A Bone advertised, we had to have one.

bake-a-boneWhat’s right: The product comes with a book of recipes, which is great. Not only does it offer many different ones, but it inspires experimentation. The company also sells prepared mixes.

What’s wrong: The first disappointment was that the Bake A Bone is mostly made of plastic. I can’t help but think that the execution of the product design could have been so much better. It works like a waffle maker, and only bakes 4 bones at a time. Each bake cycle is ten minutes long, so it takes a little more than an hour to bake two dozen. With five dogs, two dozen isn’t nearly enough.

Spongy.

Spongy.

The bone-shaped cavities are too deep, especially when the device is closed and locked while baking – which makes the molds twice as deep. The baking powder in the recipes causes the dough to rise when it is heated to expand into the top mold. I would rather have recipes with less baking powder and a shallower mold…the biscuits would be flatter and bake faster. As it is, it is very time consuming.

The finished bones are not biscuits or bones…they are more like a bread with a hard crust, and a spongy texture. (I should mention that my dogs don’t care that the bones are spongy, or that they are twice the thickness of a typical dog biscuit. All of that only matters to me.)

Cut in half along the seam, they are closer to traditional size...but still spongy in the middle unless they sit in a hot over for hours.

Cut in half along the seam, they are closer to traditional size…but still spongy in the middle unless they sit in a hot over for hours.

This past weekend when I baked treats, ( a three  hour project!)  I decided to cut the bones in half lengthwise along the seam to make them thinner. A regular serrated bread knife cut them neatly, which revealed a very bread-like interior. I preheated our oven to 350°, then turned it off and tossed all the halved bones into a baking pan, then slid it in the hot oven, and left it in there for a couple of hours. The bones were crunchy when I removed them.

A lot of work for what is essentially an inferior bone.

"Iz dey bizkits yet, Mama?"

“Iz dey bizkits yet, Mama?”

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Books: A Dog Named Jimmy; Cesar’s Way


A Dog Named Jimmy, a photobook by Rafael Mantesso

Rating: 4 paws

Cat lovers have Grumpy Cat, and dog lovers have Jimmy Choo the Bull Terrier.

Jimmy’s dad, Brazilian author Rafael Mantesso brings dog lovers the canine answer to Grumpy Cat. His clever and creative picture book,  A Dog Named Jimmy is a laugh-out- loud collection of staged photographs. Mantesso was inspired by the blank emptiness of his dognamedjimmywalls after his wife left him and took everything except the dog. He began to draw imaginary worlds around Jimmy as he slept, creating hilarious compositions of the Bull Terrier in a multitude of poses. The simple black magic marker drawings make Jimmy Super Dog, flying over a city; a Bull Terrier Jaws, ready to snack on an unsuspecting swimmer; a weight lifter; and a mermaid, among many other things. Mantesso shared the images to Instagram, and they became an instant social media sensation.

The photos are in color, but since Mantesso draws in black marker, and Jimmy is mostly white, the compositions take on the appearance of black and white illustrations. The book, published by Avery, contains 100 charming photos of Jimmy that will delight any dog lover.

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Avery (September 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 052542962X
ISBN-13: 978-0525429623

Available both in Kindle and hardcover.

 

Cesar’s Way; The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems

Rating: 3 paws

Cesar’s Way is not an “Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems” as the subtitle claims. It is, however, a treatise that explains Cesar’s “way”; Millan’s philosophy about why dogs have problems that need to be corrected in the first place.

Cesar believes that dogs are pack members driven only by instinct, not family members – reducing the human/canine bond to leader and follower. It’s a philosophy at odds with the current culture of pet owners who see dogs as part of the family; sometimes even surrogate children. According to Millan, this “warped” view of the human/canine relationship lays the groundwork for failure.

cesar

Just look at how sad the dogs are.

Millan’s guide to understanding and correcting a dog’s “issues” seems simultaneously simplistic and impossible. His answer to everything is to first walk your dog for four hours a day – a task that the majority of dog owners would find impossible to work into their daily routine, rendering the “solution” neither helpful nor realistic.

Cesar’s steps for a successful relationship with a dog are exercise, discipline, and affection – in that order. It makes his techniques come across as cold and clinical, taking only instinct into consideration, which does a great disservice to dogs. The coevolution of dogs with humans has provided a foundation for developing richly emotional bonds with our dogs, well beyond the boundaries of instinct.

This book is fine if you are looking for an explanation of Cesar’s philosophy and the experiences that led him to embrace it. It is not a helpful guide for the average pet owner, and I do not recommend his methods.

 

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307337979
ISBN-13: 978-0307337979

 

 

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Why the Tragedy at Franklin County Dog Shelter Has Set My Hair on Fire.


My hair is on fire.

There’s no other way to describe how I feel after hearing about the mass kill at Ohio’s Franklin County Dog Shelter this past weekend. Before I launch into a discussion about why it should not have happened, and how it could have been avoided, I want to tell you why (aside from the obvious reason) it has upset me so much.

The role of an animal control facility is to round up stray animals and hold them for a period of time so they can either be claimed by their owners or put up for adoption. First, I dislike the word “owners”, because pets are family members – or should be – they are not slaves, and they are not objects.

maya

Maya.

There are no statistics as to how many “strays” who enter shelters have homes and families. There’s actually no way of knowing that…because not every family knows what to do when they lose a pet and how important it is to check their local animal control in person. The ASPCA reports  that out of the number of stray dogs who enter shelters each year, 35% are adopted to new families; 31% are killed; 26% are returned to their homes. It is certain that out of the 66% adopted or killed, a portion of those dogs are misplaced pets who had a home before they were picked up by animal control.

During the weekend of Sept 10-11, Franklin County Dog Shelter performed a mass kill, taking the lives of 52 dogs. (UPDATE 9/15: the number is now 70.)  I think it is safe to say, and prudent to remind everyone,  that a percentage of those dogs were people’s lost pets…and that is the part that upsets me the most…there are always a ton of missing Franklin County dogs posted on my page Lost & Found Ohio Pets.  I lost two of my own dogs many years ago. Although I got them both back, the thought of one of my dogs being picked up as a stray and then killed before I had the chance to reclaim him, is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

FCDS’s justification for this abomination is that a dog came into the shelter who had distemper. When it was all said and done, they told the media they’d had an “outbreak”.   FCDS has come under a lot of fire lately for how they operate. There have been reports about how what they do and what they tell the public are often at odds. I don’t work there or volunteer there, but I’ve been hearing from people in the know about the shelter for quite some time. The media reported:

The one case of distemper that was confirmed by a lab test was found to be positive on Sept. 3. That dog, which suffered neurological damage and was euthanized on Aug. 31, was at the shelter from Aug. 9 to Aug. 19.

Then, over the past week, two other shelter dogs showed signs of distemper, which prompted the shelter to close on Friday. Officials are awaiting test results on those two dogs. The shelter remained closed over the weekend.

The other dogs that were euthanized over the weekend weren’t tested for distemper. It was impractical to test every dog at the shelter before euthanizing or quarantining it because tests are costly and can sometimes produce “false positive” results, O’Quin said. It costs at least $100 to test one dog for distemper, she said.”

Cases of distemper in shelters are not a new thing, and there should be procedures in place in every shelter to make sure this doesn’t happen. I’ve highlighted some of the info in the above statement because there is a lot wrong there. Dogs with distemper show signs of sickness before it gets to the point of causing neurological damage. The sick dog was at the shelter for…well, how long? O’Quin says 10 days. I assume the dog was adopted on the 19th and returned on the 31st..the following timeline provided by Tom Sussi of Fox28 in Columbus details all that. maya-timelineSo if dogs at the shelter were exposed between Aug 9-19, well….a mass kill is like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, isn’t it? There should have been an immediate announcement from FCDS that dogs adopted from the shelter between Aug 9-31 may have been exposed to distemper, so their families could be on the alert for signs.

The public held a protest at the facility on Tuesday, Sept 13. The protest centered around the fact that FCDS, knowing they had a case of distemper, still did not notify the public for 5 more days. During that time, they held an adoption event and hundreds, if not thousands of people came and went from the facility. Distemper is extremely contagious. A person can transfer the disease via their clothing/shoes to any dogs they come in contact with. According to Sussi:

“Between August 9 and September 9, 434 dogs were adopted out. Another 146 went to rescue groups. That means it’s possible 580 dogs have been exposed to distemper and were released into our community.”

As to the statement that 49 of the dogs killed were not tested because it was “impractical”…well, the rescue community is not called a “community” for nothing. All the facility needed to do was reach out. The community would have found the money to test, because that would have been 2,000 times preferable to killing.

euthed-at-fc1

Nine of the dogs killed by FCDS last weekend. Grace and her eight puppies.

Elsewhere in the statement, Wilbers said “The 52 dogs that were euthanized had either shown “severe clinical signs” of distemper or were determined to not be suitable for quarantine.” But I’m not buying that. If that were the case, it would be unconscionable for the shelter to hold an adoption event, knowing that they had a bunch of sick dogs…wouldn’t it? Two other dogs showed signs (and it’s since been verified that they were positive for distemper). The others: those dogs‘not suitable’ for quarantine (whatever that means) could have been tested.

And let’s not forget…it’s standard procedure for a vet to vaccinate a dog against distemper…meaning that those dogs who were killed who happened to be lost pets…the chances that they were vaccinated is pretty damn high.

So, what should facilities do to avoid this sort of thing happening? According to the SPCA, “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.” Well, maybe there should be. Maybe there should be standardized procedures and monitoring of shelters in the interest of the public health and animal welfare. I know that wouldn’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I would like to see a commission formed of veterinarians and animal behaviorists to draw up a list of federal guidelines for the set-up and operation of animal shelters, including budget recommendations depending on shelter size. They should recommend stop gaps to keep tragedies like this one from happening again. I’d also like to see departments developed in each state to inspect and oversee their shelters.

 

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There are five dogs here Up on the Woof, and we are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for the dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons,  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.

thanksdogAnd if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides in your store, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier.

Things we need Up on the Woof

 

 

 

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Dog Books, I love them.


I had  a column for a number of years on Examiner that was dedicated to reviewing animal themed books. For those of you who haven’t heard, Examiner has shut down…but I just couldn’t see my dog book reviews going to waste. Besides, from a perfectly selfish point of view, I really like getting free books from publishers…so I’ve decided to move my Examiner dog book reviews to Up on the Woof. I will be posting them here when I get the time.

Um…this doesn’t mean that I want to review your dog book. I might, but I have to admit that I am uncomfortable with independent authors asking me to do that…because I know what it feels like to be an author asking for a review, and I don’t want the knowledge of what that’s like to color my reviews.

So, be warned: if you ask me to review your book and I do,  if I don’t like it, I’m going to say so.

dog-reading-book-53514

 

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Dear Animal Rescue Community


You are all, every one of you, heroes. You are the most caring and compassionate people I’ve ever known…but you are also sometimes the most vicious.

I get it. Every day you deal with the aftermath of what some awful person has done to an animal. You’ve seen things nobody should see. You’ve helped animals who by all appearances didn’t have a chance. arc tn puppy millYou’ve railed against a judicial system that most of the time doesn’t take  animal abuse seriously enough. You’ve pushed your rage and sadness and despair deep down inside yourself, because to wallow in  it just gets in the way of what needs to be done. Every day you steel yourself and see what needs to happen, and you do it.

I know how sometimes you just need to speak your mind, slap people down, and educate educate educate, because there are a lot of idiots out there, and a lot of sick, deranged people hurting animals.

But I have to call you on something, because I think it’s easy to get lscotlund ms millost in that mindset. The majority of people who are following you on social media believe in you and in what you are doing. Some of them are rescue people themselves, some of them aren’t. Do you know why the non-rescue people follow you? It’s because they care about animals, because they believe the rescue community is made up of heroes, and because you give them hope.

I’d like you to try to remember that, the next time you snap at them; the next time you call them do-nothings; the next time you devalue them for being armchair activists, the next time you criticize someone who’s trying to help…because let’s face it: we need them. comments 1Even the ones who don’t have the knowledge or resources to catch feral cats, or foster a dog, or donate money, or transport, or organize a fundraiser. Even the ones who comment “Somebody please help this baby!” or “Prayers for this baby!”  We need them because at the very least, they care. And even those who can’t do anything else, can share your posts so they reach a larger audience. You know that networking is key. And maybe, instead of snapping at them you could steer them a little bit, get them to go just a little bit further…because that person following you, the one who cares…just might be a future rescuer.


The photos in this post are screen captures from a movie by Brian Wilson about some of my personal heroes of animal rescue, Animal Rescue Corps. The rescue footage was taken during a puppy mill rescue in MS. The people at ARC always act in a professional manner, and you’ll never see them slamming anybody, in rescue or out. They are far too busy for that nonsense.
Please “like” ARC’s Facebook page share their posts, and donate if you are able. They are the big guns of rescue,  taking on cases that involve dozens if not hundreds of animals.

arc volunteer tn arc tn mill2


 

 

 

 

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