People often don’t take into account the cost of pet ownership when they first get one. Expenses like food, treats, toys, and shots. There can also be the costs of illnesses or injury. All this can add up over time. I’ve had my fair share of expenses with my dog Bella.

The first large expense was when I noticed a lump on my dog’s hip. It felt like someone had taken one of those stress balls and slipped it under the skin. I made an appointment and took her to the vet to get it checked out ($45.00), thinking it might be some kind of cyst. At the veterinarian office, she told me that it could be a tumor, and even if it wasn’t a tumor it should be removed. I scheduled the appointment for Wednesday to have it surgically removed ($439.00). The operation went fine and I picked her up drugged, falling all over the place, and wearing headgear ($25.85), but hey, at least she was fine. And there was another cost of the stitches to be removed. Another $45.00 visit.

Bella with stitches

For all this, I could have just bought a new dog! A cheaper dog! A dog that doesn’t shed all over my house! But I couldn’t live without her. Damn dog.

Sad Bella
Sad Drugged Eyes

One of the things a dog owner must ask themselves is how much is too much. I’ve often felt if you can’t afford to care for your dog then you should not get one. For me, there has never been a cost too high. I swore that no matter the cost if she needed it I would make it happen. Unfortunately, some illnesses can’t be fixed with a check or a swipe of a credit card. And so, in each animal’s lives we accept that cost of ownership because we know that someday, our precious pet will leave this world. And in the end, it isn’t the financial cost that gets you, it’s the emotional cost. To some losing a pet is like losing the car keys. To others, it’s like the loss of a child. A child lost after only nine years of life.

It always seems so far in the future. A healthy pet, running, playing, being her happy self. But then it happens, and you get to spend one last day together. A day that you wish was a happy one but unfortunately turns out to be one full of sorrow and loss. You watch her eyes close for the last time with tears in yours, and you say goodbye hoping that there is a better place, that all dogs do go to heaven, and praying that you will see her again someday when it’s your turn.