My coworker’s dog (JJ) has cancer. She and her husband had been treating him holistically through supplements and a special diet. JJ was doing so well on it that during his last check-up, his cancer all but disappeared. Unfortunately, he recently went in to the vet for a random visit and it was found that his cancer is back.
Naturally, my coworker and her husband were very upset. This was their child, their first dog together. They, too, weren’t able to have any children of their own and therefore treated all their pets as if they were their kids. So they took JJ to a “doggie oncologist” to determine what their next course of action would be. The options this specialist presented to them were three-fold; give JJ chemotherapy, do surgery to remove the tumors, or do a combination of both. All those options would be expensive, as one would expect. While their final decision has yet to be made, (based on success rate and life expectancy) they are leaning towards solely doing surgery.
While my coworker and I were discussing the different options, it brought me back to a similar situation I had about four years ago. Hubby had called me at work one afternoon and sounded panicked. He told me that he thought something was wrong with our cat, Rain. She kept meowing and wouldn’t get off the couch. When he went to pick her up, she would howl whenever he touched her hind leg.
To give you an idea of how much Rain means to me … she, is the oldest of our three pets (two cats, one dog) that we currently have at home. If she was human, this November she would be able to vote in the presidential election (while she wasn’t eligible to vote in the MI primary this past January), that’s how old she is. She is older than my husband and I have been married. She is my first cat. Ever. She moved in with ME when I got my first apartment. And Hubby moved in with US in that apartment after we got married. And just like my co-worker, Rain is by all means, one of the three pets that Hubby & I call our “kids.”
So when I got that phone call, I rushed home to look at her and promptly called our vet who directed us to the “Pet ER.” As we sat in the waiting room, all I could think of how much pain my kitty was in. And how every time she looked at me, it was as if she was telling me to make it better. Eventually we were taken back and x-rays were taken. She had somehow shattered her femur. At that time we were given three options: have surgery to correct her fractures, amputate her leg (cheaper than fixing the fracture), or put her to sleep. Thank goodness the vet had enough sense to give Hubby & I a moment alone to discuss these options. I remember looking over at my husband at that time and just feeling completely overwhelmed. He smartly said at that moment, “We will do what needs to be done.” And that meant having the surgery.
Oh, did I fail to mention that during this exact time Hubby & I were in the midst of our one and only IVF treatment? Uh … yeah. So not only were we spending massive amounts of money in drugs and tests, etc (again, no insurance coverage in MI. Grr …) but we were going to drop another couple grand just to have our cat’s leg fixed.
Were we nuts to do that? To spend that much more money on a cat that wasn’t “technically” our child? Especially since I was (at that time) by all means, pregnant with two embies inside of me?
While I still wonder to this day if the stress that I was under during that period of time was what caused me to lose our babies, I do NOT regret having made the decision to have the surgery to correct Rain’s leg. She is, by all means part of this (mutt of a) family and I wasn’t going to amputate her leg or put her to sleep over something that was easily correctable. And, honestly, if we had made any other decision, I think that even if our IVF attempt WAS successful I would have felt complete and utter sadness for Rain.
As it stands right now at this very moment … just like me coworker, our pets … our Yami, Kozzy & Rain … ARE our children. The miracles of life that we weren’t able to produce on our own.