Coffee heat rising

Month of extreme frugality (NOT!)

Wow! If there’s any question about whether Karma is mad at me, the laughable effort at a month of extreme frugality answers it! Not only did I fail to save extra money to apply toward the Renovation Loan Payoff Fund, for the first time since I started the weekly budgeting system, I ended the month-long cycle in the red!

I was $23.57 in the black on May 16 and thought I might make it to the end of the billing cycle, but just couldn’t do it. The main reasons were the dog and the astronomical cost of gas.

The dog went off her feed, causing her to barf up the meds. So I had to go by Sprouts to pick up some ground lamb and lamb neck bones to persuade her to eat; while I was there I got some hamburger for myself (totaling $15.89). Then I had to buy a new prescription antibiotic for her, relatively cheap at $26.80 but still more than I had left in the budget, even without the cost of food. These two trips consumed just enough gas that I wasn’t sure I could make the 36-mile round trip to the office on what remained in the gas tank, plus I had to come home the long way to go by a client’s office and deliver a completed project. My van gets 18 miles to the gallon, so I bought about 2 1/3 gallons at Costco: 13 cents a gallon under the going rate, but still $3.47 a gallon. These expenses put me in the red.

This compares abysmally with the first three months of this year:

Before this disastrous month, the worst I did when I wasn’t trying to save had me $151 in the black!

What did the job on my budget was the cost of veterinary care: $379.75 to my old vet and $278.08 to the new vet, plus assorted extra meds. Plus special food. The cost of gas didn’t help-really, if gas were not exorbitant, I might have ended in the black despite the dog headaches.

Luckily, I kept $500 of the previous months’ savings in the money market checking account used to pay these costs as an emergency “cushion.” So when the American Express bill arrives, there will be enough to pay it. But it frosts my cookies.

At this point, it looks like the only hope of getting the vet bills under control is to put the dog down. The vaginal infection is better, but the nose thing just keeps getting worse. She can barely breathe through her nose. Just the cost of diagnosing what ails her starts at $300, to X-ray her skull. If she has a tumor, then she should be put to sleep right away, because it’s terminal and there’s nothing effective that can be done: $300 + $379.75 + $278.08 = $957.83 that I might as well have run through the shredder. If she doesn’t have a tumor but probably has something stuck in her nose, they have to thread a lighted tool into her nasal cavity, which in a dog is an extremely complex maze, to try to fish it out. The vet said this would be “expensive.” When a veterinarian calls something “expensive,” you can be sure the term an ordinary mortal would use is “ruinous.”

So, it may be better just to put her to sleep now. She’s had a long run: she’s almost 13 years old, two years past the normal life span of a German shepherd. I hate to contemplate it: a stuffy nose shouldn’t be a capital offense. On the other hand, heavy panting and rapid breathing are signs of doggy pain, and with the vaginal infection pretty much healed, we know the pain isn’t coming from that. The fact that her nose doesn’t appear to be congested while she’s sleeping (i.e., unconscious) suggests the noisy breathing isn’t caused by a nasal blockage but indicates discomfort or pain. She keeps me awake half the night every night, and I have to get up and get out of the house by 7:30. I’m running on fumes myself at this point-this has gone on for a couple of months-and I’m starting to get sick from the stress and fatigue. If she’s in pain, at her age chances are the cause is cancer. It may just be time to say good-bye.

Poor old lady.

3 Comments left on iWeb site


What a tough call on the dog.We were in this boat a few years ago and you are right about when a vet says “expensive” that means it is ridiculously expensive.our dog had a thyroid tumor, i.e. cancer, that spread to her heart.Well once that happens there is no hope.It is sad either way, but it is important that the dog not suffer.And it is hard to tell if a dog is suffering because they can’t talk.Good luck with the dog, that is hard to deal with.

Tuesday, May 27, 200806:03 PM


I went through the same thing with 2 family dogs.It sounds like allergies.I got a lot of help by going to the online medical sites for dogs and humans too.What the vet doesn’t tell you is that dogs can tolerate most of the same medications people do, just in lower doses for their body weight.I would try a childs brand and dosage. Todays dog foods are not very good for your dog.You are better off feeding them meats and oatmeal with fruits and vegetables.or meat and potatoes.An allergy may be to meat also because of the amounts of chemicals they treat foods with today.Have a little patience and you will find the right combination to make your dog feel better.

Friday, May 30, 200807:11 AM


Alas, this dog isn’t given to allergies. When the Great Dog Food Scare arose, though, I started feeding her and the greyhound real food. They indeed do perform a great deal better on human food: dog food is substandard and provides substandard nutrition.

However, turning out 28 pounds of dog food a week is no joke. Unfortunately, I have a job and I have no partner to help me with shopping, food preparation, and cleanup, and so even if I could afford the cost of buying huge quantities of better food than I eat myself, converting my kitchen into a dog-food factory is not a practical option.

Subsequent trips to the vet show that what’s causing the manifestations of pain is pressure sores. She refuses to lay on her soft blankets–about the middle of last winter, she developed an aversion to dog beds, of which she has a half-dozen scattered around the house and back yard. Washing them did not help. Buying new ones did not help. She is so averse to a soft place to lie down that she will not even walk on them–she walks around them. Lay one down in the hall, and she treats it like a roadblock. As a result she lies on the tile flooring, which is throughout the house. The yard is desert-landscaped, and so there’s no grass to lie on out there.

Pressure sores are extremely difficult to treat, even in humans who can understand instructions not to lie on them. Eventually, they eat through to the bone. They are very painful. They get infected, and such an infection can and will kill the victim. Old folks in poorly maintained nursing homes routinely die of the effects of pressure sores.

There’s evidently nothing I can do about this. I tried tying an object to her torso so that it would force her to lie on her side. This worked for about 30 minutes, after which she just lay down on top of it.

Friday, May 30, 200807:28 AM