So, you want a Great Dane? Financial lessons learned in pet ownership, Part 2

This is a continuation of another blog post from March 25, 2020.  If you haven’t read part 1, please click here to brush up on the first part of the adventure.

Veteran’s day weekend was pretty eventful around my house.  It wasn’t planned that way, but things aligned and became interesting and a little exciting.  As you recall from part 1, I was begrudgingly watching Bolin, my friend’s Great Dane, while my two females were in heat.  I justified it in my head by telling myself that the dogs had all be together in the past while in heat and nothing happened, so maybe they just weren’t interested since they were all like siblings.  I was wrong! 

On that fateful Sunday afternoon, I was vacuuming the house and I overheard a yelping sound coming from my office.  I went to see what the matter was and found Spice and Bolin “locked” together.  I was a bit shocked and wasn’t sure what to do.  Then, I heard someone pull up in the driveway.  It was my friend Evan in for a visit with little notice.  I told Evan and his friend to stay outside for now and what was happening.  I went back inside and they had magically unlocked and seems okay, other than a nasty smell, which I found out is normal after this type of incident.  Well, I thought maybe nothing happened since it was under ten minutes.  I was wrong, again!

Life went on normally and I monitored Spice for signs of pregnancy.  The first indication was that she stopped bleeding from her lady parts within a day.  Then, a few days after, she had morning sickness a few time and was overly affectionate and very adorable with her neediness.  In mid-December, I noticed spice getting larger with her belly and teats protruding.  I made an appointment with the vet for confirmation.

The next week, the vet confirmed little puppies were growing inside Spice.  Cost of this quick appointment was $200.  I then made the announcement via Facebook and Instagram in case anyone was interested in a puppy.  Luckily, I had a few people express interest.  About a week later, Christmas had almost arrived and I had plans for a family gathering on the big day.  I was out with the dogs in the yard and watering the yard during our dry December, and suddenly Sugar and Spice were in a fierce fight with blood drawn.  My heart raced and my first instinct was to yell.  That did nothing, so I tried pulling them off each other.  After about ten minutes, I managed to separate them and get Sugar in the house.  She was torn up pretty bad.  Spice fared a bit better but still had cuts and wounds. 

Great Dane with day old puppies
Spice with her day-old puppies by W. Vance

The vet was booked, so I took Spice to an emergency vet and about $400 later she was okay.  It was Christmas Eve, so I couldn’t get Sugar in as well.  The day after Christmas, I got Sugar in and her wounds were starting to get infected.  After $700, she was okay and on the mend.  Now I had to separate them in the house.  In between I took Spice to the vet and she had an x-ray to verify the number of puppies I could expect, costing a cool $200.  Low and behold, January 10th, 2020 came and the pups were born.  Everyone was okay for a few weeks.  Then came January 31st.  The pups and Spice were vomiting and had the runs.  Back to the vet for another $1,100 round of treatments.  I was relieved that they were okay while my credit card was feeling the pinch.  Luckily Citibank offered me 0% on my card for 10 months with only minimum payments.  I figured I could just pay it back with the proceeds of selling the puppies.

Fast forward to February and all was good.  No fights, no sickness, just a lot of poop, puppy food and pads.  At one point I had a box of puppy pads coming from Amazon every five days.  All of the supplies and food ran well over $500.  At the end of February, it was time for the puppies to get their first shots.  That went alright, except one pup had a slight heart murmur, and she was reserved. Luckily the new owner felt a connection to her and still wanted her for the full price.  I was relieved, but not after another $475 bill for the shots and exam.

Then came March 6th, 2020.  My old friend Kate, from my high school days in the 1990s, came out to pick up her puppy.  By this time I had reunited Sugar and Spice after testing the waters with muzzles and all seemed okay, so we seemed to be getting back to normal.  My judgement was a little premature.  There was a great deal of excitement when my friend arrived and the girls got into a big fight again.  It was in the house this time and I tried to grab Spice by the collar and get them apart.  In an instant I was bit and my hand was squirting blood.  I still tried to get them apart and managed to get them in separate rooms in a couple of minutes.  There was blood on the walls and all over the dogs.  The puppies were okay as they were separated in a separate room.

I cleaned up my hand and thought I’d be okay, so Kate and I went to dinner.  My hand began to throb more and more and the glass of wine didn’t seem to help much.  I got back home and Kate went on her way with the puppy.  My roommate washed up the girls and cleaned their wounds since my hand was in paid and not very usable.  It was so bad I could barely type and ended up missing an assignment.

Saturday, my hand didn’t get much better.  In fact, that night it got worse.  Sunday morning, I got up and went straight to urgent care.  After about an hour of waiting, the doctor said you need to go to the ER.  I went to the ER, and they saw me.  It was bad.  It was infected and my hand was swelling more and more.  They decided to admit me after sticking an IV with antibiotics in me. I had an MRI and went to a room where I waited while they decided what to do.  About 7:30 that Sunday night, the doctor came in and said we would likely need to operate.  My swelling went down a little and the paid was somewhat manageable. 

The next day I awoke and waited to hear what was happening.  Around 9:00 am they came in and told me they would for sure operate.  I mentally readied myself to be knocked out and have my hand cut open.  At this point I just wanted to feel better.  I worried about the costs, but I do have insurance, so I knew the worst it could be was my co-pay.  After a successful surgery and several days of healing with IV antibiotics, they released me from the hospital. 

Now that a few weeks have passed, the bills have rolled in and I will hit my out-of-pocket max of $3,500.  Couple this with another $700 in vet bills to clean up the girls after that fight and I’ve managed to lose about $2,800 on having a litter of puppies when you consider my out-of-pocket medical costs. If I didn’t have insurance, the retail value of my treatment was well over $40,000, and I’m still going to physical therapy to regain full use of my left hand.  I always did say I was doing this for the experience of raising puppies and not for money, and I sure did get my money’s worth, didn’t I?

Leave a comment explaining a time your gut was saying “NO” to but you said yes against your better judgement?

So, you want a Great Dane? Financial lessons learned in pet ownership, Part 1

Sugar Lynn the Great Dane at 3.5 months of age by W. Vance

Life is a continuous learning adventure.  We often do things because we think the grass is greener on the other side, or we just want something so bad that we just make it happen at the expense of many other things.  Other times we are just too nice to say no to others and know we’ll regret it later.  Both of these behaviors have gotten me into some personal and financial stress when it comes to my dogs. 

In November 2016, two of my best friends got a Great Dane puppy.  When they were talking about getting such a large dog, I was criticizing them, telling them they were crazy to want such a large, pony-like, canine, but I soon found out what an amazingly loving, goofy breed they are.  About a week before Thanksgiving, Bolin, their new puppy, arrived in a crate on a jet plane.  My heart melted and I was in love.  That night I was canvasing puppyfinder.com to find my Great Dane.  I joked about getting a female and all of us having a litter of puppies someday.  Well, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my little bundle of joy arrived.  Her name is Sugar Lynn, who got the Sugar part of her name by default because she was so darn sweet I kept calling her sugar.  The name stuck and I added Lynn since she is from the Eastern hills of Tennessee. 

By the time Sugar had arrived, I was well over $1,000 into this, plus puppy food, and then she had “the runs” and I was worried sick.  I immediately made a vet appointment, which costed in excess of $200, but she was okay.  Then there were vaccinations, which with each exam, ran about a $100 each time, until she was fully vaccinated after three trips.  Food for one great date can cost between $60 to over $100 per month, depending on how far up you decide to go. 

In April of the next year, I wanted to get Sugar a playmate.  I looked at another puppy, but thought I would try and adopt.  I found a big Euro Dane named Diesel in the San Francisco Bay area.  I paid the $400 adoption fee and gave him a try.  After a few weeks, I was feeding him and he bit me.  It hurt badly, but I was okay and managed to not go to the doctor.  I was scared of Diesel, arranged to take him back to California and let them keep my donation.  I was out several hundred dollars at this point and no second Dane. 

Baby Spice at eight weeks of age sleeping on the outdoor lounge by W. Vance

I decided a puppy was again the best course of action.  I found another little girl for sale for $700 in Tonopah, Nevada, about a four hour drive from Reno, and arranged to get her Memorial Day weekend 2017.  That is when Spice came into my life.  She was seven weeks old and cute as a button.  Vet-wise, I did the shots and exams, bought good food at Costco, and things went pretty predictably until last November, when I decided to let Bolin stay at my house for a few days while his owner was out of town and both my girls were in heat.  This is where the real fun **sarcastic laugh** begins.

To be continued next week! 

In the meantime, what, if anything, would you do different regarding your pets?  Maybe it’s how you went about acquiring an expensive breed, or vet bills?  How do you maintain the best life for you pets while not blowing the bank? Leave me a comment!