Monday, January 4, 2010

That’s one expensive “free” dog!

This particular phrase has been making the rounds in recent weeks, as my husband and I have crystallized our friends and family into two camps: “Those who would,” and “Those who wouldn't,” creating an interesting dialogue among the “You’d-be-crazy-to’s” vs. the “You’d-be-heartless-not-to’s.”

All of this debate refers to expending something as inconsequential as mere dollars to save something as monumentally important as a life, moreover, a life of unselfish, unyielding devotion, laughter, snuggles and joy.

I am of course referring to the debate over whether or not we would get doggy chemo for our beloved Ru Dog, who was recently diagnosed with skin cancer. And yes, I am admittedly biased in my assessment in naming the two sides of this debate, but hey, it’s my blog, so I’m allowed to take some liberty. Certainly it’s no shock to anyone who knows me that I’d vote for saving the dog: I am "that girl" who cries at ASPCA commercials, who’s not “allowed” to watch Animal Cops because a mere five minutes of viewing results in either wracking sobs or violent epithets that the perpetrators must be castrated in ways exponentially more cruel than the evil they inflicted.

So I’m sure it’s no shock that I am the undisputed captain of “Team Save Ru Dog.” As soon as the vet told us that doggy chemo does not dish out the same side effects as it does to humans and that Ru’s quality of life would be maintained, I was pretty well convinced. And when he said that treatment would likely buy her a few more years, I figured the deal was done. I paid no attention to such inconsequential details as the price tag or time commitment. What did that matter?

Which is why I was so surprised when Dave and I walked out to the lobby together and shared our opinions about next steps, each assuming the other was of the same mind:

Me: “Well of COURSE, we’re definitely getting chemo. Definitely.”

Him: “Clearly we should just go with the steroids and see what happens.”

In Unison: “What???”

I was appalled. Dave was definitely not joining “Team Save Ru Dog” with me…but worse, in voting for steroids-only, he was leading “Team Cheap Ass”! Was this really the man I married?

OK, I’m exaggerating just a leetle bit…and I don’t want to be unfair to my darling hubby, who admittedly is the kindest man I know and often carries the flag of honor in my one-woman crazy parade. He loves our dog, and he loves me. He’s just a little too practical to see the sense in paying for cancer treatment for a dog (who’s already had two knees replaced, in his defense). In his mind, a dog is a dog, beloved…but a pet nonetheless. In my mind, a dog, particularly one who brings us so much joy and whose soul speaks through her eyes – ahem – is a member of the family. And God help the man who tries to get in my way to save her.

Yes, I realize that marriage is supposed to be about compromise and taking each other’s opinions and feelings into account, and I usually strive for that approach. But in this instance, I failed miserably. I said to my other half, “Honey, I love you, but this train is leaving the station and, crazy as it may be, I sure hope you’ll jump on, or at the very least get the *bleep* off the tracks.” Fortunately for me, my dear partner in life did the mature thing and admitted that while he didn’t necessarily agree, he loved me enough to suck it up and move forward with the treatment.

So it is with cautious optimism, love and gratitude that I look forward to a new year: Hope that our beloved pooch heals, adoration for a husband who loves me enough to overlook the dollar signs, and sincere thanks for the well wishes and support of our friends and family.

But, Dad? Could you please just do me a favor and quit telling Dave that Rudy “sure is one expensive ‘free’ dog!”? I mean, really, can we talk about soooo NOT HELPING???


Sean Williams said...

Kelly - as long as Ru has a good shot at more years, I'm with you. Sandy's brother tried the kitty chemo route. The big C was advanced, bad prognosis, but did it anyway and to no avail. I disagreed with his decision in that case, but yours seems quite different. G-d bless Rudy.

Wendy said...

Do you need a co-captain for Team Save Ru Dog? I'm in.

Kels said...

Awesome, Wendy. I'll put you in charge of the t-shirts!

Kels said...

Update: Ru Dog has finished her chemo treatments and by all accounts is doing well: Bunnies chased? Check. Romps taken? Many - check. Laps swum in the lake? Check. Oh, wait, those are her accounts of how well she's doing. Her doctor also says things are looking good. Yay, Rudy!

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