Dog blogger and broadcaster Steve Friess says he’s not going to spend $5,000 to put his dog though chemotherapy that could extend his life a year or more — and he’s going to try not to feel bad about it.
Even when he says his final goodbye to Jack in what could be less than a month.
In late October, Friess noticed the dog he’d adopted nine years ago was getting lethargic, and that his weight had dropped from his usual 11 pounds to around eight.
A vet diagnosed that Jack had an aggressive form of lymphoma that was spreading quickly through his body.
Friess did some research, checking with friends, and vets, and friends who were vets: One of the latter urged him to “do the full chemo protocol ASAP!” It could send Jack into remission for nine months, or 12 months, or even longer.
Friess and his partner researched, debated and decided against chemotherapy — not because it would be all that rough on the dog physically (they handle it much better than we do). The main reason, he admits, is the money, which, he also admits, they just doesn’t have.
There will likely be those who second guess Freiss, or maybe try to lay a guilt trip on him: Take out a loan, hit up your friends, get a second (or third) job, launch an online fundraising campaign, let me be the first to donate.
We’ve become a nation of such overflowing compassion for dogs, with such promising new medical technologies, and such handy online fundraising tools at our beck and call, that it’s easy to lose sight that decisions about life and death — both ours and our dogs — are still our own, and that throwing in the towel, for financial reasons, or others, isn’t always a shameful choice.
We suspect Friess will receive some support for his decision, but will hear from many more questioning it. His decision to write about it, as he did in a post for Time.com, is brave, but also an open invitation to second-guessers. In any case, the decision on what’s best for Jack should be (and has been) made by the person who knows him best, and deserves to be respected
Friess, a freelance writer and co-host of The Petcast, said neither his advisers nor his vet seemed to be trying to make him feel guilty about his choice. But, as is the way with guilt trips, we often don’t need a tour guide. Feelings of shame can start as soon as we ask our vet the question Friess did:
“How much will it cost?”
For Friess, the estimate was a minimum of $5,000 — more than he and his partner had.
“(It) means we have about 30 days. The end will probably come in time for holidays … ”We’ve received a lot of advice, both solicited and unwelcome, through social media. Nobody comes right out to say it, but the disappointment some express at our decision shows that they question our love for Jack. In an era when people spend big on animal clothes, artisanal foods and medical intervention, and when medical science makes it possible to spend $5,000 so Jack dies slightly later than sooner, there is pressure to go as far as we can.”
There’s one more twist. Friess and his partner are trying to adopt a human baby, and they’re working on saving the $15,000 fee for that.
“If that $5,000 could cure the cancer and restore Jack’s full life expectancy, maybe we’d do it,” he wrote. “Maybe. It certainly would be a tougher choice. But to buy a year during which we’d be waiting for his lymph nodes to resume their swell? We could endure the end stages either now or later.”
(Photo of Jack by Steve Friess)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 17th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cancer, care, chemotherapy, choices, costs, death, decisions, dog, dogs, financial, guilt, health care, jack, life, lymphoma, medical, options, ownership, pet, pets, shame, steve friess, technology, treatment, veterinary
The value of Bo — a gift to the president from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — was listed on annual financial disclosure forms the White House released Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Dollar-wise, the Portuguese water dog, was a mere drip compared to the president’s other income, including royalties from his books, “Dreams From My Father” and “Audacity of Hope,” which brought in between $1 million and $5 million each.
In addition to his $400,000 annual salary, Obama listed a number investments which, including those held jointly with his wife, were worth between $2.2 million and $7.5 million in 2009. His Nobel Peace Prize carried a $1.4 million award, but the president donated that to charity.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack obama, bo, bo obama, bobama, disclosure, dog, dogs, financial, first family, gift, income, news, obama, ohmidog!, pets, portuguese water dog, president, ted kennedy, value, white house
Nadya Suleman — better known as “Octomom” — has reportedly rejected an offer to appear in an adult film, but accepted one from PETA to let her yard be used to send a message on the dangers of pet overpopulation.
Facing financial difficulties and the loss of her home — her mortgage holder told the Associated Press he plans to file foreclosure papers in court within days — the mother of 14 children weighed both offers, but rejected the idea of appearing in a porn film, according to her lawyer, Jeff Czech.
Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, announced this week that his company would pay off Suleman’s $450,000 mortgage if she would make a porn film.
Hirsch declined to say whether Suleman had expressed interest in the offer, but Czech indicated she had rejected it out of hand. He confirmed that Suleman had accepted an offer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — $5,000 to put a sign in her front yard proclaiming, “Don’t Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter.”
As an added incentive, the animal rights organization had said Wednesday it would throw in a month’s supply of veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs for Suleman and her 14 children, who range in age from 1 to 8.
Suleman has been raking in some dough. She signed a deal with the European production company, Eyeworks, for a TV show, and got a payoff from RadarOnline.com after the tabloid site was cited by the state labor commissioner for allegedly failing to get the required permits to videotape her children.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 14, adult, always spay or neuter, animals, cats, children, deal, default, difficulties, dogs, don't let your dog or cat become an octomom, film, financial, mortgage, nadya, nadya suleman, neuter, news, octomom, offer, ohmidog!, overpopulation, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, pets, porn, pornography, rejects, sign, spay, steven hirsch, vivid entertainment, yard
A Pennsylvania woman, unable to cope with financial hardships, tried to kill her 29 cats, her dog and herself, authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., say.
The woman, Linda Muchnick, of Harleysville, was arrested on charges of cruelty to animals.
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Lower Salford Township Police Chief Thomas A. Medwid and Towamencin Township Police Chief Paul T. Dickerson announced the charges yesterday. They stem from an incident last week when police were called by a local veterinary clinic.
The clinic had “received information” that Muchnick intended to kill herself and her animals due to financial hardships, the district attorney’s office said in a press release.
Towamencin Township Police entered Muchnick’s home and found 29 cats in a locked bedroom with no open windows. Officers found D-Con rat poison had been placed in the food bowls of the cats.
Muchnick was found, unresponsive, in a separate, locked bedroom with a sick pit bull. More rat poison was found in the room, authorities said. Muchnick was treated at a local hospital.
One cat died as a result of ingesting rat poison.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, arrest, cats, dog, economy, financial, hardship, harleysville, linda muchnick, montgomery county, pennsylvania, poison, poisoning, rat, suicide attempt
An American Kennel Club survey has found that Americans are willing to sacrifice their own needs to better care for their dogs.
For those of us who have been doing that for years now, that’s not exactly big news. But perhaps — given the state of the economy — it bears repeating.
Here are some of the highlights:
– 96 percent of respondents would forego their daily latte to save money for their dog’s expenses.
– 97 percent said they would forego massages or spa treatments in order to afford a vet bill.
– 79 percent would cancel a teeth whitening appointment so their dog could have an annual teeth cleaning.
– 65 percent would regularly eat Ramen noodles before they would skimp on their dog’s high quality food.
– 59 percent would perm or color their own hair in the kitchen sink in order to keep Fido’s appointments at the groomers.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, americans, cutback, dedication, dog, dogs, economy, financial, gifts, holidays, latter, pet care, pets, products, ramen noodles, sacrifice, spending, survey