Kern Family Health banner 25 yrs


"Well, ow much would it cost jest to put 'em ta sleep," drawled the young man who was holding a large white rat that had one eye dangling precariously by the optic nerve about three inches from the eye socket. The two small children who were at his side began wailing.

But I totally understood where the guy was coming from in asking that question. Every adult in the waiting room at the emergency vet understood. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and here we all were, sitting with an animal on our laps that was vomiting, bleeding, or had uncontrollable diarrhea. You know the question of cost had to have crossed all of our minds.

But I knew, as did my comrades with canines around me, that I would pay it – we would all pay it. Just one look into the pained eyes of the beloved creature in our laps and we knew we would pay it.

How could we not? I mean, what's it worth to help a companion that you can yell at, talk baby talk to, dress up in Build-A-Bear clothes, put peanut butter on his nose just to what him lick off (only when there's nothing good on TV) – endures any number of less-than dignified activities, then just looks up and gazes at you with such complete love and compassion you think your heart will melt.

That's how I feel about my schnauzer, Max.

So when he got sick that weekend, I knew what I had to do. I got up, got showered, and dressed before wrapping Maxie in a towel, and informed my husband that I, Max, and our entire life's savings were off to the ER.

It's amazing the lengths we go to for our four-legged best friends. A drive across town on a Sunday morning (the only morning during the whole week we have the option to take it easy); a one to three hour wait in a room filled with animals who on a normal day have questionable hygiene practices, but now that they are sick and in an enclosed space are truly ripe; topped off by a bill that will most likely be more than our mortgage payment. Could there be a more fun way to spend the day God gave us for rest?

But I couldn't just let my Maxie suffer. And even though I come from a long line of farmers who had no qualms about shooting a dog who'd been caught sucking eggs (how do dogs suck an egg anyway? They can't close their lips around it to suck…) and who probably would have taken the "vet-care-on-a-shoestring" route ("jest put 'em ta sleep)", I knew I'd pay whatever it cost to get Max back on all fours. And the whole family agrees; sure we may have to live on Top Ramen and turn off the air conditioner for a couple of weeks, but to have Maxie's eyes look up with that, "You are the most wonderful person in the world" gaze - that's worth every penny.

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