These were words of wisdom given to us by my father-in-law many, many years ago. Of course we didn't listen - young people never do. We've had Roma for almost 5 years now, and don't get me wrong, she is a very nice, loving, good dog. But she is a high maintenance dog. I recently asked the vet for a printout of all of the things we've had to treat her for....this is what it comes down to (besides all of the regular checkups and vaccinations, of course):
- eyelash growing the wrong way, into her eye instead of away from her eye. For this we were referred to a doggie ophthalmologist in Seattle, who we did not go and visit. The eyelashes seemed to stop bothering her after awhile. $
- hot spots, a skin infection/wound of sorts. We no longer even take her to the vet for hot spots as I've become an expert at treating these at home. $$
- diarrhea. Roma is a tad neurotic, and if we leave her in any strange surroundings for too long she has some serious problems. We actually cannot take her to get a bath any more because it's a disaster. Which means we have to bathe her at home. Which means she doesn't get bathed. $
- leg surgeries. A grass seed somehow made it's way through Roma's paw pad and up her leg, and had to be removed professionally. Of course grass seeds travel quickly through an animals leg (?) and so it took a couple of surgeries to actually locate the seed. Seriously, who does this happen to? This is by far the most expensive ailment we've had to date. $$$$
- teeth. The tartar build up had to be taken care of or she would die at a young age. Of course with a dog her size this requires general anesthesia and is an all day procedure. And we are supposed to keep on it at home by applying a sealant every month. We have never applied the sealant. $$
- eating rat poison. We were lucky enough to be at the canal when this happened, holiday weekend, nowhere near a vet clinic. So we called our vet friend Katie, and though she primarily works on horses, she came to our rescue. Pour hydrogen peroxide down her throat until she throws up. Easier said than done. Have you ever tried to force a 90 lb dog to drink hydrogen peroxide? Three grown men barely got the job done. But at least this incident didn't cost us anything!
- eating Christmas lights. Not as bad as you might think! Katie came to our rescue again on this one. We fed Roma canned pumpkin to coat her insides and get her to excrete the lights as quickly as possible, allowing the glass very little time inside of her to do any serious damage. It worked! We now always have a can of pumpkin (and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide) on hand in Roma's first aid kit. Yes, we have a first aid kit for the dog.
- lymphangiectasia. The most recent ailment is this disease which is similar to the human form of lupus. Roma's body cannot process any fat, which means she has to be on a very strict diet, and the food is of course only available at the vet's office. Seriously - I can't find it online anywhere for a better price. It took several months of visits and treatments to figure out what the problem was. She was losing weight like crazy, and as our neighbor girl put it "peeing poop." And it required Jared to go around the back yard scooping up puddles of poop several times a month to turn it in for examination. As long as we keep her on a diet of fancy food, chicken, and potatoes, FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE, she will be fine. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$