By the time I adopted my second pug, Huntington, the FIRST thing I did was get him pet insurance. I didn’t want to risk having to make anymore hard decisions in an emergency situation. It’s stressful enough to have an ill pet, but to have finances stand in the way of possibly saving your pet’s life is gut-wrenching. Huntington was a very curious puppy from the start. He would lick and eat absolutely anything. Toilet paper continues to be a preferred snack. Ugh.
One day, my mom was using her sewing machine at home. When she stepped away to do something in the kitchen, Huntington started chewing at an extension cord and was electrocuted. This happened while I was at work and when I received a call from her mid-day, I knew something was off. Frantic and scared, she said she heard a high-pitched yelp from the living room and found him laying on his side with foam coming out of his mouth and the cord still stuck to the inside of his face. She rushed him to the vet’s and I left work immediately to meet them there. By the time I got there, they told me his lungs were filling up with fluid and there was less than a 20% of his survival.
For the next couple of hours, all we could do was trust and hope that they were giving him the best care they possibly could.
They kept Huntington inside the oxygen cage and monitored his progress. At around 6pm the vet came out and told us that they were going to close soon but the next 24 hours would be critical. The goal was to keep his oxygen levels up and his vitals stable. They referred us to a 24-hour emergency hospital that was an hour away but they had concerns about taking him out of the oxygen cage and transporting him without support in rush hour traffic. (Note: Nowadays there are portable oxygen options but this wasn’t the case when this happened in 2015.) The only way to make sure he was getting the oxygen he needed during the transport was to hire a pet ambulance. Prior to this, I had no idea pet ambulances even existed. As she was telling us this, she prefaced it with, “It’s pretty expensive.” The ride turned out to be $450. Not a small amount of money, but because I had insurance, I knew it would be the majority of the financial burden. Pet ambulances are typically not covered by pet insurance as it is pretty unique to our geographical area. We knew we were going to be in rush hour traffic in LOS ANGELES, so having the pet ambulance would definitely expedite things. We tailed the ambulance and saw them bring him safely inside the hospital. Once inside, we were presented with a stack of papers and authorized a hold/deposit on our credit card for $800. You’re typically presented with a line-itemed estimate for “low end” cost and “high end” cost. Low-end, aka best-case scenario was quoted at $1200 and high-end, aka worst-case scenario was $2000 because it includes possible complications, overnight stays, 24/7 monitoring, etc. The final amount ended up being about $1350. To be continued...