I need advice about my dog

We adopted a dog from a shelter two weeks ago. She’s a very friendly two-year old mutt (no one can seem to identify her breed). She also has a problem with her right front foot. She walks on her wrist (?) and most of the of her paw instead of on the pads of her paw. The people at the shelter told us that she had probably always had that deformity, and that she probably didn’t even notice it. They also assured us that some physical therapy would likely solve the problem

We adopted the dog, and scheduled an appointment with the vet for today. For the last two weeks, though, it’s become obvious that it does in fact hurt her. She has two worn places on her paw that bleed if not bandaged up. And toward the end of the day, she hobbles a great deal, and tries not to walk on the leg.

The vet told us that it was nerve damage, and likely fairly recent. The only thing that can be done for the dog is amputation.

Not pleasant, but it’s a small dog, and missing a foot likely won’t be a great hardship. But the procedure will cost $800.

We knew that when we were getting the dog that we were likely inheriting some vet bills with it. But $800?

So we’re in a quandary. Try to come up with $800 that we can’t really afford, or take her back to the shelter, where she will most likely be put to sleep. Our daughter would be heartbroken if we took her back, but $800!

Any advice?

Get a second opinion.

Wow. Tough call. Can you work out some kind of payment plan with the vet, spread the payments out over time?

First of all, when they say they are going to amputate, they are going to take the whole leg at the shoulder, not just the foot. You cannot do a partial amputation because the animal would still try to walk on the stump and cause further damage to it. $800 is probably not excessive for an amputation and the follow-up.

If there is nerve damage and you have seen no improvement after a couple weeks chances are it won’t get better.

Call the shelter and let them know you are already attached to the dog and you don’t want to give her up or have her put down but you cannot afford the surgery. They may be able to help offset the cost, or have their vet do the surgery.

I second Wile E, my vet gives discounts for pets from the shelter.

I’d definitely call the shelter. Often they know of vets who will do work on shelter animals for reduced cost.

How old is your daughter? Perhaps she could do some odd jobs or raise some money to help. Maybe she and her friends could do a bake sale or something.

Some vets will work out a payment plan, or take Care Credit. Care Credit is a credit plan with interest though, so try to pay as much as you can upfront. You could also see if your bank with give you a small personal loan - the interest rate on that would be better, probably.

The good news is that the operation is a one-time thing, so you won’t have any more expenses for this after it’s over.

Aaah, the wonders of shelter pets…

I feel for you, I really do. You did a great thing by adopting a dog with special needs from a shelter. I’m sorry that it turned out your pet’s issue was not a disability she could adapt to.

Truth is, I know a wonderful now-three-legged lab (of course he’s now named tripod) who adapted to the loss of his right front leg and runs around like any other pooch.

$800 is actually not a bad price for this kind of procedure. Many vets will let you come up with a payment plan. Maybe your daughter can pitch in some work (neighbourhood chores, etc) to raise a little money?

Ask the shelter for a vet recommendation. If you knew the breed (or mix of breeds) you could ask rescue for some help too. Could you post a picture of your new pooch? Maybe some of us can help identify the beast.

Get a second opinion, and research availability of discount treatments for shelter pets, but in the end, pay up. And once you’ve paid for the amputation, don’t stray too far from your wallet, because you’ve got more paying to do.

Welcome to the world of dog ownership, my friend. We pay willingly because we love, but boy do we pay.

A second opinion is out of the question in our small town, unfortunately. However, we will be talking to the shelter and to the vet about either payment plan or some sort of help. Either way, we’ve decided that we’re going to get the operation, even if we have to pony up the bucks ourselves.

It seems somewhat irresponsible to spend that kind of cash on a pet, but in the end we decided that we couldn’t just take her back to the shelter. She’s such a sweetheart, and we’re all quite taken with her. We also wanted to teach our daughter that sometimes you have to take care of problems, and not just throw the problem away.

I wanted to christen her Skippy, but my wife said that was cruel, so she’s just Sunny.

Thanks for the advice, all. Sunny/Skippy thanks you too.

No - just the opposite. You decided to take Sunny into your home and make her part of your family, and taking responsibility for her care is the right thing to do (as long you are not sacrificing adequate food, clothing and shelter for the rest of the family, of course!).

Vet care, just like human medical care, has gone up in price (and really, when you compare costs between the two, vet care’s still a bargain) and sometimes you just have to suck it up. We had an amputation done on one of our dogs, and we sucked it up too.


Since Sunny is a pup, you might want to consider pet insurance. That can help when unexpected stuff happens.

There was just a report on Dateline (er, or some other Sunday news show) about the relationships of people and their pets.

Definitely not considered irresponsible or weird that you have decided to pay for this surgery. Responsible, sensitive, caring and heroic are words that come to my mind.

I am no surgical expert but I’d tend to think that an amputation is going to be your CHEAPEST option. Seems like what your little pooch has would take a bunch of surgeries and therapy to correct. You’ll all win with the amputation.

I’m heartened to see your reply, Sid. :slight_smile: I agree with romansperson. You are doing the responsible thing.

I raise my glass to toast the many years of happiness Sunny will experience with your family.