Pet Insurance and Bogart’s Legacy – by Dr. Amanda Glew
For many years, we have suggested that owners consider taking pet insurance. My take on pet insurance is the following – you will likely claim on it, much more than we usually do on car or home insurance. Your animal is likely to have a major medical condition in his/her lifetime which will cost anywhere from 3-10k. If you can’t afford to pay this bill, you should consider insurance. Of course, I didn’t listen to my own advice, and my last dog had an unusual condition which ended up costing 12k over his short life of 4 years. Then my brother had a young rescue husky cross who was hit by car, and ended up requiring not 1, but 2 orthopedic surgeries, to the tune of over 5k. It was a procedure that unfortunately I could not do.
However, insurance is not given away, ranging as little as $50 up to $150 per month depending on the plan, and what is included. Some include vaccines, parasite prevention, and annual blood test and dentals. Although appearing costly, these are usually the better deals.
I recently went to a house-call end of life visit for a lovely Doberman called Bogart. Bogart was 13 years of age, and one of the gentle giants that Dobes are known to be. It was sad, as they usually are, I had known this dog for all of his life. But I told the owner we should celebrate – he had always been healthy. Lucky for the breed. She tearfully sent me away with a letter, which I was to open up at home.
The letter was written from Bogart, telling me about his life, and how happy he had been. Then he went on to tell me how I had done a bloat surgery on his brother years ago, and even then it had been costly for his human. He recounts how his mom asked my advice, and I suggested she open an account in Bogarts name, and place in $50 per month (remember, 12 years ago, this would be the equivalent of putting in $75 today) and not touch it. If something came up in his life, she would have the money. If nothing happened, she would have a nice little RSP. As it turned out, his mom heeded my advice, but he had never been sick. So his mom decided to make a donation of $1000 for our clinic to use for another animal in need.
To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. To realize that what you tell an owner can have such an impact on another’s life is a humbling experience. To understand that now this dog has paid it forward to help another life, is thrilling.
Half of the money has already been earmarked for an outdoor cat who came to a kind person. The cat has a terrible leg injury and necessitates an amputation. By offering a discounted surgery, this person is willing to pay the difference and adopt the cat. The other half will likely go to a canine rescue, because Bogart would appreciate the thought.
I have practiced veterinary medicine for many years. Yet, I still am touched and amazed at my clients who feel the need to help others around. But this is my first donation bequeathed from a dog. A special, empathetic canine, who cared for his fellow creatures.