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Archive for Sunday, October 9, 2005

Goff: Saving pets pricey

October 9, 2005

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Goldfinger was floating the other morning when husband Ray checked our water garden, demonstrating the folly of spending $40 in an effort to save a $29 fish.

Ray had been worried about him - or maybe her, hard to tell - for several days due to his lack of appetite and the fact he wasn't using the fins on his right side to swim. I called the pet store where we purchased Goldfinger and inquired, "Do fish have strokes?"

"Something like that," the clerk replied, then helpfully suggested some medicine that might assist Goldfinger's recovery. The cost was reasonable but, because our water garden measures 33 feet by 17 feet, buying sufficient medication to treat all the water in the pond wasn't feasible. That meant I had to buy a 10-gallon fish tank, plus accessories, so we could periodically whisk Goldfinger out of the pond to dose him, then place him back with his fish buddies.

Several red streaks near Goldfinger's tail caused Ray to suspect a neighborhood cat who likes to sit on the steps of the waterfall and dream of a fish dinner. I assured Ray that cats don't like to swim - if, in fact, they can - but perhaps a cat who doesn't mind a wet bottom might risk falling in while swiping at a fish.

Let me be clear on this point. I don't resent spending $40 on medicine to save Goldfinger; I just resent that it didn't work.

We've spent loads of money trying to save various pets over the years. It started when my sisters and I broke our piggy banks to help pay the astronomical surgical bill for Mugsy, a blond cocker spaniel puppy. We were playing with Mugsy in a field in the country where Dad took the dogs to run, when Fritzi, Dad's brown-and-white female pointer trotted up, sniffed Mugsy, grabbed him in her jaws and tried to turn him inside out. We cried all the way to the veterinarian and, while a practical father might have had the puppy euthanized, Dad's compassion always overruled his practicality.

After a tear-filled and near-sleepless night, we were relieved when the vet called to say Mugsy would recover. Once healed, Mugsy became Grandma Henry's dog and, answering to the name of Brownie, happily lived to a ripe old age.

I was fortunate to marry a man who possessed Dad's compassion and lack of practicality. When our boys were young, their much-loved duckling - Donald Everett McKinley Duckson - committed suicide by drowning himself in water measuring only to his knees. Ray worked valiantly to save Donald, giving him two-fingered chest compressions ... but not attempting mouth-to-beak resuscitation. Sadly, Ray's efforts failed, and Donald now rests under Target's parking lot.

Also buried there is King, the progeny of our female German shepherd and a vagabond Siberian husky male with questionable morals. King was 17 when he died. In his later years, we spent a lot of money trying to keep him healthy. One pricey medicine did its job so well that we considered buying some it for Grams. After a couple of days on that medication, King, who barely had been able to cripple around, was back on top of his doghouse, cavorting around like a dog half his age. When we tried to buy more of the medicine, we were informed it was no longer on the market. "Aha!" I said to Ray, "I TOLD you it was SPEED! No doubt someone got caught giving it to their grandma."

Next week, I plan to surprise Ray with Goldfinger II. Hopefully, the new Goldfinger will remain healthy. If not, we have the medicine and equipment to make him well. I will also be on the lookout for a soggy-bottomed cat who undoubtedly answers to the name of Bond ... James Bond.

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