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Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Burned dog’s vet bills mount

A dog injured in an apartment fire last week is racking up some serious medical bills. The owner is seeking community help in paying for the more than $3,500 the dog's treatment has cost.

June 2, 2010

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The only injuries reported in a devastating house fire in the 900 block of Mississippi Street on Friday were suffered by a four-legged resident named Riley.

The 2-year-old golden retriever was in the house, along with two cats, when the fire broke out. None of the house’s three residents were home at the time.

“He lost all of his pads on his feet … he’s got third-degree burns on his thighs and side, his head was pretty burnt up,” said David Szczucinski, Riley’s owner. “I was pretty hysterical, I would say, as any owner would be.”

With his cell phone on the fritz, Szczucinski called out for help getting his dog to an animal clinic. A neighbor phoned a friend, who quickly agreed to help.

Anthony Barnett picked up Szczucinski and Riley down the street from the burning house and rushed to Gentle Care Animal Hospital at Sixth Street and Kasold Drive.

For the effort, Szczucinski calls Barnett a hero.

“I was definitely hoping that I didn’t get pulled over because I thought that would make the situation a lot worse,” said Barnett, who owns Home Sweet Home Dog Resort, 2140 Haskell Ave.

Along with his other injuries, Riley’s throat and lungs were affected by smoke inhalation. Szczucinski says it’s a miracle Riley is still alive, but the medical bills are a harsh dose of reality. Just three days later, Riley’s bills had risen to more than $3,500.

Szczucinski and the home’s other two residents have received help from the community in dealing with their losses in the fire, and now Szczucinski hopes a benefactor for Riley will step forward to help the dog continue on his road to a full recovery.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can contact the Gentle Care Animal Hospital at 841-1919.

Comments

KansasPerson 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeah right 50Year, it's a big scam! A professional veterinarian is going to put her reputation on the line by taking donations for a fake cause! As for the fellow whose house is on fire, the first thing on his mind is going to be how to scam the community!

I had a longer, angrier rant at you, but fortunately the computer ate it.

I"m glad I"m not you.

p.s. For the record, I've only seen ONE person claim to be Riley's owner.

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50YearResident 3 years, 10 months ago

How many people are claiming ownership of this dog? I seen at least 3 user names. Looks like the vet and the owner(s) are going to make a huge profit on this deal.

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KansasPerson 3 years, 10 months ago

We just came from the vet clinic where Riley is being treated. We said we wanted to donate a bit, and the person at the desk pulled out a legal pad with a nearly-full page of names and donations on it! And under it, another page from yesterday!

I love this town!

Get well soon, Riley. David, we've been paying so much attention to Riley that I forgot to ask you if you are also in need! Burnt out of your house is no fun. Are you getting along okay?

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bxke1414 3 years, 10 months ago

Hi all, this is David Szczucinski, Riley's owner. I very much appreciate everyone's support and contributions for Riley's well being. Your (the community's) response has been absolutely incredible and gracious. In response to a few comments made above, I am a firm believer that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but I hope to God none of you (those who wouldn't be willing to try and save your pet) ever own a pet. A substantial amount of Riley's bill was incurred Friday night into Saturday morning where he was under supervision throughout the night and morning. During this period we did not know if Riley would pull through or not. But there is always hope, and I would never let my dog suffer if I knew the outcome would not be good. I have owned numerous animals growing up and have had to make the awful choice to put down animals due to disease, car accidents, etc... Yes, the choice is difficult whether to keep your pet alive and there is no way to anticipate extreme circumstances like a house burning down. Let it be known that Riley is like my child, and I would do anything for my child. If he would have been in a state of no return, I would have made that difficult choice. But HE IS recovering very well and continues to improve on a daily basis. Today he even ate food on his own for the first time since the accident. The staff at Gentle Care is amazing and I look forward to them being my vet from this point forward. Once again, thank you all so very much for your help, I couldn't do this without the community right now.

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Elrond 3 years, 10 months ago

As I've discussed before on these boards, my wife and I shelled out over $40,000 in medical costs during an 11 year lifespan of our beloved English Mastiff so I'm well aware of how fast the bills can mount. I'm contacting Gentle Care and making my donation for Riley. Elrond

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coloradoan 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm in for $20.00. Called for the address today to mail tomorrow. Think about it, only 175 of us at $20 (or 700 of us at $5.00) and it's covered. Since they made the choice to save him, then let's make it happen. While I am empathetic with a prior poster about whether the suffering to get well is appropriate for a pet that cannot articulate it's own preferences, this family chose to save him and I'm good with it. I know I love my cats and would do whatever was necessary. Go Riley!

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75x55 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not about to place any judgment or harsh advice on Riley's owner. This is a tough situation and there are no easy answers.

I would say that anyone seriously considering getting a dog must make some very firm decisions about what they will and won't do when hard situations come up - before getting the animal. And stick to those decisions.

Pet insurance is nearly a must-have - to have to make a life-or-death decision based on the size of a vet bill is horrendous and can induce guilt for many years to come.

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Boston_Corbett 3 years, 10 months ago

Dogs need medical care too. Treat them as you would any friend. Woof, woof.

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naturalist 3 years, 10 months ago

Yes it's not surprising that this vet bill went up to so much so fast. Check around, Gentle Care isn't any more expensive than most of the other vets in town and some are more expensive. Our dogs are our family and it's our responsibility to take as good of care of them as we can. This dog will recover and will forever repay his owner with love and affection. Kudos to Anthony for stepping up to help in this emergency.

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autie 3 years, 10 months ago

shoot mom, if I was rich it wouldn't even be an issue...I would have a vet on retainer that just comes over to the house.

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mom_of_three 3 years, 10 months ago

in continuation of autie's post....unless I was a hundred thousand-aire and 3000 was a drop in the bucket.....

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autie 3 years, 10 months ago

All in the practical application. I love my dogs and spend a whole bunch on vaccines, preventatives etc...they are spoiled rotten and members of the family...but in the end analysis, if its going to cost $3000 to keep one in the game, they are out of luck that day. It is a dog, not a person. Call it cold blooded if you want, but it just ain't my reality to spend huge dollars on an animal.

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MYOB 3 years, 10 months ago

I understand what all of you are saying, and I know that a lot of people feel the same way and consider their pets disposable. As far as I'm concerned, when you make the commitment to have a pet, you then commit to taking care of that pet, physically and financially. If you can't then you shouldn't have pets. If the pet is suffering, that's a different story than convenience of time and/or wallet. Just my opinion.

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Danimal 3 years, 10 months ago

I have to say, it's not fair to the animal to be in constant suffering that they're incapable of understanding. The humane thing would have been to put Riley down. I get as attached to my animals as anyone else does, but it's cruel of owners to put an animal that is in excruciating pain through multiple procedures. Animals don't get that they're lives are potentially being saved, they just know that they're constantly suffering. I think that people have been humanizing their pets too much and going to extraordinary expense and effort to save them.

The thing that really disgusts me is the World company only devoted a :45 second clip to Memorial Day, but they gave an injured dog 2:05.

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HW 3 years, 10 months ago

While I don't agree with gop's number ($150), I do agree with the basic sentiment. There is a large portion of society out there that still believes that pets are not children and should not be saved at any cost. Would I have spent $3500 on this particular instance? Maybe, maybe not. My number sits somewhere closer to $1000 dollars for a limit, but definitely depends on the situation. A dog with diabetes and needing expensive long term care? Back 40 with a .40. Also, for folks that are discussing the expensive costs of vets, try taking your dog ot cat to a large animal vet next time. They tend to be more reasonable and can take care of most anything for a dog or cat. Lawrence is fairly lacking in large animal vets though. A Guinea Pig may be a different story;).

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mom_of_three 3 years, 10 months ago

Well,MYOB, lots of people think that way. My dad is probably in the group with Autie. If you have lots of animals, you can't necessarily afford to spend that on one animal without serioualy considering the outcomes. In this situation, I am not sure I would be able to spend the money either. but I imagine it was spent before he knew it.

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MYOB 3 years, 10 months ago

gop and autie~ I hope your families don't feel the same way about you if you become sick or elderly and too expensive to care for......

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autie 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't disagree with that gop. One of my dogs developed diabetes and was very sick. That big shot of phenobarbital and a viking funeral was pretty reasonable after what was described to me as the prognosis and trip to K State.

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gop 3 years, 10 months ago

Anytime I receive a vet bill over $150 its time for the ole trip out to the field with the .22.

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RemarkableOne 3 years, 10 months ago

I hope this dog continues to improve! And yes vet bills are expensive but there is only so much a vet can do at a "discounted" price. This vet in particular has seen several house fire animals over the years which happened to not make the news so we ask why is this one so lucky. Also, this clinic provides discounts to the local Keeshond Lovers rescue group, humane society dogs, takes care of strays that are found (a big choc lab was just rehomed through the clinic after living there for 3 - 4 weeks) and just in Dec./Jan a dog that got hit by a car and was stuck on the side of the road needed surgery that the owners couldn't financially handle and were going to put her down. The doctors at the clinic performed a 2,000 - 3,000 dollar knee surgery for free, housed the dog for months after her surgery, rehomed her at no cost, and now she runs the countryside of Lawrence with her new family. Vet clinics all around town do amazing things for the animals in our community and we should thank them for putting themselves out there.

The vet clinic did around the clock care for the first night Riley was there and over the days after that had to come in after hours in order to take the proper care of the dog. Money is tight for everyone these days and a lot of vet costs isn't the care itself its the supplies that go into it which the clinic can't control the cost of anyways. Second of all thanks to these vets that happened to still be at the animal hospital that late at night could take Riley in so fast even though they aren't Riley's usual vet. Second of all, he is not really a golden retriever but that is beside the point. Riley is alive and walking and it's been less what a week, thats pretty amazing work if you ask me! My question is why isn't the owner of the apartment complex or their insurance paying for the vet bills? Whose fault is the fire and shouldn't this dogs life be covered?

All I care about is that Riley is alive and well. And thats all thanks to a loving owner, dog owners that happened to be on the scene, and some amazing vets. We love you Riley and are all cheering for you!

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Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

A couple folks mentioned the quality of the vets. I concur. But lets not forget their support staff, whom are equally caring and competent. Its always a pleasure visiting them, although I don't think my little pal would concur. And yes, they are expensive, but they do spend plenty of time with you, and while I am sure the other vets in town are acceptable, Gentle Care will always be Number One in my book.

The same thing goes for other services in town. Westside 66 is superb. But I don't patronize them because of their prices. Rather, they do quality work and stand behind their work. And you couldn't ask for a nicer, more intelligent owner than Richard.

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gatekeeper 3 years, 10 months ago

For the owners - There is a special credit card you can get with 0% interest for paying vet bills. I've unfortunately had to use it a lot on my dog this year. It's set up for emergency incidents like this that are expensive. Maybe this can help you cover some of the costs. I checked and Gentle Care does accept it.

http://www.carecredit.com/

I'll take a few bucks to the vet. I hope many of you will do the same. A bunch of people giving just $5 or $10 will add up quickly.

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redmoonrising 3 years, 10 months ago

Poor Riley. I feel so sorry for him and his owner. Pets are like members of the family. Unfortunately, we can't always afford them should something out of the ordinary happen. Maybe enough people will step forward to cover this bill and there will be no future costs involved that the owner can't pay. Part of having and loving our pets is being able to care for them no matter what. Good luck.

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WS2010 3 years, 10 months ago

Riley is a part of my family. He is a sweet-natured, loving dog who would cover you with kisses. Seeing him laying on the vet's table, burned and bleeding, then looking into my little brother's frantic eyes was one of the worst things I have ever experienced. It is a miracle that Riley is alive.

Thank you to the heros that helped Riley that night and continue to help him recover and grow stronger...the firefighters, Anthony Barnett, staff at Gentle Care, and my little brother David. You could be hero too. Please help Riley.

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ontheroadfitness 3 years, 10 months ago

Gentle Care has some of the best veterinarians I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I hope Riley heals up quickly so he can enjoy the dog days of summer!

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cowboy 3 years, 10 months ago

Every owner has to make a difficult decision to care for a seriously injured pet or to put them down. Pretty tough for most.

Hang in there Riley !

The vet has already committed by treating the boy not knowing if they'll be paid or not .

Sending good energy your way Riley !

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disgustedagain 3 years, 10 months ago

Gentle Care has good vets but they are way more expensive than most vets in town.

What happened to the cats??

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yankeevet 3 years, 10 months ago

I will donate.............good luck to you and your dog....

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amazonratz 3 years, 10 months ago

IF there was homeowner's/rental insurance, I would also argue this with the insurance company, as we consider pets "property" in this country. Our insurance is supposed to cover our property loss and damage. I'm sorry this happened, it's every pet owner's worst nightmare. I wish a speedy recovery for your best friend.

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1234 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Home Sweet Home will float his bill for the guy. Surely he needs a 3500$ tax right off :)

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Paula Kissinger 3 years, 10 months ago

Vet bills are high...some vets charge more than others. People can laugh, but this is why I have pet insurance. Had this happened to me and the final bill was $4000.00, my out of pocket cost would be $900.00. That still is expensive but it's easier to deal with than having to pay the entire amount.

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red_devil 3 years, 10 months ago

Hopefully some pet owners or businesses will step forward and help this guy out.

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christy kennedy 3 years, 10 months ago

$3,500 in three days? The care required must be extensive but that seems high.

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