pet insurance questions

Why I got pet insurance

Household 2 min read

Our dog Guido was a 50-pound mixed breed we got from the pound when he was about three months old. Guido was a key member of our family. I traveled a lot for work at the time and I was comforted knowing Guido was home protecting my family.

Taking Guido on daily walks brought us closer as a family; he helped teach our kids about responsibility and the importance of an active lifestyle.

Part of our family

When Guido was 8, I came home from work one evening and he was obviously not feeling well. He was curled up at the foot of our basement stairs and came up to see me very slowly, instead of the usual enthusiastic greeting. He perked up a bit the rest of the evening, so my concern waned a bit.

However, about 11:00 that night, as I was about to go to bed, he was again very lethargic, barely lifting his head when I went to see how he was doing. At this point, I had to carry him to my truck to get him to the emergency vet hospital a few miles from our house.

The diagnosis

The hospital performed an ultrasound and determined that he had a tumor on his spleen. The vet said the tumor looked relatively contained and he thought Guido would probably be okay after surgery to remove it. The price for the surgery was approximately $3,800. Admittedly, that set me back a bit. I never thought I’d face a $3,800 vet bill—especially, at 1:00 in the morning on a day my dog started out apparently healthy.

My wife and I decided that having the surgery would force us to skip our annual vacation, but it seemed like a reasonable trade-off to extend the life of a pet we considered a family member.

I wish I could say that Guido turned out fine and enjoyed a couple more years of life with us, but unfortunately that’s not the case. That evening, Guido passed away.

Looking back

I don’t begrudge the money we spent. Every step of the way, extending veterinary care seemed a reasonable thing to do for the dog we loved so dearly. That said, it was painful financially. I had never heard of pet insurance at the time. It’s pretty difficult to imagine yourself having to make significant, potentially life-altering financial decisions about your pet in an urgent, high-pressure situation.

Looking forward

Even though no amount of money could have saved Guido that evening, it made me realize that I never wanted to be in a future position where my pet’s life depended on a veterinary procedure that I couldn’t afford. And that I’ll never be without pet insurance again. Ever.

Since then, we’ve adopted three dogs into our family; Attie, Otto and Poppy. And all three are insured with Pets Best. While I know health issues are inevitable, I rest a little easier knowing that I won’t have to compromise the health of our furry family members because of financial considerations.

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