ACL Surgery for Our Dog

I have a sore throat this morning. I guess I’m coming down with a cold, which always begin this way for me. Despite being sick or feeling unwell much of the time, I rarely get colds. I don’t think I’ve had one for nearly two years. It’s likely that the air travel and unusual germs in all the museums in Washington, D.C. exposed my depressed immune system to unaccustomed germs. Hopefully, it will be mild and pass quickly; it’s never fun to be congested.

I’m glad it’s already Thursday. A benefit of coming home Monday night instead of Sunday is the shorter week. It still feels like the weekend is not too imminent, but it will be here soon. Thankfully, we don’t have major plans, which is a relief because I’m tired and ready for a restful, “usual” weekend after our different routine while away. I didn’t end up having time to work on our 2000-piece wildlife jigsaw puzzle yesterday, so the weekend recreation time is even more appealing. Plus, I hear are expecting snow Friday night and Saturday, making indoor puzzle play a good option since excessive outdoor time will not be ideal.

The other thing we are considering is going through with the surgical ACL repair for Comet’s knee. Mom took her to a vet she trusts for a second opinion. Although the cost of the surgery is astronomical in my opinion (about $2000), my mom’s vet strongly recommended it for Comet. It’s not indicated for all dogs; ones that are small (under 20 pounds or so) can often heal or make do without it because the support needed from the limb is minimal, and ones that are too big or quite old do not have a good chance of a healthy recovery with much of an improved quality of life. It’s too taxing to put a senior dog through such an aggressive procedure, not to mention the financial cost is often not justified for such minimal length of life yet (perhaps unless the owner is super wealthy).

Comet falls outside of these two exclusion categories and inside the indicated group. She’s above the weight and size of dogs who don’t necessarily need the ligament on tact to function. In fact, in addition to the limp in inability to walk, the vet says she’s already lost significant muscle mass and the torn ligament is calcifying. This causes pain and further debility, to the point where eventually she will not be able to get up and around, even with her obvious limp. When her hip muscles atrophy, they’ll be too weak and unstable to even support her uninjured leg. She’s also in her mid-life years, so she’s not too old to handle the procedure nor in her final years where she won’t make much use of the repaired knee anyway. That said, $2000 is a ton of money in our financial situation, so it’s not an easy choice. I certainly don’t like the idea of her suffering, though we of course need to prioritize certain expenses since the surgery, while highly recommended, is still not considered mandatory. Mom has suggested crowdsourcing to subsidize the costs, but I’m not sure yet if that’s a route that we are comfortable with. For one thing, it feels weird to ask for money. Moreover, although this makes me vulnerable and embarrassed to admit, I worry that if no one contributes, my terribly low self-esteem will overtake my rational mind, filling me with doubts and feelings like I have no friends, when in reality, everyone has their own financial needs and expenses to cover.

I guess the dreaded comparison trap facilitated by social media would contribute to these feelings of inadequacy because the people I’m connected to on these platforms who have run various personal campaigns have met or exceeded their goals. I’m always blown away when I click on their gofundme link, read their story, and see how much they’ve accrued. It sort of upends the “excuse” (which seems like a truth) that people don’t have money to give. Clearly, they do in some cases, though perhaps helping cover a surgery for a friend’s dog is less deserving than these other causes. However, in my totally biased opinion, in support of my “cause,” Comet is a bit more than just a regular pet; she is an emotional support companion because of my anxiety and because I’m autistic. Not having her company on my walks greatly heightens my anxiety and fear.

We will discuss the best approach for our family and Comet this weekend. I’m already thankful for my mom’s involvement and ER generous support and understanding in the importance of Comet’s health for Comet’s sake herself, as well as mine. It’s surprising how much I miss that little girl at my side.

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