The Inbox & I
Home Improvementish, Part Two

The Continuing Adventures of Gimpy McGee

Not long after the Vet Bill of Unspeakable Horrors — I believe our credit card was still hot to the touch — Ceiba starting limping. 

Limping isn't a zero to X-ray thing with her, as Min Pins tend to have trick kneecaps (luxating patellas, if you wanna be all science-y about it). Ceiba's knees haven't bothered her in years, at least not as frequently as when she was a puppy, but I still assumed that was the problem and her kneecap would pop back into place on its own, as usual. 

When it didn't, I stretched and massaged it, then puzzled a bit because her kneecap felt fine, at least to my inexpert fingers. Later I realized that all that stretching and massaging seemed to have made things worse, because her leg was now noticeably swollen and I was an asshole.

I told Jason it was probably time to go back to the vet — and while at first he protested with this wild, terrified look in his eyes, like oh god oh no not again with all of the money — he agreed and took her to the emergency vet for an examination and x-ray.

Good news: 'Tis merely a sprain. Try to get her to rest it for awhile. Here are some pain pills.

(And oh. That'll be $400.)

Ceiba, being the idiot pea brain that she is, did not rest it. Despite my PERFECTLY REASONED explanations that she needed to stay on her dog bed and let a human carry her up and down stairs, she continued to behave like a spastic moneky. She chased squirrels. She wigged out over the mail. She jumped on and off the couch. She fell down the stairs. She antagonized the cat who promptly laid her ass out flat. 

By my count, she has partially healed and then re-sprained that same damn leg a half-dozen times. The vet recommended upping the pill frequency to keep her doped and still. 

You guys, I think my dog is intentionally engaging in drug-seeking behaviors.


Or maybe just peanut-butter seeking. Three times a day, she gets a baby spoon's worth of peanut butter with the doggie equivalent of oxycontin ("doxy," I call it, because I am stupid and think this is an hilarious pun) hidden inside. Twice a day, she loses her ever-loving mind over this amazing treat with an enthusiasm previously reserved for waffles.











(Seriously though: Dog. Calm the fuck down and stop hurting your damn leg. Everybody already feels sorry enough for your goofy hamster self without the pathetic limp. GO LIE DOWN.)


Suzy Q

Haaa! Oh Ceiba, you so wonky.


The look in Jason's eyes perfectly describes the look at our house when I say, "honey, I think there's something wrong with the dog." And the desciption of Ceiba getting the druggy peanut butter? Awesome. I have an arthritic mastiff who consumes $70 worth of doggie NSAIDs monthly. Twice a day, she gets a slice of cheese (in 3 pieces - cheese, cheese with pill, cheese - yeah, she's not too smart). When I open the fridge and get the cheese out, all three dogs come running. Super. I go through so much cheese I should get my own cow.


We just had a similar exam done for my pug, except it was his back out if whack. We got a vet visit, two xrays, and two prescriptions for $175. $400 for that little bit of help is a smidge too much I think...

In related news, I how Cieba gets better soon.


I swear you are the funniest person on the interwebs. And Ceiba - poor little hamster.

Corey Feldman

One of our cats had to have a bunch of teeth extracted. it was like 1100. Insane.

Juanita B

I just want to say that I LOVE you blog and you are FREAKING HILARIOUS!!!


Poor Ceiba! Several years ago we had a German Shepherd with terrible arthritis (not hip displaysia, although the arthritis in her knee joint was bad enough to affect her hip alignment). In addition to the expense of the medication (a powder we added to her food) we had to take her for bloodwork ever 3 months as the meds that made it possible for her to do things like climb stairs, play, and, you know, walk, also could kill her liver at any moment. I managed to order the meds in bulk and saved a ton, but the bloodwork was soo expensive. Hope Ceiba is better soon!


Haha my parents dog, Candy, gets "cheese" every evening laced with medicine for her eyes. They have long since switched from cottage cheese to wet dog food, but the crazy lil pup goes nuts if anyone mutters the word cheese. Ceiba's enthusiasm for peanut butter reminds me so much of Candy!


Oh, poor Ceiba. But thank you hamster-dog for the cry-laffs today. Now go lie the fuck down for crissakes.


Girl, I know. My cat tore his ACL earlier this year and had to have very expensive surgery (that involved traveling to another city where there was a veterinary surgeon who could handle this surgery on an old fat cat, costing my entire annual bonus this year) and then had to be on restricted activity - no running or jumping - for 12 weeks. A CAT. We had to get cat valium and keep him doped up pretty much the entire time. Horrible experience. He's doing great now though.


I would guess that giving her the painkillers just fools her into thinking her leg isn't hurt and so she spends more time running and playing. Animals are pretty smart and adaptable. If her leg hurts, she won't spend as much time on it. Pain and swelling are both mechanisms the body uses for good purposes when we're hurt. (I mean, I wouldn't let my pet suffer, but a sprain never killed anyone.)


We had a dog like that. My husband was stupid enough to give her the meds kid-afternoon and she'd wake up SCREAMING at 3am for her 'fix'...I gave him no end of amount of hell about making her an addict. :) Gotta love dogs!


Pet insurance might not be a bad idea. My parents have a dog with similar leg issues, as well as eye issues, and it's only about $20 a month to make sure they're covered for all manner of ridiculously expensive vet visits (I think in the few short months that she's been covered, it's saved them almost $1,000). I signed my cats up as well, just to be safe. PetPlan is easy, affordable, and was recommended by our vet (not to sound like an infomercial)...worth every penny.


I'm sure you have thought of this and there is reason for not doing it, but how about crating her part of the day, maybe with a Kong (frozen with yogurt and peanut butter inside)? That should keep her busy for hours. Maybe. lol


@Lauren We actually used to have pet insurance (through a different carrier...VPI? I think?). They were great at first and then eventually were probably just as bad as human insurance in terms of the fine print and what they wouldn't cover (Ceiba's knees are a breed thing, therefore not covered, etc.), random rejections of covered services...ugh. (To be fair, DC-area vet rates are RIDICULOUS.)

We ended up canceling it at some point -- I think after Ceiba broke her front leg in 2005 and our out-of-pocket expenses were kind of bullshit, considering what we were paying for the insurance. Now Ceiba and Max are too old and have too many "pre-existing conditions."

Basically: insure your pets YOUNG and switch carriers at the first sign that you're getting jerked around.


Lol, the 'doxy' is cute, and actually the real nickname of another drug called doxycycline. It's used to treat Lyme disease. And chlamydia. ;)


Yep, we just finished two weeks of drug-filled peanut butter with our pug. Now every morning he gives me the sad face like "Why no more peanut butter treat? Why you hate me?" Ugh...


Poor hampsterdog!


My goofy Lab has "seasonal allergies" and gets benadryl to help control. When I say "Do you have itchies?" he runs to the treat door because that translates to "I GET PEANUT BUTTER WITH THOSE LITTLE PINK SPRINKLES!!!" (pink sprinkles = benadryl) I dip a treat in p.b., place a few benadryl on top, and he scarfs it down and wonders where the next round is.

This is 180-degrees from my previous dog, a suspicious german shepherd. I would stuff a pill in a hot dog then wrap in cheese, hold it out to him while he carefully sniffed and examined then take it carefully in his mouth, and somehow manage to swallow everything then spit out the pill. Holding open the mouth of a 110-lb G.S. while simultaneously shoving your hand in his mouth to flick a pill down the back of his throat is the ultimate in entertainment for a spouse. Probably only outshone by trying to do same for a cat.

Hugs to Ceiba!!


Planters Natural? Ceiba scored the good stuff! No wonder she loves SPOON. Wombat gets her pills in Jiffy. Please don't let her see this post...she's still mad I fixed her "boyfriend" yesterday.


oh, god! i'm gonna pee my pants laughing. you write her voice so brilliantly! i can't take it!
good thing i'm alone at work today!

Rebecca @ Sink Or Swim

Damn we love our pets. My dog was acting weird, not eating like usual, just not himself. Took him to the vet where they thought he might have an obstruction. Took him to another vet for a contrast x-ray. Short story long, he was fine, acting like his normal idiot self when I picked him up. (Which included peeing a lake on the floor at the vet, something he has NEVER done before or since!)


We are going through the whole "how much are we going to spend" dilemma re: our geriatric cat. A couple hundred here, a couple hundred there, and pretty soon we're talking real money! Ugh. And also "Hamster Dog" will never not be funny.


It's the peanut butter! Totally the peanut butter. Our dog was on antibiotics for two weeks. One in the morning, on a night. When she went off them she would go sit in front of the cupboard where keep the peanut butter and just wait. All night. Then one day I got it out to make my kid a sandwich, and the dog went crazy!


Hi Amy,
I had something like this with my elderly chihuahua before he passed away. I kinda sorta noticed that that's a lot of peanut butter for little Ceiba to digest. I did the same thing with my pup, which led to intestinal distress and more vet bills, so I just thought I'd mention it. I'm totally not trying to critical of you or anything. My dog got so used to the pb that I slowly put less on the spoon and he didn't notice. Then we switched to a chewable pill he loved (but a little more expensive). I know you're doing your best and Ceiba is so lucky to have you. Just wanted to mention it and maybe save you some trouble later. Wish you the best!


PS. Please forgive the lack of editing. Yikes.


Last week my 16 year old dog was sluggish and peeing himself. Then he was peeing blood and I was like "ZOMG DOG IS IN KIDNEY FAILURE! MUST GET HIM LOOKED AT!". I then proceeded to drop $300 on an emergency vet visit for them to tell us it was eColi in his urine....from eating his own poop. Super smart, that one. Now he demands his pill on his peanut butter cracker every time I walk past the damn cupboard. I can't blame him. I have to assume it tastes better than the poop he was eating.

This is my roundabout way of saying I feel your pain.


LMAO. "Oh, mah leg hurts real bad..."

Why did I hear "Hubcaaaaappp..." in my head as I read that? And am I the only one whose parents watched bad 80s soap operas and quote them?

Don't answer that. Love to Hamsterdog. :)


Our Pomeranian has the luxating patella thingie. The vet gave us this arthritis drug called Rimadyl. So, for the low low price of 20 dollars every single month we get to hear our dog bark at the fridge every night at bedtime. (we wrap her pill in the cheese slice product that claims to be made with Real Actual Milk!). Ask about the Rimadyl though, it helps alot with pain!

Lynda M O

Perhaps a crate to keep her in one location for longer than a quarter second ?~! Keep in mind I don't know jack about dogs.


Hey Amy! Have you ever tried a chiropractor for Ceiba? We have a mini-dachshund (Joanie) and she has hurt her back, twisted her knees, etc. The vet bills and meds were getting outrageous, and simultaneously, a friend told me about a chiropractor who works on animals (horses, dogs, cats, anything really) after hours. She had been taking her dogs to him for over 20 years. So, I figured, why not give it a try? It has been amazing! Joanie acts like an entirely new dog after an adjustment! She is more limber and definitely more healthy. I have come to find out that chiropractic care and even acupuncture aren't too out of the ordinary for our four-legged friends these days and they cost a lot less than the vet! May be worth looking into.


Oh my GOD I know exactly what you mean!!! Last month, my cat spent a week in the vet's for a mysterious illness that turned out to be an intestinal blockage because he up and decided one day just to STOP DRINKING LIQUIDS OF ANY KIND, and then one of my dogs wrecked her knee vaulting up stairs she had no business vaulting, and had to have knee replacement surgery. Final vet bill? A cool $5000. We're only eating peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of the year as a result. Good thing we have jars and jars of it for all the pet medications ...


My dog Rosebud just came off of a 6 week stay in the bathroom,from her surgery for luxating patella. I wasn't going to take any chances on a 1200 plus surgery bill being all for nothing. She got to walk outside, but no running,jumping, playing w the other dogs. It was really hard,I have a 1 yr old,so taking the dog out on a leash a lot was not fun. Maybe Ceiba could stay for a couple of days oin the bathroomugh, it might help.


God I love your dog! And I love your voice for your dog! Assvice from an ex-veterinary tech, crate, leash outside only, less pain meds, that's how they are suppose to know to cool it, and wine, lots of wine for you, not Ceiba.

Becca Lynn

What happened to hampster dog?? In my recollection, she was so much ...fatter. Wasn't she?? Err... What I meant to say way that she's always been adorable. (Good recovery there, Becca)


Unsolicited advice: Never, never, never go to the emergency vet unless the dog is actively dying. (Even then, think hard: Can the dog really be saved? Is this worth my entire savings account?) Almost anything can wait til the regular vet opens. The emergency vet will take all your money and then break your legs and leave a horse's head in your bed to get more.


I feel your pain. The emergency vet is ridiculously expensive. We had to take our greyhound for stitches on Easter a couple of years ago and it was TWICE as much ($500!) as it would have been at our regular vet (I know this because our dogs have had stitches several times). I actually called the on-call vet and asked her if it could wait until their office opened. I kind of felt like a jerk, but I knew it would be expensive.
Just last month, we paid $550 for a tooth extraction--at the regular vet. Awesome!
We've looked into pet insurance, but our dogs are too old, and greyhounds cost too much to insure (thin skin that cuts way too easily and horrible teeth), so we just try to keep money aside for emergencies and hope for the best.


OMG, you are so funny, I laughed my fool head off! My dog (fox terrier, similar size) is also on the sprained-leg-peanut-butter-magic-ride. They will need rehab for sure!

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