I had lunch with My Dearest Friend a few weeks ago.
“Did I tell you that Duke had surgery?” she asked.
No, she hadn’t. Duke and Blackie were rough-housing, and somehow Duke twisted his leg in a funny way. He limped around for a few days in his usual good spirits, eating and seemingly not in pain. But when the limp didn’t go away, My Dearest Friend took him to the vet. X-rays revealed a cracked bone and torn ligaments. Cost of repair: $3,000.
“I was going to put him to sleep,” she said. “I don’t have $3,000 to spend on vet bills, I just don’t. But Teddy wouldn’t let me.”
Teddy is My Dearest Friend’s new husband. They had been conducting an east coast/west coast long-distance relationship for 10 years, and finally made it official in July.
“Teddy said Duke is part of the family, it would upset the kids, and you can’t put a perfectly healthy three-year-old dog to sleep for a broken leg,” she said. “So he paid for the operation. I think he’s crazy.”
I don’t think Teddy’s crazy. I think he’s a dog-lover. And I don’t think MDF thinks he’s crazy either; her statement was accompanied by a hint of a smile, and I know generosity and kind-heartedness are the stellar features that make her love him. Plus he’s a great stepfather, wanting to spare her kids emotional distress.
I told the story to my kids and their father when he came to see them that night.
“He’s crazy,” said the Ex. “If Our Best Friend breaks a leg, put him to sleep. You can’t spend money like that on a dog.”
Logistically, he’s right. Running two households on one salary is a huge stretch, and there’s barely money for toilet paper and tuition, never mind exorbitant vet bills. I’m piling up student loan debt as I type. Still, I couldn’t do it. It would mean $3,000 more debt, and I would curse every time interest for the credit line is debited from my chequing account. But, like Teddy, I don’t want my kids to suffer an avoidable loss. Our Best Friend is a nuisance and makes me crazy half the time, but he keeps out intruders and cuddles the girls on the couch. He’s my walking partner, our guardian, the rat-catcher, and my dog park companion. Let’s pray he stays healthy, and hope that I always have room on the credit line for emergencies. Failing that, maybe Teddy would lend me a few bucks.
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