How Much Would You Spend On A Sick Pet?

Brad and our children visiting Coupon in the hospital

Brad and our children visiting Coupon in the hospital

I am not asking this question for advice, but just to show how everyone’s financial priorities can be different and how we shouldn’t judge others for the financial choices that they make (in most cases).

Ever heard of Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia?  Yeah – me neither until this week!  But I can tell you that it is a heartbreaking disease when it strikes your beloved pet!

Brad and I are living within our means.  We have zero debt (except our house – and that payment is less than you for what you can rent a large apartment in our area). We have a healthy-sized Emergency Savings Fund (not fully-funded, but close) and can pay our bills with a few extras each month.  We have a credit card, but it has a zero balance.

Then our dog Coupon (yes – that is his name) got sick this week.

He was weak and listless Thursday afternoon.  When Brad got home from work on Thursday, that was the first time in the almost 4 years that Coupon didn’t completely lose his mind barking and jumping.

You see, despite the fact that we got Coupon because my daughter was begging for a dog, he is Brad’s dog.  To say that Coupon loves Brad would be an understatement.  If Brad walks from the family room to the kitchen to get a glass of water, Coupon is right behind him.  If Brad is laying on the sofa with ANY of our children (or me), Coupon jumps right up on top of them and wants to get in there kissing Brad (I know that icks people out, but yes – we let our dog on the sofa and he does give us kisses)

So for him to barely even wag his tail when Brad walked in from work?  Yeah – something is SERIOUSLY wrong.

After some intense visits to our local vet and then transporting him to the “Veterinary ER”, we found that what he has is Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia – where the Immune System basically decides to attack the red blood cells for no rhyme or reason – you can read all about it here).

After 3 days, 2 blood transfusions and about $2500, Coupon finally seems to have turned a corner (although we still don’t know if he will make it) Saturday night. We are still waiting to hear if he will make it.

If he makes it, it will be $2500 well-spent.  Coupon is a member of our family.

If he doesn’t make it, it will be $2500 well-spent.  Coupon is a member of our family.

I have been with Brad since October 4, 1990.  In all that time, I have seen Brad cry exactly 5 times….once when we were dating and I almost broke up with him, once when my brother-in-law died, twice when his father died ….and the most recent time is when we were taking Coupon from the local vet to the “Hospital Vet”.

I know that there are people that will say that we are insane to spend the money that we have on “just a dog” (and we are prepared to spend more, if it looks like it will help).

But this is our priority. We don’t consider a beloved family pet a “frugal experiment” (as long as he isn’t in pain – and he isn’t)

Some people may use their Emergency Fund for a vehicle or a job loss. We are using our emergency fund to save Coupon.

And no matter what happens – it is totally worth it!

How far would you go to save your pet?


  1. Becky says

    I understand what your family is going through. 14 years ago me and my husband (boyfriend then) adopted 2 free kittens. We had them about 3 months, when one day, over the Labor Day weekend, we went out for a few hours and came back to 2 very sick looking kittens. We frantically called vets to see if we could bring them in, because it being the holiday, most offices were closed. We finally got ahold of a vet to come from his home to the office. The vet thinks that they ate or drank something toxic. Long story short, it costs us over $1500.00 dollars to save out free kittens and it was worth every penny. They have given us so much joy in the last 14 years. There’s no question that we would do it again if need be. I hope that your dog, Coupon, gets well real soon and back to his loving family.

  2. Mary Johnston says

    Omg my family has been in your shoes unfortunately between my animals and my mothers more times than I’d like to have been and are there again. We are like you our animals aren’t just our dogs (4) and cats (2) they are our kids my children twins a boy and girl 14 treat th like brothers and sisters. Actually we had only one dog for about 9 years before we got our 2nd which I was helping someone out with a 4 wk old puppy and they decided they didn’t want it well we kept it cause she’s my husbands baby. In July of 2013 my best friend who works at our local shelter came to me I’m distress they received a very neglected dog ready to give birth any day and have no foster families available I had the perfect space so of course we got her along with 9 5day old pups. We kept them in our basement which is fully finished the kids helped so much and both had to fall in love with 2 different puppies even after 5 else of saying no way no more animals well that’s why 4 dogs love them all! Sorry I just wanted to give you some back ground.
    A year ago march 2013 my 11 year old boxer Lexi our baby who wouldn’t hurt a fly loved kids cats just everything became ill something like your dog her immune system was being attacked for no reason she had internal bleeding it was horrible my husband had been out of work do to severe asthma actually was in hospital at the time of all of this our finances were not the best dont get me wrong he’s worked for Verizon at the time for 24 years but we didn’t know if doctors were going to let him back but all we could think is when or how do we give up because of money if that was a human we wouldn’t care thankfully after only 1200$ and being told she had a 50-50 chance she’s here the vet was amazing and figured out some meds that helped her very quick but we didn’t know at the beginning and the 1st bill being 900$ what the future held but I knew I would keep trying as long as she didn’t give up or was in pain for the rest of her life. I could go on and on dont know if you even read this long email but just know.


  3. Jen says

    I, sort of, just went thru the same thing. My best buddy, of 12 yrs, started limping. I took her to the vet. $400 later I was left with “I’m really not sure” Try meds, decrease activity, wait & see. I cannot even describe how heavy my heart was!! $400 is alot of money for me but when it came to Abby I didn’t care what it would take to help her. I don’t have any emergency funds & really need to plan & be creative with the little bit of money I do have. To answer the question, how far would you go to save your pet, I was ready & willing to sell anything I own to keep my dog healthy & with me. Finally a month, a few more appointments & another few hundred dollars later, I had to make the worst decision ever!! (for me) I had to put her to sleep. It was cancer. A very aggressive, painful cancer. I miss her everyday. I hate that she’s not here. If she wasn’t in pain & if the vets could’ve “fixed” her, I don’t think I could put a limit on how far I would go to save my dog…
    Best wishes to Coupon & your family!!!

  4. Kimberly says

    We too had to use part of our emergency fund on a beloved pet – and to this day I do not regret it. They are part of our families. I pray your little coupon does well.

  5. Brandy says

    Please give a update on coupon.I had to put my Beagle Digger to sleep on 2/26/2014. I would give anything to have him back healthy. But it wasn’t going to happen. I had to make the decision to decide what was best for him, not me..Hope to see him again at the rainbow bridge.

    • Mindi Cherry says

      He is doing better so far, but still not really eating. We are taking him the the vet in the morning to get a blood test to make sure that his red blood cell level is still climbing (but he is still really jaundiced). The good part is, I have been assured by every doctor that there is no pain involved in anything he has been through the last 8 days – that the only thing he has felt was weakness. If there was pain involved, we might have made another decision.

      Wish us luck in the morning!