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How much is too much?

A story from the New York Times brings up a different twist to a quandary that many might have to face. If a senior dog needs surgery how much is too much to extend a pet’s life? The twist is that the dog didn’t belong to writer Roz Warren. It was Max, her son and his wife’s 13-year-old dog, who needed the gall bladder surgery costing $6,000—and it was Roz who offered to pay a third of it.

We didn’t want to let Max go. We wanted to try to save his life.

Was this crazy? “Would you pay $6,000 for a 70 percent chance of buying two extra years of life for an elderly dog?” I asked my dog-owning friends.

“In a heartbeat,” one said.

“No way,” another said. “When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. You grieve. Then you get another dog. Preferably from a shelter.”

Another friend admitted that when the vet told her a couple of years ago that her ailing Shih Tzu needed an expensive procedure to save his life, she had blurted: “Do whatever you have to do! I love this dog even more than I love my husband!”

“And I really do love my husband,” she told me sheepishly.

Luckily all went well with Max, even though the surgery found that his gall bladder had already ruptured, he recovered.

Even if he hadn’t made it through, knowing that we had done all we could for him would have been worth that price. More important, the whole experience has made me very hopeful about how Tom and Amy are likely to treat me when I’m old and frail.

That was a great gesture for a dog-grandmother to make. What do you think you would have done?

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com

Max by Morgan Yang

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