Friday, November 16, 2012

It's not all fun and games...

So, the other day I was talking about how people think we get in free healthy animals and adopt them out... and make money.... let me give you an example of the other side of that. 

Subject: Please... help.
I'm in a terrible fix and have a chinchilla that desperately needs the care of someone who can do better by him.
My name is Juan, and my chinchilla's name is Dauphine. He is about four years old, and is a friendly if somewhat reticent chin who is in a terrible fix of his own.

My wife has left me, taking his brother with her, and I have just gotten out of an extensive (three week) stay at a clinic for thyroid issues. It wasn't cancer, but even now they're talking about radiation treatment for other problems the stupid gland has, which will mean more time in and out of the hospital.

The problem is that Dauphine has teeth issues, and the girl that was supposed to take care of him and try to get him to chew in my absence did almost nothing but pop in to feed and water him. His cage is a mess and, I fear, beyond salvage, and he himself is in terrible shape. His teeth have overgrown extensively, he has drooled all over his underbelly and I suspect he has a cold.

With my wife goes half my household income. With my health issues goes most of the remainder. I have applied to a credit line that specializes in pet health care and gotten funding to have his teeth removed, which, after months of taking him to get them trimmed and all his suffering, will probably seem like a joy to him. I can also afford two donations over the next month of $100 each, which I can arrange as would seem best to you. Optimally, it would likely be a pair of dated checks, but I want you to be SURE I want to make these donations.

I REALLY... reallyreally... don't want to put him to sleep! He's been a sweet pet and a surprisingly good conversationalist, and just charming. It breaks my heart to think of giving him up, but hurts just even worse to think of having him put under. I can transport him anywhere he would need to go quite easily... I have the perfect little carry cage I got for pet visits.

I just really need someone to take care of him like he so richly deserves.

Feel sorry for the chin?  I do too.  But sadly, to sum up the several page response that I wrote to this guy... my response is basically, when we get in a malo chin, we will file it once, to see if it's just spurs, but if the teeth grow back, the chin is made comfortable until it stops eating again, and it is put down.  Malo is incurable and filing a chin, month after month, is hardly good quality of life for the chin.  We go go two different vets for the chins -- the one gives us a whopping $10 discount every so often (which I do appreciate, but it hardly makes it "cheap" for us to go), the other costs $68 to walk in the door, and if I want an extra syringe?  That's $5.  Doesn't matter that I could buy it online for 30 cents, they're an exotic vet and as much as they know what they're doing, they're also very money-hungry, have Mac computers in their office, and care more about the almighty dollar than helping people out.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think it should be free for a rescue to take an animal into the vet, I have no problem paying for services, but some people seem to think we get some huge discount.  We don't.  I told this guy, I would love to be able to save every chin.  But at the end of the day, with malo chins, you go from yearly filings to 6 month filings to 4 month filings to 2 month filings... and so on.  Until you eventually put the chin down.  Nothing will stop that end, the malo WILL eventually kill them.  And they will be miserable during all of those filings and handfeedings and all of that... until you finally end their suffering.

I have dealt with malo chins.  I don't want anyone to think it's just that I don't want to spend the money.  It's not that.  Though I definitely don't have that kind of money to spend on every chin.  But they really do not have the same joy for life, the same sparkle in their eye.  They're not happy when you're filing them so often and handfeeding until they start eating again, and then it's time for another filing an the circle goes round.  If there was a cure for malo, you'd see me taking in every malo chin.  But there's not.

And this guy's talk about pulling teeth -- short of pulling them all, which I wouldn't recommend, pulling some of them will only give the others nothing to butt up against... and cause those to need to be filed monthly to keep those in check.  It's not the answer.  Not to mention, we got a quote of $1200 to pull a tooth earlier this year.  There's a reasonable possibility of breaking the jaw when a tooth is pulled, so it's not done lightly. 

I told the guy about Care Credit, in case he wants to try to help this chin on his own, but I told him, as gently as possible, that even if I had room at the rescue (which we really do not right now, I don't know where I'm going to put the gp coming in next week), I would not allow a chin to suffer for years.  And filing and handfeeding one after another is no life for a chin.  As the chin's already been filed several times, there's no question this is a malo chin, and if he's drooling now... we would put him down.  Call me cruel, call me whatever you want, you can't save them.  The solution is to end their needless suffering.  And for what?  So they can stay here with us a few more years while they spend so much time at the vet, a good portion of their time eating critical care mush and looking like absolute hell cause they've drooled on themselves so much?  They don't enjoy it, it's taxing on both the owner and the chin, and I'm busy enough with the sick animals already here.  I can manage a chin that needs some dental work for spurs and then needs some handfeeding for a few weeks.  Toby was like that.  He had spurs, stopped eating, we got them filed, and after awhile of handfeeding, he started eating again.  That was when he was 1? 2?  He's now 7-8 and never had a problem since.  But the time needed to devote to a full blown malo chin just isn't in most people's ability.  Much less in most people's wallets.

Best of luck to him and his chin, but there's no magical solution to help malo chins.   I feel like his sentence -- I just really need someone to take care of him like he so richly deserves -- what the chin so richly deserves, if he's already covered in drool and has a cold -- is to be put out of his misery.  Sorry, but that's my belief.

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