My dog's facelift
I just spent $1200 on a facelift for my dog.
Before you go telling me that I should be put down, let me explain that it wasn't elective surgery. My dog is a Pekingese, and say what you will, I don't think that there's much you can do to make a Pekingese look "good". I mean, I love their ugly little mugs the way they are.
But my dog kept getting these infections above his nose. His nose was pretty much indented into his face, so a profile was a complete inverse of what you'd expect from a profile - his nose being the innermost point on his face.
Pekes tend to be a tad on the snotty side. Not so much in temperament (they're not often smart enough to be downright snooty) but in terms of mucus production. My dog, Yong Yong, is no exception. Anytime he breathes, he moves moisture all over the place. He sneezes when he is happy, sad, excited, disgusted, or really really put out. The result is that his wet little doggie nose keeps his face moist at all time - a great recipe for infection.
After the sixth visit to the vet for an emergency supply of antibiotics, anti-bacterial wipes, anti-fungal creams, and some sort of doggie steroid to reduce inflammation, the vet put her foot down and said that I HAD to get Yong Yong's facial fold removed.
I had heard of Pekingese getting facial surgery before, the most famous example being Danny, the prize-winning Peke whose surgery caused something akin to a scandal among dog show freaks everywhere. Danny's face surgery was akin to my dog's - something to help him breathe a little better.
These days, surgery is quite advanced. Think that lasers are just for people? Think again. I've got a $300 laser fee to prove it. In fact, the actual procedure of removing the fold of skin above Yong Yong's nose was only $300 - the other $900 comes from "fees" - lab tech fee, O.R. fee, laser use fee. A fee for having anesthesia. That kind of thing. My dog's surgeon had told me that a non-specialist could perform the surgery for less, but I kind of figured that since it was my dog's FACE, I would go with the expert.
I know it's a sign of terrible yuppiehood that I am not the kind to make my dog into a rug or something. But you don't know this dog. He's hilarious. Obedient, no. Smart, definitely not. Loyal? Far from it. Yong Yong consistently tries to leave with any pretty girl that walks by my house (and has done so since he was a puppy). But he's sweet, in a simple way, and loves kids. When he runs, he looks like he's trying to fly, with his tail down for the sake of aerodynamics and his front legs flapping wildly out to the sides. He tries to beat up on his brother and gets his tail handed to him.
I find it hard to imagine life without Yong Yong. And I felt guilty watching him paw at his face, trying to scratch each painful infection.
Of course, now that I have him back from the vet, I feel even worse. He's hopped up on pain meds, but whenever he's awake, he gazes at me with the saddest, "How could you do this to me?" expression. The lampshade over his head (to keep him from scratching his stitches) keeps making him run into things, which means that I have to try to keep from laughing out loud at him. His face is swollen and bloody, shaved bare and marred by small stitches. His eyes are watery and accusing. He already sort of looked like ET's furry cousin - now with the satellite dish around his neck, the transformation is complete.
But I know that, in time, this will have been a worthwhile investment in his health. If we can get through a few good years in which we're not having to clean his face on an hourly basis, I will be satisfied with this experience. I'm sure Yong Yong will never forgive me, but he's hoping he learns to forget.
By the way, if any youngsters are reading this and wondering what a good profession might be, I'd like to recommend veterinary surgery.