Hero Yorkie Saves Owner from Vicious Bear Attack

When Larry Yepez walked out the back of his house on Thursday, the last thing he expected to see was a 250-pound black bear. An ex-Marine, Yepez is no stranger to dealing with high pressure situations. So when the bear did not respond to Yepez’s yelling and noise making, he knew that he would have to call upon all of his training in order to survive.

That and his brave Yorkie, Benji.

After yelling at the bear to no avail, Yepez swung a pot filled with dirt at the now aggravated bear’s head. This too failed, with the bear now chomping down on his wrist and nearly severing his hand.

Now at the mercy of the massive beast, Yepez was also beaten about the face and torso, sustaining serious wounds on the side of his head and chest. Luckily for Yepez, his trusty companion Benji never left his side for a second. And because of his brave Yorkie’s protective nature, the dog was able to distract the bear long enough to give Yepez time to get on his feet and escape. Once Yepez was free from the bears murderous maw, Benji followed close behind and the two of them ran for safety.

“I jumped in my van and went to the hospital and when I walked in I was just covered in blood all over me and they go, ‘Oh my god, what happened to you?,’ and I said, ‘I just got attacked by a bear,” said Yepez.

Yepez cites two things as the reason he was able to survive this vicious attack – his military training and his faithful Yorkie. If not for these two things, he would likely have died right there in his backyard, the victim of a chance encounter with one of nature’s most versatile predators.

Luckily, Benji the hero terrier doesn’t take acts of aggression towards his daddy lying down. And that is why we are calling Benji “The 10-pound pooch with a 250-pound bark.” And you can be sure that he has a lot of treats and belly rubs coming his way.

If you like stories like Benji’s of dogs coming to the rescue, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all your doggy news!

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Keep Your Dog Toxin Free with Denamarin Vitamins

Many pet parents turn to supplements like Denamarin tablets to improve their dog’s liver health. Like in humans, the liver is one of the most important organs for dogs. Learn about how a healthy liver can help your pooch and why you should work with your veterinarian to avoid liver damage.

What do dogs’ livers do? 

A dog’s liver is made up of six lobes and works closely with the gallbladder and rest of the digestive system. The liver is located in the middle of your dog’s chest between the stomach and lungs. The liver’s primary function is to metabolize and process the fat, protein, and carbohydrates from your pooch’s diet. These are all crucial aspects of your dog’s food as well as their life.


Got Tapeworm? Kill It With Cestex for Dogs and Cats

When your pet has tapeworms, it’s important to head to your veterinarian and get some Cestex for dogs or cats right away. This anthelmintic dewormer can help your beloved pooch or feline get back to normal quickly. But before you find yourself in a position where a prescription of Cestex for dogs or cats is imminent, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about the enemy you’re fighting and how to prevent it in the future.


6 Tips for a Stress-Free Vet Visit

It’s the rare pet who actually enjoys a trip to the vet. In fact, such an animal is probably rarer than a unicorn. However, there are ways to make trips to the vet slightly more pleasant for everyone, although it will take a little more work and foresight to pave the way for a smooth vet visit.

1. Touch your pet like a vet would.

One of the reasons vet visits are so startling to pets is that the vet touches them in ways and places they aren’t accustomed to. You can help your pet feel comfortable with these unusual methods of touching by playing doctor and rehearsing a veterinary exam.

Your vet will examine your pet from head to tail, and may palpate – or gently press down using the hands – different areas of your pet’s body, like the neck and the belly. Lift up your pet’s tail, and run your hands all over your pet, including the feet and nails.

RELATED STORY: The Ever-Important Dog Physical Exam

2. Don’t get nervous.

Be aware of you own energy, because your pet can feed off your anxiety. If you realize you feel nervous on the day of the vet visit, be sure to take some deep, cleansing breaths to lower your heart rate. Stick to your regular routine, including walks, which will help to burn off that nervous energy.

3. Use a calming collar.

If your pet seems to really panic at the idea of a trip to the vet, then consider purchasing a calming collar for your cat or your dog. The soothing scents of chamomile and lavender may help to comfort and relax your pet.

RELATED STORY: How To Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety

4. Don’t use a carrier only for vet visits.

If your pet only sees the inside of the carrier when it’s time for the vet, then that little box is going to represent a cage of panic and grief for your animal. If you use a carrier at home as a safe place for your pet to snuggle and nap, then it won’t seem like such a big, stressful deal to hop in the carrier for transportation to the vet.

5. Practice car rides for other fun reasons.

Likewise, if your pet only rides in the car on the way to the vet, it’s going to be a very long car ride for both of you. Try taking your pet on other excursions in the car, for example, to drive your dog to a meadow for a hike.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

6. Use treats strategically.

If your cat enjoys catnip, then plan on using it strategically, because the effect only lasts about 5 to 15 minutes. Figure out the worst part of the vet visit for you; is it coaxing your cat into the carrier, or the part where you open the carrier for the vet? Use your kitty treats or catnip with those circumstances in mind to keep the effectiveness high.

Likewise, if you know you have a visit to the vet approaching, get a little stingy with your treats for your dog until it’s ‘go time’ for maximum effect. A dog with a belly that’s already loaded with treats isn’t going to be too interested in your bribery.

How do you keep your pet calm for a vet visit? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Sign up for PetPlus and save up to 75% on your pet’s medications plus discounts on boarding, supplies, and more. 


14 Questions Your Vet Will Ask You


When you visit your doctor, chances are you answer some questions about your health history, your current health habits, and any symptoms you might be experiencing. These same types of questions can come up when we take our pets to the veterinarian, but because our pets can’t talk, we need to be prepared to answer for them. You might think that you can answer any question about your pet off the top of your head, but it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory and have a list to refer to.

RELATED STORY: 7 Pet Symptoms That Require Vet Attention

Feel free to print out the attached PDF (find below), write in your answers, and bring it along with you to the vet. After the visit, you could save the form in your pet’s file so that you can refer to it again in the future.

1. When and where did you get your pet?

2. What vaccinations — if any — has your pet received?

3. Has your pet ever had a serious health issue or surgery?

4. Have you ever travelled outside of the area with your pet?

5. Are there any other pets in the house?

6. What medications — if any — is your pet taking?

7. What kind of food does your pet eat?

8. How much does your pet eat? Have there been any changes to their appetite?

9. How much does your pet drink? Have their been any changes to their thirst?

10. How are you pet’s bathroom habits? Are they having accidents, urinating more than usual, less than usual, is their feces normal, etc.?

11. Has your pet recently gained or lost weight?

12. What kind of exercise does your pet get?

13. Is your pet exhibiting any behavioral problems (such as excessive barking, excessive meowing, chewing, itching/scratching, etc.)?

14. Is your pet displaying any unusual symptoms? Vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, etc.?

Download the Vet Visit Questionnaire

Routine vet visits play an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health. Stay on schedule, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on medications, boarding, and more.


How One L.A. Filmmaker Saved His Pet’s Life with The Help of Friends and Facebook

Last summer, on the way to a 4th of July BBQ, *Jeff Hoffman noticed something strange about his dog Peanut.

“He repeatedly laid down flat on the sidewalk, and refused to continue walking,” Jeff said. “I mistook this as his reaction to the fireworks going off around the neighborhood, and reluctantly carried him the remainder of the way.”

After arriving at the BBQ, Jeff noticed that Peanut was lying in an odd position on a sofa, then changing position, and then changing again.


“He looked like he couldn’t figure out how to be comfortable,” Jeff said.

A few moments later, Peanut jumped down from the sofa, let out an unnatural high pitched squeal, and bolted to hide under a desk. Fortunately, one of the people attending the BBQ was a veterinarian, and Jeff found her and asked for advice.

“She said that in the best case scenario, he mildly tweaked his back, and proper rest would alleviate the condition with the help of some anti-inflammatory medication she gave us,” Jeff said. “But if he appeared to be in pain and I noticed him dragging his legs, I should take him to the 24 hour emergency clinic immediately. We decided to go home so that I could monitor his behavior.”

That evening was incredibly stressful for Jeff. Peanut couldn’t lie down in his normal position, and he refused to sleep. He sat on his rear end with his head staring straight up at the ceiling. Anytime Jeff tried to help him get more comfortable, Peanut’s breathing increased and he let out little whimpers. Jeff stayed up with him for hours and finally decided to test his legs by standing him upright.

“To my horror, his attempt to walk was without any control over his rear legs, which dragged numbly behind him,” Jeff said. “At 4 in the morning, I took him to the ER.”

The High Cost Of Emergency Pet Care

The vets at the emergency clinic discovered that Peanut had a pinched/herniated disc, a condition common in long-bodied dogs like dachshunds.

“I was devastated to learn how much Peanut had been suffering,” Jeff said. “He had paralyzing inflammation in his lower body; I felt terrible for him. Immediate surgery was required to prevent permanent paralysis.”

Peanut underwent emergency surgery performed by a neurologist at the clinic. The neurologist removed the inflamed tissue that was pressuring the spinal column, and Peanut remained under veterinary care for two days following the surgery.

The cost? $5,500, not including the pain medications and sleeping pills prescribed to Peanut.

“At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to pay for it all. I’ve never had pet insurance,” Jeff said. “Though I was aware of the possibility that Peanut could suffer this injury because he’s a dachshund, I didn’t do my research and assumed that it only occurred later in life.”

The vet clinic suggested that Jeff sign up for a CareCredit credit card. CareCredit immediately approved a line of credit to cover Jeff’s expenses, and it included a 0% interest rate if paid within 6 months of activation.

“Payment was taxing,” Jeff said. “But luckily I was able to pay off the debt before interest kicked in, which would have included retroactive interest starting at the date of the original surgery payment.”

Paying Off The Credit Card, Creatively

In order to pay off the CareCredit card within 6 months, Jeff knew that he would need some help.

“My friend group was hugely supportive and they were all actively pushing me to create a fundraiser to help cover Peanut’s expenses,” Jeff said. “Another friend of mine did a similar campaign using Kickstarter to cover his own dog’s surgery, but I felt uncomfortable asking for money.”

But then, Jeff found a creative way to pay back the people who wanted to support him.

“Some friends who own a letterpress company offered to donate their time and skill set, so instead of using Kickstarter I created a Facebook page and linked it to a Paypal account. Suggested donations of $10, $15, and $30 were reciprocated with a variety of handmade letterpress coasters and 5×7″ card prints featuring drawings of Peanut done by an artist friend of mine.”

This clever campaign raised $2400.

“Raising that money was a huge relief,” Jeff said. “It not only helped me pay back the credit card in time, it also lifted my spirits to see how much my friends supported me and Peanut.”

Peanut had a difficult recovery. He couldn’t walk for the first three weeks, he required a sling to support his midsection, and he wasn’t able to properly function his hindquarters.

“It was tough to watch,” Jeff said.

In all, it took about 6 weeks for Peanut to reach his current mobility, which Jeff says is probably 90-95% of what it was before the injury.

Hindsight Is 20/20

Jeff says that if he could do it all over again, he would sign up for pet insurance from the start.

“I would definitely recommend pet insurance, especially with purebred dogs,” Jeff said. “Most varieties should expect to encounter some health issue throughout their lifetime and it’s much easier to deal with the small insurance bills compared to veterinary bills. Peanut’s surgery could have potentially cost upwards of $7500, and some other surgeries are more costly.”

Today, Peanut is feeling much better, though he still has trouble balancing from time to time.

“He’s a trooper,” Jeff said. “He’s been through a lot, but he’s still got a great attitude. When I see him wobble a little bit, I’m reminded that this could happen again — it often does. And now he has a pre-existing condition, which makes it hard to sign him up for insurance. But we’re going to stick together. I’m going to stick by him.”

After hearing Jeff and Peanut’s story, we decided to offer them a complimentary year of PetPlus coverage. PetPlus offers deep discounts on pet medications plus savings on vet visits, vaccines, kenneling, and thousands of pet supplies. AND PetPlus covers ALL cats and dogs with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

“Wow,” Jeff said. “That’s so generous! Peanut and I can’t thank you enough.”

We thank you, Jeff, for sharing your story with us!

*Upon request the PetSavvy editors changed Jeff and Peanut’s real name for professional reasons. The other details of the story are completely true to real life.

Have a story you’d like to share or know a pet-family deserving of a free trial of PetPlus? Contact the Pet Savvy editors at content [at] petplus {dot} com or leave a note in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


6 Ways To Calm Your Pet Before And At The Vet

Going to the veterinarian can be an intimidating experience for a pet, whether it is their first visit or they’ve learned over time what awaits them at the end of a car ride. However, there are ways to calm your pet and teach them that the vet’s office is nothing to fear. Ready to learn how?

1. Take A Drive

Whether or not you are going to the veterinarian, some pets find riding in a car scary, and some even get car sick. If you want to have one less stressor when it’s time to visit the vet, practice taking your pet on car rides. Take short rides at first, end at fun destinations where they can run and play, and give your pet special treats or toys that they’ll associate with being in the car. If your pet suffers from car sickness, you can try withholding food before a ride or have them lie down in a crate or carrier where they will feel safe and comfortable.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

2. Visit Before The Visit

One thing that makes the vet’s office intimidating is that it is a new environment filled with unfamiliar people and smells. To deal with this problem, you should socialize your pet, and one way to do this is to visit the vet’s office at times when your pet won’t be having an examination or receiving shots. Walk your pal in, let them sniff around, say hello to the vet and some strangers, and munch on some treats. Before you know it your pet will feel right at home.

3. Play Doctor

If your pet has never had a thorough once-over, a pair of hands in their mouth, ears, and paws may give them a fright. Practice examining your pet at home, but make it a pleasant experience. Run a finger over your pet’s gums, then offer them a treat. Lift up one of their ears and look inside, then throw a favorite toy. Feel in between your pet’s paw pads, clip their nails, then give them a tasty morsel. Keep practicing, and soon your pet will learn that being handled is not only perfectly safe, it also comes with rewards.

4. Lead By Example

Pets pick up on our attitudes and behaviors, and if you are feeling anxious before or at a vet visit, your pet is likely to notice and feel anxious, too. Your anxiety tells them that something is wrong, and that they should be looking out for danger. Before and at the vet’s office, try to have a calm demeanor. Practice deep breathing, listen to soothing music on the way there, and have a cup of chamomile tea if it will help. Your pet will feel a lot more calm and comfortable if they see that you are calm and comfortable, too.

RELATED STORY: How To Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety

5. Conquer The Waiting Room

Barking dogs, hissing cats, anxious owners, strange smells — the waiting room can be a very frightening place for a pet. But there are ways to handle it. Before taking your pet inside, always make sure that they’ve had a chance to use the bathroom; a pet who has to “go” may act like an anxious toddler. If you have a dog, put them on a leash and offer them a treat before walking through the door. Once inside, have them sit close by and offer them treats, a chew, or a favorite toy. If you have a cat, it’s best to keep them in a comfortable carrier. If you know that loud, high-pitched greetings set your pet off, ask other pet parents to refrain. Stay calm, and if you notice that things are getting a little hectic, you can always take your pet outside for a short break.

6. Easygoing Exam

When they call your pet’s name, lead your pal confidently back to the exam room, and offer a treat once inside. When your vet arrives and begins doing their thing, you can keep feeding your pet treats, give them a chew or toy, or offer a gentle touch. Most vets will allow you to stay right next to your pet the entire time. It is also helpful if your pet knows some basic commands, like sit, stay, lie down, and watch me. When it’s time for vaccination shots, ask your pet to lie down, offer them a treat, and then ask them to watch you. Your pet will feel more at ease if their eyes are on you and not on the needle.

RELATED STORY: The Ever-Important Dog Physical Exam

Have any other techniques for calming your pet before or at the vet? Leave a comment below and let us know!


Vet Waiting Room Etiquette: 5 Rules To Remember

Ah, the veterinarian’s waiting room. It can be a stressful place for both pets and pet parents, with lunging dogs, whining cats, loud voices, and peculiar smells. Chances are you’ve been a witness to some annoying or unsafe behaviors before, but have you ever evaluated your own waiting room etiquette? It can be easy to forget our manners when we are worried about our pet’s health, distracted by the chaos of the office, or simply having a bad day. Here we’ll look at some rules for how to be a courteous owner while waiting to see the vet.

Rule #1: Cats In Carriers, Dogs on Leashes

It can be tempting to carry a sick kitty in your arms, or let your dog off the leash to socialize once you get inside. However, both of these behaviors are unsafe for your pet and the other pets and people in the waiting area. Cats should always be in carriers. Carriers not only make cats feel safe and comfortable, they also keep a cat from leaping out of your arms, urinating on the floor, or scratching people or animals with their claws. Dogs should be on leashes, but not retractable leashes. Use a leash that will allow you to keep your dog close.

RELATED STORY: 11 Cat and Dog Leash Options Your Pet Will Love

Rule #2: Don’t Let Your Pet Bother Other Pets

The waiting room is already a stressful place for pets and pet parents, and it can be made even more stressful if an excited pet is trying to approach, sniff, or play with other animals. In addition, some pets in the waiting room are seriously ill, and may even have painful injuries that could cause them to lash out, or contagious conditions that could be passed to other pets. And in some cases, your pet might be the sick one.

Even if your pet is just trying to be friendly, the safest and most courteous thing to do is leave other pets alone. Cats should always be in carriers, so you won’t have to worry about this with them. Dogs, however, are on leashes, and owners sometimes give them too much leeway. Keep a short leash and train your pal to “stay.”

Rule #3: Don’t Let Other Pets Bother Your Pet

Just because you aren’t going to let your pet bother other pets doesn’t mean that all owners are going to follow the same rule. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe. Avoid sitting next to lunging or barking dogs, and if a pet is bothering you or your pet, ask their owner to stop it or get up and move.

Rule #4: For Scared Or Aggressive Pets

If you have a pet who becomes fearful or aggressive around other animals, people, or specifically at the vet’s office, ask if you can wait in your car. Don’t let children or adults approach your pet, and keep a good distance from other pets when you do need to go inside. If you are finding it difficult to correct your pet’s unsafe behaviors, consider contacting a trainer or animal behaviorist; your veterinarian should be able to provide recommendations.

RELATED STORY: The Causes of Aggression in Dogs

Rule #5: Dealing With Accidents

Accidents aren’t uncommon in waiting rooms — nerves can get the best of many pets. To avoid accidents, allow your pet to go to the bathroom before going inside. If an accident does occur, don’t try to rush your buddy outside; that will only create a bigger mess. Instead, let nature happen, then let the front desk know so that someone can clean it up.

Have any waiting room etiquette rules of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know!


A Tale of Two Kitties — Why You Should Go to Your Annual Vet Visit

Despite the heaps of evidence proving why one should always attend their annual vet visit, many pet parents opt out, seeing them as a waste of time and money. To help reiterate the importance of taking your pet to the vet once a year, we are proud to present…



Milo is an eight-week-old tabby that was recently adopted. His new parents, Roger and Amy, made the responsible choice to take their new kitten to the vet right away to get vaccinated and neutered. They looked online for vet reviews, found a well rated, inexpensive clinic in the area, and made an appointment for later in the week.

Way to go, team!

Money Spent: $25


Nala is a seven-week-old domestic shorthair that was adopted by Shelly, a girl who just moved out of her parents’ house. Shelly decided to get a kitten to keep her company in her new apartment. She was going to make an appointment with a vet, but her new job starts on Monday, and she just didn’t have the time.

Oh, Shelly…

Money Spent: $25


Thursday is here, and it is time for Milo’s first trip to the vet. Here he has his blood tested, temperature taken, teeth checked, and vaccinations administered, running Roger and Amy a total of $130. After the appointment, Roger and Amy set up another appointment for Milo to be neutered.

Good job, gang!

Money Spent: $155


Thursday rolls around for Shelly. Little did she know that once work started up, her free time was quickly filled up with assignments and deadlines. Nala still has not been to the vet, but she seems healthy enough. She’ll just take her to the vet if something seems wrong…

Come on, Shelly!

Money Spent: $25


10 months later, it is time for Milo’s first birthday! Having already formed a great relationship with their local vet, Roger and Amy receive a letter in the mail reminding them that it is time to schedule Milo’s 1 year checkup. They promptly respond, and then blow out the candles on Milo’s tuna cake.

Nice touch, guys!

Money Spent: $155


A year passes and Nala still has not been to the vet. At this point she is a fully grown female cat, and is now officially in heat. Male cats are yowling outside Shelly’s window and Nala has been spraying around the house. Also, Nala has been very low energy and has been coughing

Looks like it is finally time to head to the vet, Shelly.

Money Spent: $25


Milo goes in for his first annual checkup! Roger and Amy tell their vet that Milo has been doing great. She checks Milo’s vitals and confirms Milo’s perfect bill of health, gives him his booster shots, and Roger and Amy are out the door in record time, and with the peace of mind provided by the vet. Well worth the $50.

Way to be, Roger and Amy!

Money Spent: $205


Shelly rushes Nala over to the emergency room where they wait for an hour and a half to see the vet because they did not make an appointment. After the vet runs a series of tests on Nala, he tells Shelly that Nala has Feline Calicivirus, and will likely be prone upper respiratory infections for the rest of her life. Also, Nala has a tooth extracted — a form of treatment for the condition.

Sadly, Nala’s condition is not curable — and while it is not directly life threatening, it could have been avoided with a simple vaccination. The visit to the ER, along with the antibiotic for Nala’s URI and the tooth extraction, run shelly just over $400. And with Nala’s condition, this is likely just the first of many trips to have a respiratory infection treated.

See, Shelly?

Money Spent: $430


And that, in a nutshell, outlines the importance of maintaining proper pet health care. Pets, just like people, are a finely tuned machine. But even the best machine needs a check under the hood every once in a while. So, if you haven’t scheduled your pet for their annual yet, why not make that call now?

View more from Sam Bourne

If you are worried about the cost of veterinary care, sign up for PetPlus and start spending less.

Pricing for vet care was taken from http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/cat-adoption/annual-cat-care-costs/ and http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2013/06/how-much-does-average-cat-tooth.html


Got the Pet Healthcare Blues? This Pet Parent Did

Jazz and Blues are big dogs, and their owner, Emily McVeigh, has an equally big heart. Since rescuing the dogs in 2009 and 2011 respectively, Emily estimates that she has spent over $15,000 on the dogs’ health care, not including the $1,000 she spends monthly on prescription foods and medications.

And because Emily does not have pet health insurance or a membership plan like PetPlus, these are all out of pocket costs.

“When I adopted Jazz I was not aware of pet insurance,” Emily says. “By the time I became aware of it, she had already bloated and had too much health history to really make it cost effective.” Jazz has been plagued with a number of health issues from a young age, starting with a diagnosis of hip dysplasia at 11 months, followed by bloat at 12 months. Despite having two procedures to prevent future bloat, she has suffered many more episodes. Jazz also has Cushing’s disease, chronic pancreatitis, food allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome. And last summer, she tore her ACL and a tumor was discovered on her abdomen.

From left: Jazz, Emily, her Yorki mix Preston, and Blues

From left: Jazz, Emily, her Yorki mix Preston, and Blues

“Jazz’s health status is a daily struggle,” Emily says. “She is my heart and soul. I hate to see her so ill. Jazz has also taken a significant toll on my finances. That brings a whole different level of stress. Not knowing what the next round of testing will bring, what new medications she will be needing.” But there’s more. The same summer that Jazz tore her ACL and a tumor was discovered, Emily’s other Great Dane, Blues, was diagnosed with cancer. “My world stopped spinning when I found out Blues had cancer,” Emily says. “I was actually notified on my birthday. Blues was my travel buddy, we went everywhere in town [together]. We volunteered together, trained together, at the house he was velcroed to my side. The thought of him no longer being there was almost more than I could handle.”

Coping With the Unexpected Costs of Pet Illness

Emily picked up extra shifts at work and asked family for help so that she could pay for both Jazz and Blues’ treatments simultaneously. Jazz needed surgery, and Blues needed both surgery and radiation to have a chance at survival. “Trying to get funds together for that treatment when we only had a 30-day treatment window — from day of surgery to starting radiation for treatment to work — was horrific stress,” Emily says. Today, Emily is happy to report that Blues is cancer free and only suffers from seasonal allergies. All of Jazz’s illnesses and treatments, however, are still a lot to handle without insurance. “Knowing we are in a chronic state so that costs will never go down only up is hard,” Emily says. “With Blues it was a one time hit; it hurt but it was over as quickly as it came. Jazz’s financial strain is here to stay, so I just constantly look at alternative income sources [and] cost saving measures.”

There are times, Emily says, when there is no spending outside of basic necessities. She has also made some significant life changes to pay for the dogs’ health care. “I switched full time jobs to one that had better pay and more flexibility so that I could get the dogs to the vet more efficiently,” Emily says. “I started working weekends to earn extra money, did odd jobs, more competitive shopping — anything to ease the burden.” Emily has also looked for ways to save on the dogs’ medications. “We call local pharmacies for [the] lowest price and take advantage of discount programs. I also use manufacturer coupon/rebates, [and] buy in bulk from warehouse stores for non prescriptions to save money.” While none of it is easy, it is all worth it for Emily, who keeps two blogs about her dogs — bluesfightscancer.com and jazzandbluesblog.com. “The dogs are such an important part of my life,” she says. “First and foremost they are my family and I treat them as such.”

Lessons Learned

When asked if she had any advice for other pet parents about how to pay for their pet’s health care, Emily said: “Get pet insurance; [a] savings account does not prepare you for catastrophic events, especially if you were to have more than one, which can and does happen. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a pet due to financial hardship.” Here at PetPlus, we were so moved by Emily’s story that we decided to offer her a free year of PetPlus coverage. “That is absolutely amazing!” she said. We think so too and are honored to be help! We’ll look forward to checking back in with Emily after she’s had a chance to take advantage of all the benefits offered by PetPlus. For now, check out a video of Jazz and Blues playing in the snow below, and head over to Emily’s blogs to keep up with the whole gang.

Have a story you’d like to share or know a pet-family deserving of a free trial of PetPlus? Contact the Pet Savvy editors at content [at] petplus {dot} com or leave a note in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.