How free pets become expensive

All of our pets are foundlings that we espied by the side of the road or by our front gate, and most notably Felisa, a rat-size puppy with an eclectic bloodline that Félix found under a bush.

All dogs have some startup costs, such as sterilization and shots, but in the three years we’ve had her, Felisa has turned into one of the most expensive muttskies we’ve ever owned.

Felisa after her first operation about a year ago.
She recovered perfectly and we expect she’ll do
the same after the second operation on Wednesday. 

It seems that her mixed-up pedigree includes not only a peculiar appearance but also a propensity for the canine equivalent of torn ligaments in both of her knees.

That has led to two operations, the last one on Wednesday that, including medications and an overnight stay at the vet, came to approximately US$450 each, a year apart.
Felisa’s carriage, which seems as if it were put together from spare parts that don’t quite fit, suggested malfunctions right from the start.

She is longish, as in Dachshund-ish but not quite; with front feet that point out slightly, maybe like a Basset; rough fur reminiscent of a German Shepherd; and a tail that proportionately is about as long as an Irish Wolfhound’s.

All that in a wiggly compact package, about twenty-four inches long, nose to tail, and ten inches off the ground. Her tail banging against something announces her presence even when you can’t see her.

In her own way she cuts quite a figure, particularly in the vet’s waiting room where patients are mostly yippy pedigreed types, such as shih-tzus, pomeranians and other annoying dust-mop varieties that I swear snicker at Stew, Felisa and me when we arrive.

Felisa doesn’t care one whit, but I feel like I’ve shown up at the Monaco Grand Prix driving a Rambler.
Our vet, Dr. Miguel Villalva, is a gentle, rumpled forty-something, who is both excellent and very patient. He runs Ciudad Mascota (“Pet City”), about an hour’s drive from San Miguel, and specializes in orthopedic problems in dogs.

We love both Dr. Villalva and Felisa, but at these prices wish they’d quit dating.

Felisa is home, sleeping a lot but always remembering to tripod around the yard when her bowels require it. Stew for his part is grinding up pills, mixing them up with butter and adding ham bits to her food, and letting her sleep in the bedroom instead of the basement or garage with the rest of the dogs.

So no need to worry about Felisa. We love all our free/expensive dogs, and particularly our free/expensive/odd-looking Felisa. We’re lucky to have her—and vice-versa.

9 thoughts on “How free pets become expensive

  1. Anonymous

    Sometimes pets can be real expensive. Years ago, my wife was outside hanging laundry. All of a sudden, she came running into the house yelling “There is a bird out there.” Well, there are a lot of birds out there. Turns out it was a parakeet. I went out there and found a stick. I poked at it, hoping it would fly away. Well, it didn't. Instead, it landed on the stick. So, I walked into the house with it. She was estatic.Next we had to go buy a cage, and that was about forty dollars. She bought cuttle bone, gravel, feed and bird treats. It was getting really expensive.We came home and put the bird in the cage. My wife was so happy.Next morning, the damn thing was dead.Robert GillPhoenix, Arizona


  2. Bob: I'm sorry about your and your wife's loss, but I couldn't help laughing when I read your comment. You know, I think parakeets (or maybe parrots) live a long time. It could still be with you now.Al


  3. Read your post to my husband. Our four dogs are laying here helping us watch a baseball game. My husband's only comment after his chuckle was, “He ought to be glad he's not paying our vet bills here in Colorado.” No sympathy from him! 😆


  4. Kathie: When we left Chicago about 11 years ago, our vet was selling something called “Yearly Senior Dog Health Panel” or something like that, that consisted in all kinds of blood tests and whatever for our old dog Pooch, for about $500. We took a


  5. Thank you. Now, if I could get Disqus to work on my blog, and then move on to the website you use, which is pretty clean and elegant, everything would be even better. al


  6. Anonymous

    Just start blogging at That's where my blog is, and it's WAY easier than blogger/blogspot. How do I know? I opened a test blog on blogspot and played with the controls. I found them difficult-to-use, and the template options less beautiful than those available on WordPress. Don't worry about moving over all your content from here. (Though you could do that if you were inclined, though formatting would likely suffer.) Instead, just post a “We've moved” post here, and start anew on WordPress.Funny blog post, by the way. I'm currently in the market for an old Mercedes Benz, and I can totally relate to your situation. Your mutt sounds like buying a cheap used car: much more expensive in the end than paying up at the get-go. Saludos,Kim GRedding, CaWhich doesn't have a particularly deep nor liquid market in old cars.


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