Editorial October 2002 Issue

Here to Help

Improving health & behavior, and saving $, too.

I know I’ve said this before, but I really am one of the biggest beneficiaries of the articles in WDJ. Each and every article has helped my dog or some dog I know.

For example, in the course of researching and writing about canned foods for this issue, I found some great new products to give my dog, Rupert. While editing the article on oral health I learned why I had better hurry up and schedule a complete dental exam and cleaning for him. At almost 13 years old, Rupert has never needed a teeth-cleaning before, but he recently began developing tartar and even a little gingivitis. I also know what questions to ask my veterinarian about the anesthesia before scheduling an appointment.

Rupert has a heart condition that is kept under control with medication and a special herb tea. He passed a recent cardiology checkup with flying colors, and his overall energy and condition is good. But there is no denying that he’s an aging dog, and his hearing is deteriorating rapidly. It’s gotten to the point where you can walk up behind him calling his name loudly, and he only cocks his head and peers forward, with a “Did I just hear something?” look on his face. Fortunately, he can still hear hand-claps, which is how we now get his attention; then we use hand signals and semaphore flags (I exaggerate, of course) to tell him what to do and where to go. It seems silly with such a well-behaved dog, but Rupe is an obsessively compliant dog who feels more relaxed when told to “Down-stay!” than when he is left to lie down under his own volition. This is anthropomorphizing, of course, but I think the fact that I can still order him around – and reward him for his usual obedience – means a lot to him. Pat Miller’s article on hand signals has helped us a lot.

By the way, in “The Price of Prescriptions” in the September issue, I mentioned a dog named Chase, whose guardians were paying about $80 a month for his Prozac prescription. When I interviewed them for the article, which was about ways to save money on veterinary prescription drugs, I had encouraged them to shop around for a better price for their dog’s prescription. I even found a pharmacy close to them that sold a month’s worth of a generic form of the medicine for $64.

Shortly after the September issue went to press, I received a message on my voice mail from Kelly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling us to shop around,” the message began. “I took Chase’s prescription to Costco the other day, and was given a price of just $9.45 for a month’s supply, and $12.96 for two months’ worth of Chase’s pills. Your article has saved us a fortune.”

Like I said, it pays to subscribe!


-Nancy Kerns

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