Dear Dog Lady,

I have a Facebook “friend,” a woman with whom I used to work, and we have a shared love of dogs. In fact, she has the same kind of dog as I do. I’ve always enjoyed her pictures and postings about her pet, Shelby. Over the years, we’ve swapped stories, home remedies and funny quirks about our dogs. Recently, I was gobsmacked when she posted that Shelby had gone in for delicate surgery to have his gallbladder removed. She asked her Facebook crowd for their best wishes and hopes for his recovery. I was near tears as I offered get well wishes on Facebook. Two days later, I was overjoyed when I saw her update — Shelby was recovering. He had rolled over to have his belly rubbed and had taken his first post-surgery poop.

I admit I was concerned about Shelby, but also amazed at how my ex-colleague and her husband, who are retirees on a fixed income, probably spent considerable money for their dog’s surgery. What are your thoughts on extreme and very expensive care for pets?

Susan 

A: Dog Lady’s thoughts? Best not to think about it – until you have to.

Dealing with an ill pet is one of the hardest things a pet owner has to endure. And if a trusted veterinarian advises surgery to correct a problem and predicts a solid outcome with beneficial results, and the owner has the funds to pay for it, the question is moot. However, it is all so personal. Dog Lady could never presume to tell anybody what he or she should do in such a situation. For now, let’s root for Shelby, obviously a beloved pet. 

¢¢¢

As the new year begins, Dog Lady brings back the following question and answer dealing with the same tender issue: 

Dear Dog Lady,

A woman at the local dog park is dealing with a diagnosis of bone cancer in her shepherd mix Tom. The veterinarian gave her the choice of either putting Tom to sleep or opting for an expensive and complicated operation to remove his front right leg. She decided in favor of the operation.

I am moved by this. At the same time, I wonder whether this will be worth the trouble and the expense. What do you think? When is enough enough?

Kevin 

A: Never second guess love. Stop trying to figure this one out. The woman at the dog park chose the option she believed was right for her and her pet. You should not question a dog keeper who believes in the boundless possibilities of a three-legged dog.

This situation of risky care for a domestic animal reminds Dog Lady to urge you, dear readers, to renew your pact with your pet as the new year begins. Treat your animals with kindness, responsibility and respect. You may not have lots of money or patience, but the animal in your care always deserves the best of you.

Monica Collins offers advice on pets, life and love. Ask a question or make a comment at askdoglady@gmail.com