I have no qualms about saying my dog, Chicken, is basically my child. She's my best friend, my partner, and the absolute love of my life. Since the day I got her almost seven years ago, we've been by each other's side pretty much every minute of every day.
Chicken is a miniature Australian shepherd, meaning she's super smart and very active — she's been known to chase a ball until she literally collapses. I knew this about the breed, and so I was prepared for all the adventures that come along with having a dog that needs a job at all times.
When I first got her, we lived in Sarasota, FL, (my hometown) and spent a ton of time at my parents' house, which has a pool. Much of that time was spent throwing the ball across the backyard for Chicken to chase, as well as into the pool — swimming is one of her favorite things to do. Along with swimming, Chicken loved to sit at the edge of the pool and lap up the pool water; I asked my vet at the time if this was OK (drinking chlorine seemed like a bad idea to me), but they said it was probably fine, so I didn't think it was that big of a deal.
Until Chicken began to have what we would call "episodes" — all of a sudden, she would become woozy, violently throw up, and lose control of her muscles. Long story short, after about 10 emergency vet visits over the course of a year, specialist appointments, blood work sent to labs across the country, and thousands of dollars, we finally figured out what was happening. She was drinking so much water so fast, she was essentially drowning herself from the inside.
I don't have to explain how scary this was — and how much of a hit my bank account took (for reference, one overnight stay at the emergency vet plus all the tests they ran would usually rack up a $2,000 bill, at least). Thankfully, I had signed up for pet insurance the day I brought Chicken home for the first time. Beyond the care the vets gave Chicken during this time, pet insurance was the biggest lifesaver I could have asked for; I was able to get a huge chunk of money back for every emergency visit and specialist appointment.
We've gone about five years without experiencing another "episode" — but that's not to say we haven't had reasons to see the vet since. Some of Chicken's favorite things to do include chewing on and ferociously destroying sticks, running as fast as lightning after her ball, swimming in the Pacific Ocean (or any body of water), and hiking along trails when we visit my parents in Maine.
What all those activities add up to are dental appointments to remove the teeth she's broken from chewing a little too hard on said sticks, a trip to the emergency vet to check out her eyeball after I threw the ball directly into her face (whoops), having very weird poops after ingesting a bit too much salt water, and tests for Lyme disease after getting a few tick bites.
The pet insurance we have through Fetch by The Dodo has been there through all these fun times and is the most comprehensive insurance we've ever had. It's covered all of the above, getting me back the majority of my money — it's made it so I don't have to worry about the cost of care for Chicken and can just focus on what she needs.
I must say, my biggest recommendation for pet parents would be to get pet insurance on day one. Even if you think you'll never use it, it's worth it just to have the peace of mind in case something does happen. It's been a true game changer for me and my nutty pup.