Skittles' Surgery

Dear Friends, Family and Caring Readers,

Thank you for taking the time to open this link.  On April 15th, 2014, Skittles was rushed to the ER for emergency surgery for the removal of an intestinal obstruction.  Thankfully, he is out of surgery now and in the process of healing.  Here is his story:


Skittles is a great dog.  As you can see from this picture that was just taken last week, he is a happy-go-lucky puppy.  He is a sweetheart, with a goofy "Westie" terrier personality.  Here's a video of Skittles having a howling contest with my partner and I (Spoiler alert: Skittles won).

On the morning of April 15th, Skittles was acting a bit lethargic.  He is normally a very excited and energetic dog, so I already knew something was going on.  Later in the morning, I could tell he was struggling to excrete but couldn't, as if something was preventing it from passing.  I told his dog sitter, Jean (who is amazing and a blessing) to be aware of it during the day.  She said he indeed was lethargic, and had no interest in food.  

When I came to pick him up in the early evening, he seemed to be okay--not worrisome enough to warrant a vet visit.  We had a nice, long walk, and it seemed like he was doing fine.  He was still struggling to excrete, however.  I figured I would give him pumpkin/something fibrous to help him pass whatever was causing him trouble.

Things got considerably worse very fast once I brought him home.  Upon entering the apartment, Skittles went to drink some water.  Almost immediately, he threw up all of the water with yellow bile.  He then threw up multiple times in just a few minutes after that.  I then dialed the phone to my vet (around 6 PM), who referred me to a nearby animal ER.  He continued to throw up every half hour or so for the rest of the night.

I took him to the ER right away, and they took his vitals and did X-rays.  They said indeed, it was an intestinal obstruction, and that surgery needed to be done ASAP.  However, because their surgeon wasn't going to be in that night, and that he was an older dog (9 years old), they referred me to a veterinary specialty center in Buffalo Grove.  

Buffalo Grove is over 30 miles away from Chicago.  Not having a car,  I went through my phone contact list and called everyone I knew who had a car and might be willing to help me out. I was incredibly lucky to have a family friend pick me up on last minute notice and drive me all the way up there.

Once I got there, I knew we would be in good (and expensive) hands.  I was first told that surgery would be $3,000, which made me gulp, but relent and give the go ahead. I knew that Skittles needed this surgery.  And, as an otherwise happy and healthy dog with years ahead of him (I've known Westies who have lived 18 years), I felt this surgery was worth it.

That initial $3,000 figure soon grew to over $5,000--without informing me before billing.  Keep in mind, these are only "estimates." A 100% deposit of the "low estimate" --over $3,800--was required before any procedures could be done. I had also already paid $400 to the first animal ER I took him to in Chicago. 

I don't have that kind of money.  It's all going to a credit card with a high APR.  This is especially frustrating because I have been working hard and living frugally to get my credit card debt down, only to have it skyrocket again.

I know in my heart that everything will be okay with Skittles, and I thank God for that.  But, I am concerned about amassing debt that will only continue to grow with a high APR.  I am embarassed to ask for help, but I need to be honest and say that I need to try every way possible to pay this balance as soon as I can.

I appreciate anything you can give--even if it's $1 or just some kind words.  I'm lucky to have a very loving and helpful family; however, my relatives have their own financial challenges, and I cannot ask them to bear all of this burden on top of what they're already carrying.

Anything that I receive in excess of Skittles' medical bills will be donated to Cape Ann Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Thank you again for taking the time to read all of this.  I sincerely appreciate the kind thoughts and words that have been expressed to me since Skittles has been sent to the ER.

Thank you again, and be well.


Bridget Erickson
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Bridget Erickson 
Chicago, IL
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