How much is your love is worth?
Your first answer is, of course, "My love has no dollar value. My love is priceless. Love is one of the great inventions of this wondrous thing we call the universe."
But the real answer is, "Ask your vet." Because your vet knows how much your love is worth down to the penny.
For instance, I have a friend who paid $6,000 to give his dog a taint-hole. Yes, a taint-hole.
His dog had eaten so much dairy over its long and happy life that calcium deposits had built up in its bladder until they sealed off its urinary track. The dog couldn't pee. The vet said to my friend, "I can reroute your dog's urinary tract but it will cost six thousand dollars. Or your dog will die in a few days. What would you like to do?"
My friend's love was worth $6,000 that day. Mind you, the vet did a bang-up job. That was one damn fine taint-hole on that dog and it kept him alive for many more years that were filled with love.
I have another friend whose dog got bit by a rattlesnake. When she rushed her dog to the vet, the clock was literally ticking. The vet said, "The antidote is $1,500. Or your dog will die in 20 minutes. What would you like to do? "
Her love was worth $1,500 that day.
Did you know it costs $500 to remove a T-bone steak bone from your dog's ass? I do. That's what my parents paid to save my dog's life when I was 10. I'm glad they did. We got a lot more nice years with him and we never regretted the money spent for a moment even though it wasn't something we could easily afford.
But as our dog got older, he developed arthritis and cataracts and that's when his kidneys started acting funny. The doctors said they could do some blood work, and they had some pills that would probably help but they'd have to keep him in a kennel for a week while they ran the tests. How much would all that cost? Their opening bid was $2,000 but, you know, that was just for starters.
Our love was not worth $2,000 dollars that day.
Can that be right? I love dogs. I grew up with them, I consider them a part of my family. So does love have a movable price tag? It turns out the answer is yes.
In the movie Indecent Proposal, Robert Redford offered Demi Moore one million dollars for one night of love. But I bet that price would have dropped a bit if she had heartworm and a touch of mange.
I had to take my new dog in recently to get a bone spur removed from her elbow (How much did it cost? I don't want to talk about it.) Anyway, he said something like this:
"We vets are very, very good these days. We can do stem cell work, brain surgery, pretty much any treatment that's been created for humans we can do to your pet now too." Then he paused and added, "Now whether we should or not is a different question."
And that's the sticking point, isn't it? How do you just let go of the one that you love when you know there is something more that can be done if you just hand over a little more money... and then a little bit more...
And when does it stop being about your pet's health and start being about your inability to let go?
Because love may be one of the great inventions of the universe, but like all the universe's creations, it's only a fleeting thing. All stars die. All cats go to that Great Scratching Post in the sky.
And someday, when you're old and your memories have faded and you're unable to even get up from your hospital bed, your kids will look you in the eye too and say, "You can have another few months but how much is it worth?"
Then your answer should be, "I don't know. Go ask my vet."