I Love My Dog…{And Why I’m Thankful for Pet Insurance}

Picture 5

Okay, he’s not just my dog… Toby is our family dog.

And we adore him.

Our miniature schnauzer is 2-1/2 years old and we fell in love the moment we held him in our arms at just 8 weeks old.  He is special to us for many reasons…

He is our sons’ first dog.

He makes us smile and laugh every single day.

Mornings are like a holiday when Toby meets us at the bottom of the staircase, or at the door after a long day. He greets us with squeals and jumps and demands for hugs and rub downs before we get two steps by him.

He never fails to lavish us with love.

And we didn’t think we would have him for long.

Picture 3

Because Toby was born with a liver shunt.

We found this out sometime after he turned one and had his first surgery to remove stones. Than months later, had a second surgery when stones returned due to a diagnosed liver anomaly — a shunt.

After his first surgery we thought all would be well, but then to see blood in his urine so soon after, and told he needed to have stones removed again, was shocking.

The second surgery to repair his liver was grueling for him, and for us. His surgeon warned us 70% of dog’s do not survive from possible blood pressure build-up on the heart and brain once the shunt is closed off. We feared for him and it was difficult to hand him over on surgery day.

But, Toby made it. 

And we were so thankful to the Lord when we saw him five days later trot from behind double doors at the animal hospital. Like always he greeted us with squeals and yelps and jumps trying to kiss our faces despite the zipper of staples running up from his groin to his belly.

And once he healed and regained strength he was back stronger and happier than ever.

We were so grateful for pet insurance we reluctantly acquired.

Having help to pay for the costly second surgery saved his life.  The bills came in at almost $6,000 and our insurance company took care of 80% — liver repair, pain medicines, antibiotics — and to this day they help with the cost of hepatic prescription dog food. Our monthly premiums will never add up to what the company has paid out for his medical expenses. And the premium did not change despite all those costs.

Without pet insurance, I’m not sure how we would have been able to afford his care. Initially, we didn’t want to take on the monthly bill, even though it was affordable. We felt our puppy was young and healthy and because he was born through a reputable breeder, and an AKC dame and sire, we never imagined health problems would crop up so soon.

I am more than happy to share with you who we have our plan through — just please send me a message and ask. I am not sponsored by the company, nor do I receive a commission — I would simply like to know your interest in insuring your pet, too. And if you have any questions about Toby’s journey, please ask. I will try to help — from a mom’s point of view of course.

(Update: Toby had a third surgery in October 2014. You can read more about that here.)


    • lanlisa says:

      Thank you Veda for your kind words and sharing a bit of Toby’s story with your friends. I see you love dogs, too! They are such a joy to be with, unconditional and loving. Big blessings in fact! Thank you again!


  1. Mariani Drabbant says:

    Lisa, I just found your story about Toby today (2020) I hope it’s not too late to still to know a bit more
    about you and Toby. Toby is one lucky dog!
    I have a mini Schnauzer name Ginger and she was diagnosed with a liver shunt
    At 6 years old. Long story short.. now Ginger is 10 y.o and doing fine. We bought her a pet insurance
    to help with her condition. We joint Healthy Paws as soon as we found out about the shunt however
    The insurance didn’t cover anything related to UTI as they assumed it’s a pre existing condition.
    The insurance also did not cover for prescription food and doctor’s visit. Now as she is getting
    Older and need more medical care. we are wondering if there is any better pet insurance out there.
    We would appreciate if you would share the name of Toby’s pet insurance.

    Thanks and blessing from
    Mariani Drabbant and Ginger
    ( mini schnauzer, 10 years old
    Diagnosed with liver shunt at 6 y.o,
    Recurrent UTI – now resolved, Heart murmur,
    Possible pancreatitis )


    • Hi Mariani! How is your Ginger? Our Toby passed away Summer 2019. The liver disease eventually effected his kidneys and we ran out of options to save him. We love and miss him so very much! I hope you and your fur baby are well!


  2. Hi Mariani, Thank you for reading Toby’s story and commenting. So glad Ginger is doing well! Our beautiful, sweet Toby passed away last July. He was almost 8 years old — so young still! His liver deteriorated the kidneys and there was nothing more we could do. We were devastated and miss him so much!

    Our insurance was Pet Plan. They were great about paying for vet visits, surgeries and medications. In my story I mentioned they paid for prescription dog food but that was an error. We had to pay for that out of pocket.

    I am so happy Ginger has overcome her shunt issues. And on a happier note for our family, we do have a puppy named Buster. He is a beautiful golden doodle and 8 months old We have fallen in love with him, too and often talk about how he and ToBy would get a long. God has a way of healing a broken heart.

    Enjoy every moment with your Ginger! Xo


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