Samantha Schacht made the heartbreaking decision to give up her golden retriever when presented with an expensive vet bill for her extremely sick dog.
The Winnipeg woman was unable to afford emergency surgery on her eight-year-old dog, Lexi, after she developed a treatable uterine infection called pyometra over Easter weekend.
“I was screaming my eyes out,” Schacht said.
“I was so overwhelmed. It was honestly one of the most heartbreaking times of my life.”
Schacht took Lexi to Winnipeg Animal Emergency Hospital on Pembina Highway on Saturday. It is one of only two 24-hour emergency veterinary hospitals in the city.
Dr. David Scammell told Schacht his pet needed immediate, life-saving surgery for the infection, which is common in mature female dogs who have not been spayed.
Under the City of Winnipeg’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, dogs over the age of six months must be spayed or neutered unless the owner has a valid license for an unfixed dog.
Scammell said he described the diagnosis and procedure, that it would cost about $2,000, and put Schacht in touch with administrative staff to settle the payment.
Schacht said she didn’t have the money.
The emergency hospital does not negotiate payment plans with pet owners and instead suggested Schacht apply for Medicard, a third-party financier that allows monthly payments. She was not eligible because her husband’s income is too high, she said.