In answer to your question about Robin's vet bills: Not long after we got her, she started acting real lame, although she didn't favor any one corner and didn't yike. SHe just limped. I talked to the vet about it everytime I took her for puppy shots, and we finally had to xray both shoulders and do blood work to rule out Valley Fever and West Nile Virus. That cost a lot, and showed that her shoulder blades were roughened but not yet dysplastic. Recommendation to limit activites and recheck when getting her spayed. I turned down medication because I didn't want her to overdo and injure herself from not having it hurt. So we didn't go for any more walks, and I usually left her in the yard when I ran up and down to the chicken compound or the trash barrels or the recycle bins. She didn't like that, but I told her not to jump the fence, so she didn't. It was a small problem because she early on decided not to pee or poop in the yard unless urgency demanded it.
Then her eyes swelled up and developed pimples on both upper and lower eyelids that would finally pop and weep, then start over. It didn't seem to itch or hurt, but she could hardly see for the swelling sometimes. So off we had to go to a dog ophthalmologist, and boy is THAT pricey. It is called meibomitis, and is a staph infection triggered by an allergy to something. Her actual vision and eyeballs are perfect. THis is actually a skin problem. SO I've been giving her prednisone and antibiotic eyedrops for a couple of months, along with 2 followup visits. Yesterday she got a clean bill of eye health, but now I have to ease her off the prednisone for the next couple of months. That I KNOW how to do.
And we are trying to eliminate all the allergens we CAN control, like corn, wheat, soy, beef (most common dog allergens). Airborne ones we are already fighting because Bill has allergies. I wash all the scatter rugs once a week and mop constantly, and use only natural products.
Oh, and don't forget the seizures. She's had 4 in her life, 2 when she was real little, and I pretty much decided she had gotten a whiff of ant killer and switched to dish soap and vinegar in water per the organic gardening book. SHe also had 2 more when her eyes first swelling up, and we were at a total loss as to what caused them. THe first one I thought she had been poisoned and put salt down the poor thing and made her vomit and vomit. They didn't last long and she never lost consciousness. We never did figure out what caused it for sure, but the 4th one I have since decided were caused by the wet Swiffer Sweeper cloths I was using on the floor. I have since read about other small dogs having convulsions from smelling those.
Here's the best thing though. SHe is no longer lame at all and hasn't been for months. She runs and runs just like any other Aussie with no problems. She doesn't really jump, and that is fine with me. That way I can leave her in the yard or wherever, and be sure she'll be there when I come back, so far anyway. I'm having her spayed the 1st of August. I was going to wait until her growth plates closed, but the breeder called and said that Robin's only littermate had gone in for a spay and she turned out to have ON uterus or ovaries and only one kidney, although quite healthy otherwise. Also the eye vet says that the meibomitis often never returns once the dog is spayed, although it doesn't work 100 % of the time. Keeping our fingers crossed.
Sammy is a typical little boy, destructive and rowdy and loud, but a real lover. He never gets tired of loving on you and will keep licking and snuggling until you send him away. Bill really loves him, and wayy tolerant of his behaviour(obviously he doesn't have to witness most of it). We have always thought that Robin's behaviour is just too perfect to be real, and Sammy makes you realize just HOW perfect Robin is. He'll be fine; he's intelligent, healthy, and way more athletic than Robin, but SHE is my dog and will remain so. I'll have to obedience train Sammy, but I have to wait until I generate some income. Right now about all I can afford to do is stay home.