Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pet Store Hell

This is going to be a long one but PLEASE make sure to read all the way until the end. 

December 31, 2016
I visited a local pet store on San Jose Blvd called Pet World. I know... I know... what was I thinking?! Well, actually I heard that they got new owners & that they now were required to show the breeder in which every puppy came from. I walked into the store, saw breeder names displayed & noticed this sweet little fluff ball in a small wooden box & knew that I wanted him. 
I asked one of the associates if I could hold & play with him in their picket fence play area, she said yes. As the puppy and I played, I asked a lot of questions to the associate & noticed that he had a tiny little cough. I was assured that there is nothing to worry about 'It is like if you took your kid to daycare'. I told the associate that if I bought the puppy today, I would want them to call their vet & ensure that I could have an appointment with them as soon as I bought him; to verify that the little cough was nothing to worry about. As I played with the sweet little pup, the associate called the vet & let me know that they could squeeze me in that day. After a lot of thinking & going back and forth on whether he was the right fit for our family, I decided that he was & I bought him. 

Looking Back - During the time that I was at Pet World I noticed the following, which looking back is quite alarming to me and makes me so frustrated
*A couple came in to look at a baby husky & were told that he was in the back & could not be touched; they asked to see him & an associate came out of the back holding him with blue latex gloves on. Turns out, the couple ending up purchasing him but couldn't bring him home that day (I spoke with the woman who purchased him). 
*There were tiny little enclosed clear plastic cages with puppies in them that you couldn't touch due to their age; when I was checking out, I noticed that one was eating its own poop & one was vomiting up foam which I notified the associate about. She brought the puppy that was vomiting to the back of the store. 
*When associates were asked questions, they would start telling what seemed  to be the truth & mid-talking they would stop & their verbiage sounded scripted. 
*When I was checking out, a woman & her daughter came in to 'visit' their puppy that they purchased that was sick. The puppy was being taken care of and on a special diet & staying at the pet store. 
All quite alarming... but I was blindsided by the new puppy purchase. 

So after my purchase of my sweet new family member, I took him to the suggested vet (Bay Meadows Animal Hospital) for his free well visit. I voiced my concerns to the vet & vet techs -- to which they both said the same scripted thing as the associates at Pet World 'It is like if you took your kid to daycare'. The vet did an exam on my puppy & he said that he indeed have an upper respiratory infection; gave him medication (which Pet World would not pay for). I was upset but assured that it was something that would clear very soon & that it was 'normal'. 
Total Cost = $1622.47

January 4, 2017
Barkley, my new puppy, was not doing any better; even with the daily medications... he was actually getting worse with a bad cough and increased amount of discharge from his nose. I didn't follow up with Pet World's suggested vet because I was going to use a highly rated animal hospital by our house (which I told the suggested vet when I visited there on December 31, 2016). I scheduled a sick visit for my puppy for January 7, 2017. 

January 7, 2017
Barkley & I headed to his new vet for his sick visit & new puppy visit. He still wasn't feeling well today & the doctor and techs could tell when we got there; still coughing & having a lot of discharge from his nose. The vet was very concerned & immediately did an x-ray, blood work and an exam. The results came back & I was shocked (a total understatement; I almost fainted).
Barkley had one of the worst cases of pneumonia that they had ever seen in a puppy. The x-rays showed so much fluid that I am not sure how he was even breathing; you couldn't see his lungs at all. And his blood work showed that his white blood cell count was twice the count that it should be & he had bacteria in his system which only shows when being in the body for a minimum of 10 days; I had only had him for a week at this point which means I was clearly sold a very sick puppy. Due to his condition, the recommendation from the vet for Barkley was to be transferred to Clay Duval Animal Hospital for 24 hours care. 
It was too much all at once... how is my puppy so sick? How am I going to pay for this? Will he be okay? I've never had a puppy... what am I doing? 
After applying for a Care Credit card, we rushed my sweet angel to the animal hospital. We left him there overnight to be cared for & treated. 
Total Cost = $294.09

January 8, 2017
Tonight, we picked up Barkley from the animal hospital. They said that he is clearly very, very sick but to follow instructions with medications (2 medications 2 times a day) & follow up with our vet on Monday morning. He had a tiny bit of energy but still a lot of discharge from his nose and a very bad cough. My poor puppy... 
Total Cost = $893.45

January 9, 2017
Today, we followed up at Barkley's vet. There was no improvement in his health whatsoever & his cough has worsened. We continued with plan of medications + now we're going to have to add nebulizer treatments 2 times a day until next vet appointment which is in 3 days. 

Today I called Pet World. I spoke to the manager Hannah & explained to her the entire situation in very extreme detail. On our first phone call she seemed kind & told me to send in all of my medical bills to her via email as soon as possible. And that she was so sorry that this happened; her voice seemed as though she had heard it all before which was sad. She told me that she was going to contact the owner, Sharon to let her know the situation. 
Within 10 minutes of getting off the phone, Hannah called me back to say 'don't bother with the medical bills, we aren't covering anything' and that the owner said 'sorry you got a sick one'. And her tone had completely changed on this second phone call.. 
She began to explain to me that I signed a little yellow piece of paper that states they won't pay for things. I then let her know that I thought that it was disgusting, this scam of a company they run and they should be ashamed of themselves for selling sick animals to people. She then tried to blame me for why my puppy was so sick and had the nerve to say that I should've done something sooner. Sooner? I brought my puppy to the vet FIVE times at this point & I should've followed up with their vet and use their nebulizer treatments at the pet store. Hell no!! I will never use a vet (Bay Meadows Animal Hospital) that signed off on a puppy health certificate days before I purchased him when clearly he was very sick. And hell no I will never step foot into that hell of a pet store. Respectfully, I let her have all my thoughts and feelings. And it was a waste of time but I wanted to speak up for my puppy. 
Total Cost = $35.00

January 12, 2017 
Barkley's cough is getting worse; poor baby coughs all the time. We are going on Day 12 of antibiotics. Today, we had a follow-up at his vet. The vet did an exam - was pretty concerned with his cough so she did another x-ray to see if there was any improvement in the lungs. The x-ray only showed slight improvement which was such a disappointment for both the vet & myself. We were both hoping that with all the treatments thus far, there would be a lot more improvement & not the worsening cough. I truly am at my breaking point. With all the expenses building up, exhaustion from a sick puppy and trying to manage all my other responsibilities... It is hard. All I do is cry.. cry for my puppy, cry for the unknown & cry for all this money that I am spending. 
Total Cost = $148.30

January 16, 2017
Another bad day... seems that every appointment for the last 16 days just brings bad news. We have finished the antibiotics from the Clay Duval Animal Hospital & have been doing breathing treatments; all of which have not helped in the slightest bit. His cough still exists more often than ever, his breathing is becoming labored after each coughing episode and still has slight nasal discharge. The vet is very concerned for his health & concerned as to why three antibiotics and breathing treatments are not working at all. So the words that I didn't want to hear... We are transferring you to a specialist. 
I left the vet in tears... All I could do is cry. My poor puppy.. my poor sweet little baby that I've only had for 16 days is about to have another long hospital stay without his momma. 
We rushed to the specialist (my mom, my rock, met me there for support because at this point I was a complete mess) & when we walked out the door, they scooped him out of my arms & put him in an oxygen tank. We spoke with the vet & his recommendation was a minimum stay of 48 hours with heavy dosage of antibiotics via IV. When they told me the estimate, I almost dropped dead but I knew that he had to be treated. I literally am in tears while I type this.. because he was so sick & yet still wagging his little tail. 
Again, I left my little puppy to be treated at the hospital. I left praying this would be the last overnight stay, the last medical bill, and the last day this illness would be in his tiny, little 3lb. body. 
Total Cost = $120.64

January 17, 2017
I visited with my little baby at the vet. They took him out of the oxygen tank, continued with IV meds and he was slowly improving but still with a cough every hour. 

January 18, 2017
Tonight we picked up Barkley from the specialist. With the high dosages of IV medications, he has shown improvement so the vet felt it was okay to continue care at home with medication & daily visits to our vet for injections & fluid. Sweet Barkley still has a bad cough & the pneumonia still exists in his little body. Blood work was done before we took him home to check his liver to make sure that it is doing well; these medications are super strong on his body & although it is helping cure him, it could potentially harm him as well. I am super nervous to take him home since we have to get readjusted every time he comes back home. And it also makes me nervous, this terrible illness that has taken hold of his little body. 
I spend my days praying & crying... This truly is all so exhausting and beyond stressful. 
Total Cost = $1.338.60

January 19, 2017
Barkley's cough is still persistent but his energy is starting to peek through when he isn't taking naps. We're doing daily medications twice a day & going to the vet in the afternoon for injection of medication + injection of extra fluids. Life is super stressful & all these vet visits are so expensive. I just want my puppy better but this just isn't fair. I wanted a healthy puppy.. I had no clue in my wildest of nightmares that this would happen. And I feel so bad for this sweet little puppy; so loving and he doesn't understand. 
His poor little body.. how much more can he take!? 
Total Cost = $63.63

January 20, 2017
Vet visit for injection of medication, injection of extra fluids, x-ray & blood work to check his liver function. Although my sweet little angel still has the cough, today was the first time in 20 days that we got some positive news. The x-ray showed quite a bit of improvement especially when looking side-by-side at the original x-ray; blood work showed that everything was still okay & the strong medications were not impacting him negatively. 
Today, the vet looked at me and said 'You should be proud of yourself. You saved him. If it wasn't for you, he would probably be dead.' I didn't cry while we were there but you better believe I cried the minute we got into the car. 
Total Cost = $265.87

January 21, 2017
I've still been treating him with medication at home twice a day & unfortunately the cough has still not gone away. Today, we're back to the vet for the final injection of medication + injection of extra fluids. No other changes to mention. Just praying things go away soon & my puppy will be healthy. 
Total Cost = $63.63

January 25, 2017
Today is the day we meet with the vet at the specialisst for a follow-up. Things are slowly but surely starting to get better. He still has the cough which the vet thought would be gone by now but is not. The vet did more blood work to check his liver function & all looks good. We are to continue with his medication twice a day for another week. If the cough continues then we have to have an additional visit. Praying the cough goes away with an additional week of medication. 
Total Cost = $138.00

As of today, February 1, 2017, his cough has gone away & tonight was our last night of medication. Tomorrow when we wake up & I give him his food, it will be the first time in 33 days that he will not have medicine. My puppy knows what medicine means, that is sad. My puppy has been to the vet 13 times in 25 days. And I've spent more on medical bills for my puppy in 25 days then I have on myself in years. 

I am begging you, if you've read to the end of this long blog please repost this, share it on news channel sites and please share it on Pet World's facebook page. These pet stores need to be shut down. These sweet animals that they are selling are so sick & they need us to give them a voice. This isn't fair to pet owners or pets. How they continue to work at these places & feel good about themselves when they leave each day is beyond me. I am not looking for my money back, although it was be so nice to have my $4,983.08 back but they are heartless, unethical cowards so I don't expect anything from them. I just want people to know our story... And for people to know that the animals they are selling are so extremely sick. The more we purchase, the longer they stay open and the more sick animals are being sold into the world. 
PLEASE I BEG YOU, SHARE OUR STORY. And don't shop at Pet Stores, especially PET WORLD on San Jose Blvd.