Max was Victoria’s Newfoundland dog who bounded into her life in 2012. Victoria’s last Newfoundland, Beau, had recently died of cancer at the age of 4 ½ which made Max all the more precious.
The costs for Beau’s cancer treatment had been paid by his pet insurance policy which was an Animal Friends’ lifetime policy. Victoria had been impressed by the service she had received from the company and didn’t hesitate to take out an Animal Friends’ lifetime policy for Max too.
Victoria was all too aware that Newfoundland dogs can be expensive to insure so wasn’t surprised at the premium of £56 per month as she would have peace of mind that if Max was unlucky enough to develop health problems too then the insurance would cover his vet fees as they had done for Beau.
Max was very unlucky. He needed two major surgeries in his first year of life – an elbow arthroscopy and then a triple pelvic osteotomy to correct poor hips. As the cost of these two operations exceeded the insurance policy’s annual limit, Victoria had to find money to pay the extra cost.
She got a shock though when the renewal premium came in at £116 per month. Beau’s premium had never risen by anything like that much. (In fact even when Beau’s final premium was just £27 per month).
Although Victoria had been expecting an increase 120% seemed excessive! However she was stuck with Animal Friends as no other company would cover Max’s hips or elbows.
Over the coming months Animal Friends continued to pay for the follow up treatment on Max’s hips and elbows, and also for a minor soft palette operation. And until February 2014 he was doing really well.
But then he started limping and then Max, when he was 21 months, was also diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Victoria was understandably devastated… but one crumb of comfort was that she had got pet insurance…they had been great at paying out for Beau… so she knew that at least Max would be able to get the best palliative care.
In June Victoria received her renewal premium from Animal Friends for the policy year due to start on 7th August. They wanted £407 per month (just under £5,000 per year) to continue with Max’s lifetime cover!
Victoria was totally shocked… she now found herself unable to afford either the insurance premium or to pay for the treatment that Max needed herself. And it seemed so heartless to withdraw the lifeline from a terminally ill dog.
Victoria wrote at the time
“They know from the notes my oncologist has provided them that unless he is very lucky that he probably only has another year unless his treatment works. This is what has so annoyed me as l mistakenly thought that at least with his insurance that we could give him a year of good quality of life and extra supplements to ease any problems but that will have to be curtailed a lot.”
As she couldn’t afford the premiums the policy wasn’t renewed and Victoria had to make some very difficult decisions about what she could and couldn’t afford to do for Max.
Not being able to afford the treatment he needed Victoria chose to make Max as comfortable as possible and to make his last weeks as happy as she could.
Victoria’s beautiful boy Max was put to sleep on 20th August 2014.