pupdate, pressure, and poor customer service

Diego at the beach
Three weeks after losing Tala, Diego became violently ill. The usual home approaches didn't work, but when the trip to the vet didn't work, I was really worried. Seeing this dog -- normally the picture of happiness, with a voracious appetite -- so quiet and sad, and unable to eat, was very scary. He ended up staying at the vet clinic for two nights, on intravenous medications and fluids.

I have been feeling very put-upon. Just before the Christmas holiday, Allan was in a car accident. He wasn't hurt, but the insurance company declared our car a total loss. Then Tala. And then Diego. Service from the insurance company was horrible, adding to the stress, and we needed to buy a car -- fast. All this while I am under a lot of pressure to get both library work and union work wrapped up before our trip. And we need a healthy dog before we leave, too!

This morning we picked up Diego from the clinic, and he is once again his happy self. A huge relief! Our vet strongly suspects inflammatory bowel disease, and is optimistic that a special diet and continuing medication will do the trick. The car saga should end tomorrow, when our friend M@ helps Allan return the rental and pick up our new (to us) car. We're bleeding money, but not for the first time, and undoubtedly not for the last time.

Two notes I wanted to share.

I have been raving about Rollover, the semi-soft dog food that we've been using as training treats. (I mentioned it herehere, and elsewhere.) We've now learned that the high fat content of this food makes it ill-advised for many dogs. Diego has been getting large quantities of this, in place of some of his regular food, for about 20 months. Our vets do not want to guilt us, but I'm sure it contributed to his current issues. If you are using Rollover, please make sure your dog can tolerate a higher-fat diet, and you might want to keep his or her regular food very low fat to balance it out.

The other note is about our insurance carrier, Aviva. Getting in an accident just before the holidays, I realize that service may be slower, and things may take a bit longer to sort out. But that excuse only goes so far. The rep assigned to our claim was unavailable for more than two weeks -- and then appeared only to tell us that we should talk to someone else. But there was no "someone else" -- our information was unavailable to other agents.

Meanwhile, the policy has a cap on the rental of a replacement vehicle. The settlement offer was unreasonably low, and we're about to be out-of-pocket for the rental, because of the agent's incompetence or unavailability. She didn't return phone calls, and when we asked questions by email, she would reply with a five-word "please call me to discuss" -- but would not return our calls. It was very frustrating, and created a lot of extra work and inconvenience for us.

Finally, Allan called the general number, asked to speak to the agent's manager, and left a message saying he was calling to complain. What a surprise, later that day, the rep called us, extended the rental, made a better offer, and mailed a cheque. I realize this may be an aberration, but I'm not so keen to deal with Aviva again.


Stephanie said...

Timing sucks, sorry that my panicked questions about dog training could have only contributed.

As for insurance, let me suggest your local credit union. Might be more approachable (might not -- insurance sucks). LOVE you neww car though.

Really happy that Diego is better.

laura k said...

Stephanie, nothing you said or did contributed to my stress in any way! I was happy to help when I could. Plus I'm pretty good at setting limits. :)

Amy said...

They say bad things come in threes, so maybe the universe will leave you alone for a while.

When is the trip?

laura k said...

Ah, the threes. Such a weird thing, that idea.

We are leaving Feb 6. Two weeks from today!

Dharma Seeker said...

So glad to hear that Diego is feeling better. I put my girls on a raw diet about two months ago now and they are doing awesome. It certainly isn't for everyone but the only time Willow's IBD acts up is when I've messed up and given her something too rich/fatty. I personally really appreciate the level of control it gives me in terms of what my dogs ingest, but it's time consuming and commercial pre-made foods are often unbalanced (too much bone) and quite expensive.

For your insurance I would recommend having a chat with your broker. There are multiple limit options available for the OPCF 20 (loss of use coverage) and your broker had a duty to review them all with you to ensure your needs would be met. Good on you for having that coverage in the first place though, a lot of people skip it and it is really useful if you find yourself in a position of needing it. xx

impudent strumpet said...

Oh, what a mess! I'm sorry all this stuff had to get thrown at you all at once. Fingers crossed for a fun and stress-free trip!

laura k said...

Thank you, Imp Strump! Much appreciated.

Dharma Seeker, glad to hear your dogs are doing well on a raw diet. I'm really not looking for advice on either dog food or insurance. (A lot of people skip car insurance?? Wow!)

Dharma Seeker said...

Haha I'm sure a lot of people do skip car insurance because it's cost prohibitive. The loss of use coverage is an optional coverage, that is what a lot of people skip. Definitely wasn't advising a raw diet, it's not for everyone it's just worked well for us and for Willow's IBD in particular.I was commiserating with you about the IBD. I do think your broker should be servicing you better as the situation with the rental limit falls back on the broker. Not offering insurance advice, I'm not recommending a particular broker or a particular company. Brokers have a duty to ensure coverage is adequate. It's the way the industry works.

laura k said...

Sounds good -- thanks very much. I'll connect with our broker on that. And I'm glad to know that the raw diet has worked out for Willow. She's lucky to have a mom who will do that for her!