What's More Important: A Dog or a Car?

Americans love pets. We pamper them and even consider them a member of the family, but at what cost?

After spending more than a month's rent on vet bills, Ada Calhoun wrote this Salon.com article on how much is too much to pay for your pet:

I asked Dr. Mann the most he'd ever seen an owner pay for a pet's treatment.

"When I worked at an emergency animal hospital," he said, "I saw someone spend $25,000 to save a dog." (The dog had a systemic infection resulting from an untreated wound.) Dr. Mann also told me about pet owners spending thousands on chemotherapy for a pet so they could have a few more months "to say goodbye."

"That seems extreme," I said, thinking Dr. Mann and I would have a chuckle together about people spending what, for some, is a year's salary just to have three more months with a pet, no matter how beloved.

"Well, what's more important, a dog or a car?" Dr. Mann asked. He wasn't laughing.

His at-any-cost philosophy is not unusual in the veterinary community. That's their job, after all: keeping animals alive. The Humane Society of the United States offers a guide called, "What You Can Do If You're Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care." Some of their suggestions: "Consider taking on a part-time job or temping," and "Pawn your stuff. TVs and VCRs can be replaced. Your pet can't."

Link (Illustration by Tim Bower) - via growabrain

Another perspective on pet euthanazia: whatikilledtodayblog - via I have seen the whole of the internet


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Bun, I would wouldn't agree with you spending thousands of dollars on wedding dresses, vacations, and home remodelling if you had to pawn your possessions to do so. I would call it stupid and irresponsible.

A cat or dog is not a sentient creature, by the way. Perhaps you've been watching too many cartoons.

Just because pets are animals doesn't mean we can't care deeply for them - but they're not people; they're not children.
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"Pets are like members of the family to some. Why does it then seem strange that they would do anything for a few more months? Most people would do that for their human child in a heartbeat."

Because a pet isn't a human child.
To draw comparisons would be to insult intelligence.

Those people may be willing to ascribe whatever deeper bonds or connections they want into their animals -- which is certainly admirable and romantic, even -- but just remember:

- Ascription is a human faculty

- Romantic is also defined as "not compatible with reality: idealistic, quixotic"

Being a mature human being is knowing where the line exists, when you are doing what is compassionate and humane, and when you are assuaging your own grief and denying the inevitable.

Who are those extra months for?
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The "it's just an animal" people drive me nuts. If I wanted to spend four figures on a wedding dress or vacation or home remodel, no one would say boo. So why all the criticism if I want to use it to ensure a sentient creature's well-being?

Plus, in a rough situation, a dog's got your back. Not so much with the car!
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There should be a qualifier in the question. Will the money go towards giving a beloved pet three quality months or just three more months? I love my pets and would do a lot for them, but I refuse to put forward a lot of money just so that [i]I[/i] could have his/her company for a number of months more. I think that pet owners can enter the realm of selfishness when they prolong a beloved pet's suffering just to eek out a couple months or even a year of company.
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I would hate to put an animal in the hands of a vet who holds the philosophy of keeping it alive at great personal cost to the owner. You see your sick friend - they see dollar signs.

When you have a sick pet, you have to decide upfront how much you are willing and can afford to spend. Vet bills will suck you dry otherwise. You can't let an animal suffer to stay alive just you can avoid feeling guilty.
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