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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


"Pawn your stuff. TVs and VCRs can be replaced. Your pet can’t."

on the outside, that sounds really insensitive and trying to coerce people who are having a hard time into parting with cash, but the vets I've seen aren't like that at all, they all seem to genuinely care about your pet. My girlfriend and I lost our hamster last year, and I know it sounds silly, but we would have done anything for her. We took her to emergency vets, and spent loads on medicine for her because we loved her (well, we still do). I'd spend the money again, too. I honestly believe that I couldn't love a child as much as I loved that hamster, and that's what it really boils down to - you can't choose what you love, and species is irrelevant. If you love a dog (and I mean really love a dog) then you'd do just as much for an ill dog as you would for an ill child.

We were devastated when we lost our hamster, and we still miss her like crazy. It sounds weird, even to me, that you can love something but never make it understand what that means. You just have to do whatever you can for them, and know what that means to you.

Get me, rambling!
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I just had to take one of my turtles in for surgery, the cost was not to bad but I felt bad about her getting an infection that needed surgery. It wasn't anything that I did or did not do, but I felt bad any way.
While I was waiting for her I thought to my self, what am I doing? Its a turtle. If it came down to a matter of survival I would not hesitate to eat this animal.
I have never had the same thoughts about my children.
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If you love a dog (and I mean really love a dog) then you’d do just as much for an ill dog as you would for an ill child.

Quoted for truth. :(
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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.
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Personally, I just lost my cat to what I later found was a terminal illness. I loved her for many years and I can't imagine not trying to give her a fighting chance. I did what I was able to do for her and I have no regrets.

I already have a car, thanks. I've had many cats, but I will never have another cat with her personality and absolute adoration of me. Every one of the extra days I got to spend with her was worth it.

In the course of this, I met many people who spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to help their pet in question. They all had nearly the same thing to say. Their pet was somehow exceptional to every other animal they had owned. The animal had done so much for them in some way. It made perfect sense as I stood there, trying to make very difficult decisions myself, not quite knowing where the situation with my own pet was headed. Their money, their pet, 'nuff said.
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Car vs Dog - Winner (ding ding ding) the CAR!

Until Lassie can get me back and forth to work, get the kids back and forth to school, pickup the groceries, get the dry cleaning, etc etc - it's no contest.

Besides, my car doesn't take a dump on the carpet, eat it's own vomit, park on the furniture, or hump your leg when you come to visit.

Plus, dogs are self replacing, there's always one (or ten) waiting in the wings. Cars aren't so easy to replace.
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What gets me is how dependent pets are on you. At one point, it sounds crazy to leave stuff behind for your pet if you pass. And at another point, who would take care of the pet if you are gone? I think about that all the time. My feelings about my dog are just as strong as they are with my child.
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I think the question would be better phrased, "which is more important: a friend or a car?" After all, isn't that what most pets actually are to their owners/caregivers? Phrased this way, it's not such a clear-cut case of which chattel has more dollar value.

It's also a bit of a false dichotomy. Sure, $25,000 can -buy- you a car, but how many people would spend $25,000.00 to -save- a car they already own? Unless it's a Rolls-Royce, or some such.
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“Pawn your stuff. TVs and VCRs can be replaced. Your pet can’t.”

I've replaced my pet many times - my dog dies and I get a new one.

Couldn't it be viewed as selfish? For who's benefit is the dog living for 3 extra months? The owner's? What if the pet is in pain?

...and does anyone else find it creepy that we've bread these dogs to love us so much? It's a tilted relationship to say the least.
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I recall seeing a show about a family dog who mauled the face of a child, and the parents of the child had to decide between the son or the dog. The mother wanted to get rid of the dog, but the father, who was the original owner of the dog before the marriage, could not depart with the dog. So he kept him, and the wife felt like he chose the dog over their baby.

I tell ya, as a fish owner, I am very protective of *my* fish, because they belong to *me*. I could care less about other fish. And I don't attribute any greatness to my fish - in fact, they're quite plain. But I would, and have, gone the extra mile just so they could live better.

I spent $200 one time just to save one oranda goldfish, but she died anyway. $200 is a lot of money for a student like me to spend on a $10 fish, but at least I have peace of mind that I did everything possible.
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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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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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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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"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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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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