Can you afford a pet?

August 2, 2022

afford-a-petI’ve been in animal rescue, fostered and I have had pets of my own, usually rescue pets, since 1973. Cats and dogs. I love them all. They add so much to our lives, don’t they?

And I also know what goes into the care of pets. What is required.

Yes, I know, back in the day families just had a dog, let it live outside in a dog house, got it a rabies shot and that was that. Most of us are more evolved than that when it comes to pet care today. Here’s what it takes:

Regular vet visits. Vaccinations. Treatment, sometimes expensive, when injured or ill. Flea preventive. Quality food. Daily care. This stuff is not cheap.

Some people fall on hard times and find it hard to afford their pets.

This happened to a couple in another state whose puppy (purchased from a breeder) needed $10,000 worth of care for a bad injury. They couldn’t come up with the money because they’d spent their savings to buy the dog. (I won’t even start with the number of dogs that need rescue….)

Immediate surgery was required. The vet clinic was unwilling to do the surgery at no cost.

Apparently, one of the vet techs said she’d adopt the dog so it would have a chance at surgery. But the couple would have to surrender their dog. They did. That night they said had come up with the  money but the vet clinic said it was too late. They couldn’t have their dog back.

Several things wrong with this story.

First, if you have the money to buy a puppy rather than rescue, you damn well should have access to money for its care. Even unexpected care.

Second, the facts of this case are still murky. Of course, vets can’t do surgery for free for every pet with owners who can’t pay. I don’t know the solution. I’m not sure of the facts because the public facts are different from what my own vet told me when we discussed it in July.

(Side note: I learned of this story because one of the emergency vets in my area sent all of their clients an email about it–on the side of the vet clinic–leading us to believe the vet clinic forced the couple to surrender the dog. It was a strange email and ill-advised. The vet was completely tone deaf as to how this would land on clients. Of course, I sent her a response and it asked WTF? Is this meant to give us a threat that you’ll take your clients’ pets if they can’t pay? WTF? No response from her, of course. It was…an ill-advised email, to clients I thought)

afford-a-petHaving said that, I am well aware of how easy it is for someone without means to give in to the impulse to have a warm, fuzzy creature and not think about what it costs.

Well…it costs.

I’m not saying that anyone should give up their pet because of finances. But if you are living on a too-small fixed income and can hardly afford your own expenses, this is not the time to get cute kitten or a happy-go-lucky dog. You aren’t being fair to them.

It surprises me when people who can’t afford their own food and lodging get a pet and then…get ANOTHER a year later, as someone I know did. Such an irresponsible act. I have to ask, WHY?? So unfair to the animal.

If you can barely afford your own life, do not adopt a pet.

But, as it turns out, there are options for those having trouble affording a pet they already adopted. Try to get help here and here.

And seriously: you may want a pet badly, but if you are struggling, don’t do this to an animal. Get on secure financial footing so you can afford the expenses of a pet. Volunteer to walk shelter dogs.

Just don’t subject an innocent creature to your bad judgment.

16 comments on “Can you afford a pet?
  1. Right now it’s getting hard to afford us.

  2. Diane says:

    Your last statement says it all! “Just don’t subject an innocent creature to your bad judgment.”
    Truer words…

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    Pet abuse, whether intentional or not, breaks my heart. People should be better educated as to what they’re getting into when adopting an animal. Good job with this post.

  4. There are people who bought or adopted dogs during the Pandemic and are now abandoning the animals because offices are opening again! So sad and frustrating!

  5. Lauren says:

    Great reminder. Pets are expensive and you really need to think about that before you commit.

  6. With cost of things, hubby and I are some what struggling. But we willing to cut corners for our fur babies.
    I haven’t visit your blog for a long time. Shock you were still blogging.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  7. Jennifer says:

    I have been at that crossroads facing questions of how much am I willing to pay for life-saving surgery on a pet. It’s a difficult decision and depends on answers to other questions like how long will my pet live if given this operation, what will her daily life be like, and will this operation cure the problem.

  8. I loved my two dogs who have now passed on but I am still trying to pay off their vet bills. I heard that the Humane Society offers grants to seniors on limited incomes to give them some money for their care.

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