Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Much Money Is A Pet's Life Worth To You?

On the way back from a board meeting tonight I was listening to CJOB which is a local news/talk radio station here in Manitoba. Even though it probably makes me old and boring, I really like news and talk radio. There, I'm coming out of the closet. Don't judge me! Don't judge me.

Anyway, there was an interview with a guy from the Humane Society. The host admitted to him taking his dog to the vet a few days ago and confessed that after he got his bill for over $400 he fleetingly wondered "How much would have cost just to put the dog down?" This lead into a big discussion on how much a person would be willing to put into saving their animal before they'd say "enough." Never being really attached to my pet, I thought $400 was a crazy amount. But soon someone called in and said they had paid over $1000. I was shocked. But then someone said they had paid over $3000 - (twice) on their dog's health! That's over $6000 on an animal. Many of these callers said that money was no object. Once you get attached to an animal you will anything within your power to save them.

This made me think, how much would I be willing to spend to save a dog? And is there an ethical problem if you are not willing to spend money giving life giving donations to starving children but you are willing to pay thousands to replace your dog's hip or repair its torn ACL? I suppose the reason someone can do this is because they are emotionally attached to the dog and not emotionally attached to the starving children. Intellectually we know that millions of children starving is more important then one dog, but because we get bonded to an animal that is in front of us, it's no contest - the dog will win every time. I'm not saying we shouldn't do all we can to save animals (I think animals deserve care and compassion) but I wonder where we ought to draw the line? And what does God think of it all? Is he impressed by our compassion for animals even as we ignore the human needs around us?


Moxymama said...

I understand the reason people spend so much on their dogs, but truly I don't understand it. Our dog ate a poisoned frog once and it paralyzed her. We took her to the vet where the vet worked her magic, but never really told us what that magic was. When she recovered we were handed an 800 dollar bill. We almost died right there. Had we known we probably would not have consented to all that treatment. I think now we would pay for semi-reasonable treatment but would not consent to any outstanding measures taken to prolong the life of our dog.

Mark said...

Thanks for your honesty! I think that it must be a tough decision to make . . .

PJ Fiset said...

For about 6 months before my dog passed away, my parents kept telling me that i should have jessie put down, i kept telling them that i didn't want to and i'm glad i didn't. because i got to say goodbye the right way.

Anonymous said...

my children take enough of my money!!


Lindsey Dueck said...

Now, this post was just ASKING me for a long comment....Thanks for opening up this can of worms\. $400 for a vet bill is not that much, actually. If you get an animal and honestly believe that animal will never get sick and are not willing to put money into it, then you shouldn't have that animal. You should not have animals if you are going to shoot them in the head when they get sick or hurt. You would not be smart to buy a vehicle and think that it will never need repairs. You are not going to drop it off at the junk yard if something needs fixing on it. So why would you to that with a living thing?

I really don't think you should judge what people spend their money on. Come on Mark. I could go on forever. What about the money people spend on luxury vehicles. Why couldn't they get a cheaper vehicle and send the extra money to the starving children?? What about cosmetic surgery? Vacations? Nice clothes? Expensive homes? Cable or Satelite TV? I don't think I really need to keep listing things.

Let's say you choose to spend your extra money on a vacation or a vehicle, and I choose to spend it on my animals. Who are YOU to say that I should be sending MY money to the staving children instead of spending it on my dogs while you spend yours without thinking twice about sending it to the starving kids?

I am not Mrs. Moneybags, but I would say money is no object for me and my dogs. I will find a way to pay. If they need fixing, I will fix it, within reason. I will NOT keep a dog alive suffering just cause I can't deal with the pain of losing it. That's not fair to the dog. But if it can be fixed and the dog can live a basically normal, pain-free, happy life, then I will do it.

I think God wants us to be responsible for the things we take on. If we decide to get a pet, we need to take care of them properly and be responsible for them. Just like we should be resposible with our money, our vechiles, our homes, etc.

And who said the people that are spending money on their dogs are ignoring the human needs around them? Maybe they are supporting that too.

I think if we lived in the US and saw the cost of human healthcare, Canadians wouldn't complain so much about the cost of their animal's care.


A cut hand for a human would cost about $3000 to sew up, a dog would be $100 - $150 to sew up, including general anesthetic, which the humans price does not.

A broken arm would cost $2500 for an xray and simple cast for a human. A dog would cost $300 at the most, including sedation or general anesthesia and pain meds, which the human price does not.

An ovariohystorectomy (spay or "fixing") for a dog costs $150-200. A similar procedure, the hystorectomy for a human female costs about $20,000.

Keep in mind that human medicine and most animal medicine are very similar. Our body systems are basically the same. We are all mammals after all! Even the drugs and supplies used are the same most of the time. It takes the same amount of schooling to become a medical doctor as it does to become a veterinarian.

I could go on and on and on forever, so I better stop now.

Aneta said...

I've thought about this many, many times, having had several pets over the years. It's amazing how emotionally attached we get to our animals. I would have an easier time spending money on a pet than my husband would. I have a neighbour who spend probably $1000 on amputating her cat's leg! I personally think that's a little crazy.. why not just put the cat down (humanely)? I have experienced having to put pets down because of illness (organs shutting down and physical deterioration due to old age). My question is: Is it inhumane to put an animal down by shooting it? Sounds horrible to me, but it is quick.

Lindsey Dueck said...

If I were the animal, I would much rather drift off the sleep when I die rather than be tied to a tree and watch my owner point a gun at me.

Aneta said...

What about if the owner is talking gently to the pet and someone else does the gun pointing, not in the animal's field of vision? If not done in that way, then I agree it would be very inhumane.

Lindsey Dueck said...

I just can't bear the thought of my animal being shot in the head, I guess.