Jan. 21st, 2011

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Love for a person, or love for a pet. Life is life, yes? So why should the species matter? But it does. If a human becomes ill, hundreds of thousands of dollars can be spent to make that human well, even when the illness is one that will ultimately, most likely, end in death. But when an animal becomes ill with the same, or similar, disease, how much money spent on preserving its life depends on what its owner can afford. Often the choice is to terminate the pet’s life rather than spend money in on-going medical care.

But don’t judge these fiscally aware owners too harshly. Be assured, no one can judge them more cruelly than they do themselves. Setting the price tag on a pet’s life is heart-breaking and damn difficult. The owner must take into account basic requirements for their own life: shelter, food, safety. If they’re income only allows for these basic needs to be met, with a bit left over to provide the same for a pet, then what are they to do when the pet’s needs suddenly exceed the income they have coming in? Let the illness go untreated, and allow the pet to suffer until it’s too-soon death? Treat the illness and risk being unable to afford the three basic necessities of life?

Or should those who can’t afford to spend money hand over fist to give a pet as much care as a human receive be banned from having pets at all? Should financial limitations determine that people who already must do without some things must also do without the companionship, comfort, and pleasure of having a pet to share their life?

Vets refer to pet owners as ‘parents.’ People often refer to a pet’s owner as its mommy or daddy. This used to offend me, but on deeper thought, these pretend relationships are more accurate than I had previously assumed. A pet IS a child, totally dependent on the owner. And while owners don’t love their pets more than their children, most owners do love their pets with something akin to parental love.
So what price do you put on love? And how the hell do you live with yourself afterward, knowing that you drew a monetary line in the sand, and the pet you love so well just crossed it? Or is about to….

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gypsyanna

June 2012

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