Every now and again in online question and answer forums I encounter a pet owner pleading for help with their sick, injured, or dying, pet. They always seem to have the line “I cannot afford to take it to a vet, please help”. I roll my eyes nearly every time I see this, my automatic thought response is “If you can afford a computer and Internet service, you can afford to take your pet to the veterinarian.”. Yet when you say this to somebody their typical response is something like “I am on a computer at the Library” or something, which begs the question “Why did you leave your injured, dying, or sick pet, to go to the library to look for help?”. Well, if true, I guess that is better than nothing, but I still have my doubts as to the reality of people who claim not to be able to afford emergency vet care.
Even worse is when people cannot afford to spay or neuter a pet they just got, or have it wormed and/or vaccinated. I can be sympathetic in regards to people who cannot afford emergency care but why are people getting pets if they cannot afford the basics?
Veterinarian care is expensive, no doubt about it, but so is coffee when you get it every day. Lower income people who want to have pets need to understand that sometimes pet ownership means making a sacrifice on other things in order to put money away for emergency vet care.
Also an owner should be aware that the visit is generally not the expense, it is the treatment. Taking the pet to the vet to find out what might be wrong, to get a diagnosis, is not usually as expensive as some people think, in some cases it can even be free – Banfield vet clinics often have coupons a person can acquire for a free check up.
At least get your pet to the veterinarian so you know what is wrong, how bad it is, and how much it will cost, before you rush around taking advice from strangers on the Internet who may not know what they are talking about.
Owning a pet should be taken as a serious commitment, that animal’s life and health are your responsibility. If it dies because you were too cheap to sacrifice a cup of coffee it is your fault.
Of course I am sympathetic when a person cannot pay expensive treatment costs, as these costs can get into thousands of dollars, but I have little sympathy for the person who gets a puppy then complains two weeks later when it is sick that they cannot afford to take it to the vet, what on earth were they doing getting a puppy in the first place? My sympathies are with the pup.
The same thing for the person who breeds there dog then finds themselves in an emergency situation requiring a Cesarean section (a common risk in breeding some dogs) and complains they cannot afford it – again, then why did they bred their dog?
For the lower income people there are many cheap pets, or simply do as I did (I use to work part time for minimum wage only but always had money for my pet’s needs), live frugally and below your means, and if you cannot do that – do not get a pet.
There is also no excuse for not spaying or neutering a cat or dog, if this is a financial concern you think you cannot make, adopt one that has already been fixed rather than taking one that still requires this somewhat expensive surgery – also note it is cheaper to fix male animals than females.
I could go on and on, the point is most people have money to spend on their pets, but have chosen to spend it on other things instead… hmm… how much is your cell phone bill?
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