Friday, March 24, 2006

Thoughts on Pets

My manager told me this morning that his mother's dog may have brain cancer.

Some of you who read my journal back when I was in the Land of Diary-X may remember that about two years ago I dated an emotionally unstable veterinary oncologist. Putting the emotionally unstable bit to the side, I always had a hard time wrapping my head around his job:

You treat pets for cancer?
People bring you their dogs with cancer and you cure them?
And they pay thousands of dollars to do this?
Yes, it's for their pets.

He always made me feel like people (me) who were unwilling to drop 6 thousand dollars to possibly cure their pets of cancer were bad. Seriously, he told me about this one woman who nearly went bankrupt paying for her little dogs medical care. And, he thought it was the greatest thing.

I told him (not a direct quote, but close enough), "I'm sorry, but if my cat, the wonderful Psychokitty Isabella, Giver of Vomit of Joy, Attacker of Feet That Move in the Night, Killer of Alien Crickets [pictured], ever got cancer (or some other illness which would potentially bankrupt me), I would have her put down."

He looked like I had told him there was no Santa Claus.

I love PKI very much; however, I love my quality of life more. I would want her to die peacefully, rather than endure kittychemo or some other painful procedure and, maybe even then, still not be cured. Part of loving is being able to let go.

I have no resources to back this up, but I have heard that people can get health insurance for their pets. In a country where a lot of children can't get basic health care for lack of insurance, that is completely fucked up.



  1. Everyone's different. With all due respect, why should you judge someone else's choices about the care they give their pet? Everyone's relationship to his or her animal is different. My ex and I had a dog we both loved who had a chronic condition (not cancer) that we chose to treat, in the process shelling out many thousands of dollars between us over a few years. It was to maintain a good quality of life for him. When it became apparent that that quality of life was at an end, we put him to sleep. But those years were very special years among the three of us, believe it or not. I don't regret a penny of it.

  2. I actually feel fortunate and grateful that my dog died very suddenly of a stroke or heart attack. The vet said he probably didn't even feel any pain. As he got older, I was already worried about going through the agony of making those kinds of decisions for an ailing pet.

  3. I think I agree with you... animals are important, but it's a resources thing. If all human beings enjoyed wonderful health care and the extra wealth was used to care for animals in extremis, then I'd approve.

    But *I* don't even have insurance, and as you mention millions of children don't either.

    What's your stance on euthanasia for humans?

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  5. My little Luna has insurance... well, of sorts. It's a program through Banfield Pet Hospital, where I pay $19.95 a month and all her vaccines, office visits and her spay are covered... when the time comes. I just can't see adopting an animal and not being prepaired to take care of it's health...(Same goes for bringing a child into the world!!) Now, I can only do so much in terms of "emergency care"... I certainly wouldn't go bankrupt over it... If I could afford it, hell yeah!

  6. i agree with you. there's a profound difference between treating a human, who can usually understand what's going on, for a severe illness, than there is an animal. this is especially true if the treatment involves methods that can make the animal ill, like chemotherapy. i don't have the resources to pay for that kind of treatment, nor would i want to put an animal through something they don't understand, will be miserable through, and may not survive anyway. while i wouldn't have them euthenized right away (unelss they're in pain or too ill) i don't want to put them through extra suffering to save my feelings. as human companion, it's my duty to make sure that their life is full and as free of ill health as possible.

  7. Anonymous8:32 PM

    you have never known the love of a pet or you would feel differently.