I recently have written about how pet ownership should not be a privilege of the well off and wealthy. In my previous most recent blog post, I also wrote about costs of veterinary care seemingly being poised to outpace general inflation and wage increases of the average pet owner, along with precautions pet owners must engage in if they are to deal with this new reality of pet health care. However, it is hard for me to have sympathy for a person who goes out and spends $3000 on a pure breed pet, then cries to me that they have no money to afford even basic health care for the animal.
The most troubling aspect of this all too common scenario is that the breeds that people tend to sink the most money into are the ones that have the most health problems. In dogs, it is Boxers, Sharpeis, German Shepherds, and English Bull Dogs to name a few. In cats, it is Persians, Himalayans, Siamese and Ragdolls to name a few. These and other pure breeds often cost the owner a small fortune and carry the most unwanted disease predisposing genetic baggage.
Of course, when these pets ultimately get sick, partly because of their genetic predisposition to disease, partly because after the expensive purchase of the animal the owners have no money left to provide even basic well care for the pet; guess who they ask for a discount, free care, or payment plans to provide treatment? Then after I refuse, suddenly I am the bad guy in their minds for not working for free or refusing to set up a payment plan that I know I will never collect…been there, done that too many times to know how things turn out. That’s right; I end up somehow being the cause for the dilemma created by their bad decisions.
But although my clinic had to do away with billing plans as our accounts receivable started reaching astronomical proportions, we do offer interest free payment plans from third party medical lenders like Care Credit that people with even fair credit worthiness can get approved for, as well as accept all major credit cards. But of course, all too often, these people that were bent on spending $3000 on a pet, not only have no money to pay for vet bills, but they also have no credit worthiness for any kind of medical lending plans.
So please put this in perspective. A person has very little money, poor to non-existent credit, yet spends $3000 on a pure breed pet that is likely to have more health problems than the average pet. Really?
Now, I will still maintain that pet ownership should not only be a privilege of the well off and wealthy, but people also have to be accountable to make financially sound and common sense decisions. Want a pet? No problem. Go to the local shelter where they are giving them away for a nominal adoption fee, complete with parasite and heartworm screening, full complement of vaccines, and spay/neuter. Still bent on a pure breed pet? Be patient, they come through shelters all the time, or one can easily find a pure breed rescue online or through local retail pet stores and veterinarians that engage in work for these organizations (my hospital works with Italian Greyhound, Scottish Terrier, German Shepherd, and Labrador Retriever rescues, as well as a host of feline rescues).
If you know or are related to people like this that are talking of buying expensive pure breed animals with money they don’t have, nor have the means to properly care for them, please, talk some sense into them. Spread this post as far and wide as you can, share it with others, shout it from the roof tops. While it may be hard to believe, this story lines occurs day in and day out, and those of us with better sense than that must do our best to guide those that do not.