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S/o (sort of) Pet Ownership is Becoming Elitist.


Quill
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Do you agree?

 

I have mixed feeling about this, because I have loved dogs, cats and horses since childhood. I love to have pet dog(s) and cat(s) and have had one or the other or both in my life since I was a teenager. I'm not into horses anymore because they are too expensive, but that kind of segues right into what I am about to say.

 

When I was a teen, I was very concerned about the problems of inadequate pet ownership: indescriminant and accidental breeding, puppies and kittens as surprise presents, ignorant pet ownership and management, animal abuse via incorrect or non-existant training, ad infinitum. So I do see it as a good thing that there are far fewer unintended litters than there used to be and life-long pet ownership seems to be much more the norm than it once was.

 

However, pet ownership, most especially of dogs seems to be becoming an elite activity. If you want to acquire a puppy in the first place, this is no longer a simple or inexpensive/free event. The puppy I got when I was 16, my beloved sheltie/spitz mix, Nika, was acquired from a classified ad in the paper for free. She was a dear friend for 16 more years. I think it is actually impossible to get a free mutt this way anymore. Blessing/curse.

 

Now, every "mutt" I know was intentionally combined and costs a thousand dollars. Beag-a-Chons and Chow-a-Poos and Shepra-Doodles. (Yes I am being a little bit intentionally absurd.) But, having dropped a four-figure sum just to get your farcically Hypoallergenic dog, you have only scratched the surface of Responsible Pet Ownership because that first year's vet bills will set you back many hundreds. Plus obedience classes, grooming, toys, beds, idiotic leashes and the finest pet food. And a mini-fridge in the garage because you're feeding him Fresh Pet. He will have an anxiety disorder so you'll buy a Thundershirt and give him Prozac. Or have a canine psychologist work with him so he will stop eating the cat turds.

 

I don't really know what the solution is, and, like I said, I am happy that many more people consider carefully pet ownership than it once was and I do believe a much greater percentage of pets have a wonderful life than in decades past. But I do worry sometimes that having pets, especially dogs, is becoming a status symbol. I think fewer kids from working class or lower-middle (or even just frugal middle) will even grow up with a dog or cat. I find that sad.

 

I think by todays standards, I would not have had pets as a child and I would not have gotten my lovely Nika.

 

Am I wrong? Is it good? Should pets only belong to people with ample dough to buy them and who don't bat a lash at spending $900 on a mixed-breed dog?

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I agree.  I think it's absolutely stupid.  If you want to clone dogs for parts for your beloved mutt and spend thousands of dollars on their surgeries to keep them alive an extra year....by all means, but not doing so doesn't make a person a bad pet owner. 

 

I have cats, but sitting and listening to the stepford women during dance and gymnastic practice over the years I have learned about all the stuff one is supposed to do with their cats now.  They have cat day care.  They have cat play gyms.  And of course now you are a bad bad owner if you don't have your cat getting regular dental checkups and cleanings.  We are also supposed to be brushing their teeth at home. F*** that I value my life far too much to attempt to brush my cats' teeth!

 

 

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Well, I paid $50 for our 18m hound mix, to a lady who was fostering her. Ginger had been one of a litter of puppies this lady's mom had found on the side of the road. Mom had taken all but this one pup to the shelter and intended to keep her. Apparently daughter saw that the pup was too much for her mother and took her in. Daughter was willing to give her to us for free, but as she had spayed and microchipped Ginger, I felt it only right to compensate her in some small way. 

 

It costs us about $100 a month to own a dog. That's pretty bare bones, no fancy food, training, anything. Just decent dry food, a wellness plan, and flea/tick/heartworm treatment. I can understand why middle class would choose to not have a dog, because, well, $100 a month. It did take me a while to talk DH into it for that very reason. And I don't even talk to people about her food. Seems a popuplar point of judgement among pet owners. <eyeball roll>

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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Our dog was basically free.  We got him from a rescue, and they gave him to us on the condition that we had him neutered.  We did.  Now, he was not an easy dog, but we didn't know about his anxiety at the time.  And yes, we gave him Prozac and he had a thundershirt, but those are not very expensive items.  His food came from Costco.  His beds were mostly hand-me-down blankets.  We bought two leashes in the 8 years he lived with us and they were just... leashes.  Nothing special about them.  

 

For all the fun, exercise, and love he gave us, I think we got a bargain, even with his anxiety. 

 

My neighborhood is pretty middle-class, though judging by front yards and the cars in the driveways, there are some folks at either end - upper to lower middle class.  There are a ton of dogs around here.  I wouldn't say they are only for the wealthy/elite.

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Every house on my block has a dog (sometimes more than one) that they got from the shelter. It's a low-income neighborhood (more or less). I'd want to see some data that my neighborhood is unusual before I accept your claim.

 

Oh I don't deny there aren't plenty of lower income pet owners.  I don't think Q does either.  I guess she is talking about designer breeds.  I'm talking about the frenzy of top level care at all costs attitude that has been created I assume by people who want to make money on it. 

 

I don't feed my cats an all raw organic grass fed meat diet.  Bad bad...owner I am. 

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We got our wonderful mutt on Craigslist for free. She had become too much for her owner, who had really been a good owner, but was gone at work all day and she wants companionship. He also gave us about $300 worth of dog stuff free. 

 

It was sad though, going through the ads. So many people were giving away or selling for a pittance dogs they had loved but couldn't take with them on a move, etc. A lot of the ads were "She will have to go to a shelter on Wednesday" kind of thing. I can't look. We can't reasonably handle/afford more than one dog and I want to take them all. 

 

 

But, the dadgummed Heartworm Preventative is SO expensive. It's ridiculous. That does contribute to the elitist thing.

Edited by Laurie4b
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I see it less in the obtaining the pet but I do see it more in vet bills.  There has only been one vet in our entire state that has worked very hard to keep the cost down to the bare minimum for people who have pets but otherwise can't afford the medical care.  He even has one day a week where he only charges for the shots/medication used and donates his time.  But the state has repeatedly tried to shut him down because he doesn't run a full battery of expensive tests on the animals who come for his care.  If they have something serious going on he refers them to other places.  But now he's retiring and there is no one to take his place.

 

Most yearly check-ups around her for a cat will run you $300-500 with shots included in that price.  That's a lot of money for pet owners to come up with.  There are "free" clinics but they are generally out of the back of a truck or in the lobby of the local farm store and if you have a cat who might dart and run that could be a real problem.  

 

Just saying that vet care costs are a lot now and they make you feel guilty if you don't want to give your diabetic cat insulin shots or your dog cancer treatments.  What are people supposed to do?

 

 

My 2 cents.

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Most yearly check-ups around her for a cat will run you $300-500 with shots included in that price.  That's a lot of money for pet owners to come up with.  There are "free" clinics but they are generally out of the back of a truck or in the lobby of the local farm store and if you have a cat who might dart and run that could be a real problem.  

 

Just saying that vet care costs are a lot now and they make you feel guilty if you don't want to give your diabetic cat insulin shots or your dog cancer treatments.  What are people supposed to do?

 

 

My 2 cents.

 

And tell me, why do they need that?  Our cats growing up lived for gee 14 years.  We brought one to the vet once for a problem.  They had their initial shots (from the shelter where we got them and were fixed).  We fed them inexpensive food from the grocery store.  They also went outside a lot (so risk for injury and earlier death was higher).  We didn't spend much money on them.  Now they want people to spend $300 - $500 a year on check ups?  WTH for?!  And now I keep my cats inside all the time. 

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I think that society has a better sense of what it means to be a good pet owner. Responsible people no longer offer free puppies through the classifieds because of dog fighters getting them. People will no lnger look the other way if you get a "pet" then expect it to live alone outside in a pen or on a chain. Shelters often charge a small fee to adopt pets. I mean, if the adoption fee is too steep, the cost of food and vet bills isn't something you should be taking on. People are more responsible about getting their dogs fixed and not having puppies for the experience. I think people are finally considering the quality of life for the animal and not just the joy a kid gets from the puppy.

 

My sister has adopted several "free" animals. She rents and this has severely impacted where her kids can live and go to school. She won't consider re homing the animals because they're "family." She's opened GoFundMes for vet bills. They love their animals, but someone in that house should have been the grown-up and limited the impulse to get more than one. They're making do, but they really can't 'afford" it.

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I don't really know what the solution is, and, like I said, I am happy that many more people consider carefully pet ownership than it once was and I do believe a much greater percentage of pets have a wonderful life than in decades past. But I do worry sometimes that having pets, especially dogs, is becoming a status symbol. I think fewer kids from working class or lower-middle (or even just frugal middle) will even grow up with a dog or cat. I find that sad.

 

I think by todays standards, I would not have had pets as a child and I would not have gotten my lovely Nika.

 

Am I wrong? Is it good? Should pets only belong to people with ample dough to buy them and who don't bat a lash at spending $900 on a mixed-breed dog?

 

I see that a segment of the population has dogs that appear to be (at least in part) a status symbol, but I don't think it's full-blown mainstream yet. Admittedly I don't get out much though!

 

I live in an affluent town where people pay for doggy daycare while the husband works and the wife does tennis and lunch. We are a small town but we have four doggy daycares. And they are FULL. I know several couples who treat their dogs as furry children, including the doggy daycare ... so the dog won't be bored at home alone for 3-4 hours a day. This dog has all the latest, greatest toys - also high end. These dogs are sitting outside of Starbucks, and brought into the grocery store as if we're in France and dog presence is to be expected everywhere you go. Have you seen the movie "Best In Show?" These are the people who live in my town, especially the Parker Posey character. I wish I were exaggerating. They fit your description.

 

But go down the freeway 5-10 miles to the working class neighborhoods and you'll see just as many families with dogs. And these people love their dogs all the same, just minus the name brand collars and blingy leashes. They eat the best dry food the grocery or feed store has to offer (which is decently high quality, although maybe not fresh-refrigerated-wet or home-cooked like the dogs in my town eat).  If they're worried about their dog being bored they leave a radio on or buy him a $2 pig's ear or rawhide bone. These dogs go to the park, but not many other places. They're hanging out in the back of a pick-up truck with one of the kids while the owner runs in to the grocery store for a few things.

 

So I've seen what you mention, but not to the exclusion of the under-classes also owning pets. I also find it sad to think kids are growing up without pets. There's something special about that experience, good or bad. Good and bad, probably. I guess what I see pretty well mirrors the same I see about kids. Some are status symbols, or are used as vehicles for status symbols. Others not so much. Obviously one stands out more in public LOL.

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In my area there a tons of shelter dogs and cats.  So if you want a purebred, then yes - it is insanely expensive.  And if you're going to do all the extras for it [day care, play dates, etc.] it can get pricey.

 

I live in the country where many dogs are still expected to earn their keep and are never allowed inside the house.  A much different mindset than the dog owners in my former hometown in SoCal.

 

Of the 4 cats we currently own......we only paid for one of them, back in 2002.  All the rest were either given to us, or we fostered as a 3-day-old kitten [we were volunteering at the local animal shelter] or showed up on our front porch one dark and stormy night obviously traumatized and in need of shelter.

 

Even our beloved purebred beagle was a "freebie" because she was the runt of the litter.  The other puppies in her pack were sold for over $500 each.  We knew the owner of Roro's mom so she was a gift to my daughter.  But, holy cow!!  $500 for a puppy?!?!

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I don't agree. It doesn't cost anything near that to get a shelter dog. And while it is important to take care of your pets, there are ways to provide good care without it costing an arm and a leg.

Shelter dog is a whole other can of worms. In my area, shelters are the best place around if what you're dying to have is a Pit Bull/mix or a Beagle. I don't want either of those kinds of dogs. I really only want another GSD. But I don't want a German Shepherd that was given up because there is a high likelihood it is there for aggression.

 

There are GSD rescues, yes. But rescues for specific breeds are often more restrictive than adopting a child from Haiti. Oh, you work? Have small children over? Can't sleep with the dog in your bed? Rejected! And again, I think that's an elitist attitude. They want to adopt a dog out to someone who contracts to have doggie day care or is home every three hours.

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I have a friend who loved his pet bird so much that he spent more than 3K on dialysis for the bird. I have other friends who are not rich who spend $$$ keeping elderly pets alive. I do think that is crazy. Both of the pets we now own are clearly on borrowed time, and as much as I love them, I would not replace them lightly.

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There are GSD rescues, yes. But rescues for specific breeds are often more restrictive than adopting a child from Haiti. Oh, you work? Have small children over? Can't sleep with the dog in your bed? Rejected! And again, I think that's an elitist attitude. They want to adopt a dog out to someone who contracts to have doggie day care or is home every three hours.

 

Yep. I've seen this. I was lucky to get my late greyhound before I had kids. Because I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have been placed with me otherwise. :(

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Every house on my block has a dog (sometimes more than one) that they got from the shelter. It's a low-income neighborhood (more or less). I'd want to see some data that my neighborhood is unusual before I accept your claim.

I have no data. It's purely anecdotal. I also don't know how different it is in other regions. It's just this general vibe...Sparkly seems to know what I mean. You're a sucky "Pet Parent" if you don't have monthly grooming or whatever.

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Hang out with farmers more. We love our pets and our farm dogs. We;ll get them fixed and give them shots. But we look at animals a little differently.

 

They're a dog and we love them. But they're not "furbabies."

I agree. We take care of our animals but they are animals, not people.

 

The humane society here will not let us adopt a dog but the state of Michigan has allowed us to adopt 3 children and foster over 100 others. And doggy day care, even in our rural area costs more per day than my daily stipend for a foster child.

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Hang out with farmers more. We love our pets and our farm dogs. We;ll get them fixed and give them shots. But we look at animals a little differently.

 

They're a dog and we love them. But they're not "furbabies."

This may be part of why I see it the way I do. DH grew up on a farm. He loved his childhood dogs and cats, but they weren't on velvet pillows and wearing a peronalized collar. They had jobs to do. Food, water, and a barn.

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Shelter dog is a whole other can of worms. In my area, shelters are the best place around if what you're dying to have is a Pit Bull/mix or a Beagle. I don't want either of those kinds of dogs. I really only want another GSD. But I don't want a German Shepherd that was given up because there is a high likelihood it is there for aggression.

 

There are GSD rescues, yes. But rescues for specific breeds are often more restrictive than adopting a child from Haiti. Oh, you work? Have small children over? Can't sleep with the dog in your bed? Rejected! And again, I think that's an elitist attitude. They want to adopt a dog out to someone who contracts to have doggie day care or is home every three hours.

 

pit bulls and mixes are the # dog breed I see at shelters around here

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I see it less in the obtaining the pet but I do see it more in vet bills. There has only been one vet in our entire state that has worked very hard to keep the cost down to the bare minimum for people who have pets but otherwise can't afford the medical care. He even has one day a week where he only charges for the shots/medication used and donates his time. But the state has repeatedly tried to shut him down because he doesn't run a full battery of expensive tests on the animals who come for his care. If they have something serious going on he refers them to other places. But now he's retiring and there is no one to take his place.

 

Most yearly check-ups around her for a cat will run you $300-500 with shots included in that price. That's a lot of money for pet owners to come up with. There are "free" clinics but they are generally out of the back of a truck or in the lobby of the local farm store and if you have a cat who might dart and run that could be a real problem.

 

Just saying that vet care costs are a lot now and they make you feel guilty if you don't want to give your diabetic cat insulin shots or your dog cancer treatments. What are people supposed to do?

 

 

My 2 cents.

Yes, I am in this exact boat right now because one of my cats needs updates on shots and needs grooming. I can't get the grooming without first getting the shots...and yeah, I *do* want my cat to not get rabies or dystemper. The TCS does do cheap shots, but I have NO idea how I would take a cat to the farm store for shots.

 

AND! I *can* afford it. It won't be a choice between shots and a grooming or paying the elctric bill. But it's still going to be a couple hundred bucks; I know this because I already had my other kitty in.

Edited by Quill
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Yes, I am in this exact boat right now because one of my cats needs updates on shots and needs grooming. I can't get the grooming without first getting the shots...and yeah, I *do* want my cat to not get rabies or dystemper. The TCS does do cheap shots, but I have NO idea how I would take a cat to the farm store for shots.

 

AND! I *can* afford it. It won't be a choice between shots and a grooming or paying the elctric bill. But it's still going to be a couple hundred bucks; I know this because I already had my other kitty in.

 

They do the shots up the street at the park here (free, but they ask for donations).  I used the cardboard carrier I bought when I got the cat at the shelter.  They specifically required some sort of carrier because they once had a few people not do that and the cats got loose and got lost (and people were obviously very upset).

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Shelter dog is a whole other can of worms. In my area, shelters are the best place around if what you're dying to have is a Pit Bull/mix or a Beagle. I don't want either of those kinds of dogs. I really only want another GSD. But I don't want a German Shepherd that was given up because there is a high likelihood it is there for aggression.

 

There are GSD rescues, yes. But rescues for specific breeds are often more restrictive than adopting a child from Haiti. Oh, you work? Have small children over? Can't sleep with the dog in your bed? Rejected! And again, I think that's an elitist attitude. They want to adopt a dog out to someone who contracts to have doggie day care or is home every three hours.

At the PAWS shelter in our area, a friend couldn't adopt a dog because both "parents" had jobs and my friend didn't want to pay for doggy daycare.

 

Child adoption doesn't even make that a requirement.

 

I'm allergic, so a pet is not really an option. A little cat found us many years ago--she was a beautiful outdoor cat and largely stayed that way. We took her to the vet, until the vet said that it made the cat a nervous wreck and he was afraid she'd have a heart attack and told us she would be better off without the stress.

 

We had her about 13 years and she found an indoor home in her old age, and died at about age 19--very old for an outdoor cat.

 

That was a great cat and I still miss her. But I won't go get a cat now because I can't bring one inside. The cat that found us was better off than before, and we did well by her...but she found us--we didn't seek her.

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This may be part of why I see it the way I do. DH grew up on a farm. He loved his childhood dogs and cats, but they weren't on velvet pillows and wearing a peronalized collar. They had jobs to do. Food, water, and a barn.

 

Same with my grandfather.  And (not that I agree with this part at all) if a cat had kittens and they didn't want more cats they would kill them. 

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I agree. I think it is fantastic we have the OPTION to do more for our pets, be that kidney transplants or expensive food. But I also think that we need to remember that if we hold every pet owner to that standard we'd have even fewer available homes, and more animals euthanized every single day. 

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Oh once I went to get a cat at the main shelter around here.  They wanted my whole family to come in to meet the potential cat to make sure we all got along.  At the time one of my kids was away for several weeks in another state and my husband could not get time off to go meet cats during their very limited hours.  So I went to one of their satellite places at a pet store that same week and brought a cat home the same day.  She's been with us for nearly 7 years now.  They constantly complain about not having enough people to adopt cats and yet they make ridiculous arbitrary requirements (that they don't apply across the board obviously). 

 

 

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It's likely.  I haven't thought about it, but I will say in my town they have a dog festival!  They also started to close down my street for the dogs on this day.  It really makes me and all the residents on our street angry.

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I just think it depends on the priority of the pet owners. I love my dogs. One dog is a mixed breed from the shelter and the other is a purebreed we got for free because its owner had too many puppies. In our house, the dogs are just fun creatures to have around and play with. 

For other people, dogs are a status symbol, or they consider them their "fur babies" and literally treat them like babies. I guess if that's how they want to spend their time, that's fine. It's not for me though.

 

I know at one point years ago we were interested in getting a pug from a rescue and we didn't pass their test because of our older dog's nose shape being a threat or something stupid, which was annoying. That's when I learned that rescues are not the same as shelters, and the people running them may be the type to lead to the notion of elitism in pet ownership. 

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We got our wonderful mutt on Craigslist for free. She had become too much for her owner, who had really been a good owner, but was gone at work all day and she wants companionship. He also gave us about $300 worth of dog stuff free.

 

It was sad though, going through the ads. So many people were giving away or selling for a pittance dogs they had loved but couldn't take with them on a move, etc. A lot of the ads were "She will have to go to a shelter on Wednesday" kind of thing. I can't look. We can't reasonably handle/afford more than one dog and I want to take them all.

 

 

But, the dadgummed Heartworm Preventative is SO expensive. It's ridiculous. That does contribute to the elitist thing.

I had a notion that craigslist did not allow offers of free pets, which is not to say I have looked.

 

I actually have a weird, woo-woo idea about pets coming into our lives; it's a bit like the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." The two cats I do have and the two dogs I have owned "appeared" in my life when it was what I wanted. The cats were born to an associate of a friend of my husband - a very improbable link. But they were just what I was hoping for. The dogs came into my life similarly. I wanted a German Shepherd and my hairdresser's dog was having puppies. Even our dog's name was never in dispute, even though DH and I had not discussed it. We both independantly wanted a GSD named "Sergeant."

 

It was weird.

 

I do not know if we will get another dog, but I am just going to see if a dog turns up in our lives. If it doesn't happen that way, it probably won't happen at all.

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I just think it depends on the priority of the pet owners. I love my dogs. One dog is a mixed breed from the shelter and the other is a purebreed we got for free because its owner had too many puppies. In our house, the dogs are just fun creatures to have around and play with.

 

For other people, dogs are a status symbol, or they consider them their "fur babies" and literally treat them like babies. I guess if that's how they want to spend their time, that's fine. It's not for me though.

 

I know at one point years ago we were interested in getting a pug from a rescue and we didn't pass their test because of our older dog's nose shape being a threat or something stupid, which was annoying. That's when I learned that rescues are not the same as shelters, and the people running them may be the type to lead to the notion of elitism in pet ownership.

The Freudian theory of Long Nose Envy?

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Realized I wasn't clear in my earlier post. I think having amazing grain free food, wonderful medical care including things like kidney transplants and orthopedic surgery, eye specialists, etc is an amazing option. I think it should be that, an option. And not a requirement to pet ownership. Because so many dogs are euthanized daily for lack of homes, we can't limit homes to those that can afford that stuff. 

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Realized I wasn't clear in my earlier post. I think having amazing grain free food, wonderful medical care including things like kidney transplants and orthopedic surgery, eye specialists, etc is an amazing option. I think it should be that, an option. And not a requirement to pet ownership. Because so many dogs are euthanized daily for lack of homes, we can't limit homes to those that can afford that stuff.

I did think your post was clear. :)

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I guess I am a bad pet owner.  We told the kids that if we get a pet, in our case 2 cats, that there would be no expensive medical intervention for whatever the problem was, no matter how treatable.  They would be put down.  The cat we did put down was because DH was not interested in an on going medical expense, which was the prozac.  We were willing to cut our losses on the couch that he sprayed on all the time but when he started spraying all over the house that was it.  The resale value of the home would be effected.  An animal in my opinion isn't worth that.

 

Growing up no one put crazy amounts money into the pets.  we just had cats.   They were lucky to even have an annual check up.

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Realized I wasn't clear in my earlier post. I think having amazing grain free food, wonderful medical care including things like kidney transplants and orthopedic surgery, eye specialists, etc is an amazing option. I think it should be that, an option. And not a requirement to pet ownership. Because so many dogs are euthanized daily for lack of homes, we can't limit homes to those that can afford that stuff. 

 

I thought you were clear.

 

I don't buy amazing top of the line food for myself.  Does this mean it should not be available?  No...I don't feel that way. 

 

However, I absolutely despise it when some people act like someone else is a scab if they don't do that.  And I have encountered it many times. 

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When my kids see the amount spent by people at PetSmart or PetCo because they were near the cashier counters, it does make them think how much for example a few small cans of cat food cost. Vet fees are high too. Here dog walking and pet sitting neighbors' pets are good freelance jobs.

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  But, holy cow!!  $500 for a puppy?!?!

 

 

That's not even very much today.  I'm constantly amazed at the prices I see for purebred dogs.  A typical border collie around here can go for $800 - $1200, and they are cheaper than some of the current trendy designer breeds.

 

If you are willing to wait and search around  a bit, you can often get a purebred dog for less than the going rate,  but it is not always easy to find.

 

We bought our purebred border collie last spring for $400.  She was the last girl left in the litter and she had no special coloring or anything.  The merles and rare colors go for much more, and they are usually claimed the day the littler is announced.  Many places around here take "orders" before the pups are even born.  However, once most puppies get claimed, and the litter is getting older, the owners are typically more anxious to sell the puppies and not have leftover older pups that are harder to find homes for.  

 

One other tip -- PetsSmart has a vet care program that is very reasonable, especially for puppies.  The puppy package is a bargain because it includes a spay or neuter, all puppy check-ups, and any misc. care needed beside the medications.  Plus the owner is billed an even amount monthly, so there are no surprise expenses, other than medication if needed.  We folded our heart worm med costs into the monthly payment as well.   We've been very pleased with the care and have gotten great advice over the phone, too, when our dog had injured her carpal pads.   We could have brought her in at no cost, but we were happy to get good advice over the phone and save the trip. 

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I think pet ownership is like having kids.  It can cost a whole lot or it can cost very little.  Most of the time it expands to what you have to spend, but occasionally some people end up with a pet (or a child) who, for whatever reason, costs more than expected.  Some people like to, and can, give their pet the best of everything. Some people have plenty and yet don't want to spend on their pets to the point of it being ridiculous. Others don't have much and spend too much of what little they have on their pet. Sometimes both the owner and the pet are living in poverty.

 

 

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I thought you were clear.

 

I don't buy amazing top of the line food for myself.  Does this mean it should not be available?  No...I don't feel that way. 

 

However, I absolutely despise it when some people act like someone else is a scab if they don't do that.  And I have encountered it many times. 

 

Ok, good. I didn't want people to think I think it is wrong to spend lots on an animal..I don't. If i had the money I totally would. I've at veterinary clinics most of my life, both in Palm Beach and in a more rural area. I've seen money spent on all sorts of things and I am grateful things like specialists are an option. But I just don't want pet ownership limited to those people. 

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Teachers here report that fewer and fewer students report having a cat or dog due to expense. A bunny or guinea pig is more common because there is virtually no medical care available in rhe area. Feed, water, cuddle, bury when it passes. Nice for the child but budget friendly.

 

We had friends that spent $5000 on chemo for their dog. That poor animal suffered so much only to end up put down anyway. That would not have been something we would be willing to do.

 

I think money factors into this for a lot of families.

 

We groom our cocker spaniel ourselves. Doesn't look cheap, but the clipper set paid for itself after only two groomings. He gets his rabies shot annually, but we buy the other vaccines at the farm store and do that ourselves. We also worm him annually again with farm store products, and since he doesn't leave our yard without his leash, so far so good for his health.

 

The cat is 16. At this age, when she gets sick we will simply hug her up, pet for a while, and then take her to the vet and say goodbye. Extensive medical care would not make sense since she is at the end of her lifespan anyway.

 

I rehomed my horse whom I loved deeply when it came down to being able to help dd with college or the horse. It was really hard me, but we do not have a farm of our own and the boarding costs were just getting too high on addition to horse vets making barn calls being scary expensive.

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We've seen some over the top expectations from local rescue groups, as well as hefty price tags ($200-350 to adopt).  We were told we were approved for a chihuahua (we already have one) but then they decided that we needed our fence finished (it was then 2/3 finished) since we lived on a "very busy street."  DH and I decided that "very busy" must mean 2-3 cars per hour, more at the end of the work day.   :001_rolleyes:   Not even to mention that we have lived here for 10 years with a chihuahua, so it's not like we're newbies.  So ridiculous.  We decided that we'll just wait; and when we're ready to get a dog, we'll check the shelters.  

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We've seen some over the top expectations from local rescue groups, as well as hefty price tags ($200-350 to adopt).  We were told we were approved for a chihuahua (we already have one) but then they decided that we needed our fence finished (it was then 2/3 finished) since we lived on a "very busy street."  DH and I decided that "very busy" must mean 2-3 cars per hour, more at the end of the work day.   :001_rolleyes:   Not even to mention that we have lived here for 10 years with a chihuahua, so it's not like we're newbies.  So ridiculous.  We decided that we'll just wait; and when we're ready to get a dog, we'll check the shelters.  

 

 

This is why we didn't even consider a rescue or shelter.  I really didn't want some bossy-pants coming in and telling me what to do or that we didn't qualify for their dog, etc.  I also was not about to be subject to a home visit.  Sheesh. Plus the price to adopt is not even that much less than what we ended up paying for our dog. 

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Adoption around here is $125 for the spay or neuter - this is a discount for taking a shelter animal and provided by two vets in the county - $150 for vaccinations and $100 for the adoption fee if approved.

 

That said in terms of dogs the local shelter rarely has any puppies or animalsolder dogs needing rehoming. Mostly cats. The dogs they do have are usually there due to aggressive and dangerous behavior.

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That's not even very much today. I'm constantly amazed at the prices I see for purebred dogs. A typical border collie around here can go for $800 - $1200, and they are cheaper than some of the current trendy designer breeds.

 

If you are willing to wait and search around a bit, you can often get a purebred dog for less than the going rate, but it is not always easy to find.

 

We bought our purebred border collie last spring for $400. She was the last girl left in the litter and she had no special coloring or anything. The merles and rare colors go for much more, and they are usually claimed the day the littler is announced. Many places around here take "orders" before the pups are even born. However, once most puppies get claimed, and the litter is getting older, the owners are typically more anxious to sell the puppies and not have leftover older pups that are harder to find homes for.

 

One other tip -- PetsSmart has a vet care program that is very reasonable, especially for puppies. The puppy package is a bargain because it includes a spay or neuter, all puppy check-ups, and any misc. care needed beside the medications. Plus the owner is billed an even amount monthly, so there are no surprise expenses, other than medication if needed. We folded our heart worm med costs into the monthly payment as well. We've been very pleased with the care and have gotten great advice over the phone, too, when our dog had injured her carpal pads. We could have brought her in at no cost, but we were happy to get good advice over the phone and save the trip.

Those are good tips.i was also going to say a $500 dog practically sounds like a bargain. And what's really funny (buy not) is that the VAST majority of dog aquisitions I've known about in the past 10 years (again, completely anecdotal) have NOT been purebreds. They are intentional crosses. I know enough intnetional poodle crosses to write a book about it. ;) off the top of my head, the only purebred acqusitions I know of in the last several years have been two Labs, one Golden, a Yorkie and a Jack Russel. Everyone else I know has a -oodle or a -chon. Intentional crosses are BIG BUCKS. DH's friend does dog deliveries for his mom, who sells doodles. He drives all over the east coast delivering these four-digit mixed breed dogs that were picked off the internet before birth.

 

It's crazy cakes.

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The working dog community is much more likely to be sane when it comes to dog ownership.

 

We have three dogs, two of whom literally just wandered into our lives and stayed.

They eat quality but not top of the line food, get basic vet care and medicine, but no drastic measures like chemo.

 

I order heartworm medicine from Australia, right now I am splitting a large dose of flea meds between the two smaller ones. Their leashes come from Walmart or the dollar store or just tend to accumulate.

Our couches serve as dog beds way more than their actual beds.

 

We train them and have very clear rules, we have to with 3 big ones in the house, but never with fear or pain.

 

This is the norm of dog ownership with nearly everyone I know. They are safe and unconditionally loved and all the happier for being treated like dogs instead of fragile status symbols.

 

 

My mom has a young pup, doggy day care has been a very wise choice for them even though she is retired.

He's full of energy and opinions and she is an inexperienced owner recovering total knee replacement.

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I see both sides.  I don't have a high-maintenance pet because I don't have time to be fair to one right now.  A lot of people who have pets don't treat them right.  If you had to spend $ and jump through some hoops to get a pet, people would give it more thought beforehand, which they should.

 

But then again, if you saw the hoops I had to jump through to become a parent, you wouldn't think much of what it takes to be a pet owner these days.  :P

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I lived in an area of the country where one saw dog strollers more than baby strollers and dogs really were furry children/grandchildren.  There were pet chefs.  Probably the refrigerated food at Costco outsold the dry stuff.  It was insane.

 

Our dog was a pb cocker spaniel, but he didn't know it.  We always said he was as nice as a mutt.  He got his annual shots, and groomed right before summer and right after..... or if he had a run with prickers or what not.  Foodwise, this was before designer dog food.  He ate a fake hamburger looking patty called Gaines Burgers.  Well loved.

 

Would love a dog but right now we can't afford it.  Not only is the actual dog too expensive, but boarding and such would kill us.  Right now, our formerly homeless cat works well for us. 

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I lived in an area of the country where one saw dog strollers more than baby strollers and dogs really were furry children/grandchildren. There were pet chefs. Probably the refrigerated food at Costco outsold the dry stuff. It was insane.

 

Our dog was a pb cocker spaniel, but he didn't know it. We always said he was as nice as a mutt. He got his annual shots, and groomed right before summer and right after..... or if he had a run with prickers or what not. Foodwise, this was before designer dog food. He ate a fake hamburger looking patty called Gaines Burgers. Well loved.

 

Would love a dog but right now we can't afford it. Not only is the actual dog too expensive, but boarding and such would kill us. Right now, our formerly homeless cat works well for us.

Lol! I remember those Gaines Burgers! I thought those were the height of posh dog living! Once, we got a box of them from a friend who no longer had her dog. I still remember spreading that "luxury" food on top of the Dog Chow. :)

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Both our dogs have been from shelters.  The first from the Humane Society and our current dog through our local Helen Woodward shelter.  We only paid the adoption fees and vet fees for spaying when we adopted them.  We get the best food we can afford for our dogs, but we don't go crazy.  But no other bells or whistles.  She's our dog and we love her to pieces, but we definitely don't do all the extra frou frou things available today for dogs.

 

I do have to say it does bother me when I see pets who are neglected or mistreated, but I don't consider the lack of doggie daycare mistreatment.  I know some people who have a dog that is morbidly obese.   It makes me a little sad to see him. These people buy him the cheapest grocery store dog food they can find and he gets almost unlimited access to it.  I don't think it makes me elitest to feel sad about that dog.  I think, even if you don't have a big budget for pets, you can use good judgment in what/how you feed them and still stay within a budget.  They are our fellow creatures, even if not human.

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I think this is more the case with dogs than other pets. Budgies here are around $10 each, a small cage is cheap and adequate If they have somewhere to fly on the house without glass Etc. Vet care is unlikely to be expensive because they rarely show many signs of illness and often just drop dead. There are plenty of free kittens, all you need to pay is the cost of neutering.

 

Dogs however are another story. Rescue dogs run at 450-500 dollars each and the first years vet bills are likely to be similar. There are cheaper or free dogs available but they aren't usually the type to adjust well to a house full of kids - either american or other potentially aggressive type dogs (I realise this is a generalisation and many are lovely) or farm type dogs that will tear a suburban years apart. For a purebred you are looking at anywhere between $800-$2000 or even upward for the really fancy types.

 

While I think reducing the number of really irresponsible dog owners is a good thing I do think the shrinking pool of breeding dogs is leading to a far higher incidence of health issues etc. so many higher end purebred dogs have major issues that aren't seen in farm dogs. That said, farm people are more likely to simply put the dog down if it has major health issues so that could be colouring the perspective.

 

I think there has been a definite push by some breeders to close up the market which isn't entirely due to animal welfare concerns and has more to do with profit.

 

While I think vet bills can seem crazy at the end of the day they have done the same study as doctors and the drugs cost the same. The only issue I have is where families are pushed to consider expensive ongoing treatments and guilted about euthanasia. I am not talking about simple fixable things but conditions that will require ongoing treatment to maintain a declining quality of life for the animal. I think it's good so many treatments are available but that you aren't a bad pet owner for not using the most expensive options.

 

Basically I think responsible pet owners need to provide food, water and shelter,some level of stimulation and minimise suffering in whatever way possible. Beyond that I think it's up to the individual circumstances to work things out.

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