Can’t Buy Me Puppy Love

Can’t Buy Me Puppy Love

Adrienne BoettingerThursday,9 October 2014

The Snap:

When it comes to pets, there are two types of people: those who would spend any amount of money possible on their pets’ health and happiness and those who think doing so is insane. Americans spend more money on our pets than any other country on earth; in 2013, we spent $55.7 billion. We’re not alone; Norway spends more than any other nation when it comes to pet food, in Japan you can put your senior dog in a luxury nursing home, Middle Eastern countries have more large dogs per capita than elsewhere, and Brazil has the most teeny, tiny dogs ever. So where do you fall in the spectrum?

The Download:

For almost a week now I have willingly been held hostage by an adorable, furry jailer. I have moved my life to the first floor of my house, I sleep on the floor or sometimes a couch, I prefer not to leave my house, and I’ve done laundry for 87 gazillion hours in a futile attempt to have my entire house not smell like pee.  I’ve also invested quite a bit of my savings attempting to prolong my furry jailer’s life and in my sleep-deprived delirium have considered selling my internal organs to pay for better medical treatment for him. And it’s been worth every single damn penny and every inconvenience.

A few short weeks ago, my 8-year-old-dog Charlie was diagnosed by a veterinary neurosurgeon (real job and he is a superstar) with having a tumor between his first and second vertebra.  The doc said if we didn’t operate the dog I’ve had since he was a 10-week-old pup would be unable to walk, go into respiratory failure, and painfully die all probably within a month. So we did it. It was touch and go for a period of time when I thought I would actually lose my mind, and now Charlie is getting a little bit better each day. He’s not cured and will likely need further medical treatment, including radiation.

When I told family, friends and coworkers about what was going on, the overwhelming response was heartwarmingly, amazingly supportive. Even people who weren’t really dog people were incredibly compassionate. But I discovered some who view me as a lunatic for spending this much money on “just a dog.”

There are plenty more though who understand pets are way more than “just a dog” or “just a cat.” Our pets are there for us when no one else is, they spend most of their lives waiting for us to come home, and some even literally risk their lives to save ours. They ask very little of us and give us all their love in return.

So when it comes to future medical treatment for my dog, financial sacrifices aren’t the primary driver (and yes, I know I am fortunate in this respect). My primary driver will be if this will make Charlie’s life better, the same, or worse. Will it give me more time with a dog who is able to enjoy that time as well or will I be keeping him around when to do so causes him inordinate amounts of pain?

I don’t expect everyone to understand my decisions. I know many people can’t conceive of spending this much money on a pet and that is their choice. Some have said I’m being selfish and that I shouldn’t treat my dog as if he’s as important as a person. For those people, I have only pity. There is no way you can experience the unconditional and unwavering love and devotion of a pet and not consider them to be family.


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Hat Tips:

Bloomberg Business WeekCBS NewsThe AtlanticNBC NewsTimeMarketplaceSlate, Image Credit: Flickr

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