Over the holiday weekend, when veterinary hospitals and specialists were unavailable, I know of at least two separate friends whose animals had cataclysmic medical emergencies, and outrageous bills once they were finally addressed. I’m talking unbelievable costs, thousands of dollars’ worth, the kind that would set anybody back for a long time if it happened to them personally. In both cases, the pet owners really can’t afford it. I don’t know what to think of this phenomenon.
I know of many people (ourselves included) who can’t absorb the high cost of their own medical needs, and must go without. Then factor in pet bills that sometimes rival human ones in this country. How does anyone manage it? We really want to have a couple of small pets one day, when we can afford it, but now I’m questioning whether that’s even realistic. It seems the vet industry, not to be outdone by its human counterpart, exploits animal misery for its own profit.
This gives me mixed feelings. The fact that so many citizens can’t even afford the most basic care, never mind their pets, doesn’t seem right. But for some people, their pet is really their only family, either by choice or necessity. They wouldn’t consider putting it down any more than they would a human loved one. So the greedy industry gleefully jumps in to take advantage of their distress.
Does anyone else have thoughts about this uniquely American dynamic, of pets requiring medical care that sometimes far exceeds what their humans can even afford for themselves? It just seems out of proportion, unless people are equating their animals with children, for whom they wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice anything and go bankrupt if it came to it. It just seems strange to me that people are compelled to make such impossible choices. Is it just me, or is something wrong with this picture?