“This must be such a heartbreaking job,” I said to the vet tech on our way out.
“The worst,” she said, “is when a situation is treatable, but the owner can’t afford to pay. Sometimes, one of us on staff will donate money. But we too have families and pets to care for, so some animals just end up in really unfortunate circumstances.”
Sure, I’d always supported the notion in theory–don’t bring home a dog or cat you can’t afford to care for–but the vet tech’s words made it real. By Tuesday afternoon, her words became prophetic.
I gave Uno his colitis medicine and headed to the shelter. In the back run of kennels, I spotted a Basset Hound, ears grazing his metal water dish with every head tilt. Though listed as a stray, this purebred had clearly been part of a family. He was gentle and people-oriented, and a striped collar confirmed a history with an owner.
At some point, however, that owner had failed him. Medical neglect left the dog’s body tumor ridden and his right eye ravaged. This was not a case of “If we ignore it, maybe it’ll go away.” His humans either chose not to treat his ailments–or couldn’t afford to, and I suspect the latter. Problem is, the hound doesn’t know the difference.
For some, pet insurance is a life saver. For me, an emergency fund makes sense. I scratched the Basset’s belly and wished his family had planned ahead. Times are tough for sure, but no one should have to live like this.