The Calculus of cats and dogs

The other day, I made a passing comment in my article about judging (or not judging) others. I mentioned that although my friend Michael is in dire financial straits, he's still making life decisions based around the fact that his family has two dogs. (They're renting a larger, more expensive home than they otherwise would, for example.) “What about getting rid of the dogs?” I asked.

Well.

This suggestion struck a nerve with a lot of people. Many GRS readers argued that giving up pets during financial crisis is irresponsible. Tiffany's response was typical:

Sorry, but dogs are like kids, you can't just get rid of them in hard times. Certainly, you shouldn't take on dogs when you're not financially able to (and similarly, you should do your utmost to not have kids when you can't support them). If you've already got dogs when the financial hard times hit, well then too bad, they're still your responsibility. You can't get rid of the kids, can't get rid of the dogs. No real pet owner would want to, either.

Let me quell some concerns: I own four cats, and if Kris would let me, I'd own a dozen more. Plus a couple of dogs. And some birds (I really want a parrot). And some fish. I'm an animal person, and am often amazed that I still eat meat. (That cognitive dissonance is a topic for another time.)

I'm about as pro-animal as you can get. (Except that I'm not vegetarian — yet.) In general, I actually agree with those who scolded me. Pets are not furniture. They're not possessions to be disposed of carelessly. They're thinking, emotional beings, and ought to be treated with consideration and respect.

As many of you know, one of my pet projects (ha!) is an ongoing documentation of animal intelligence; I read everything I can find on the subject. (My friends are always sending me stories about amazing animals because they know I love them.) At the same time I started Get Rich Slowly, I started an animal intelligence blog, though that site has long since faded to nothing.

People Are Passionate About Pets

Despite my deep respect and admiration for animals, I don't think this issue is as crystal clear as many GRS readers make it out to be. This debate is interesting, and for a variety of reasons.

  • First, it shows that different people value different things. If my family were in a rocky financial situation, the pets wouldn't be the first to go, but they'd certainly be on the list of options.
  • Second, when talking about spending on pets, we get to explore questions like “How much is too much?” When do you stop spending on pets? Do your pets take priority over your children? Over your home? Over your self? Again, different people have different answers.
  • Third, this clearly demonstrates one of my mantras: Money is more about mind than it is about math. Everyday, all of us make financial decisions based on factors other than the numbers. Numbers are important, but they're far from the only factor.

Last fall at MSN Money, my pal Donna Freedman — who will share her reader story here on Sunday, by the way — wrote about the financial implications of pet ownership:

When people say “I'd never give up my pet,” they're usually speaking from a position of privilege. Sure, they may feel broke right now, but they're still in a place where they can say what they would “never” do. If you were ever truly destitute, you'd know better than to make that kind of claim.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you lived in your sedan with four cats or out in a culvert with a husky-shepherd mix. Maybe all of you survived. But most of us aren't cut out to take that kind of risk — and frankly, we shouldn't. It's too dangerous. A human life is worth more than the chance to nurture a corgi or a ferret for a few more years. Besides, Fido deserves better than car camping and eating old Wonder bread from the food bank.

As you might expect, her article received a lot of comments — over 1200 responses, in fact — many of which were nasty. But, you know what? I think Donna is right, and agreeing with her doesn't make me a heartless bastard.

My Best Friend

I've had my cat Toto since she was a kitten. (In fact, I've known and loved her since the day she was born, 01 May 1994.) Aside from Kris, Toto is my best friend. When I'm home, she's usually by my side, helping me write about personal finance. But Toto is getting old. Her body is failing, and it breaks my heart. She's often in pain. The vet isn't sure exactly what's wrong with her, so we keep trying different things. With each vet visit, my costs mount. So far, I'm okay with that. I've maybe spent a thousand dollars in the past few months, and it's bought me more time to cuddle with my cat.

But where do I draw the line? How much do I spend to keep Toto alive? (Especially when her quality of life is beginning to deteriorate?) Do I tap the money I have saved for our trip to France and Italy just to buy her a few more weeks? What if I were still in debt? How much would I spend then?

The calculus of pets is complex; there are no easy answers.


Bonus video: My two cats, Toto and Max, demonstrate “how to be bad”.

A Vet's Voice

As I was finishing this article, my vet phoned. She was calling to give me Toto's latest lab results: Her kidneys are beginning to fail and she may have thyroid problems (still waiting on a last set of tests).

After we finished talking about Toto, I told Dr. McDaneld about the discussion at Get Rich Slowly. It turns out she volunteers with the Humane Society to provide veterinary care in low-income areas throughout the country. She shared her thoughts about folks who find themselves unable to afford their pets.

“I don't like to see pets neglected just because their owners are in financial distress, but it happens,” she told me. “When somebody's not financially able to care for their pets — even the bare minimum — then that pet really is best off in another situation.”

But Dr. McDaneld also noted that for some, pets really are members of the family. Sometimes, an animal can be a person's closest companion. “People's relationships with their pets can run a wide gamut,” she said. “Some people would lose their house and health before they'd give up their pets.”

Fortunately, there are programs to help pet owners in need. “There are a lot of groups out there trying to help people who want to be responsible pet owners but are in financial trouble,” Dr. McDaneld said. She gave me three examples in the Portland area:

  • The PAW Team (Portland Animal Welfare Team) provides free vet care to the pets of people who are homeless or in extreme poverty.
  • FIDO (Friends Involved in Dog Outreach) offers a number of programs to assist dog owners, including Animeals (meals-on-wheels for cats and dogs) and a Dog Food Bank (for dog owners in financial need).
  • Cat Adoption Team, which provides a cat food bank.

There are sure to be similar programs in most major cities. The bottom line: If my friend Michael gets into a situation where he can't afford to keep his dogs, there are organizations that can help.

Pets Aren't People

That said, animals aren't people. Somewhere — and where, I do not know — there's a line between what you do for your children and what you do for Fido or Fluffy. I believe that it's this line that bothered so many people in Wednesday's article; I was suggesting that Michael give up his dogs much earlier than some readers would consider such an option.

So, where is this line for you? How long do you keep a pet, even when you can't really afford it? Do you sacrifice your family's well-being for that of the animal? How do you prioritize when you have to make a sacrifice? Is it ever better to give up an animal than to fail at other obligations?

Note: For more on the calculus of cats and dogs, visit The Simple Dollar. Yesterday, Trent weighed in on this subject, including a link to an article from The Humane Society about finding a responsible home for your pet. Trent also pointed to Petfinder, which lets people find new homes for their pets.
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Chett @5k5k.org
Chett @5k5k.org

I would move with my pets in a van, down by the river. Eating nothing but a steady diet of government cheese! Just kidding, but I bet that’s what Chris Farley would say. First I find it ironic that the blog post you felt compelled to write is in response a previous post this week, “Juding (or not judging) Others.” When frankly people who responded were judging how a person might choose to deal with the financial consequences of owning a pet. It all depends on how you were raised and what you have grown accustomed to. In some parts… Read more »

Jen A
Jen A

I was miffed by your observation the other day too, but I decided not to comment then, because in general I agreed with that post. It’s very frustrating to watch someone you care about who is in debt and struggling financially buy themselves and all their family members iPhones (and the plans to go with them), to give up a cheap rental in favor of a much more expensive one, etc. And I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said today – I adore my dog, and my husband and I don’t have kids so he’s the closest thing we… Read more »

JonasAberg
JonasAberg

These are really tough questions. I asked myself similar questions after that last article. Just where is my “stop loss point”? Do I drain my emergency fund for the cats? It gets even more complicated since it really was my girlfriend who decided to get cats, not me, so you could make a case that it’s mainly her responsibility. And what happens if we break up? These are really things you should think about BEFORE you get any kind of pet. No matter how you slice it, pets cost money. You can argue all you want about how they are… Read more »

Tricia
Tricia

Meh. Your justifications and explanations of why someone who is having financial problems should give up their pets is overly dramatic. Very few truly middle class Americans go from owning a home, having a job, etc to living in a van down by the river unless they have other issues besides being out of work or not handling their finances properly (like a drug or alcohol problem). I wouldn’t put my kids in an orphanage if I was having financial difficulties, so I wouldn’t take my pets to the shelter either in the same circumstances. End of discussion. And given… Read more »

Chipmunk
Chipmunk

You “own” four cats? Where did you get that impression?

Carter Adler
Carter Adler

As I recall, one of the planning failures associated with the Hurricane Katrina evacuation was that, while there were some provisions for public (non-car) evacuation, it was only for people, not for pets. Many people chose to stay in their homes to face the storm with their pets, rather than evacuate to safety but abandon their pets.

Jess
Jess

Thanks for providing the resources for poor and unemployed pet owners. I’m sure they’ll be useful to many suddenly finding themselves in dire straits. Personally I’ve been faced with being temporarily homeless with animals. I could live out of a car for a week or so with my cat, not so much with the young dog I also had at the time. Fortunately a friend let me stay until the pet-friendly apartment I’d applied to was available. I did end up adopting my young dog out about a year later – he wasn’t thriving in the apartment, and his quality… Read more »

Steven@hundredgoals.com

I was homeless for the longest time (yes, on the street homeless) because my mother refused to give up her dog. I guess we know what her priority was.

Monevator
Monevator

I often feel smug I’ve avoided smoking, or expensive cars, or even having kids too young on my route to wealth – but pets are my own crack cocaine.

In particular, tropical marine fish and corals. There’s a way to lose money fast on expensive equipment (think $1000s) to avoid your expensive animals (think dozens costing $100s) dying, plus getting to feel guilty about the carbon the expensive lighting is throwing off into the bargain.

Love that cat on the windowsill. I’d struggle no reign back spending on a cat like that, too.

cg
cg

JD, I’m sorry to hear about Toto. I’ve actually been going through something similar myself — two months ago my 11 year old tortie was diagnosed with kidney disease. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about homelessness or financial ruin in caring for her ($1300 in May and we have a vet appt this morning), but I have still been faced with how far to go for her (we opted not to do the $3000-4000 kidney stone surgery, for quality of life reasons). I love my cat, and it’s not easy to make these kind of decisions. Good luck with… Read more »

Kestra
Kestra

I’m getting tired of the comparisons between pets and kids (from the commenters here and at Simple Dollar) about whether pets should be re-homed, but kids should never be. Does everyone forget about how many people give up their kids? Either by their choice or because their are forced to. It is perfectly legal to give one’s baby up for adoption and also legal to abort in certain areas. Should people not have the same rights with their pets? Now, I’m not passing judgment on any of these situations. I think it really is a personal choice that most of… Read more »

Lindsay
Lindsay

Great article JD! I have a 17 year old poodle which I’ve had since he was 8 weeks old. Received Charlie when I was 10 and I’m 27 now, my first dog. He came into our family when my sister was a few months old and my brother was 1 1/2 years. He has been with me longer than he has not, and my siblings can’t remember live without him. He is almost totally blind and hard of hearing. I question when will it be Charlie’s time almost every day. I feel he still has a good life, with more… Read more »

Ryo Vie
Ryo Vie

My order of importance is as follows: 1. Wife 2. Daughter 3. Cats (I have 6 of them) 4. Myself I would go hungry before my cats will, but my wife and daughter definitely take top priority. Part of the reason I’ve cleaned up my financial mess is so that my cats will have a better life. I never want to be in a position where I would have to give them up. And when they get older, there are going to be significant vet bills. Knowing that, I’ve actually created an entirely seperate savings account just for the cats.… Read more »

Leslie
Leslie

I’ve been following this thread with interest, because I’m a 20 year veteran of the animal welfare movement and the executive director of a large humane society. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen people relinquish animals for the lamest of reasons (he’s not a puppy anymore so he’s no longer cute) and for the most heartbreaking of reasons (going into a nursing home). As the economy crumbles, animal shelters around the country find themselves facing a choice: do we take in every animal displaced by human tragedy (often at the risk of the animal’s life) or do we… Read more »

moogie
moogie

my precious kitty is 12 years old, and hasn’t seen a vet in 11.75 of those years. how the hell are people fucking up their pets enough that they need regular visits to the veterinarian?

Chloé
Chloé

I have an inside cat and an outside dog (and a small house in the middle of a big property where the dog can run). I deeply love my pets, and I’ve already spent a lot of money on them. I especially had 3 cats before that one, that died for various reason (2 of accidents, one of disease). I each time paid the vet without one split second of hesitation, without even asking beforehand how much it would cost, but only because I COULD. Having a pet is a “luxury” (as it’s not a basic need to live), but… Read more »

Chickybeth
Chickybeth

Portland is lucky to have all those options for people who can’t afford their pets. In my state, when the foreclosure crisis started, a large grocery chain got together with the Humane Society and was offering free dog and cat food to people in foreclosure. That lasted about 1 week, until the NRA planned a boycott of this store because they don’t like the Humane Society because it is against hunting. That was the last place I heard of doing this kind of work, and it is truly sad how it all went down. In your friend’s case, I think… Read more »

Chickybeth
Chickybeth

One more thing- if you give your pet up to a shelter (not Humane Society) you should know that shelter has the right to sell your pet to a laboratory testing facility to make money for the city/county. Seems unfair, but it’s true.

Keri
Keri

I’ve never commented here before, but I just wanted to express my sympathy for your cat, Toto. I know how hard that is.

Thanks for this extremely well-written post.

lostAnnfound
lostAnnfound

We have several friends who I know would take in our dog if we were ever in a situation where we could not properly care for him. It would be extremely difficult to give him up nevertheless.

Alexandra
Alexandra

My “pain point” for spending too much money on my cat is pretty low compared to other animal lovers. I got him as a Humane Society kitten, got pet insurance, and then he suffered some kind of respiratory problem soon afterwards. The pet insurance covered the minimal cost for the medicine and that was it. Fast forward about 8 years and suddenly my cat starts leaking blood out of one eye and has temporary blindness. I took him to the vet and after extensive tests costing several thousand dollars, they had no definitive answer. They think it may be feline… Read more »

Rebecca
Rebecca

Frankly, it’s making decisions like that, the hardly insignificant costs of pet maintenance, an looming huge expenditures (hello, grad school!) that have kept me from getting a pet. Instead, I spend at least an hour a week volunteering at the local (no-kill) humane society. I get my pet fix, without the expenses, the cats are happier, and the shelter gets more socialized and therefore adoptable animals. Most shelters also offer foster programs, which allow you to take on an animal only when the timing works for you, and then give them back when they’re ready for adoption. Generally the shelter… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Your post on Wednesday prompted a discussion for my husband and me. I’m finally employed and now he’s been laid off so this isn’t a mental exercise for us.

The discussion was really good because it turns out we are at the same place — if we can’t eat, that means they probably can’t eat either and that’s the point for us to look for other options.

Here’s hoping these replies stay civil.

Mulysa
Mulysa

I’m really glad you wrote this! I think people get way too touchy about the issue of giving up a pet and don’t understand how heartbreaking it could be. My neighbor’s family had a rotten 2009 – she went through chemo for an aggressive cancer, her daughter’s seizure disorder got worse, and her husband got into a motorcycle accident causing hefty brain damage. Eventually she had to rehome her beloved beagle and her husband had to leave because she couldn’t take care of her own cancer and his brain injury and their aging dog and the daughter. In the last… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie

If I remember clearly you did a post a while back about how you have pets but not children and that’s partially a financial decision. My husband and I are on the opposite side of things and value people way over pets. In fact, we won’t get pets. Why? They cost money and require time that can go to things we value more. Add to that, my husbands nervousness around dogs (he was attacked by a dog as a child) and one of my best friend’s allergic reaction to cats and I’ll choose my husband and friends over the animals… Read more »

Jenny
Jenny

This is an issue of responsibility. People who give up a pet without much thought are probably are not really taking responsibility in other areas of their life. Giving up your pet should be one of the hardest decisions you ever make. Having a pet means that you may have to make that decision or the decision to euthanize. It is part of the responsibility you accept when you choose to share your life with a pet. My issue in this case is that suggesting someone who is making bad choices get rid of their pets seems to be feeding… Read more »

Cole Brodine
Cole Brodine

I really, really, really, hate it when people compare pets and kids. They are not, and never will be, on the same level. I would personally end the life of every pet I have ever owned to save the life of one person that I don’t even know.

On the subject of pets and money, I’m sure I would give up any pets I have long before most people would. I don’t own a pet currently, since I want the independence.

Trini
Trini

Moogie (#9), your language is unnecessary and inappropriate.

Also, in response to your comment: I don’t have a cat, so I cannot say what vet care is appropriate for cats, but dogs should see a vet at least once a year for a regular checkup, as most dog owners do not have the education and experience that vets do, and therefore cannot determine the state of their pet’s health the way the vet can. People who incur regular costs from vet visits are not doing anything horrible to their pets; they are providing basic care.

Trudy G
Trudy G

My pets are part of our family. I currently have three dogs and would not give them up for anything. If I was in that horrible of a financial situation I still would not give them up as it would make a bad situation way worse. They can make me smile and laugh when nothing else can.

Tod
Tod

Wow, we have certainly fallen far from the common sense tree. Dogs & Cats as kids, ummm no they are a luxury, not a need (except for the blind, etc). My family loves our dog, but if things get so bad that we can’t pay our bills, guess what will be first to go. People are more important (although less lovable at times). Men need to be men in these kind of situations, not soft hearted fools.

Adam
Adam

My concern is when people love their animals so much they keep adopting more, then don’t have the money to keep them well fed and healthy. My cousins’s last girlfriend (anecdotal I know) had 4 or 5 large german shephards, but was regularly unemployed and had very little money. 4 or 5 large dogs take a lot of money to feed and keep healthy! But she “loved” them too much to get rid of them, and so they had worms and were malnourished and becoming vicious. Eventually animal control was called by the neighbours and took them away. Like others,… Read more »

KC
KC

Sometimes, as you said, the best thing for the pet is to be given up. We adopted a Golden named Niles last year (our previous golden died in July). Niles was an owner surrender to the rescue group we went through. His story was that he’d been owned by the the same person since he was a puppy and there had been life changes – a new baby, job loss, downsizing due to the economy. Niles was living in an apartment with no yard and near a busy city street. I can’t imagine having to give him to a rescue… Read more »

Brian B
Brian B

First off, moogie(#9), you’re lucky, and apparently stupid.

And second, I would say a big yes to drawing from your emergency fund for your pet. What else is it there for, if not for an emergency such as this?
I would even go so far as to say that if you do NOT want to dip into your e-fund, then don’t get a pet in the first place. Pets have risks of illness.

Babs
Babs

JD- You should totally go veg, you’ll love it! And also, I think Donna Freedman’s comment about how “Fido deserves better” was total BS. People that give up their pets ARE NOT giving them a better life. They’re ensuring the animal’s death in a cold, concrete shelter. How is that better? I would seriously live in my car before I’d give up my dogs because I’m a good person who stands by my commitments.

@Cole Brodine- You’re making yourself sound pretty heartless- you may want to think about that next time.

Jason
Jason

These domesticated animals use to serve a purpose… Hunting dog, a Foxer, a cat mouser, a shepard dog, a sled dog, etc…. “Pets” were created to be used as a tool for a specific function. However these days you buy a $2000 dog and put $50 sweaters on them… or the other extreme is you save a pet from a kill shelter and then spend thousands on medical care down the road when it developes problems. It would be much better for you to put the animal down and save the money or donate the money you would have spent… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah

Just recently lost my 14 year old husky that our family loved. The last four weeks we gave him “hospice” type care and he truly enjoyed his life. Mostly because he got to eat all he wanted, don’t we all wish we could go out that way? I just wanted to add that during the last couple years he was on medication for hip issues. My vet was the one that told me one prescription could be filled under the four dollar plan at Wal-mart. It was much higher at her clinic and I would never have thought of that.… Read more »

ami | 40daystochange
ami | 40daystochange

Maybe the reaction to the last post was based on the assumption that people who get rid of their animals due to financial stress send them straight to be euthanized. As others have said – there’s probably an in-between solution. One of my best friends just adopted a dog from a family that loved him but could no longer keep him. Win-win for everyone, including Stanley the dog. Similarly, my husband, who works in the juvenile courts system, knows many families where the financial (and psychological) condition of the parents prevents them from keeping their *human children* – and relatives… Read more »

Holly
Holly

There is a line, but most people don’t want to think about it, and don’t, until they are forced to cross it. When I lost my job several years ago, (and had to report my former employer for non-payment of wages for my last month’s salary), I was BROKE. Worse than broke. I had only been out of college for a few months, and had only a few hundred saved up, which was gone in 6 weeks. I had to borrow money from my parents to pay one month’s rent, and my boyfriend’s parents to pay another month’s. It was… Read more »

trb
trb

I wish that I were tougher on this, and could say that ‘I won’t spend more than $xx’ to keep the cats well, etc. But the truth is, we have already accepted that they will shed hair all over our life, wake us up way too early, and scratch our couch. We love having their life presence in the house, and the difference it makes in our lives. I honestly have no idea how we will decide how much medical care is too much. But in response to those who feel pet care expenses are lavish or outrageous, well, we’ve… Read more »

TR
TR

Let’s say you adopt a dog who turns out cannot adapt to apartment living. What do you do? Move to a house, or try to find a better home for the dog?

Jimbo
Jimbo

As Ari Gold famously quipped – “Even broccoli screams when you rip it out of the ground.” Pets = animals pure and simple.

Karen in MN
Karen in MN

Sometimes even if you love animals, having a pet is just stupid and cruel to the animal. Having a pet is expensive! Anyone who isn’t in a very secure financial situation should never even get a pet in the first place. way too many people who are unemployed or just out of college get pets, IMO. They should pay more attention to what the pet needs and if they can actually afford it before taking on the responsibility. Although I agree that pets are not equivalent to children, I think they should be treated very well if you do have… Read more »

April
April

I think what miffed a lot of pet lovers is that this family still has a *lot* more they can cut before turning to something like giving up their dogs. If you can’t afford to care for an animal or if it comes to feeding the animal or your kids, that’s one thing, but in the case of Michael, his dogs are an excuse to rent the house they want to rent, not the reason or the real problem. I’m sure he has an excuse for why his whole family needed their iGadgets, why he needs a new car. He… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy

Jenny (#25) I think hit it right on the money. I have a dog, whom I love, and hey, I might not have a huge yard and tons of money to dote on her, but she has a good life. I know that if things got really rough, she has a place to go that isn’t a shelter (where she’d most likely be put down because she isn’t a puppy, see http://blogs.catster.com/the-cats-meow-a-cat-and-kitten-blog/shelter-rant/2009/01/29/ and http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2010/05/dear-pop-washington-humane-society-issues/). And I thought about all of these things before I adopted her. Growing up with pets, and taking an active role in their care, I understood… Read more »

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package
Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package

I agree with you. I LOVE animals, but I do believe there is a BIG difference between animals and humans.

I also don’t believe that spending such a huge amount extra just to keep a pet is right when you are having a hard time to make ends meet, it SHOULD be an option to let them go. It would not be easy at all. My little dog sleeps by my side any time she can, when I’d sitting, I don’t know where I end and she begins, she sits so tight;)

Nicole
Nicole

I’m with #43, April.

moogie
moogie

i guess i should clarify my position on my “stupid and lucky” cat that is quite happy and purr-y since his neutering. i grew up on a farm. i’ve personally slaughtered >1,000 chickens, and helped to butcher dozens of cows and pigs. i’ve also had a career as an emt, and seen people die, seen people die due to complications of neglect or accident. sorry, i just can’t get as worked up about domesticated, non-food animals like you can. (oh, and my farm experience turned me into a vegetarian about 30 years ago). lulu says meow, and cries a bit… Read more »

Beth
Beth

The problem is often people in poverty take public assistance AND keep pets. So essentially, I’m working hard to pay extra taxes so this guy can have two dogs, when I, myself, decided I should not get another dog because of the expense. I don’t mind paying taxes to keep children fed, but dogs? No. The dogs ARE better off elsewhere where someone can take care of them without using taxpayers’ money.

LeslieA.
LeslieA.

JD, I’ve never posted before, but this post really resonanted with me. It is evident that you love your pets very much and they are lucky to have you and Chris to take care of them. When the time comes to make the decision with Toto, I hope you are at peace with whatever that may be. As for the line–I think the it is different for everyone–it really ties into how you view your pets and what your current financial situation is. I didn’t hesistate to spend several thousand dollars to treat my cat when he was sick, because… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy

On one hand I have seen many instances of people who really shouldn’t have had pets, ranging from people neglecting their pets, leaving them without food or not bringing them to the vet (too expensive) to hoarder types. So I don’t agree that having a pet is “forever” because it encourages people to hold onto animals they simply cannot take care of (not saying his friend is at that point yet). In the same way, people can lose custody of their children if they cannot provide for them. On the other hand, I have known a homeless vet who had… Read more »

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