If there is a common theme most pet owners share, it’s the cost of medical care.
Stories of people facing mortgage-like bills for their sick or elderly animals abound. Most think the veterinarians are gouging them.
But we forget that gone are the days of the 25-cent solution. Now veterinarians have a vast and complex set of tools that can add years to your pet’s life and make them much more comfortable during that time.
It comes with a cost. First is the rigorous and expensive education of the veterinarian. Then comes the cost of setting up a practice. I would imagine the veterinarian has several thousand dollars invested even before treating their very first patient.
And so the onus is on the pet owner. Check out pet insurance and — even though it is difficult — put some emergency money aside.
Should I ever get another dog I have a Utopian plan in place.
My new dog will be called Vetbill. I will exercise Vetbill, make sure he has a proper diet and a lot of love.
But in my Utopian dream the key will be in the training.
For instance, his first command? “Down Vetbill, down!” I will say. “For the love of God down!”
It will also be important NOT to teach him certain things. It would be folly for instance to say, “Vetbill, up!” And it would be more dangerous to follow that with “Roll over Vetbill.”
And “Fetch Vetbill!” would be a catastrophe.
Probably the safest command would be “Heel Vetbill.” That way Vetbill wouldn’t get ahead of you, run into The Forest of Debt and necessitate years-long efforts to bring him back to your side.
You may have noticed I haven’t used a cat in this example. Because whatever command you give the cat, it will simply look at you with disdain and a face that says, “Go Vetbill yourself.”
And then, “And how come you didn’t call me King? Or just Beautiful? Because I am. Or Perfect, cause I am that too. And where’s my food?
“And did you clean that litter box yet?”
There will be a time as well when you head out the door and your spouse will ask where you’re going.
“I’m taking Vetbill for a walk,” you’ll say. Your spouse will respond, “While you’re at the bank, get some extra cash for the kids’ lunch money.”
And so and so.
And then there will be that brilliant moment. The moment you realize that all is not lost, all is not bleak.
You will teach your dog one command that will make everything beautiful.
“Vetbill,” you will say with authority. “Play dead!”