You can pick your pets, but not your family - A Vent

Last evening I went out to dinner and did a little shopping with my cousin and her 7 yr. old daughter. Typically, my cousin and I get along very well and I was looking forward to spending time with her and her daughter.

Over dinner, my cousin said that she had to have her cat put to sleep. She told me it was because of urinary crystals. Instead of trying to help the cat, she had it euthanized at diagnosis. This is the second cat she's had PTS in a couple of months due to this issue, again without trying to save it. I offered some suggestions regarding diet etc to help out her remaining cat. She dismissed them. The sad thing is that her daughter absolutely adores the pets in their household.

The topic then shifted to Stormie and his Fanconi Syndrome. I explained his vetting care, pilling routine, diet changes etc. that come along with the disease. She looked at me like I had 6 heads and said, "If it were me, I'd have had that dog put to sleep when I found out he was sick. He's JUST a DOG and that's too much to go through." I was floored that she would say that to me. How did this woman and I grow up in the same family and end up with such different values?! I wanted to retort (but held my tongue), "What if it were your daughter who developed a horrible disease? Would your choice also be to euthanize her at diagnosis or would you fight with everything you have to save her?"

Stormie is so much more than a dog to me - he's my CHOSEN FAMILY and I'd move heaven and earth to keep him healthy and with me for as long as possible. Is it really any wonder why I have a higher regard for animals than most people?

Anyway, just needed to vent with fellow dog people.
Lorraine

I hear you loud and clear! I guess your cousin is looking for a pet that she never ever has to take care of. She wants only the benefits of having animals and wants nothing to do with them if they get ill.

She will never understand your love for Stormie and Nikki. I'm trying to remember that quote I read in an article..I forgot who said it, but I have it written on a piece of paper at my work. It's something like how there are those people who's love goes beyond humans. That's what it is for animal people. We're capable of loving humans and animals.

Stormie is lucky–he chose well when he picked out his Mom.

I understand exactly how you feel. This past year, Senji was diagnosed with severe liver disease. I spent several thousand dollars in vet bills, and spend about $200/month on his meds and special food. If there was any way to save my boy, I was willing to go the distance.
It really makes me sad to see how people treat their pets as if they're "disposable."

Unfortunately, we live in a "disposable" society. Many people put about as much effort into buying a pet as they put into buying a gallon of milk. They then value that pet about as much as the milk. Several years ago while I was helping with rescue we got a brindle boy who was surrendered because his family did not want to find boarding for him over the Thanksgiving holiday. We also got a black and white Fanconi Afflicted girl who had been showing symptoms for 3 years and was never treated or officially diagnosed but was surrendered because of her peeing in the house and chronic bladder infections.

I can not tell you how many people have contacted me about basenjis who are then furious at me for asking questions about their household and expectations and providing educational information about the breed. These people expected that they would be able to contact a breeder and schedule a time to come over and pick their puppy. They had no comprehension that a breeder would actually screen homes and expect future communication about their puppies. They were insulted by the "invasion of privacy" that they felt my questions constituted.

@red:

"If it were me, I'd have had that dog put to sleep when I found out he was sick. He's JUST a DOG and that's too much to go through."

I don't have any family members that I know of who would say such a thing, but it reminded me of this e-mail I received once:

Just a Dog

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog,"
or, "that's a lot of money for just a dog."

They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog."

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog."

Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog,"
but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog,"
and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand
phrases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise."

"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust,
and pure unbridled joy.

"Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of "just a dog", I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away
from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog",
but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being
"just a man or woman."

So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog"
just smile…
because they "just don't understand."

((Hugs)) to you, Lorraine.

@basenjibratz:

Stormie is lucky–he chose well when he picked out his Mom.

I second that!:)

@red:

The topic then shifted to Stormie and his Fanconi Syndrome. I explained his vetting care, pilling routine, diet changes etc. that come along with the disease. She looked at me like I had 6 heads and said, "If it were me, I'd have had that dog put to sleep when I found out he was sick. He's JUST a DOG and that's too much to go through." I was floored that she would say that to me. How did this woman and I grow up in the same family and end up with such different values?! I wanted to retort (but held my tongue), "What if it were your daughter who developed a horrible disease? Would your choice also be to euthanize her at diagnosis or would you fight with everything you have to save her?"

Stormie is so much more than a dog to me - he's my CHOSEN FAMILY and I'd move heaven and earth to keep him healthy and with me for as long as possible. Is it really any wonder why I have a higher regard for animals than most people?

Anyway, just needed to vent with fellow dog people.
Lorraine

Okay, stepping in and putting on my flak jacket, but as a mom AND a pet-lover, I will say that there ARE financial limits to what I will spend to keep a pet alive, and there are NO limits to what I will spend to keep a child alive.
There is no comparison between the two.

Thank-you so much everyone. I can't imagine having the "disposable" "just a dog" mentality. When I brought Stormie home it was for better or for worse. For all the joy/comfort/warmth/love he gives me in return, what I do for him seems small and insignifcant in the grand scheme of things.
Nala - your poem brought tears to my eyes - it's so true!!
(((HUGS all around))))
Lorraine

To JazzysMom - Kids are something I never wanted to have, period. I like other people's kids but they are not for me. My biggest issue with my cousin was her view that her pets ARE disposable, and as long as they're healthy, fine - but NO EFFORT was made to save them - none. I understand financial constraints - trust me. But I also believe TRYING to step up and help out the pet SHE CHOSE to bring into her life was warranted. Hell, we were sitting at a restaurant table having this conversation with shopping bags around our feet - money being spent frivolously - so obviously for her it went beyond financial and more to do with her mind set. What kind of example is she setting to her daughter by just putting the cats to sleep when they became ill? It frustrates me beyond belief that her values (or lack there of) is what being taught to the next generation.

You can be the one to teach this niece that pets are to be valued and cared for when sick.
If her mom doesn't see this as important, you can show her daughter that there are folks who do the right thing for the companion animals we bring into our homes.
Sounds like the child has a wonderful heart…
Too bad her mom doesn't.

@JazzysMom:

Okay, stepping in and putting on my flak jacket, but as a mom AND a pet-lover, I will say that there ARE financial limits to what I will spend to keep a pet alive, and there are NO limits to what I will spend to keep a child alive.
There is no comparison between the two.

I completely understand this. But for those of us who only have 4 legged children like me–I have nothing to compare to. I have to say I've never made a decision on any pet's care based on finances or convenience--only on what was best for them. I imagine there are lots and lots of people where there are no limits (financial or otherwise) when it comes to their fur children's health and well being.

I understand that as well. I only made my comment because she'd said that she was tempted to ask her cousin, "What if it were your daughter?".

That analogy would be completely lost because for {most} parents, that's be like comparing apples to elephants.

I was a pet owner-lover LONG before I ever had kids; and I thought I loved my pets as much as parents loved their children. After I had children, I was stunned at how much deeper that love can go.
Not saying it'd be that way for everyone, but I am saying there's a huge difference!

You may get farther taking less offense, and trying to describe what the pet has meant to your life – the joy, the companionship, etc. -- that you are reluctant to lose w/out a fight.

@JazzysMom:

You may get farther taking less offense, and trying to describe what the pet has meant to your life – the joy, the companionship, etc. -- that you are reluctant to lose w/out a fight.

No offense taken at all 🙂 Just sharing my thoughts/feelings as I have found this forum is a great place to do that.

Oh no, I meant….. when you {or anyone} encounter someone who views the pets as "animals" not as their "babies", to not take offense and get upset, but to explain just what the pets mean to you on a personal level.

That people think of pets as "family" is really a fairly new concept, and foreign to many cultures. So, that people don't share that view shouldn't
really, IMO, shock or offend.

I didn't think....I hope rightfully.. that you were offended by my comments. {I'm not quite as sure that I didn't offend Lorraine. 😞 }

@JazzysMom:

Okay, stepping in and putting on my flak jacket, but as a mom AND a pet-lover, I will say that there ARE financial limits to what I will spend to keep a pet alive, and there are NO limits to what I will spend to keep a child alive.
There is no comparison between the two.

I agree. I love my animals but children are different. I can totally understand that if you don't have human kids the animals may take that place but as a mom and pet lover my human child will always come first. I believe there is a limit to how much you spend on a pet as well. Just my opinion. I can see how you, redandwhitefurever, would be upset with your cousin but if she can't afford it, she can't afford it and the pet probably had a good life while it was here. My anger towards pet owners are when they put an animal down for inconveinience issues. Too busy, new baby etc.

<>
This is where my anger usually lays as well. People get animals and then discard for trivial and selfish reasons. But, people also keep animals alive when the animal clearly needs to be let go. I've seen animals being kept alive on IV which was clearly not meant to be. I've heard, 'Oh, there's a spark in his eyes!'-which blind eye do you mean? I would never keep an animal alive that faced constant pain or constant extreme means of human intervention. Financial aspects, for me do not come into it. I've spent thousands of dollars with good and bad outcomes. It should be about the animal-not the human's feelings.
Lorraine - Children are completely different as well. Hopefully your neice will be able to separate the Mom's aspect of 'disposable pets' and see this is not a correct thing to do. It sounds like you're doing everything you can to correct this thinking. Keep up the good work. Your values will show through. I have the some differences with my sister also and I think the same things about her.

I think my biggest issue with all of this lies in the fact that my cousin is my family. I personally don't give a rat's behind what some Joe Schmoe off the street thinks about the way I live my life/treat my dogs etc. Had a starnger made the comment, I'd not have taken it so personally or been hurt by it. My cousin is no stranger to the important stuff in my life, nor am I to the important stuff in hers - she knows how much Stormie means to me. I didn't voice my opinion to her on how I felt it was wrong to not even try to help her sick cat on Tues. evening and then for her to go out on a frivoulous shopping spree on Friday night. I expressed sympathy and offered some advice. It wasn't my place and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. For her to callously say that in my shoes, she'd have my dog put to sleep on diagnosis? That's when it crossed the line. I was angry and I'm still hurt by her comments. I love my cousin's daughter -she's sweet beyond belief, and I do hope she develops a deeper appreciation of companion animals than her mother's.

She will, with your help.
My sister and I are not close…but my niece has been part of my life and we are dear friends...
Some folks you can't teach and will not hear...but her daughter can be a champion for animals. SHE has you to teach her...
Hugs for your loss of friendship with the adult and sorry about this discord in your family. Kudos for working to teach the next generation the "right" thing to do.

@red:

I think my biggest issue with all of this lies in the fact that my cousin is my family. I personally don't give a rat's behind what some Joe Schmoe off the street thinks about the way I live my life/treat my dogs etc. Had a starnger made the comment, I'd not have taken it so personally or been hurt by it. My cousin is no stranger to the important stuff in my life, nor am I to the important stuff in hers - she knows how much Stormie means to me. I didn't voice my opinion to her on how I felt it was wrong to not even try to help her sick cat on Tues. evening and then for her to go out on a frivoulous shopping spree on Friday night. I expressed sympathy and offered some advice. It wasn't my place and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. For her to callously say that in my shoes, she'd have my dog put to sleep on diagnosis? That's when it crossed the line. I was angry and I'm still hurt by her comments. I love my cousin's daughter -she's sweet beyond belief, and I do hope she develops a deeper appreciation of companion animals than her mother's.

I think you should tell her that! You could really politely say something like 'you know I love you, but that really hurt my feelings and shocked me when you said if Stormie were yours you would put him down.' You could tell her that Stormie is like your child, and you can't believe she was insensitive enough to tell you that.

I think it is always better to share your mind…but sometimes it is easier said than done.

I don't know that I could effectively comment on this, as the situation hasn't really (and knock wood never will) presented itself to our family. I know that I would take as many steps as I was able to afford, but there are financial limits to any situation, and hopefully I'll never find out what mine are.

Currently I have to give my diabetic cat, Booger, insulin shots every morning. He's 18 years old and I know many people would have had him put down a long time ago. I don't see him suffering at all, and he's still alert and active, so I happily pay for the insulin and the shots for him. Based on that paradigm I'm sure if something happened with She-Ra I'd move heaven and earth to take care of her.

I'm finding this topic interesting, though, because more than one person has asked me how the hell Booger's still alive and why haven't I put him down yet? I shrug it off (because I KNOW they're joking when they say it), but I often wonder how far I'd be willing to go to protect the ones I love?

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