Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Internets is Pissing Me Off Again

From MSN Money, an article titled "Why You Can't Afford a Dog":
In short, if you can't find at least an extra $800 to $1,000 in your budget every year, don't get a pet.
I have six pets which means apparently I have an "extra" $6000 a year in my budget for basic pet expenses. Newsflash: I work my pets into the budget - they are not "extra". With the occasional "extra" money I have, I go to a movie or get a sandwich. Although it's hard to believe that a card carrying poor person such as myself would ever be able to go to a movie given that I've got to spend six grand a year on my dogs.

More advice:
If you get laid off, start looking for foster care for your pets until times are better -- and if the job market is particularly bleak (think "unemployed in Michigan"), you may have to give them away outright.
Sure because pets are "extra" and if you get laid off, they should be the first things kicked to the curb. Yes, I see your reasoning. Please take me to the next logical step:
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. Or suppose you got sick and had to leave your shelter in the woods. Would you want your kitten to slowly starve while trying to stay ahead of predators?

Dude. When did this train get rerouted to CrazyTown? We started out as too poor to own a dog, then we got laid off, suddenly we're being stalked by bear at our thicket tent in the forest and I need to decide what kind of death is best for my Hello Kitty.

Here's the thing: Pet ownership is for everyone, not just the wealthy or the middle class. Pets love poor people who take care of them responsibly just as much as they love rich people. That's one of the great things about pets. And about being a pet owner.

I'm absolutely in favor of making smart, informed decisions regarding pet ownership and finances. But to my mind, these decisions should be based in reality. (I'm sort of a stickler for that kinda thing.) In real life, poor people have pets. They may need to sacrifice more than an owner with a higher income, but that's what people do when it comes to family.

7 comments:

jan said...

Any time a writer refers to Fido, certain words come to my mind: lazy, uninformed, unimaginative, has a pending deadline to file a dog story about something.

CyborgSuzy said...

Close on its heels comes the deep philosophical questions: "if you were escaping a burning building would you save your dog or your neighbor?" and "how can you spend money on your pet when there are children dying in Africa!?"

All life decisions: now zero sum! It makes things so much less complicated...

CyborgSuzy said...

Hah. And five minutes after making that comment, I read this: http://www.dolittler.com/2009/09/24/Theyre.just.pets.and.other.angry.jabs.aimed.at.the.pet.and.vet.crowd.html

thetroubleisme said...

Wow. I wonder what he thinks of those of us on a fixed income who made room for pets, or in my case, a service dog.

Some of the most neglected dogs I've seen have belonged to the rich.

Susan said...

My dog or my neighbor? No contest, friends. My neighbors are a PITA. Dogs win, hands down. If I can get the dogs to safety and still help the neighbor, I'll try, but I need to survive to take care of the dogs.
And last time I checked, the odds that I could save a dying African child were piss poor. It wouldn't be my charity of choice (I do get a choice, don't I?) My choice of career allows me to help disadvantaged people here at home, AND keep my dogs. Last but not least, that "budget" MSN Money speaks of probably assumes higher spending levels in other areas -- cars, clothing, vacations, electronics -- then we would ever consider. Crunch it all together and the money is there.

Ang said...

Isn't the whole point of a "budget" to lay out how much money you have for each category. What's wrong with having only $20 for clothing, or an expensive car, so that I can have a "pets" category. Why are pets viewed as expendable?? They're family damn it! Would you give up your baby because you got laid off and it wasn't in your budget? Last I checked kids were way more expensive than dogs. I don't see them writing an article "If you don't have an extra $10,000 a year don't have a baby".

Also, this article makes no sense! Why am I suddenly in the middle of the woods with a kitten?

Brooke said...

And never mind the fact that sometimes one has animals that finding a "foster" or new home for would be tantamount to impossible. I love all four of my dogs, but when the last two arrived, I tried to place them. That didn't work, and now they are members of the family. If all animals were so easy to find homes for, Nathan Winograd would never had to write his awesome book.