Thursday, April 2, 2009

Throwing Rover from the Gravy Train

homeless dogs

Image by CREAMASTER via Flickr

The fact that pets are feeling the recession, and especially the foreclosure crisis isn’t new news. When people lose their homes, whether through foreclosure or eviction, sometimes they’re forced into housing that won’t accommodate pets. It’s a particularly sad part of a terrible situation. But it seems from this article in the New York Times, there are some newly not quite so rich New Yorkers who might be giving up their pets a little precipitously.

It’s happening to dogs all over Manhattan. Jennifer Bristol, director of operations at the private shelter Animal Haven downtown, said that she was seeing more surrenders of pure-bred dogs that typically cost owners more than $1,000. In one recent week, she received a Pekingese, a bulldog and a Shih-Tzu, all by owners who “definitely had means,” she said.

You have to wonder how these people think that the permanently non-wealthy afford to have pets at all. I’m not saying it’s always easy. Stevie’s surgery definitely set this household back. Over the thirteen years he’s lived with us he’s had two big medical expenses and that’s two more than either of the other cats. He’s really been pretty economical once you amortize. You can also buy pet health insurance which will defray part of those expenses and it’s a whole lot cheaper than human insurance. Of course pets have to be fed, but I bet that there are much better deals on pet food than you get at the specialty shops. It might be hard to believe, but people had dogs before there was doggy daycare. You can walk your own dog if necessary. Dogs don’t really care about dressing for success by and large and will even settle for inexpensive leashes and collars with barely a whimper.

It’s not that I want to judge people who are making what may be a very painful decision – I’m just saying that it sounds like there are some who are kind of panicking at the first sign of not having a ton of money. It’s those people I’d like to remind that it’s your dog who’s mostly likely to love you when you’re down and out.

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  1. This is sad.. all disasters have this in common and this is a disaster. People will abandon and starve their pets before they will their selves and their children. Which is a good thing I

  2. It's true, and I understand that, but it doesn't sound like starvation is an issue for some of the people in that particular article.