Pet insurance-A Costly Necessity

by Bill on February 15, 2012

Pet insurance might seem an uneeded expense to most budget concious and the financial expert community – but this is one I take issue with, and regret not having currently. While it may look frivolous, pet insurance is actually health insurance for part of your family.

Here’s a recent article from Reuter’s News Service to back me up.

PERSONAL FINANCE: Pet insurance-a costly necessity | Reuters.

My reasoning behind this is the same reason everyone should have health insurance and medical coverage for everyone in their family – because you honestly don’t know when a thousand dollar visit to the doctor will show up.

Three years ago I had an orange tabby named Alley. She got sick. I still don’t know what from. She was an indoor/outdoor cat. At the time it was either utilities or the vet bill. The utilities won out, but to this day I wish I let the lights go out. She died within three days. I vowed since then not to let that happen again. Since then I have been able to handle the small pet visits, the annual “take the pet to the vet” day ; the ear mites, the tape worms, the fleas and ticks, and the whatever else.

People who have had pets over the course of many years can tell you how much a pet can become a part of the household. Maybe I am biased because I have pets. But I do believe each cat and dog, and maybe other animals, each has their own unique personality and connection to the humans they are associated with. Cats and dogs react differently to each person in the house, and to other pets in the same family – just like they do in the wild in animal “packs”, which are basically families.

When you get to know the personality of your given pet, you get to connect to them as an individual and a soul whom resides with you. Watching that individual get sick, or need medical care without the access to it is a feeling similar to not being able to get a child to a doctor. I had a puppy, Lilly, who died of Parvovirus not long ago. She was a three month old Border Collie/Boxer and was a happy little champ who loved to hold her own leash while we went for walks. I watched her get sick. I tried in vein to find a vet that would take payments, or come to the house because the taxi was too high. We couldn’t afford both. I watched her die, and had a friend burry her in the yard.

Another example is my senior dog, Rambo. He’s a 15 year old Beagle mix. He’s partly blind due to cateracts. We also wonder some days if he’s going deaf. I know he can’t handle steps well anymore. But like dealing with an elderly family member, an elderly dog ages much the same way. It’s like watching a long-time family member quietly fade away and having nothing you can do about it. What happens when something serious goes wrong? What if there is a treatable ailment, and the only option you have due to financial resources is euthanasia? What if you just don’t go to the doctor and one day find your pet laying still?

These are all questions that race through the mind as the pet gets older. Of the eight cats I help care for, I recently found out one is between 12-15 years old. So here we are wondering about yet another animal. She’s not showing any signs of slowing down, but then again neither did Alley until the two days before her death. Why I wonder about her is that she basically adopted me and now doesn’t leave the apartment or the room I’m in.

But to what price do you put on life? If you are under employed, does life take on less meaning because the cost seems bigger? If you have mounting debt, would you blame the credit cards on your ability to afford health care for everyone in the family? And what price would you put on family? I know since 2009 when the Great Recession hit I’ve read too many stories of family pets being left behind.

The emotional, mental and physical toll on both the humans and the pets are far greater than a few dollars a month should you not find a way to work this into a budget. That’s the reason I regret not getting it sooner. And that’s the reason I hope nothing happens before I can finally get there. Meanwhile every day I thank God or whomever that I have the “family” that I have.

So, on top of the fact that I need many things. I also know that I need to get pet insurance this year; because the reality is that pet insurance is health insurance for part of the family.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments on this entry are closed.