About five years ago, he drove his dog to a dog park across town for their usual Saturday morning romp. Unfortunately, on that particular fateful morning, when he opened the car door to let his faithful friend out the dog bolted into the parking lot and was struck by a car.
After rushing his pet to the veterinarian he was told that the dog would survive but only with immediate surgery; he was also informed that the cost of the surgery and follow-up treatment would be in the vicinity of $4000.
My friend didn’t have $4000. Even worse, he was already in debt up to his eyeballs. He still had a credit card that could have covered the vet’s fee, but after paying all of his monthly bills he barely had enough money to take his girlfriend out for a movie and dinner once per month.
So, forced into making a snap decision, he reluctantly made the gut-wrenching choice to euthanize his dog.
That got me thinking about the financial threshold where I would balk at saving my family dog, Major.
Major is a fully integrated member of our family. He is a big old house dog who often goes with us on family outings; I can’t imagine our family being without him.
It is extremely difficult for me to imagine Major in the same situation that my friend’s unfortunate pet got himself into, but life sometimes throws unforeseen twists and turns at us. So it is not unreasonable to think about the unthinkable — that one day Major could be accidentally hit by a car, or contract a disease or infection that could threaten his life without immediate and expensive medical attention.
Of course, I would like to think that money would be no object but the reality is Major is still a dog and as such there would obviously come a point where, cruel as it sounds, the cost of saving him would not be in the best interest of my personal finances.
For most folks, it’s tough to answer with any certainty the exact point that it becomes financially untenable when it comes to saving their pet’s life. When I posed this hypothetical question to the Honeybee, at first she said “whatever it takes.” But after making her think about it, and pressing her for a figure, she finally settled on a total somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000.
In my opinion, I think that is a bit excessive; to me, the financial strain would begin to get pretty unbearable in the vicinity of $7500. Then again, who knows? I might easily raise that figure if this ugly hypothetical situation suddenly turned into a tragic reality.
I just pray that I’ll never have to find out.
(This article was updated on August 25, 2012)
Photo Credit: takomabibelot