Author Topic: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance  (Read 11334 times)

richonomics

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Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« on: September 09, 2015, 12:55:30 PM »
Uncanny timing of this post.  I just did an exploration and post on pet insurance using my dog as a cast study.

It is incredible what my dog has cost me in veterinary bills over the past 8.5 years....it is terrifying what insurance would have cost me.  It would have been well over 2x to have insurance over the same time period.

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sunday

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 01:00:02 PM »
Had pet insurance early in my dog's life and the numbers didn't really work out. A better idea was to invest that money to start a "health fund" for my dog's health care needs.

GuitarStv

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 01:12:13 PM »
Yeah, I worked out the costs of pet insurance when we got our dog . . . and couldn't see any way that it would make sense.  That said, I've had to drop several grand on a life saving emergency procedure out of the blue one time.  If you can't do that because of poor budgeting, maybe the insurance is good to have.

ketchup

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2015, 01:16:46 PM »
Pet insurance hasn't penciled out at all when I've looked into it.

As with humans, the best insurance is good health.  If your dog eats an unlimited supply of crappy food and lays there all day doing nothing, it'll get just as fat and sick and expensive as the guy eating Cheetos on the couch all day watching the boob tube.

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2015, 05:55:43 AM »
For apartment dwellers, another overlooked, hidden cost of pet ownership is pet deposits and rent. Where I live, to own a pet would cost a non-refundable $300 deposit plus $25/month per pet. That's an additional $600 in the first year of ownership. And if you ever you move, its another large non-refundable deposit in the next apartment.
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kite

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 07:50:16 AM »
Over on the blog comments, the comparison between pets and children is made, ie... both optional, expensive impediments to extreme early retirement for mustachians and general budget busting luxuries for everyone else.  I think this is false comparison.  Children are an essential asset for families & societies. The instinctive drive to create them is a fundamental part of human existence. Those of us who don't have them are also dependent upon the offspring of those of you who do.
 A better comparison for dogs (and pets in general) as an optional expense is alcohol.  Whether you fancy craft brews, wine with dinner, a few martini happy hours per month or what have you, it's elective and can be insanely expensive.  There are hidden costs you won't be thinking of when you cuddle that puppy or savor that first drink, but those expenses can abruptly and suddenly spike into the thousands of dollars.  Catastrophic events relative to each aren't unheard-of or all that rare.  To those who don't indulge, both pets and booze are a public nuisance, waste of money and a threat to all that is good and decent about the world.  To those who do indulge, whether at moderate or extreme levels, the defense of their elective choice is the same.  "I need it, I can afford it, it doesn't bother anyone all that much, life is better with than without..."

I'm a non drinker, fully aware that if I talk about my non drinking, I can quickly sound as obnoxious as fundamentalist non pet owners. 

sunday

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2015, 09:37:27 AM »
The instinctive drive to create them is a fundamental part of human existence. Those of us who don't have them are also dependent upon the offspring of those of you who do.

With over 7 billion people on earth, it seems that our continued existence is going to be dependent on people who decide not to have children.

  To those who don't indulge, both pets and booze are a public nuisance, waste of money and a threat to all that is good and decent about the world. 

Seriously? I think that's just you.


Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 11:15:15 AM »
Instead of insurance, some of the set rate vet plans can be advantageous.  Both of my pets (diabetic cat, arthritic dog) are on the Banfield Petsmart vet plans.  We pay $25/month for one of them and $35/month for the other.  This covers their twice yearly physicals, blood work, urinalysis, one dental cleaning under anesthesia/year etc.  If they need something that requires anesthesia I can piggy back it onto the dental and not have to pay for that.  Same with the blood work.  All other office visits are free though you do pay if you need additional tests run.  You get 15% off all other not covered tests.  They used to print the amount saved by being on the plan and we were well over $5000 after just two years but we have pets with medical issues.  Again, this isn't insurance but more a veterinary plan. 
 

CanuckExpat

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 02:56:26 PM »
Pet insurance is almost never worth the cost, especially for people in this forum.
In the best case, you are pre-paying vet costs with an additional fee; this might be a "good" if non-optimal thing for people who have trouble with their finances and can't handle a sudden large bill, but presumably it isn't the case for many here.

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gobius

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2015, 09:32:48 PM »
Never have looked into pet insurance so I don't know what the costs would be for my two cats.  They seem pretty healthy and have had low costs their first 5 years so it would probably have been a waste of money so far.  Hopefully they stay healthy for a long time.

Pancake

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2015, 08:55:22 AM »
I think where pet insurance comes in handy is when you have a trouble breed. I have a French bulldog and we got pet insurance for him when he turned one. Not two years later he was in emergency care for a ruptured disc.  He needed an MRI, surgery, and recovery. Multiple days in a special hospital, visits to neurologist, etc. Insurance runs about $35/mo with 90% coverage and a $500 deductible. It saved me $5000 in this case. Yes, I could create a dog fund account and invest the money, but then it just becomes another thing you don't want to spend. The real benefit of the insurance is that it saved me from even having to think whether or not I should get the care he needed. I just said, "I have pet insurance, do the MRI now." The vet had given me the option to wait and see if it heals or do the MRI ($150 vs $1500). Poor dog had disc material pressing against the spinal cord and almost certainly would have been paralyzed. MRI found that, he had surgery immediately, and is good as new.

I know, I shouldn't have chose the breed in the first place. They are expensive. Hindsight is 20/20, but anyone that has owned a Frenchie knows why they are becoming so popular despite the cost.

iowajes

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2015, 09:04:44 AM »
Quote
It saved me $5000 in this case.
Beyond what you have paid in premiums?

AlanStache

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2015, 09:38:32 AM »
This is going to be a topic for discussion with gf when we get a dog.  On some level she gets that we will, on average, we worse off with it, but one or two anecdotes counter all the logic and math to make her think we will come out ahead with insurance. 
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richonomics

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2015, 10:01:46 AM »
You need to counter anecdotes with anecdotes.  Point her to the "anecdote" from my blog, which shows that you are worse off by a material amount.  We just had to have a pretty significant surgery for my dog Sawyer, yesterday.  The entire bill for anesthesia, pain meds, catheter, 2 surgical removals, biopsy, etc. totaled about $600.  Most importantly, he is doing great.  But had I had insurance instead, I would have probably spent 2x 9 months into this year compared to what I spent on this problem and his normal health check up.
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iowajes

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2015, 10:07:48 AM »
  The entire bill for anesthesia, pain meds, catheter, 2 surgical removals, biopsy, etc. totaled about $600. 

Holy crap that is cheap!

When our dog got attacked by another dog, the emergency vet bill (because this can't happen during standard business hours...) for anesthesia (because of the location, they couldn't suture with her awake), 4 hours of boarding, antibiotics, and stitches was $500.  They didn't even charge us for the extra boarding hours (she stayed another 4) because we weren't able to pick her up right after she was done.

Pancake

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2015, 12:37:08 AM »
Quote
It saved me $5000 in this case.
Beyond what you have paid in premiums?
No, just at the time. So far we've paid nearly $1200 in premiums in 3 years. Depending how long he lives, they may get most of their money back or if he has another emergency they may not.  I realize I'm the rare case where insurance was actually useful. However, we knew from research that insurance for a frenchie can be a good idea due to these expensive back problems. Dachshunds have the same issue (and more frequently) and the neurologist said he thinks anyone with one of these two breeds should have insurance.

Timodeus

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2015, 08:45:06 AM »
The instinctive drive to create them is a fundamental part of human existence. Those of us who don't have them are also dependent upon the offspring of those of you who do.

With over 7 billion people on earth, it seems that our continued existence is going to be dependent on people who decide not to have children.

  To those who don't indulge, both pets and booze are a public nuisance, waste of money and a threat to all that is good and decent about the world. 

Seriously? I think that's just you.


Falling population in history and in recent times have only had negative economic consequences. The Western Roman Empire in its last years had huge population decreases in the cities leading to a massive reduction of economic activity and trade. More recently, Japan and Russia have had steady declines in birthrates and stagnant economies. Japan has gone practically nowhere in 20 years. Your investments depend on consumer demand through a "hungry" populace (whether in stocks, rental houses, or indirectly through tax revenue in bonds) and calling for an outright decrease in population because of the thinking that we are approaching a Malthusian disaster is shortsighted indeed. Investments and their future return depend on the people in the future who will give it to you.

While 7 billion people is a lot, it isn't "too much" since our capacity to engineer, build, and introduce systems only increases the more people there are who are trained and responsible to do it. The environmental impact is large, but with proper childbearing and education, it can be mitigated. The irony is that the people most devoted toward pets instead of children, tend to be the kind of people who would raise more socially conscious and educated children. The fact that many people forego child bearing to raise dogs I think will be recorded in history as a tragic mistake.

Count me as agreeing with Kite, it isn't "just you".

sunday

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2015, 10:26:51 AM »
Having thought of this topic more, I agree it's optional. I also think there isn't anything that isn't optional.

mrmiyagi

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2015, 12:57:48 PM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.

Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2015, 01:26:19 PM »
I looked into pet insurance but by then my dogs were middle aged & it didn't cover pre-existing conditions so was not worth it. We had no dogs until 11 years ago. Then got a Maltese that within 2 weeks of getting her at 2 1/2 months of age needed heart surgery to repair a genetic defect. On the West Coast vets are expensive & that cost $5,000.  Then she was lonely so got her a bud. A few years later got involved with rescue so have had a few more Maltese. Usually 3-4 dogs at once. Then they needed yearly dentals because their teeth are bad.  Typical of small breeds.  Got down to 3 doggies & then we inherited my son's old huskie/SH mix. Now we have 4 old dogs-ages 10-18.   3 are on meds. WE have spent $30,000 in 11 years.  As they naturally go I will just have 1 small dog. We feed them excellent food, etc, exercise them but we have had a ton of bad luck with health problems.  I am not looking forward to having to decide what we are willing to pay for in their old age. Love them to death but in the future will definitely have only one. Wanting to rescue was a downfall.  I have a friend that always has 10 Poms that are rescued but vet bills where they live are about a third of ours. 

Nickels Dimes Quarters

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2015, 02:07:09 PM »
For decades, I always had a pet. The last pet passed away nearly two years ago. Quite amazing the amount of money saved. Sure, I miss the cuteness and the company, but especially toward the later years there were lots of vet visits that did add up.

These days, I travel so much I won't be getting a pet any time soon. Maybe after retirement in six years, but maybe not.

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FLA

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2015, 02:46:06 PM »
The instinctive drive to create them is a fundamental part of human existence. Those of us who don't have them are also dependent upon the offspring of those of you who do.

With over 7 billion people on earth, it seems that our continued existence is going to be dependent on people who decide not to have children.

 

  To those who don't indulge, both pets and booze are a public nuisance, waste of money and a threat to all that is good and decent about the world. 

Seriously? I think that's just you.


+1

Lski'stash

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2015, 03:09:44 PM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.

Very well put. There's a whole lot of debate going on in the site now about his article titles "your only allowed to have one kid" vs "dogs are optional." In terms of mustachianism, they seem to be similar to me. Would a kid make you and and you can afford it? Great! Same with a dog.

There are a few employers who give out super cheap pet insurance as an add-on to health insurance (my husbands company offers it for four dollars a month). Beyond that, I really don't see it as cost effective.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2015, 11:39:17 AM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.

Very well put. There's a whole lot of debate going on in the site now about his article titles "your only allowed to have one kid" vs "dogs are optional." In terms of mustachianism, they seem to be similar to me. Would a kid make you and and you can afford it? Great! Same with a dog.

Minor change to the wording = huge change in meaning. The article's title was "Great News: You're Allowed To Have Only One Kid!".

I thought his article on pet ownership was relevant and very much in line with his tradition of calling out expensive activities that many people commit to without fully grasping the costs involved. Pet ownership is no different from choosing a long commute in an inefficient car to an oversized home because it makes you feel so good. The blog is about thinking critically about every decision in your life, even ones that you are emotional about, and making informed decisions. There are lots of people on this forum (i.e., all of us) who make economically sup-optimal decisions, but the hope is that we do so while completely aware of the tradeoffs involved. Dog ownership is no different and shouldn't be uniquely spared from rational criticism.
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FLA

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2015, 01:19:07 PM »
 
[/quote]

Very well put. There's a whole lot of debate going on in the site now about his article titles "your only allowed to have one kid" vs "dogs are optional." In terms of mustachianism, they seem to be similar to me. Would a kid make you and and you can afford it? Great! Same with a dog.
[/quote]

Minor change to the wording = huge change in meaning. The article's title was "Great News: You're Allowed To Have Only One Kid!".

I thought his article on pet ownership was relevant and very much in line with his tradition of calling out expensive activities that many people commit to without fully grasping the costs involved. Pet ownership is no different from choosing a long commute in an inefficient car to an oversized home because it makes you feel so good. The blog is about thinking critically about every decision in your life, even ones that you are emotional about, and making informed decisions. There are lots of people on this forum (i.e., all of us) who make economically sup-optimal decisions, but the hope is that we do so while completely aware of the tradeoffs involved. Dog ownership is no different and shouldn't be uniquely spared from rational criticism.
[/quote]

I have yet to meet a fully grown adult  dog owner who is not aware of and thinking critically about the expense of a pet. I have met young people doing so in college or just out of college, and find they cannot afford the pet and have to get rid of it.  Adopting a dog who would've been put down and all the positivity a dog adds to certain peoples' lives, may be a sub-optimal financial decision, but we are not so caught up in emotion that we are unaware of the trade-offs and the cost/potential cost. And then willingly make the decision to pull the trigger.

mrmiyagi

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2015, 05:20:14 PM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.

Very well put. There's a whole lot of debate going on in the site now about his article titles "your only allowed to have one kid" vs "dogs are optional." In terms of mustachianism, they seem to be similar to me. Would a kid make you and and you can afford it? Great! Same with a dog.

Minor change to the wording = huge change in meaning. The article's title was "Great News: You're Allowed To Have Only One Kid!".

I thought his article on pet ownership was relevant and very much in line with his tradition of calling out expensive activities that many people commit to without fully grasping the costs involved. Pet ownership is no different from choosing a long commute in an inefficient car to an oversized home because it makes you feel so good. The blog is about thinking critically about every decision in your life, even ones that you are emotional about, and making informed decisions. There are lots of people on this forum (i.e., all of us) who make economically sup-optimal decisions, but the hope is that we do so while completely aware of the tradeoffs involved. Dog ownership is no different and shouldn't be uniquely spared from rational criticism.

Well, I don't agree that choosing to build a relationship with another living creature is "no different" than commuting 30 miles to work in a truck. But I get your point. I agree people should be knowledgeable about the costs of pet ownership before they get them. It is definitely not for everyone.

To me, the article read as if MMM set out to write an anti-dog article and then went and found some numbers to support it. First there is the $2000 / year estimate on dog cost, with no citation to where that number came from. (I have a medium sized dog who eats nice food and doesn't go to the cheapest vet in town. Average cost of ownership the past five years has been $600.)

Then there is "the average dog family extends their mandatory working career by at least 12 years". Which, of course, is bullshit. The average dog family doesn't spend money on a dog instead of putting that money in an index fund. They spend money on a dog instead of spending money on an iPad or Starbucks or new shoes. And more importantly to you and me, the average person reading this website saves way more than 5% of their take home pay. At $600/year, I'll need an extra $15K in my stash at retirement to support a lifetime of dog ownership. That's a few months of work.

Admittedly I do like dogs but I think I'm a pretty rational guy. I wouldn't work 12 extra years to have a dog. Fortunately, his logic is crap and I won't have to.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2015, 06:34:50 PM »
Another option I haven't seen mentioned here or in any of the other dog/pet threads on MMM is to just NOT take pets to the vet unless they are suffering and need to be euthanized. If you start out with a hardy, mixed-breed dog or cat and feed them good, healthy food,  they really shouldn't need to go to the vet for check ups, vaccinations, etc. With a little research it's possible to learn how you can provide for 99% of your pets' healthcare needs yourself. You don't need to hire a professional to do it for you. It seems very Mustachian to me to DIY.

Over the past 20 years or so my family and I have had 2 dogs, 3 cats, a dozen or so cows, hundreds of sheep and thousands of chickens, and we haven't paid more than a few hundred dollars in vet bills, total, and that was mostly in the beginning when we used to take our cats and dogs in to see the vet for their annual physicals. The past ten years or so we have spent almost nothing on our animals' healthcare, other than buying dewormers, which we administer ourselves.

Around 10 years ago, our 9 year old purebred German Shepherd developed problems with her hips. Our vet recommended that we give her steroids, morphine, and some kind of operation. When the dog could no longer walk on her own, we opted, instead, for a $30 shot of something that knocked the dog out and put her out of her misery. I held my dog on my lap while the vet injected the drugs, and she went limp in my arms about 10 seconds after he pushed the plunger down on the syringe. To me it seemed like a pretty peaceful, painless way to go. Could we have kept out Shepherd around longer by letting the vets give her more healthcare? Probably, but why?

Two of our 3 cats died at 14-15 years old in the past year. One developed cancer on her ear. The vet wanted to do an operation and remove the cat's ear. Instead, we opted to bring the cat home and just let her die naturally. Until the day she died, she still could walk around and eat and she loved to sit in our laps and be petted. One day, she disappeared, and we found her dead under a pile of cardboard boxes on our back porch. We built a big fire in one of our pastures and cremated the cat's body, drank some beers and said goodbye to our friend. The other cat died, we think, when 2 stray dogs managed to squeeze around/under our gate. I chased the dogs out, and later that day or the next day we found our cat's dead body underneath our house. She didn't have any marks on her, so we don't know if the dogs bit her or if maybe she had a heart attack?

IMHO, it's possible to have pets, care for them well, love them, yet almost never take them to the vet. I realize this is a minority opinion here, but it's something that I know is possible, because we have been doing it for the past 20 years. One of the two dogs we've owned is still alive. She's a mixed breed, super healthy dog, that is 14+ years old now. She hasn't been to see a vet in YEARS, and she's fine. Our cat is also around 14 years old, and he has, as far as I can remember, never been to see a vet except when he was young and we took him to get neutered. We deworm him, and that's it. He eats about 1/2 cup of food per day. If you provide your own healthcare for your animals, pet ownership can be much, much cheaper than if you hire everything out to the professionals.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 10:05:58 AM by Shane »

FLA

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2015, 07:19:52 PM »
Another option I haven't seen mentioned here or in any of the other dog/pet threads on MMM is to just NOT take pets to the vet unless they are suffering and need to be euthanized. If you start out with a hardy, mixed-breed dog or cat and feed them good, healthy food,  they really shouldn't need to go to the vet for check ups, vaccinations, etc. With a little research it's possible to learn how you can provide for 99% of your pets' healthcare needs yourself. You don't need to hire a professional to do it for you. It seems very Mustachian to me to DIY.

Do you vaccinate and if so, how do you get the vaccines, do you need a prescription? I have read about doing such things yourself but don't know where to start and I'm afraid if I DIY my vet won't want to help when I do need her. (I have not asked her this, I just like her very much and if I need her, I'd like to know she would help, kwim?)  I was a nurse, shots, wound care would be fine.  I don't think I could draw blood from an animal because first, I do not have the supplies (you can't readily buy needles as far as I know) and second, I've just never done it, there's all the fur, lol.  So I don't think I can do this hard core but I know I could do some of it.

This year since disabled, I was going to ask for scripts to be faxed to a pet pharmacy that had generics for heart worm and flea/tick stuff.  But my dad's dog had passed and his meds  half the dose was the dose for both my dogs, so I'm using that. 

She also did the "dog needs anesthesia for teeth cleaning" routine. Now, I'm getting cynical about that, I understand older dogs have teeth issues and if the dog is having pain from it, of course I'd do it (my mini-dach had no teeth left when he passed).  But I have done it too many times on an old dog who seemed to be able to eat everything fine, no signs of pain, had it done and twice the dogs died within the year when doing this was supposed to increase their life span so infection in the gums didn't go to their hearts. Well, that never happened, they died of other illnesses. 

So this time she suggested it on my 6yr old dog whose teeth are white as can be.  Really?  This was the second year she said it, I refused last year.  It's between $500-700.  I told her I am disabled I cannot easily afford this unless there is a dire reason that it must be done.  She understood, said vets are suggesting it younger as a preventative measure, suggested a treat that is good for their teeth instead. One dog lets me brush his teeth, my abused dog, I have to put her in the tub, have a strong person constrain her and then try getting her snapping jaws open to clean the teeth.  She shakes in a corner for hours.  Guess who does not get her teeth brushed?  I am not doing that to her.  Also, she is 14 and has somehow escaped the"your dog needs to be put under for teeth cleaning" routine. 

I get what she is saying about prevention, but that is a lot of money to shell out at least several times over the dog's life span and if they need it- they have infection and pain, fine.  But I am not convinced putting a dog under every for years for this is necessary.  Has anyone else dealt with this? 

If you do your own vaccinations, how do you get the documents you need to show for boarding and for the town's records?

kite

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2015, 08:43:08 PM »
^
Many towns will have a rabies clinic where rabies vaccines are free. 
It's not enough for boarding, but is really all you need if you aren't boarding the dogs anywhere. 

Do call other Veterinary practices.  One that deals with farm animals in addition to pets may be more reasonable.  I've only needed one dog's teeth cleaned professionally, and the old-timer vet showed me how with no anesthesia.  They were the same vets who did my shepherd's cancer surgery and advised after the tumor was removed that we just keep him comfortable, forgoing any chemo, until he was ready to die.  He lived another year, which we were happy with.  Having known people who had chemo and some who declined it, I'm confident we made the right choice. 

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2015, 10:41:39 AM »
Quote
Do you vaccinate and if so, how do you get the vaccines, do you need a prescription? I have read about doing such things yourself but don't know where to start and I'm afraid if I DIY my vet won't want to help when I do need her. (I have not asked her this, I just like her very much and if I need her, I'd like to know she would help, kwim?)  I was a nurse, shots, wound care would be fine.  I don't think I could draw blood from an animal because first, I do not have the supplies (you can't readily buy needles as far as I know) and second, I've just never done it, there's all the fur, lol.  So I don't think I can do this hard core but I know I could do some of it.

In our area the only thing you HAVE to treat dogs for is heartworm, otherwise they end up dying at a pretty young age. Here's a pretty good explanation about how you can inexpensively mix up and administer the medicine your dog needs to avoid getting heartworm:

http://www.dimestorebudget.com/money-matters/affordable-diy-heartworm-treatment/

Where I live all the farm supply stores carry syringes that you can buy over the counter. You can also buy syringes and needles online. Here's a link to Amazon where they've got lots of syringes and needles for sale:

http://www.amazon.com/b?node=318120011

If you're upfront with your vet about your desire to learn how to provide some/all of your pets' healthcare needs yourself, the vet should be willing to train you. Otherwise, maybe you should find another vet. Routine healthcare for pets is not rocket science, anyone should be able to do it him/herself.

I've never heard of taking dogs to the vet to get their teeth brushed. Our dog is over 14 years old, and she has never had her teeth brushed. Nobody I know has ever taken his dog to the vet to have its teeth brushed, and I know some people who've got some pretty old dogs, so apparently it isn't completely necessary.

Ditchmonkey

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2015, 12:24:51 PM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.

Exactly right. I think this is a topic because there is a group of people out there that don't like dogs, and they want to be able to say so without being criticized.

Ditchmonkey

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2015, 12:36:06 PM »

While 7 billion people is a lot, it isn't "too much" since our capacity to engineer, build, and introduce systems only increases the more people there are who are trained and responsible to do it. The environmental impact is large, but with proper childbearing and education, it can be mitigated. The irony is that the people most devoted toward pets instead of children, tend to be the kind of people who would raise more socially conscious and educated children. The fact that many people forego child bearing to raise dogs I think will be recorded in history as a tragic mistake.

This is a fantasy. We are hitting the limits of what our natural systems can endure. Outside the carefully fabricated facade of suburban America, natural species are dying off at staggering rates. Fresh water is running out. Waste water is contaminating most of our waterways. Landfills are filling up at an alarming rate. All over the world people are displaced, in conflict, or hungry. One out of three people will get cancer during their lifetime, and that rate is sure to rise as pollution intensifies. Rising temperatures and seas are going to accelerate these issues even further. The idea that we can continue to engineer our way out of these problems is ridiculous.

FLA

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2015, 01:26:03 PM »
Quote

I've never heard of taking dogs to the vet to get their teeth brushed. Our dog is over 14 years old, and she has never had her teeth brushed. Nobody I know has ever taken his dog to the vet to have its teeth brushed, and I know some people who've got some pretty old dogs, so apparently it isn't completely necessary.

Thanks for this info! It's not teeth brushing, they have to sedate them and then scrape the plaque, remove rotted teeth, etc. I was starting to think this was some new scam when my old vet was recommending it a lot in the late 90s. I looked it up, it's a good thing apparently but I also read it is a major money maker so think twice, IMHO, especially if the dog seems fine.  I'm probably wrong, you should do it every year, blah, blah, blah.

as for the trend of brushing your dog's teeth, I'm sorry, either I'm doing it wrong or I have a very strange dog who goes nuts when you do it, loves the taste, tries to eat the brush and I doubt with all that, I am making a dent in his dental care, lol.  My other dog?  You would have to be a sick f*** to keep trying. My old vet said to make sure to brush their tongue. Brush a dog's tongue, how, by holding the end and then scrubbing away? Apparently, this vet had never met a dog.

Making Cookies

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2016, 09:25:16 AM »
Shop around for a vet too.

We adopted a bird dog from a shelter via a rescue group. We've done this before.

Rescue group spent ~$1K on a healthy dog with no problems to have her spayed, get her shots up to date, etc. Rescue family took my dog to a fancy vet.

I adopted her from them for ~$200. Wonderful dog, wonderful breed, wonderful family dog patient with kids. We knew what we were getting breed-wise. Not a breed for someone in an apt or condo or urban neighborhood where the dog can't run.

My local country vet could have done the same services for ~$200. His group does vet care for big and small animals both. Very affordable. For this reason I would never rely on vet insurance. Just build a vet bill fund for your pet.

Our dogs have always gotten their shots when many of the town's vets roam around town doing shots at set location/time for $5-$10. Its advertised in the paper. They do dogs and cats at the same time from the back of a pickup truck or in some cases come to your car and do it. No unload necessary.

Our annual animal costs are limited to food, those shots, flea pills for the dog for four months a year. 

When she gets old and has problems that can't easily be treated, we'll put her down. We did that for our last dog. That dog came down with cancer. We took her home and kept her comfortable for a couple of months and when she was no longer able to enjoy life, we put her down. She never knew what happened to her. She died in my arms on her dog bed. Sad, sad day.

I think being MMM might suggest that we pick our animals carefully (avoid breeds prone to expensive problems) and our vets carefully. Cost vs benefit balance. I'll always try to have a dog until I am too old to keep house someday.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2016, 09:12:11 AM »
I think being MMM might suggest that we pick our animals carefully (avoid breeds prone to expensive problems) and our vets carefully.

I think this is super important.  Choose your breed for temperament, physical build, health issues (lack of).  Then in that list find the dog for you.

My ideal dog, since I don't need a working/guard dog: head at the same height as my hand at rest, so easy to pat.  Prick ears, fewer ear infections. Normal snout shape, no snoring or breathing problems.   Good eyes, hips, elbows (this needs to be tested, you can't tell on your own).  Friendly to people of all descriptions and behaviours, other dogs, cats.  Smart enough to learn, not so smart that it gets bored and into trouble.  Hey, that's my dog!  She could be a touch taller, I have to bend very slightly to pet her.

(Which always brings on my side rant - why do so many rental places restrict dogs by size?  Mine is 45 pounds and was a wonderful apartment dog for the year I was renting.  A nice laid-back Newf or Bernese is much nicer as a neighbour than a little high-strung yappy dog under the weight limit.  Yes I know there are lots of nice small dogs out there, but I find a lot of small-dog owners do not train their dogs all that well.  They treat them like toys, not like dogs.)
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Making Cookies

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2016, 10:27:43 AM »
And some breeds are NOT mean spirited (won't bite) but are great guard dogs just because they announce every stranger that approaches the door. That's what we have. Not bite in her but lots of "big dog" bark when she is motivated.

Edited: left out the NOT making my statement opposite of what I intended... Wish my fingers were better wired to my brain...
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 12:25:49 PM by Jethrosnose »

RetiredAt63

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2016, 11:27:57 AM »
^^ Mine is a great guard dog because she is so excited to have visitors, and announces that to the world.  Bark Bark -  a car drove into the driveway!  Bark bark! Someone is at the door!  Bark Bark I am sooo happy and excited.  Since she is so excited, until she calms down I have to hold her by the collar, and if there was someone at the door I needed guarding from the sight of a biggish dog being forcibly restrained could strike fear into a "bad guy"'s heart.
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Making Cookies

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2016, 12:26:35 PM »
Yep, just like our dog. The perfect personality like your's.

ariapluscat

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2016, 11:48:35 AM »
I think people sometimes forget about the benefits of pets.

I don't have a dog, but my ff family does and I dog sit sometimes. Dogs are a great motivator for a lot of other MMM ideas, like working outside, exercising outside, focusing on socializing in free public areas. Plus, a small poorly trained dog is like the caricature of all the things MMM hates, undisciplined, spoiled, and constantly yapping for more $$ and attention.

If you're adopting a pet, you're saving a life. There's no price that can be put on that! But if we did, it'd far less than a breeder would on a new puppy or kitten.

I chose to get two cats and delay getting a dog. I want a dog, preferably a big dog, but I realize that I can't pay the cost atm as far as rent and time. Dogs can be a reality check as far as your expenses, commitment, and fitness. Same goes when I got my kitten. I really had to check my finances for the adoption cost and neutering along with the affirmation that, yes, I am going to be able to maintain a good lifestyle for two cats and care for both of them when they're older.

I wish the article had brought up some of the benefits of a pet: while I was living in a cheap and dirty dorm, the cat floor was the one floor that didn't have mice and no roach survived more than a day with our cats on the prowl.
I also really trust my own and my cats' instincts around new roommates: a pet could save you a lot of money if they sniff out a mean or distrust worthy roommate before you sign a lease with them.
Plus most pets work as great alarm clocks! Worth it!
I def know that it's emotional, but my cats mean a lot to me as support and emotional buttresses. They're much better cheering me up than a $20 take out meal is.
I also know you can get some of these benefits for free by volunteering at a shelter or pet sitting for friends, but it's not the same as having your own pet available to you 24/7.

Diniecita

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2016, 08:02:48 PM »
I thought this was a weird article from MMM. Dogs are optional? No shit. Who said they weren't? My interpretation of the the whole "mustachian" philosophy is to stop spending money on things that don't matter, so you have time and money to focus on the things that bring you happiness. If a dog brings you happiness and you've got your financial shit together, get one. If you don't like dogs or you think a dog would be a burden, don't get one. Seems simple to me.
I agree with this logic of thinking. Not everybody wants pets or kids for that matter. It is ALL (as someone above said) optional. Breathing is optional as well, but I choose to keep doing it for now.
Trying to create our FI homestead for a better life.

marble_faun

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2016, 09:53:39 PM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!

A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.

A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).

I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.
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RetiredAt63

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2016, 08:58:04 AM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!
A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.
A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).
I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.

Totally agree.  But how many people get a dog "for the kids" and never train it or house-train it and 6 months later the dog is at the pound? Or hit by a car because they let it run loose?  They had the dog for all the wrong reasons (just like people buy cars and trucks and houses and go clubbing for all the wrong reasons).   MMM's post should at least make people think about whether they really want a dog, or it is just something they think they should have.
The measure of civilization is how people treat one another.

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totoro

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2016, 09:32:11 AM »
I agree pet insurance is not worth it.  There is a deductible when you use it and it doesn't cover routine stuff.  We've been paying it for ten years and not used it once but now that our dog is 10 years old it makes sense to continue to pay it given the risk level for serious illness.  Past is sunk costs.  I wouldn't do it again - I'd just use savings.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2016, 01:15:17 PM »
Or you could just stop paying now, even though you've paid for 10 years for nothing.

Pet insurance is a waste of money, no matter what the dog's age is.

Spending money propping up old pets is a choice. You don't have to spend anything, no matter what the animal's age.

Our 15 year old dog died peacefully in our front yard a few months ago. Cost = $0.

Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2016, 01:29:59 PM »
Totoro: I would keep the insurance now at this point because at the age of 10 the dog is likely to have some type of problem and then at least you might get some of your $ back.    Shane: dogs get chronic conditions just like people and can live many years with meds. We have 4 dogs ages 11-19 and 3 of the 4 are on meds.   YOu don't let a otherwise healthy dog suffer or die anymore then you would a person.  For instance our big guy takes a pill for hip pain which is common for his breed. With the meds he has no pain and can take a daily walk, swim, fetch and has a great life.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2016, 02:25:39 PM »
Totoro: I would keep the insurance now at this point because at the age of 10 the dog is likely to have some type of problem and then at least you might get some of your $ back.    Shane: dogs get chronic conditions just like people and can live many years with meds. We have 4 dogs ages 11-19 and 3 of the 4 are on meds.   YOu don't let a otherwise healthy dog suffer or die anymore then you would a person.  For instance our big guy takes a pill for hip pain which is common for his breed. With the meds he has no pain and can take a daily walk, swim, fetch and has a great life.

I agree that it would be inhumane to let an animal suffer. Luckily, we have vets that are trained to euthanize animals that are suffering. Mine charges only $35 for this completely painless procedure, which is less than one payment on a pet insurance policy.

Dogs and cats are not people.

totoro

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2016, 02:47:11 PM »
I'm okay to keep paying at this point - I've got more than enough money to do it and feels like a choice that fits my set of values.  Euthanasia for my dog will be for debilitating/incurable/fatal circumstances.  My test is a quality of life with treatment test, not without treatment, because she's a living being in my care and part of the family.  The money is not a significant factor given the insurance coverage.  The insurance payments will be for five more years if we're lucky given the breed (bigger dog).  Happy to pay that, just wouldn't pay for insurance again.

BlueHouse

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2016, 02:47:26 PM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!
A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.
A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).
I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.

Totally agree.  But how many people get a dog "for the kids" and never train it or house-train it and 6 months later the dog is at the pound? Or hit by a car because they let it run loose?  They had the dog for all the wrong reasons (just like people buy cars and trucks and houses and go clubbing for all the wrong reasons).   MMM's post should at least make people think about whether they really want a dog, or it is just something they think they should have.
My niece, but she got it for herself.  Never trained.  rarely walked.  After 6 months, she left it with her parents.  My brother and I got into a big argument about it when she first got the dogs.  I said it was irresponsible because she couldn't even afford her own rent and my brother and his wife were subsidizing her living expenses.  He said he thought it was one of the most responsible things he could think of for a young adult.  6 months later, he was left with it in his house and he refused to walk it.  9 months after that and she just had a baby.  Not married.   Doesn't want to finish training for the vocation of her choice.  Very responsible.  My brother barely speaks to me because I was right.  I would never say so, but I know that's why he won't speak with me now.  I learned my lesson and will only be supportive of dumb-ass family members from now on. 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2016, 03:10:12 PM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!
A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.
A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).
I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.

Totally agree.  But how many people get a dog "for the kids" and never train it or house-train it and 6 months later the dog is at the pound? Or hit by a car because they let it run loose?  They had the dog for all the wrong reasons (just like people buy cars and trucks and houses and go clubbing for all the wrong reasons).   MMM's post should at least make people think about whether they really want a dog, or it is just something they think they should have.
My niece, but she got it for herself.  Never trained.  rarely walked.  After 6 months, she left it with her parents.  My brother and I got into a big argument about it when she first got the dogs.  I said it was irresponsible because she couldn't even afford her own rent and my brother and his wife were subsidizing her living expenses.  He said he thought it was one of the most responsible things he could think of for a young adult.  6 months later, he was left with it in his house and he refused to walk it.  9 months after that and she just had a baby.  Not married.   Doesn't want to finish training for the vocation of her choice.  Very responsible.  My brother barely speaks to me because I was right.  I would never say so, but I know that's why he won't speak with me now.  I learned my lesson and will only be supportive of dumb-ass family members from now on.

Just wait, 6 months from now your niece will be at your brother's door dropping off her baby. Then he'll really be pissed at you!

mtn

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2016, 03:15:34 PM »
For us, dog ownership is not optional. It is a requirement for happiness.

But pet insurance? I calculated it out. It made sense if there was a large surgery (not neutering or spaying) within the first two years, and you immediately dropped it thereafter. That was the only way I could get it to work out.