Before I acquired my boy, Ranger, I decided that I wanted to have a backup fund for any pet that I brought home.
- Because I don’t think there is anything more heartbreaking than to own a pet and discover that something fixable is wrong with it, it’s urgent, and you cannot afford it. Insurance helps, but there are things like g. rooming costs, training, equipment, supplies, and fun activities. Just stuff that adds up.
- As a business, I wanted to try to set an example because daily I am overwhelmed with sad cases of people who cannot afford my grooming services–even if I were to price them so low that I can’t earn a living. The owner may be able to afford the grooming once a year, but for many breeds this is not enough. The dog is often suffering because of this. I feel bad charging some people because I know if they are scraping to pay for grooming then they can’t afford vet care, premium foods, daycare, environment management tools (crates, baby gates, etc.)
- How often do I hear that a person purchased a puppy from a pet store and it cost $1000? That is just the tip of the costs. Even if someone were given a show dog, this is just the beginning. So many people spend their money on that initial price and are shocked and resentful when they find out how much more is required. How many of us would dare to bring a horse home without having plenty of money for things like a barn, hay, equipment, a truck/trailer? For some reason, most of us think dogs just manage to work it out. They don’t. I would be thrilled if someone told me that they had set aside even $500 for their new pet. I wanted to go above and beyond.
- One can peruse the “Pets” section on Craigslist, for example, and find an endless list of ads where people are selling their unwanted pets (or, more accurately, asking for “re-homing” fees). Some people will try to find a way to ask for the original purchase price. Dogs do not go up in value (unless it perhaps happens to be a dog trained by Karen Pryor).
- I wanted to do something different. Instead of trying to sell a dog, how about if something happens to me and I can no longer care for mine, I have $10K to give to someone willing to care for him.
- Think that’s insane? One of my best clients has legally named me as the guardian of their dog. They have committed $35,000 toward ensuring his good care. By their calculations, he will likely live another 10+ years. That’s approximately $3500/year to cover food, vet care, and anything else he needs. What a concept!
- I have a guilty admission. I fell onto hard times after I acquired my dog. We no longer have our $10K fund for Ranger. However, I’m glad I had it at the time. Had it not been there, it surely would have been more difficult to care for him than it was. Not all is lost, I have a tiny little seed of a savings account started for him again. A $10 deposit here, a $20 deposit there adds up. Ranger is 3 years old now. I’m sure we will need it at some point.
So, if you have a pet of any kind, I would encourage you to think about setting up an emergency plan + trust fund of sorts if you really care about your pet. What is it that typically happens when a pet owner dies, must move, or has any other life change that does not allow them to care for their pet any longer? Check out the staggering number of ads on Craigslist, PetFinder, Animal Control, The Humane Society, rescues, etc. (I can’t bear to think of the possibilities of one of my pets ending up in a punishment-based home or, worse, in a research lab or dog-fighting ring). Give any pet you love and cherish the best possible chance of living well by:
- Lining up a legal guardian, if possible.
- Setting your pet up with a dowry or naming them in your will.
- Teaching your dog excellent manners–this is every bit as essential as money. A well-mannered dog is adoptable; an expensive, ill tempered, untrained dog is not endearing and is usually discarded.
If it matters to you what becomes of your pet, do everything you can to set your dog up for a good life!