Having a pet in the house is diffrent now then it was just a few years ago.Gone are the high profile people of the world walking in a LA pet shop and dropping $3000 on a teacup puppy. Do something like that now and suffer the ire of PETA. Even our new president is being affected by the recent developments in the economy. He has realized that you cannot simply enter a pet store and 30 minutes later exit with a new pet. The president has said that trying to find a new dog for his children is tougher than finding a Commerce secretary. He has been trying to model what a responsible new potential pet owner should be like during a recession, or any other time for that matter. During this recession we must take in consideration the needs of all the family members and wait until the household is calm before bringing a new pet into the family. He is also showing setting a good example by getting a pet from a shelter or rescue group.
Although the president’s decision of a new family pet, and whether it will be a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound has been all over the media, the biggest news is the uncertain future of pets during a time when people are struggling to pay for grocery bills.
In our nation’s hayday, it was not un-common to see stories that made us giggle and shake our heads about how people would spend exorbitant amounts of money on their dogs. They believed that their dogs actually appreciated the posh bottled water that was served to them in a crystal doggie glass. Stories of million dollar doggie trust funds, thousand dollar doggie hotels, pearl necklaces, and other instances of doggie decadence covered the papers daily.
Ever since economy has spiraled down,, stories of pets have evolved and are now much more daunting and saddening. The media all across our nation have been reporting about local animal shelters becoming filled far beyond their capacity, often times being forced to euthanize a greater number of otherwise healthy pets simply because of space constraints. Still others have abandoned their pets in foreclosed houses or tied up in back yards of abandoned properties, left to fend for themselves, often times incabable to reach food and water painfully starving to death at the end of a rope. The LA times even made pets and the economy their features story of the New Year. Pets are quickly becoming the luxury that can no longer be afforded.
This downward spiral comes on the heels of a recient upswing in adoptions. For nearly a decade shelters and rescues have been seeing a consistant rise in the rate of pet adoptions a starke difference from the overwhelming intake and decline in new adoption applications. There is no real way of knowing if we have seen the bottom of this staggering trend or if there is more despair to come. There is one certain thing, it is not getting any better.
Any progress made in the past of educating the public on the need to adopt from shelters instead of purchasing from a pet store means nothing if our sinking economy causes people to not be able to afford to own a pet or take care of the pets that they already have in their home. Vet costs alone have been a major factor in family’s decisions to give up their beloved dogs. With the average vet visit costing in the range of $200 a visit, people often have to decide whether they can spend this month’s credit card payment and unless they find a way to reduce their credit card debt, they often have no choice but to give up their pet.
Another sign of the rapid decline of the luxury pet market was the cancelation New York’s Pet Fashion Week. With all this negative news on the pet industry it is noteworthy to mention that pets have all kind of benefits. Vets across the nation have said that pets are an excellent way to lower blood pressure which helps justify spending the money spent on them.
For many of us the only solution to avoid having to make the choice of paying bills of feeding the family pet, is to get themselves in a position to weather the economic storm. For many people this could mean entering into a debt settlement program or other ways of lowering their household expenses. Choosing bankruptcy normally is not the best option for these embattled pet owners who do not want to deal with the court system, paying attorney fees nor having the black mark on their credit report for up to ten years. Often times credit card counseling, which is run by the creditors, is not a realistic option since in most cases the payments are no less and sometimes more then what they are paying at the moment. Again this makes the owner struggle with pet food not to mention vet bills as mentioned earlier.
Whatever program you may decide, should you need credit card debt relief, ensure that you educate yourself on the differences between the programs and fully understand the pitfalls. In most cases speaking to someone who can help you in reducing your debt can be helpful and is suggested over going it alone.
The question of pets and the economy will most likely go on as long as there is an recession in our country. The main issue is that we either need to deal with the debt we have and pull ourselves out of this crisis, or resort to what many have and get rid of the family pet. Where will this trend stop? Will the next crisis force us to decide whether to feed our kids and pay for medical insurance or leave them on the side of the street to survive on their own.
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