The perceptions towards those who are low income dog owners...

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Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Tue Apr 20, '10 2:53pm PST 
Sometimes people become very unrealistic. I do believe a person shouldn’t get a pet if they can’t meet its basic needs. However, very few dog owners fall into that category.
It is sad when someone’s dog is ill and has to be put down for lack of an $8000 surgery. However, that person loved their dog. The dog had a good life and there is no guarantee that the dog would have had a better life with someone with more money. The dog might have died alone in a shelter if they weren’t taken in by the low income person. It is also easy to criticize on the net where you don’t have to look the person in the eyes while telling them how terrible they are.

I do feel angry at people who can afford better but choose to get cable TV or a new SUV instead of feeding their dog better kibble or getting a life saving surgery.
I recently got insurance for Fritz and Pip. Auda and Briz are both over ten and the only people who would insure them wanted over a hundred dollars a month each because of their age. I didn’t get them coverage and I am hoping and praying that I will never be faced with choosing to go into debt to save their lives. I’m not really low income, but some people would call me a bad owner because of this decision.
Anyway, if a person loves their dog and does their best, they are a good dog owner.

I do understand about bills. When my husband was going through cancer treatment and didn’t’ work 3 years ago, I bought pet food, paid our utilities, bought people food and then gave the doctors what I had left. They were mostly understanding, luckily I have good insurance or we would have had to bankrupt.

During that time I did feed the dogs Diamond naturals instead of better food and I did use Ivermec for heartworm. It was the best I could do, but they never went without. It took me two years to pay all of the medical bills.

Anyway it is easy to sound arrogant on the net and I hope that I haven’t’ offended anyone recommending they go to the vet or feed better kibble.

Betty Fritz's person

Pocket Wolf
Barked: Wed Apr 21, '10 10:11am PST 
Hi, another low-income dog owner here. Actually, that's why we chose to accept a tiny dog into our lives, because we knew that a tiny dog does not need so much per month, and we can still spoil her. (and we do) we manage to feed her raw,since she only needs 3 ounces of food per day, so what, I trim off about that much from whatever meat I am cooking, and she gets that and carrots, apples, seaweed, sweet potatoes, and eggs. Sometimes even goat cheese and milk! She's young and healthy with no genetic problems. Hopefully, we'll have more money in the future for when old age does its thing, but for now she gets just about the same thing as we eat, minus the grains and fat. Nobody can say that I treat my dog badly, even though I am below the poverty line for income.

I'm a trilingual- dog!
Barked: Wed Apr 21, '10 11:18am PST 
Lucille.. "Spending tons of money on pets is just another status symbol."

That's not true.

I have only been out of college for 2 years this coming May and I have been working full-time for just that amount of time in this economy. Although it may seem like we spend 'tons of money' on our pets (which we do), I can do so because that's basically the reason why I work (that, and pay off more a LOT of school loans)

I DID just spend $8,000 on Lantis' surgery, only $1,500 which was reimbursed by his insurance, not because he's a status symbol or because spending money is a status symbol, but because he's given me 12 years of his life and it is worth it. When I work I'm paying off just Lantis and the pups' bills.

The boyfriend is still a student and does not work.

I give my dogs the best I can afford, and I can usually afford the best because they are my #1 priority and I work hard for that.

I don't have a car or drive, shop at local farmers' markets and cook every night, pack my lunches to go to work, live outside of the city proper in an apartment that allows dogs, just so that my dogs can have everything I want them to have.

So, no, I don't have problems with people who don't have money - I don't have much to spend for myself, either. But I do have problems with people who put other things above a dog that was their choice to have in the first place.

ETA: I think Dogsters in general are attune to economic limits that people have. For example, if you ask for a good, decent priced food that isn't too expensive, most people will probably suggest Taste of the Wild or perhaps Acana vs. Orijen or Evo.

And I don't see dogsters getting on other's cases for going to low cost spay/neuter clinics or getting shots instead of titering or not being to afford trainers if the person is willing to invest their own time & research to train their dog themselves.

On the raw food forum constantly people are exchanging deals that they got and tips on where to find cheap stuff and resources, too. dog

Edited by author Wed Apr 21, '10 11:32am PST



Boomer Did It
Barked: Wed Apr 21, '10 5:47pm PST 
I agree with Fritz, however I cannot tell you how many times a day (at work) I hear...

"My puppy is sick, I need to bring him in but I have no money because I just paid $1200 for him."we don't refuse them though.


"I rescued this cat and I want to get him fixed and all his shots. Do you offer rescue prices? (Are you a labeled rescue?) Well, no but I took him in and I'm feeding him so I rescued him. Can't you just help me out? I'm helping him out?!" (this phone call x10 a month)

I'm sorry! We're not a low cost shelter but our prices aren't unreasonable by any means. But someone has to pay us so we have jobs. We have families and pets to feed too. The animals are the perks. Helping them is the greatest pay there is.

*this is my little soapbox now* I do not mean to offend ANYONE so please read and understand exactly the type of people I am speaking about (It has nothing really to do with income level. Broke is an issue. Poor is a state of mind)

We've all been broke, we've all fed our dogs lower quality than we'd like-- maybe out of ignorance or maybe out of necessity. But when people don't sacrifice for their pets and then EXPECT others to sacrifice for them... that's just wrong.

Example 1: Buying a $1200 dog and having no money set aside for a vet visit (even $100) is poor planning. Should they not have a dog? No. Should they have waited until they could get a mini savings account for vet visits (He was going to need puppy shots, after all). I say yes. And that's my opinion

Example 2: Taking in a stray cat. Commendable, absolutely. Why not save up for the shots/speuter or go to the SPCA where things are cheaper? Maybe find him a home with a friend?

Vet care is a fact of pet life. Obviously, unexpected things happen. Should the dog be taken away? No. Are they bad owners? No. But it really irks me when other people, KNOWING the responsibility of a dog/cat, pass the buck and INSIST someone else help them foot the bill (on the basics -- initial shots/speuter)because "everyone should love animals and help those who help animals". It's a great sentiment, but it doesn't work that way.

Unfortunately, it takes money to make the world go round. And I'm not speaking of vet's who charge outrageous prices. There are ways to get affordable decent pet care and food.

Anyways, that's my soapbox and It's not a low income rant so please don't take it as such.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Thu Apr 22, '10 6:46am PST 
Lilith, I should have been more precise when I said 'spending tons of money on a pet is a status symbol'...I wasn't referring to surgeries or health expenses...things like expensive diamond collars and purses to carry the little dogs in. Things that are outwardly showy, that are used as a status symbol.
Budrow RIP buddy

I am handsome - deal with it
Barked: Thu Apr 22, '10 8:24am PST 
Lucille, that's what I thought of when you said spending tons of money on their dog for a status symbol. The diamond (real) encrusted collars, the little purses (well, I had one before, but it just embarassed me, there was no reason for me to have it, I wasted that money), the little clothes....really there's spending money on your dog for it's needs and then there's spending money on your dog to show the world you have tons of money to throw around on your dog. That's something celebrities love to do.

On the other hand, some dogs have to have little sweaters, raincoats, or such to wear in cold weather, and it would be cruel for the owners to walk it in such weather and it's all shivering....that's different. And, yes, last Christmas we had a little extra money left after buying gifts for faimily, that we went ahead and spent a little on silly costumes and collars for the dogs. But when I was in college, I never was able to afford ANYTHING above their basic needs. I'm so glad I don't have that worry now.

The only thing I can't afford for my dogs that I would love to be able to do for them is professional training. But thankfully I'm able to work on their behavorial training myself, even though it's taking longer and I make mistakes. At least I'm trying my best.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Thu Apr 22, '10 10:00am PST 
Budrow, you're right...some dogs do need sweaters in the winter. And there's nothing wrong with costumes, either. Or anything that might be considered 'frivolous', if that's what you or your pet wants.

Besides, it's really none of my business how anybody spends money on their pets, rich or poor. As long as a person is doing the best that they can by the furry critter that depends on them.

There's nothing like the comfort and unconditional love that you get from a pet to help a person through hard times. It's just my opinion that income level shouldn't determine wether or not a person is 'deserving' of that.

Better than I- was
Barked: Fri Apr 23, '10 8:42am PST 
I have been poor, and not so poorbig grin, the dogs ate, had their shots, and toys. Zoey gets her special food, her meds, the treats she likes ...and I use coupons and sales for MY stuff. BOL Her coats, as she is hair not a fur dog, come from christmastree shop (really cheap) Her many many stuffies from yard sales. I go to a fairly pricey vet that knows her illness. In other words I will short myself before I short her. I made a choice, she did not.
When I make good $$ my dogs eat well, when i don't they still do. Not top of the line, but reasonable. My income and my values are not the same thing. I value my dogs regardless of my income.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Fri Apr 23, '10 6:49pm PST 
"If you don't have the funds for a dog, then you shouldn't have one"

Oh have I heard that soooo many times. People should really restate that. My dogs don't get the best dog food. They don't get blood tests or CBCs or thyroid panels just because I want to make sure everything is working ok. They only go to the vet when it is absolutely needed. They've never been to classes. I don't buy any treats specifically for them. I'll usually buy pepperoni or meat for myself and split that with the dogs for training. I can't afford to have every test under the sun done to make sure everything is in good shape and working.

Does that mean I shouldn't have dogs? You mean to tell me that my dogs would be better off sitting in a shelter somewhere with an uncertain future? You mean to tell me that all the love, attention, exercise, and training I give these dogs doesn't matter because I "don't have the funds in owning a dog"? Lord knows there's already enough dogs looking for a new home, why do people feel obligated to tell others to give up their dogs based on funds?

I can't tell you how many places I've gone and websites I've searched trying to find a way to feed my dogs better quality food at a price I can afford. I can't tell you how many times I saw I toy that I KNEW my dog would love, but I couldn't get it because it was just too much $$. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to buy the absolute best for my dogs, but was always cut short by funds. It's frustrating enough, but even moreso when people tell you that you shouldn't have a dog when you can't afford the best, which is what a majority of people mean when they say you shouldn't have a dog if you don't have the funds....the "best".

Heck, I can't even buy organic foods for myself, so how am I supposed to by the best food for my dogs? I wish I could count the weeks I lived off of Ramen and microwavable pizzas lol.

But money does not negate being a good dog owner. And quite honestly, I think my dog would much rather choose to get fed regular food and spend time with me, than get high quality food and barely see me. Not that those are the only two choices, but you get what I'm saying.

Edited by author Fri Apr 23, '10 6:51pm PST


Raw-fed and- loving it!
Barked: Sat Apr 24, '10 6:39am PST 
This thread hits home. I am going through a divorce and, although money was never free-flowing when I was married, I certainly worried less then (about money) than I do now. I literally live paycheck to paycheck. I have paid "regular" bills late so I can afford to take my dogs to the vet. I shop for them (I feed raw) and then buy my food with whatever's left over. I have basically given up shopping for myself... I can't even remember the last time I bought myself a new article of clothing, or new shoes, or anything besides the essentials for myself. Anytime I get some extra money, it usually goes to the dogs... getting them a special treat, or new toy, or some more raw food. And I am happy with this, because they make ME happy. I would NEVER judge someone based on the amount of money they have coming in. I know many technically "poor" people who are better dog owners than people who have lots of money. One of my friends is in the process of adopting a dog from the rescue I work with, and she is in a very bad place financially. She doesn't feed her dogs high-quality food, but she ALWAYS makes sure that they are fed... her fridge has literally been empty of all food for herself and she has gone hungry, yet the dogs ALWAYS eat. She donates to rescue and buys her dogs a few toys and such even when she is struggling to pay bills. Her dogs are her companions, her friends, her children with fur, and she loves them more than life itself. I would NEVER consider her anything less than a terrific dog owner... and just because she cannot afford the adoption fee right now doesn't mean she won't do everything in her power to give the dog a great life. She has used rent money to pay vet bills... she is devoted with a capital D. cloud 9

From a rescuer's perspective, I know many people who believe that just because a person is low-income or comes from a not-so-great area, that the dog would be unsafe there or would not be well cared for. I myself have been guilty of this, and I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but here goes... When I was screening potential homes for the foster puppies I had, I found out that a potential owner lived in a known dogfighting area. This area is very dangerous to dogs - in fact, when I worked in the shelter I remember people coming in from the area to use our pet food pantry and telling me horror stories about how their personal dogs have been attacked, beaten with bricks, and almost stolen by dogfighters. We have also rescued a number of dogs from that area and they have never been in good shape... chained, neglected, bait dogs, the whole nine yards. I am ashamed to say that I red-flagged this applicant right from the start. I was gracious and kind on the phone and encouraged them to fill out an application, but did emphasize the home check, references, and $300 adoption fee... in the hopes that it would deter the person from adopting. It did in the end (the person never followed up with me or submitted an application), but I still feel guilty for judging someone based on where they live. I struggle with wanting to do what is best for the dog and trying to give people a fair chance to adopt. What do you guys think about this? Was I horrible to think like this? I felt like a very unfair person even though on paper, I treated them the same as any other applicant. I just feel like in my heart, this person didn't really have a fair chance because of where they lived... and it is a low-income area. Am I a bigoted person?

Sorry for the tangent... I do feel it's relevant in a way, though. Opinions and thoughts would be appreciated. dog
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