Irresponsible pet owner or not?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by nostalgia, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    You found a stray male dog, and you know for sure it has been abandoned (not just lost). You would like to keep him but, deep down you know you really can't afford to get him the shots, or the proper annual health care he needs. But you can afford to feed him.
    You could take him to the dog pound but deep down you feel that because he is an older dog, most likely he will end up being put to death.

    Now the question: Do you think the dog would be better off at the pound (most likely put to death) or would he be better off with you even if all you can give him is food, water, shelter, and lots of love? How would you handle it if he had some kind of major illness later that required expensive surgery or hospitalization? If you couldn't give him what he needs in healthcare, would you feel like you let him down? Would it be harder on you to just send him to the pound in the first place, or would it be harder on you if he got sick and you couldn't afford to help him? And most likely without the preventative healthcare, he will eventually end up really sick.

    Do you think someone who takes in an animal and can't afford to get it healthcare is an "irresponsible pet owner" and shouldn't own one? Or, do you admire someone who cares enough to want to do whatever they can to help it, even if it is limited?
     
  2. jessandcody

    jessandcody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    200
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    KY
    Wow, sounds like how we found our dog Boomer. He is a black lab mix that weighed 8 pounds when we rescued him along the side of the road. (about half of his weight was worms).

    We didn't have the money to take care of him immediately, but we did the best we could. We assumed his growth would be stunted by poor nutrition before he came to live with us. We were wrong.

    Boomer is no longer a basketball with 4 legs. He's an 8 month old puppy in excellent health. Because we have a responsibility, the dog always gets fed first. If we are low on money, Boomer gets first dibs on the food budget. Now he is shiny, energetic and has crossed the sixty pound mark. We have neutered him, given up all his shots, and I don't think of him as a burden.

    Boomer has made us better people. Sure I wish his overactive "Cujo" phase would hurry up and pass, but my baby boy doesn't fit on my lap very well these days. Ahh.... that's not irresponsibility.

    I'm glad he found us :)

    - Jess
     

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    OK, this is just how I feel, since you asked. PLEASE don't anybody blast me. I would take it in, and find a way to give it proper medical care. Now I'll try to explain why I feel this way.

    As a child, I grew up in a home where animals were not taken care of. Not necessarily "mistreated", but they certainly suffered from neglect. Terribly. When I was old enough to understand that these animals deserved better, I also suffered, because there was nothing I could do. No amount of tears could get my folks to take a dog or cat to the vet. When I became an adult, I swore my animals would always be taken care of. If I had to, I'd work a part-time job for the money. But for me, it's easy, because I never had kids. I know that kids come before pets. I have 4 dogs and 6 cats. I wouldn't go looking for more at this point, but I couldn't turn an older dog away, and I definitely couldn't take it to the shelter. Don't get me wrong, I can't afford anything that isn't needed. My pets are all spayed and neutered, and up to date on shots, and yes, it costs a fortune.

    One idea that comes to mind.............you may know several kind-hearted friends who adore animals, but aren't in the position to adopt another right now. Would they be willing to chip in $10 or $15 towards his medical expenses? Could you hold a yard sale with items donated by coworkers? There are a couple of women in my area who make dog biscuits and some crafts, and sell them at craft shows, and all the money goes to dog rescues. Most folks really do feel good about being able to help in a situation like this.
     
  4. I wonder why anyone would drop off a well mannered, well adjusted, healthy older dog. Is there a chance he wandered off? Especially at this time of year, hunting dogs can turn up in wierd places, maybe someone is looking for this dog? It might be an idea to visit a Vet to check for a microchip or tattoo? I don't think they charge to scan for a chip.

    If the dog is a recognizable breed, there are rescue groups that can help to get the dog initial vet care, for examination, bloodwork, shots, deworming, spay or neuter and if the person who finds the dog is unable to keep it, will foster the dog until a home is found. In this case since you are interested in keeping the dog, then they would work with you

    Since the dog that has wandered into your life is older, it may not actually need to have annual vaccinations, some purebred dog breeders are shying away from annual vaccinations in older dogs, instead they do a titer to see if the immunity level is adequate, then may or may not do an annual vaccination. Unless the dog is immune compromised or of a breed suseptable to canine communicable disease, then he may already have all the immunity he needs. You would need to get the dog a rabies shot, though.

    Since it has been wandering, it probably does need to be dewormed, which is not usually very expensive. Additionally, th dog may not have had adequate nutrition... no doubt some time in a loving home with you will help the dog regain any lost ground weightwise.

    As for health care, you do take more of a burdon on with an older dog, as you do know that their youth is fading and along with age comes problems. Some age related diseases are very expensive to treat. Some dogs, (depending on the genetics) have a lot of healthy years after their prime, and others need medications or surgical procedures in order to maintain optimal function.

    Hope this helps

    I am sure that in the dog's mind, a few happy years with you would outweigh a short time at the pound.

    Best of Luck, Shannon
     
  5. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I've been inthis spot a lot.... here is my answer.
    A mail order rabies and tetanus shot (sometimes with other vaccines just as cheap) is very cheap, and all the vet really is going to do usefull for you if the animal is in good heath. (yes, you can tell, it isnt rocket science) I give the shots, I bathe, and i feed. If it stays hurah, its family, if it goes it is a bit better off than it was, and more adoptable as it is clean with a new collar and tags noting its had shots. If it becomes sick or injured and I cant heal them, I shoot them.
    this is called "life", it isnt for the faint hearted.
    I am the most responsable animal gaurdian youll ever find, But I dont fool myself with ideas like "it needs a full checkup and battery of tests to be well taken care of"
    if I suspect worms, I worm them. i treat the injuries, and I help them die when hope is not an option. And I love em, and I greive over them.
    When the stray cat poulation started becomeing to much, i culled many of them before they got "friendly". Wild cats are not only dangerous but the breed like bunnies, and destroy the wildlife in an area till its a dead zone. For the most part nature culls the cats, the hawks, the racoons and the skunks keep them in check, when I get a litter of cats i can say with almost certainty within a year 50 to 70% will be dead of accidents and predation. I just lost my favorite young cat to a car, he was big, stong and very tame, but he lacked one thing; quick thinking. I have a kitten now with an odd growth on his forehead, he will die within a year but he is well and playfull, so I let him enjoy his short life. One large white kitten santa gave to a couple of lil girls and it has a nice home.
    do all you can within reason and dont beat yourself up, they evolved withoput human intervention, they arre designed to survive, so anything you do is good. A cheap vaccine shot, a bath, some food, a warm spot to hide and sleep makes a world of difference to them, even if its seen as inadiquate to others.
     
  6. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    I don't know, maybe a better question would be, how much would you be willing to spend to save your pup?

    I know people who have spent thousands - and I mean thousands, $8K, $10K and up - at the vet for a single malady.

    I don't even spend that much money on myself.

    And I once stopped going to a vet because I discovered medication he was charging me around $4 a pill for (and my cat was taking anywhere from 2-3 of these pills a day) was available through another vet - AND for humans - at $10 for 30 pills.

    Most vets are honorable people. But the expense of going to a vet anymore is getting to be outrageous, worse than human doctors almost. For basic care, yes, I go to a vet. For traumatic emergencies and situations where blood work is needed, etc. yes, the vet.

    But there's a limit. And I don't know that many people who can afford (or would be willing to pay) $8,000 and up to treat a single malady of a critter. So - ?
     
  7. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I would take the dog in if I could afford to feed him, & worry about the vet expenses a little later. The rabies shot & the worming are relatively cheap & if you check with your local shelter, they may be able to help you out, or at least point you towards some free or low cost assistance. Some communities even have a program of free rabies shots. My grandfather always wormed our dogs with snuff mixed with canned dog food & bacon grease... seemed to work fine, but they need to stay outside for a few days after that treatment! If you do a good deed, I think that God will provide a way for you to take care of him. :)
     
  8. jessandcody

    jessandcody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    200
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    KY
    you can mail order rabies vaccines? I was under the impression that only a vet could administer those....that is why I am asking. It's not a big deal, my vet only charged $8.00 for that. But I thought the only way to get the tag was thru the vet.
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    After some reflection, I think I'm with bgak on this.

    If you can provide food and shelter and basic vet care, and if you are willing to look after and attend to a pup and give the pup some major TLC, why not?

    :)
     
  10. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    Each state is different when it comes to ordering syringes and vaccines. I cannot get rabies vaccine here in NY state. Even if I had a friend in another state get it for me, it's not recognized here unless it's given by a vet. (That doesn't mean I wouldn't do it :) !)
     
  11. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    SC and soon to be NC
    Our dog we have now was found i the middle of the road(literally) one morning by us.

    We stopped,she jumped right in and we have had her ever since.

    She has not been to a vet in the four years we have had her and she has lasted this long!!! :)

    She WAS 'fixed' before we found her(the one thing that needs to be done in my opinion with most animals) and is fine although getting on in years.

    I would keep the animal as long as you can provide the important things in its life-
    Food,shelter and a loving environment.

    Healthcare for animals is a bit overboard nowadays-people are buying into the NEED to take every animal to the vet to be checked out every year...makes you wonder how the animal kingdom survived before Vets came along.

    Use commonsense in making your decisions and you will almost never go wrong.
     
  12. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

    Messages:
    393
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    California
    I agree with a couple people on here, keep the dog, check for programs which spay/ nueter free and go to a shot clinic were shots are about eight dollars each. Instead of heart worm use ivomec once a month in food . If it gets sick latter pounds will put them to sleep for you for about fifteen dollars.
     
  13. Sharon in NY

    Sharon in NY Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,195
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    The other thing you can do, if you are truly concerned, is call the local shelter and tell them what you told us. They may offer to do a vet check and shots for free or a nominal fee - it is cheaper than their housing and feeding the dog themselves.

    Sharon
     
  14. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,304
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I have just such a dog. Some idiot dumped three puppies in the middle of an intersection a quarter mile from my house. Cars killed one, I put one down and the third got a rabies shot and worm pills from me, plus groceries. Blaze the worthless damned trash-gatheriing, glove-chewing fool is now about six months old and weighs maybe twenty pounds. He will not be a big dog, showing heeler markings and traits. However, he is slick as a button, bright eyed and eager to please, though a bit wild due to the dingo inheritance. My main dog, Lady, will chase off varmints but is reluctant to tangle with them (maybe a bobcat taught her some lessons) but Blaze, the fool, tangles and getts bitten. He will be my kill dog when he is grown.

    Here in Ok you can buy rabies vaccine, $l.60 per dose with a tag. The authorities will not recognize a rabies vaccination not given by a vet, but who cares out here in the boonies? Worm pills for Blaze are about fifty cents per dose. I give heartworm medications the first of each month, perhaps ten cents per dose--it is one part cattle Ivermectin and 30 parts propylene glycol given orally. The dosage is one cc per 110 pounds of dog.
    Ox
     
  15. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,251
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    southern New Jersey
    As many have said here, you can do mail-order shots that you can give yourself for everything except maybe rabies, and many towns and counties offer free rabies shot clinics every year, so that the dogs can be licensed. I just checked one of my catalogs from Omaha Vaccine Co. - One shot to cover distemper, hepatitis, flu, parvovirus and leptosperia costs $3.29 including the needle and syringe, plus maybe $4.00 shipping. the catalog recommends 2 doses initially, if the animal has never been vaccinated. Then, once a year. It is not difficult to give a vaccine - you can either pinch up some skin between the shoulder blades and inject, or into the hip. Wormer medicines run anywhere from $4 to $25, depending on the type of wormer and size of dog.
    The more difficult situation and expense would be heartworm prevention, if you live in a state where heartworm is a problem. As far as I know, all the medications have to be gotten from a vet, or you have to have a prescription to mail order them. For a large dog, a pack of 6 heartworm pills (one a month) runs around $30 to $35. Less, for a smaller dog. Heartworm disease is a sure killer if you live in a heartworm area - they are spread by mosquitos, so unless the dog is indoors all the time, they can be in danger.
    All this is just for your information, so you can help figure out the true costs. Adopting a dog can be wonderful, but is is a very personal decision.
    Good luck !
     
  16. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

    Messages:
    1,600
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Keep the dog, but keep you eye on the paper for missing dog. In California, if you have the dog 2 weeks he is yours! If after a period of time no one posts a notice, then he is yours. or...are you his?
     
  17. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,681
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    Bel Aire, KS
    Actually you can buy Ivomec or try the new generic version that's out and give him 1/10th of a cc per 10 pounds monthly but you will have to get his blood checked for parasites and make sure he don't have the heartworm in the first place before you give the Ivomec. It's only good for the heartworms...you would have to deworm using other types of worming meds. I don't neuter/spay my dogs because I know when the girls are in heat..it's unmistakeable plus I keep my dogs under close observation. I don't breed either. Spaying/neuter costs $100 and more in Austin! I very rarely breed and last time I did was two years ago. One good reason to spay/neuter is to keep mange under control because it's hormonal related. I have a male dog that's going to have to be neutered mainly because of this..he has hereditary mange which isn't too bad right now and has been treated somewhat by the vet.

    Ted
     
  18. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I would NOT skip on the rabies shot--if by chance he bites someone, you can show the tag and that person is spared having to get the rabies treatment. Many vets really don't care if your dog is licensed or not (and if your dog is not fixed it is very expensive). Rabies is serious and if your child were bitten you would probably want to see that vet tag rather than just take someone's word for it--that is the reason that most places require that a vet gives the shot. One problem with going through the animal shelter or pound is that they are so big on licensing and the microchips (like those will really help if someone decides to just steal an animal). $$$$

    As to the other shots--really depends on where you live and what other animals they come in contact with. And as for other healthcare--do you go to the doctor every year? Many people don't, and they get along just fine. Your dog will too.
     
  19. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2003
    Once we had a lovely unspayed female Springer spaniel. When she came into heat a little dog showed up and howled outside the fence all night. The neighbors were not happy. I called animal control. They jailed him and called his owners, who paid $$ to free him. That night, he was back, but this time crashed through the screen door. Called animal control again. This time I called his owner. Seems little Rover lived over a mile away, had to dig his way out of his yard, and then cross two busy roads to get to our place. The owner again bailed him out, but this time stopped by the vet before going home, and Rover no longer roamed. Another male dog followed my car with Spinger in it out to a park where I would go so we could run. We crossed a highway and drove down a busy street. At the park he jumped up on top of my little VW. We didn't dare get out. So went home, with the silly thing running after us. Male dogs need to be neutered for their own safety. We had a couple litters of lovely puppies, but decided people would have to get their gun dogs elsewhere, so we, too, took a little trip to vet.

    Check out low cost clinics. It is less expensive in the long run to spay-neuter/innoculate than to go through the heartache of distemper or the fear of rabies.
     
  20. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,628
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    In Texas, rabies shots have to be given by the vet. But, it only costs about $10. As others have suggested, this is not a shot to skip, especially if you live in the country, and in areas where rabies is sometimes found.
    We are able to buy our doggy vaccinations and wormers at the local feed store, very, very economically. Since these shots are given under the skin, it is very easy to learn to do it. (Even I can do it!)

    We had a lovely young yellow lab as well as a rottweiller dumped at our farm earlier this year. And, yes, we know they were dumped. We live in a very small town, and a friend of ours even knew the history of these dogs and who dumped them! We had Animal Control pick up the rottweiller. But we kept the Lab until he was run over one day. :waa: He was a truly wonderful farm dog.

    With any animal the time may come when you have to decide whether you can afford to spend or are willing to spend large amounts of money to prolong life, etc. My own opinion is that we give the best care we can at home, including antibiotics if warranted, but we do not spend the money for expensive surgeries. It is sometimes kind to have an animal put down.
    (That day is not necessarily now. You are probably correct that he will be put down at the pound. Our local facility does this after only 5 days!)