Yesterday and today have thrown a curve-ball at us in regards to our challenge and newfound consciousness.
Our dog Cocoa became ill Monday morning. I didn't think too much of it until Monday evening when she left "evidence" all over one room in our house. I got up with her in the night and still found some "evidence" in the morning when I got up Tuesday. So yesterday afternoon I considered a trip to the vet a need. A full panel blood test, fecal test, and three medications later we were sent home to wait for the results.
That got Donnie and I to talking: what is the need vs. want when it comes to our pets' care?
We adopted Cocoa (a large mix breed) five years ago when she was 5-7 years old. She has been an amazing dog to our kids and gives me a sense of comfort and security in our home. I love her; however, I love her as a pet. She is not a human. In my opinion, humans are far more important than animals (although a few of the humans I've met have tempted me to change that opinion). I realize this is not everyone's view and I can respect that; but I truly believe that--while I love animals--I have a much greater duty to save a hungry and/or abused human than animal.
But this isn't "some animal", this is my dog. She feels like a part of our family. I am willing to spend more money than I probably should to find out what's wrong and solve the problem.
Back when our pug lost her eyes (yes, lost--as in both eyes (at different times) popped out and had to be surgically removed) some people couldn't understand our willingness to spend that kind of money on her. However, we felt 1) she is our dog and we have a commitment to her, 2) we love her, and 3) we had the money (and since the eye loss happened a year apart it helped spread the cost out--of course that just means we got the criticism twice). Money was also different then--both Donnie and I had paychecks coming in and we lived in a less expensive city.
AND, that was before we really had our eyes opened.
You see the money we spent on her eye surgeries could have bought 6,000 servings of food for the underprivileged around the world. While I can't imagine putting a dog down for lost eyes, I also cannot wrap my brain around the fact that her eye surgeries cost the same as 6,000 meals in other countries. SIX THOUSAND. Putting it like that sounds shameful.
So back to Cocoa.
Because we do love her and we do believe that to have a pet is to also have a commitment to it, we decided to run the tests to get an idea of what we were dealing with (the same as 1412 meals btw). In the 24 hours we were waiting for the results we went back and forth on how much is too much. Finances are not the same as they used to be--we're a one income family, I'm in the long and expensive process of returning to school, and we are in a more expensive area--we may have a commitment to our pets but our greater commitment is to our kids. It's hard to learn the things we've learned during these past few weeks (both from experience and research) and look at pet care the same way.
Thankfully Cocoa's tests came back with relatively good news--her large intestine is not digesting food properly so she needs to be on a special diet. But going through those discussions with Donnie has left me feeling confused and troubled with my priorities.
Where do I draw the line? How can I balance having a happy life here full of fun adventures, special times and events, having and caring for pets and reaching out to those hurting and hungry around me? In regards to the impoverished around the world I've only seen the tip of the iceberg--would I be able to recover if I researched more?
Do I want to "recover"?
Here's a link to the food outreach I got my info from: