We all learn something every day, right? Well, I learned something recently when I discovered that there are food stamps available for pets.
Actually, from what I read in this article on ABC News, it’s more of a private, donation-sourced program that helps to assist low-income and food-stamp families with pet food. Apparently, once people meet the income and need qualification measures, they can receive pet food each month for 6 months, from a specified pet food retailer.
It seems like the notion of assistance for pet owners isn’t exactly a new concept. The article mentions this, and I also did some searching and found that financial help for pet owners is out there in different ways and to different degrees. So while this type of sentiment toward helping pet owners has been out there, the notion of “food stamps” for pets has caught the attention of people.
What do I think of this?
Well, I’m sure many people might think this is simply great. We Americans (and our neighbors to the north) generally like pets, and in many cases treat the animals as if they’re members of our family. So along those lines, I do like the compassionate approach to helping out animals in this way. Nobody wants to see pets suffer due their owners having financial difficulties. Also, it might be a gut-wrenching decision for people to have to give up a loved pet due to money concerns. That would be sad, particularly for elderly with pets and for kids.
Having said this, this got me thinking about pet ownership and financial problems in general. I think that we can distinguish between situations where people already have pets, and where people want to buy pets. The bottom line to me is that if somebody has financial problems, they don’t need to be buying expensive new pets.
Like I mentioned above, I think it’s different if people already have pets. But if someone has financial issues yet still wants to buy a pet, isn’t that a bit silly? A pet is a luxury, and is not a need. If people are living paycheck to paycheck, not saving money, and not taking care of retirement savings – why in the world would they think it’s okay to subsequently add a pet? I’m not talking about goldfish here, I’m talking about dogs and cats.
There are all kinds of expenses for pets:
- Vet care
- Your time
If a person can’t financially take care of themselves or their family, what sense does it make to add a pet that will drain more money?
This reminds me of a guy with whom I worked years ago. I was telling him about our newborn, and how great sleep had become much more elusive since she was born – yet how incredibly rewarding the whole experience of becoming a parent is. The other guy, not a parent himself, proceeded to tell me how he is in the same position as me. He said that he and his wife had a new arrival, and she was keeping them up at night as well. This “new arrival” was a puppy, which he said is the same thing as having a new baby. Uh, no – it’s not at all the same thing, buddy. That pet is a million times less important than a newborn child.
I hope this mentality doesn’t get people to start asking for taxpayer assistance for pet owners. In the article I referred to above, the aforementioned pet food stamp program director was quoted as saying “Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it”. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point! I couldn’t fathom actually knowing that my hard-earned dollars are being taxed with a portion of it going to help people pay for pets they can’t afford.
Don’t get me wrong – I like pets, and have been attached in the past. Very attached. If one can afford pets, they can bring lots of happiness and joy to a home, and can be a pleasure to have. But they aren’t people, and aren’t a necessary purchase for those who are financially struggling. If a person can’t keep his or her family’s financial house in order, why add another financial burden in the form of a 4-legged furry creature?
I’m sure some folks might disagree with me, and that my view might be unpopular with some. That’s cool, I welcome different viewpoints! We’re all different.
My Questions for You
Do you see pets as a luxury (as I do), or needs on which it’s okay to spend money even if you’re not doing well financially?
Have you even known anyone struggling financially, yet still somehow making pets a priority over their own needs?
What do you think of the concept of government assistance for pet owners, if it ever came to fruition?