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I'd really like to hear from others on their plans and preparedness, especially in today's economy, on what'd you do in the case of unexpected financial issues with your dog(s).

This has come up a lot lately on a mailing list I'm on, and I've known this to happen to two people in person as of lately. Someone I know was doing well financially, and then began to fall on hard times when their company laid off people, and her hours got cut. Then her dog got sick and needed surgery, and she didn't have the funds to do it. He was young, but suffering because he needed medical care, and ended up being PTS because she couldn't afford it. I only found out later on, or I would've pitched in. And she now admits that had she had a plan, and had been saving a nestegg away for future medical expenses, this wouldn't have happened. Instead, she thought nothing would ever happen, never saved a penny, and then when things fell on hard times she couldn't afford it. She even admitted that so many times, she had thought about putting money aside for him, but just never got around to it, because she never expected anything to happen.

But that's the point. Thing's happen, and they almost always happen unexpectedly.

I have a nestegg for the dogs, for those unexpected emergencies, or emergency surgeries. It is not to be touched, under any circumstances, for any reason other than them. For a while, I was saving a little here, and a little there, and have a small nest egg of $2,000. But with today's ecomony, and me watching so many friends fall on hard times and then suddenly not have enough for their dogs, I've made it more of a point to start putting away more money more often. Right now, since I don't have as many bills, and can financially afford to do so, I am stashing a little over $250 from each paycheck into the nestegg, which equals $500 a month. In one year, that's $6,000. But I plan to add more when checks are higher with overtime and bonuses, so in one year, the total will actually be higher. My plan is to have $10,000 by the end of the year, because of the amount of dogs I have.

But what about emergencies? Break a leg, and need money now? What's everyone's plan? I see so many bad things happening to dogs lately online and in real life, because bad things happen, and the owner never had a plan in place for the "what-ifs".

Does anyone here have a plan in place for the immediate financial emergency? And I don't necessarily mean thousands, even a few hundred dollars can set a person back financially if they don't have it. What's your plan? Borrow from relative? Take out a loan? Emergency credit card? Do you have a nestegg set aside?

My plan is to first use the nest egg that I already have built up, but in today's world, $2,000 doesn't go far at a vet's office. Sam's allergy issues alone have cost me nearly that over the course of a few months, but not one cent came from the nestegg. So I would use the nestegg first. My plan after that is an emergency credit card I have, that I signed up for specifically for the dogs and emergency issues only. Once that's maxed out, I have a charge account at my vet, and have already discussed future plans, on if the need were to arise that I'd have to charge thousands. And the last resort would be to take out a loan, but I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I've heard too many stories lately, even from the rescues I am with, that all go the same way, "owner had to give up the dog, couldn't afford its medical needs." And while it's sad for both the owner and the dog, it's happening all too often. But I couldn't imagine having to give up any of my furkids because I couldn't afford their medical bills, or worse, having them PTS because I couldn't afford them. That's why it's been so important to me to have a nestegg put aside, a backup plan, and a backup plan to the backup plan, so that I will never be faced with that decision. But not everyone plans ahead, and I've heard too many stories where bad things like this happened, and the owner goes, "I just never thought this would happen, or that things would end up this way!"

So, do you have a financial plan? If so, what is it? If not, do you plan to start having one in the near future?
 

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Well, if my monthly discretionary income and my savings were tapped out, I would take out a loan at my bank or use Care Credit (I've been approved, but never had the need to use it). I feel really fortunate to work in a vet office where I only pay cost. It's why I am able to take on so many special needs foster dogs.
 

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I am currently putting away $400 a month toward retirement (in addition to paying SS taxes AND I will have a penison) so I am lucky there. However, that is a lot for me and after mortgage and taxes (property and school) plus Insurance (household and car plus my part of the plan I get thru work) and a car payment and Fuel Oil... and then the usualy stuff (phone, food, pet food, electric, gas to get to work, car repairs and maintenance) there isn't much left for personal savings. I do some.. and honestly that is for house emergencies (suddenly needing a new boiler to heat the house or needing a pump in the well etc.).

Here is the plan (or lack thereof). IF I get a Dog medical emergency that is beyond my financial means, and my vet (who works with me on things) just cannot work with me due to the expenses involved, the dog would be PTS. This would be especially so if the chances of full, uncompromised recovery were less than 80%, recovery was almost assured but there would be on going repetitive expenses that were high (expensive medications, therapy etc.) or Recovfery was assured but the dog would be compromised in a way that would require huge inputs on my part (non financial inputs).

The same for the cats.

I have a bottom line. I would not spend $10,000 to save a dog or a cat.. and that is not due to a lack of love but due to simple economics which could leave ME severely compromised for a time range well beyond the life expectancy of the animal. Fact is, I would be hard pressed to go for $5,000 on an individual pet animal.

I must say that even if I HAD the money, I would NOT spend $10,000 on medical emergencies to save a pet animal.

I had to make these decisions as a farmer and trust me.. there were times when I just hated to NOT fix things medically. It is just that sometimes it is not financially feasible to do so. Finances have to come into play. Finances have nothing to do with love.

Another thing I have thought.... If I spend $5,000 to save a cat/dog that may not make it (has less than an 80% chance of survival) or will live requiring on going expensive medical care.. WHAT am I doing? Yes.. I do love my dog/cat but how many OTHER dogs/cats that are truly in desparate need could be saved if I used the money toward that cause?

As much as I love my animals, and I surely do, I can say that when it comes to financial inplications I must think with my head and not with my heart.
 

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Does anyone here have a plan in place for the immediate financial emergency? And I don't necessarily mean thousands, even a few hundred dollars can set a person back financially if they don't have it. What's your plan? Borrow from relative? Take out a loan? Emergency credit card? Do you have a nestegg set aside?
A few hundred can definitely set a person back! Bentley broke his toe a couple weeks ago and the bill was $225. For a college student that can only work so much, that can be a pretty big setback! Luckily, I manage my money very well so it wasn't really a big deal.

At the moment, I have an emergency credit card for Bentley and the cat. After I graduate in May and can get a "real job" :rolleyes: I will definitely start setting money aside for that reason, but right now I have to live paycheck to paycheck.
 

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I will never, ever, ever, ever borrow money under any circumstances whatsoever, for any reasons whatsoever. That's a philosophy that I've burned into my brain with a hot iron. I have no debt except my house and since I have no credit cards my credit score blows right now and is going down by the second.

Because of that I have a rainy day fund set aside to cover emergencies. I've got about 2-3 months of expenses in there and I'm working on beefing it up to about 6 months of expenses. If the dog has an emergency, it's going to come out of that fund. If there's something that comes up that's more than that then I'm either going to sell stuff to pay for it, put it off until I can save the money or the dog is going to be PTS depending on exactly what's going on.
 

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I'm fortunate to have found a vet who will accept payments from some clients. We are making payments to him now for the emergency stomach surgery he performed on my boyfriend's Boxer. I also keep some cash available at all times, just in case. The nice thing about this area is that vet care is relatively inexpensive compared to what it is elsewhere. But I, too, have my limits on what I will spend to save an animal depending upon the circumstances.
 

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I DID break my leg and ankle, was off work for 12 weeks, then more due to complications. AFLAC saved my butt, because disability insurance through work only pays 60% of my income, and I would have been hard pressed to make ends meet in addition to out of pocket medical expenses.

I keep money in savings for emergency pet care, but, good old house maintenance took most of that in a hurry with two major repairs needed (gotta have hot water AND AC)! My vet is wonderful, and would never tell me no, proven not too long ago when Maddy needed emergency surgery to the tune of $1,500.

I have an extra $25,000 life insurance policy that's solely for the care of my dogs and cats should I die, in addition to a larger policy that would take care of funeral expenses and pay off any debts, plus give my daughters a little windfall.
 

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Elana54, Ok its 55, Just seeing if you are paying attention:p

I patronnize this forum because I cannot wait to read your responces. You are so intelligent, in your real world responces, cause we have alot of children here, just starting out in this sometimes very confusing world we live in. They are going to have to make you a super moderator ASAP! With that said, I love your comment on another post about "cleaning up a messy house if no one else will". That one really made my day and a good laugh too, because you were so right with that reply, I would have never thought of it!

Now regarding saving for a dogy emergency, I am a grass -hoper, I believe in living for the day because you cannot take it with you! So at least you can say you had a good time in your life when everything goes south. If I were the only one alive and the Doc says I have so many days left because of med problem, I would have my dogs PTS, because I could not let myself to put those dogs in a HS, and for the first time in there lives realize that they are dogs and not human children.

I do not think I came close to answering this post correctly, but you know what I mean! BTW, did you get to see my picture I posted for you, in the photo section, "Doc & Me!:)
 

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Elana54, Ok its 55, Just seeing if you are paying attention:p

I patronnize this forum because I cannot wait to read your responces. You are so intelligent, in your real world responces, cause we have alot of children here, just starting out in this sometimes very confusing world we live in. They are going to have to make you a super moderator ASAP! With that said, I love your comment on another post about "cleaning up a messy house if no one else will". That one really made my day and a good laugh too, because you were so right with that reply, I would have never thought of it!
Well, thanks for support.. but if I was REALLY intelligent I would either have enough money to own and afford a BIG boat or be able to finagle some guy with lots of money to 'adopt' me. :p

Getting all that 'experience' did not put me on the fast track to financial liquidity! It also took YEARS.... *sigh* too MANY years.....

Now regarding saving for a dogy emergency, I am a grass -hoper, I believe in living for the day because you cannot take it with you! So at least you can say you had a good time in your life when everything goes south. If I were the only one alive and the Doc says I have so many days left because of med problem, I would have my dogs PTS, because I could not let myself to put those dogs in a HS, and for the first time in there lives realize that they are dogs and not human children.

I do not think I came close to answering this post correctly, but you know what I mean! BTW, did you get to see my picture I posted for you, in the photo section, "Doc & Me!:)
Yeah.. you love your dogs! Dogs all live "in the day" and "in the moment" so you have learned a lot from them!
 

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I also suggest the Care Credit.

I have a 6 month old Malamute that has sever hip dsyplasia, I never planned on a $5000+ vetrinary bill (not at once, but over the course of life, sure) to have his hip replaced. Care Credit has allowed me to afford this now, instead of waiting until I could save up the entire total due. It's allowing Kai to have surgery on Monday, and thank god, I don't know that he would have made it had he to wait much longer.
 

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I will never, ever, ever, ever borrow money under any circumstances whatsoever, for any reasons whatsoever. That's a philosophy that I've burned into my brain with a hot iron. I have no debt except my house and since I have no credit cards my credit score blows right now and is going down by the second.

My sentiments exactly. We do have a low interest credit card for real emergencies, but do have to be careful what actually constitutes an emergency. I'm not going to be putting the dogs on the card unless it's an problem that can be workable financially, over time. So no $5000 bills going on my credit card, because I've worked too hard to help my mom get out of debt to allow that nightmare to play out again. No dog is worth risking my future security. If I can do it, I will, tho.

Other than that, we're struggling ourselves so there is no rainy day fund for the dogs, and probably never will be. My dogs are my pets but the line is drawn there. They will never be abandoned in a financial emergency. I actually know someone who just had to sell her entire kennel due to financial bankruptcy, so that got me to thinking what I'd do. I'm lucky to have at least 2-3 breeders I acquired dogs from who would take them back, and probably 1-2 more breeder firends who would probably temproarily take dogs for me, until I could get back on my feet. The others would have to be sold, unfortunately :( I might be able to keep back 2 dogs the most, but that's wishful thinking. But I think when dealing with shaky finances, the best thing for them and the people involved is to be somewhere else until the owner is on stable ground again.

This is an interesting topic because I am planning a move sometime the end of this year or early 2010, due to financial reasons. So the threat of loosing the dogs has been on my mind and defintiely we all need a good plan in place to deal with both emergencies and financial problems if they arise.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great responses guys.

I just wanted to clarify a few things -- poodle, I meant what if your DOG broke his leg and needed emergency help, not the owner. :p

And pampered, everyone has their limits on what they'll spend. I mainly was asking how you would handle a vet bill, whether in the hundreds, or the thousands, if and when it arose as an emergency. I was curious as to how many people have a plan in place, whether an emergency credit card, a nest egg, care credit, ect. to help cover the costs of the unexpected financial emergency for their animal. :)
 

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My sentiments exactly. We do have a low interest credit card for real emergencies, but do have to be careful what actually constitutes an emergency. I'm not going to be putting the dogs on the card unless it's an problem that can be workable financially, over time. So no $5000 bills going on my credit card, because I've worked too hard to help my mom get out of debt to allow that nightmare to play out again. No dog is worth risking my future security. If I can do it, I will, tho.
I can absolutely understand this thought process and way of going about things.

It's not that I can't afford the $5000+ hip replacement for my pup, it's that I don't have that lucrative cash THIS INSTANT. I have no issue taking up a credit card for the ability to pay it off over time (even faster than the "no interest due" period for that matter) allowing me to help Kai NOW, and not later.

For those that can handle the situation or are in a situation like me, care credit can be a very viable and helpful way to assist our pets.
 

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Now regarding saving for a dogy emergency, I am a grass -hoper, I believe in living for the day because you cannot take it with you! So at least you can say you had a good time in your life when everything goes south. If I were the only one alive and the Doc says I have so many days left because of med problem, I would have my dogs PTS, because I could not let myself to put those dogs in a HS, and for the first time in there lives realize that they are dogs and not human children.
I've always taken the approach that bad things are going to happen so I might as well be planning for it. If nothing happens, then at least I'm prepared. I don't think that's too negative a philosophy. At least I hope it's not.
 

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Over the years we have never really planned for our dogs if they got sick. We have two dogs right now and they are the first dogs that we have purchased health care insurance for. We started at first with a policy that covered just accidents and then at two years of age we upped their insurance to cover more. It has paid off enormously. Our oldest dog who is a male doberman was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer at age three. This was in 2004. He underwent chemo for 26 weeks and goes back once a year for a check-up. He will be eight years old in April and is doing just great. The insurance covered the cost of the chemo. There are various types of insurance coverage just like there are for people.

The way I look at the insurance is like putting so much a month aside to cover unexpected medical expenses.

I think it is well worth since our pets today are exposed to a more toxic environment and seem to contract the same disease that we do.
 

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You know, it's funny that a post like this should happen to come up... now of all times.

Two months ago I lost my sheltie, Callie, after a two-year battle with kidney failure. Four or five months ago, my Aussie/GSD mix fell direly ill to a gastrointestinal problem, and now the newest addition to my family -a pom puppy named Koda- got sick and may need a $2,000 surgery to fix a possible liver shunt. And guess what? We don't have the money.

But if it's taught me anything, it's to start saving up now so that I don't regret it later. Even if it's only $100 a month, I aim to save up enough money for an emergency. And I urge everyone to do the same. You don't realize it until something happens, and then it's too late.
 

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You don't want to get me started on the evils of credit cards. You really, really don't. :)
And that's your choice and your opinion. It's not for everyone :) It happens to work well for me with my situation currently though. Maybe in the future I will be in a different situation and feel differently.
 

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We used to have a back up fund but that is gone (it wasn't for pets specifically but a good chunk of it was used on Allie), now we are living with Julie's parents. If something were to happen to one of the pets what we did would depend on the survival chances and cost. If there was a very high survival chance we would probably be willing to spend a decent sum. I would get a care credit card or some other credit card to pay for it. Or I know our vet would be willing to do a payment plan for me as I have talked to her about it, but I'm sure that would be dependent on amount. Hopefully once we have some debt paid off we will be able to start saving again.
 
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