… the people who love me and all the other douchebags. Not really. For this sake of this post, it’s pet people and non-pet people, and this was fabulously illustrated this past weekend when an old friend, Clyde, came to Riebeek Kasteel for a(nother!) little reunion, along with his new wife, Helen. Both have interesting past professional histories, but now Clyde is a fulltime student and Helen a fulltime ballet teacher. They’ve decided not to have kids, although are quite keen on the idea of a pet some time in the future. Which, considering Johann and I both have small zoos (dogs, cats and chickens; and Johann occasionally has cows and sheep), gave rise to an energetic conversation about what owning a pet actually entails. Specifically, a lot of expense.
Left: Johann gets his lawn mowed.
We regaled Clyde and Helen with a few of our ka-ching*ka-ching pet-at-the-vet horror stories, including Evan’s teeth, Missy’s bipolar disorder, Sara’s epilepsy and other travails, and the fact that Johann is still paying off the bill from when his dog Rocha (a large ridgeback) had to be put down.
Left: Some of the loves of my life: Flossy, Maui and Evan.
Clyde was absolutely dumbfounded, and when I told him I’d recently paid R1 700 to have Sara X-rayed and medicated, he blurted out, ‘But you could buy two dogs with what it costs to have one sick one fixed!’
Obviously, Johann and I almost fell off our chairs at this, but it does say something about how incredibly bonded we become with our animals. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t fallen completely in love with their pet to understand that other bills may go unpaid, and belts significantly tightened, to ensure our animals are in good physical health, pain free and generally happy.
And then the conversation swung naturally to the eye-popping cost of private medical care* for humans these days, and Helen mentioned that she may have to have hip surgery at some stage, and, without medical insurance, we all know what kind of expense that’s going to entail. ‘But you could buy two new women with what it’s going to cost to have this one fixed!’ Johann said.
* On the subject of private medical care, I have a hospital plan that costs me a small fortune each month. Ironically, I opted for it (it’s FedHealth) because it offered free pet medical insurance as an incentive, but the first time I submitted a claim from my vet I was told that the pet medical insurance had been stopped. (I hate it when insurance companies do that, don’t you? The same thing happened when I submitted a claim to my home insurance – Nedbank’s – for subsidence in my last house; it had been covered when I took out the policy, but when I submitted my claim, they told me they no longer offered subsidence insurance. Grrr.) The hospital plan itself is also fraught with all sorts of conditions and exclusions, and I’m really wondering if I’m just wasting my money, and if I shouldn’t simply be putting the equivalent amount in a high-interest-bearing savings account each month. At least, that way, if fortune smiles on me and I don’t have to go to hospital for the next five years, I’ll have a nice little nest-egg at the end of it.