The Cost of Pets

We spent the weekend in shani pink1, Montana for Parents’ Weekend at Montana State University.  While we were gone our next door neighbor took care of our pets; Violet (a rat terrier), Shani (a Sheltie) and Angel (a white cat).  When we got home on Sunday, I noticed immediately that Shani’s white fur coat was pink, looking like she’d eaten a bunch of pink cotton candy.  I couldn’t imagine what she had gotten into.

Like a detective searching through the house, I found a chewed up piece of round pink Styrofoam on our kitchen counter. There was a little core sticking out of it.  Obviously a fake apple shredded to bits, the source of the pink dog fur.  The apple had been on my office bookcase, a good five feet off the floor.  When I looked in my office, I could see that all of the animals were involved in a wild play time.  The white cat had to have knocked the apple off the shelf.  Acting like the Siamese cats in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, she provided the temptation that led to destruction. Shani, like Eve, found the phony apple irresistible and shredded it, making her coat and the carpet bright pink.  Violet threw the blankets and pillows from the love seat on the floor.  Making the room look like a pink cotton candy whirlwind hit.

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Does this angelic kitty look like Devil Cat? The source of the phony apple.

I vacuumed up the remaining Styrofoam and tried a carpet cleaning product with a brush twice on the pink. The carpet is now quite light where I’ve cleaned with light pink shading.  Hopefully the rest of the carpet is not that dirty.  At a minimum we’re going to have to get in a professional cleaner.  Probably, we are going to have to replace the carpet.

On the way to Bozeman, I had read an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about how much people spend to have and maintain pets.  The particular story was about someone who had spent $125,000 to fix her home (  We have fenced our yards in Boise and McCall as well as adding an electric fence in Boise.  We built a special area for the cats to use the litter box in the garage.  We just replaced a door with a cat door that didn’t work for us. Our rat terrier has scratched up our back door and we will have to fix that before selling our house.  Now we are leaving it until something happens to her assuming it will just be scratched up again. Our dogs have run through our front screen door necessitating us purchasing a special screen with a metal lower half.  These expenses don’t cover the monthly food and treat bills and the annual vet expenses.

Readers without pets may think mine are particularly poorly trained.  But actually people who know the threesome think they are lovely animals, well mannered and house broken, loving to a fault.  I have always had pets around even as a child.  I can’t imagine a scenario where I would be in a house without animals.  The research is clear their companionship improves mental health.  Specially trained animals can help with a variety of health problems from blindness to PTSD.  But there is a cost to having pets.  I never really think about it.  Because I just think of my pets as family, I don’t assign a price tag to love and companionship.

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