Saving A Pets Life – How Much Should I Spend?

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  • #608079

    mercury
    Member

    I am just wondering what other animal lovers would do in this situation (if you dont like animals please dont respond with any negative comments). I have a pet parakeet that I got a little more then 4 years ago. I am extremely attached to her as she is to me. She’s not the type that just sits in a cage for decoration. She comes out of her cage often and is a very social/playful bird. This past week she had an unfortunate accident. She flew into a closing door which injured her pretty bad. We dont have pet insurance (though after this we probably will look into it) and so far we paid over 1000 dollars for vet visits. She sees an avian specialist in Manhattan as most vets dont treat birds that need urgent care. Baruch Hashem she is recuperating and is doing much better. She is out of the ICU and is very much alert and active at this point but far from out of the woods yet regarding care for her injuries. The vet seems quite hopeful in terms of her prognosis and recovery but obviously can not give us any guarantees that all will be well. My husband’s father is very upset that were paying a fortune for a tiny parakeet that costs 20 dollars. He thinks spending all this money (and more) is baal tashchis especially because money is tight for us. My family believes shes a living creature and not giving her proper care would be tzar baalei chayim. I am truly attached to this bird and I cannot imagine not giving her care she needs. I am just curious, how much money do you think is too much to spend on a beloved pet especially when the cost of care way exceeds the amount the pet is actually worth?

    #926919

    SaysMe
    Member

    i don’t have a response, but this is a very interesting question! Intriguing and debatable. Hope your pet recovers quickly!

    #926920

    achosid
    Participant

    I have had more than 20 birds in my life. All types.

    I currently have an African Grey parrot, who says well over 300 phrases….in any event, a parakeet costs 30 bucks. Let it go. You made your hishtadlus. There are people starving in every frum neighborhood. They have not had $1000 for food in a year.

    Hashem already has seen your love for his creations, as it says “kol hamirachem al habriyos mirachmim alav min HaShamayim….”

    #926921

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The cost of the pet is irrelevant. If the value to you of saving it is more than the cost of saving it, then you are increasing your utility by spending it.

    #926922

    achosid
    Participant

    By the way, next bird you get (which will be in a few days – this one won’t make it anyways), have his wings clipped. It costs alot less than $1000 (more like 10 bucks every 5 months). You can do it yourself also. Simple to learn how to do it.

    90% of birds die in accidents like yours (fly into walls, windows, doors etc).

    Pet birds are not meant to fly. They don;t even know what that is. They were born in cages. CLIP THE WINGS next time….and leave this poor fellow in the vet…

    #926923

    golfer
    Participant

    Seems to me the issue here is not the value of the bird vs the cost of healing her (you already explained- she’s not worth much), or the act of being kind to an animal (you’ve already made the attempt to help out the poor creature). The issue here is the attachment to a “beloved pet,” as you call her. You and your family members are really the only ones who can figure out how great the attachment to the bird is and how much money you are willing to part with.

    There are indeed starving people in need of money, as another poster pointed out, but you have the right to prioritize and set yourself a budget that includes provisions for pet care, or other forms of leisure or entertainment. I wonder if the poster who is so concerned about others going hungry would fault your husband if he bought you a dozen roses, a new piece of jewelry, or a game for the kids.

    #926924

    mercury
    Member

    achosid, at this point shes not dying. she just needs care.

    #926925

    My father recently spent over $2000 for surgery for his pet dog to cure her of cancer. It has worked and she is still alive, smiling and happy without any other complications. People spend money on vacations and luxury cars all the time. This dog brought him a lot of happiness when he came home every day. I think it is a personal decision. Of equal importance, I think if you purchase an animal there is a responsibility that comes with it and we have to live up to that responsibility.

    #926926

    simcha613
    Participant

    I don’t think this is a din in tzaar baalei chaim. I don’t think you have any requirement to spend any money to save it (you just can’t cause it more harm). I also don’t think it’s bal tashchis because you’re are getting what you believe is your money’s worth.

    In short, I think you should spend however much you want to spend, and if you decide it’s too expensive then you shouldn’t feel guilty.

    #926927

    achosid
    Participant

    mercury – Be sure of what you said. Not many vets can properly treat a parakeet, and they might not be 100 percent honest with you.

    #926928

    mercury
    Member

    this is not a regular vet. we first went to a regular vet and he told us he couldnt do anything (that itself was 200 dollars! chutzpah!) so they sent us to this place in manhatttan. these vets are avian specialist that focus on birds and other exotic animals. to put her down would be actively killing her as shes very much alive. and she can fly. shes just weak and sore from her injuries and not eating on her own and needs antibiotics and pain meds.

    #926929

    SaysMe
    Member

    achosid- stop doomsdaying the bird’s life. Your thoughts on it’s fate weren’t requested and arent being appreciated

    #926930

    mercury
    Member

    saysme, i appreciate your kind words. i am in a very fragile/emotional state over this so that really was nice of you to say. thank you.

    we actually just came back from visiting her. she unfortunately did take a turn for the worse. she was doing fine the last few days. we visited her everyday and she was up and about and being her usual playful self minus some external injuries. this morning they said she was fine and perky but over the last few hours she did deteriorate. she didnt look good or act well at all. they think it could possibly be a head trauma which took a few days to manifest itself. bkitzer they dont know what will be. it is up to Hashem. they have seen birds recover from head traumas but each bird is different. they think the best plan for her is to give her a few more days time (if she doesnt noticably deteriorate further) before making any final decisions. i hope she pulls through but we also have to prepare for the fact she wont. i am an emotional wreck but there is nothing to be done at this point except to see what happens.

    #926931

    rebdoniel
    Member

    The money wasted on pets could be used to feed hungry children, send kids to college to get an education, buy seforim, help baalei teshuva and gerim learn in yeshiva for a year, etc.

    #926932

    Imaofthree
    Participant

    I am wondering why your husband’s father is upset, is it because he is supporting you financially and feels his money is going to the “birds”?

    Refuah Shelayma to the poor thing.

    #926933

    mercury
    Member

    Ima, no, he is not supporting us financially. neither are my parents. i think hes angry because my husband and i are both out of work and living off savings. we live very basic and dont spend alot of money on stuff and this is like the one time we decided to spend. my mother agreed with me that trying to save the bird was the right choice especially becuase i am 37 weeks pregnant with an SGA baby (completely unrelated to our finances. it just is geneticly small) and the less stress i have now the better. even if it means spending money on a parakeet. i dont even know if she even survived the night. it was just a total shock that she went from improving tremendously (i mean she was playing, climbing, flying after the ordeal) to the state she was in lastnite. it was a complete 180 that no one expected. thank you for your refua shelaima for her though, i appreciate it.

    #926934

    daniela
    Member

    Hi Mercury,

    your baby may or may not be SGA, more likely the sonogram is not gauged (they normally aren’t). If it eases your mind, you should demand your OB-GYN to refer you to a center where the ultrasound machine can provide absolute measurements (ie in mm) and error bars. You pay for care, you are entitled to. If your baby should turn out to be indeed SGA and he/she is proportioned, probably the ob-gyn will advise to ignore it: given 100 healthy babies, obviously someone will be in the smallest 5% and someone else in the highest 5%. If the measurements are not proportioned, again this does not mean health problems R”L, it just increases the likelyhood, we all know people who are not well-proportioned but are healthy, some are athletes. Still in such a case perhaps you may want to give birth in a hospital with a NICU, not because it makes a difference to the baby (they ship babies quickly and effectively, including grand preemies) but because if you just gave birth and are tired etc. one thing is to walk to the babies’ ward, another thing is to sign you want to leave, and go to the other hospital. Wishing you an easy birth, with perfect health and strength for you and baby.

    As for the parakeet, I wish you that it survives. I never had any pets nor do I want one, I was taught keeping pets is an aveira which leads to more aveirot, so, my humble opinion is, try to care for this bird, but then, if you get so emotionally attached, may be it’s not worth getting another. You may find sympathetic support among nonjewish animal lovers, I call such people all the time when there are unwanted pets, they are very good at finding an accommodation and they raise money – may be they can help you with a part of the bills.

    #926935

    mercury
    Member

    daniela thanks for your input. it seems like you are an ultrasound tech based on your knowledge/expertise in matters such as this. my dr did send me for a second opinion at the LIJ maternal/fetal clinic who did another sonogram and agreed with the diagnosis. the dr there used the wording “constitutionally small”. this is the same dr that measured me at my 20 week anatomy scan and she had her suspicions back then. throughout my pregancy they just monitored the growth every other week instead of once a month. but i was told it is in 5th percentile. BH tho she doesnt have any concerns at the moment as the fluid, heart tracings, and activity is good. as for having a pet i never heard that it was an aveira. where is that brought down? and thanks for your good wishes regarding my bird.

    #926936

    I have 3 cats, saved from the streets of Yerushalayim as sick, little kittens (one was really almost dead).

    Now, they’re here in the UK, 3 and 4 years old, and completely healthy – and the best, nicest, friendliest cats anyone has ever seen.

    If they would be sick or injured, I would spend anything I have to save them. I’d take out loans – I’d do anything possible.

    When I took them into the house, I adopted them, I took responsibility for them. I take that seriously. I do not believe that animals exist solely to be used, and just to be disposed of when they are having problems, as some seem to think.

    If anyone wants to tell me I’m a heretic, so be it…

    #926937

    daniela
    Member

    Dear Mercury, I am not an ultrasound technician but I have a Ph D in the sciences and I have had children, bli ayin hara – please bless us that we should have more. I once asked an ob-gyn why most machines are not calibrated, which is simple and easy to do, and he replied to me it’s not done because it is unnecessary, and the few machines that are properly calibrated are more than adequate in number, to deal with those few cases that require it. As you say, fluid, CTG and activity are the relevant parameters.

    I do not think it is strictly an aveira to get a pet, I think it’s a figurate expression, like humiliating a person in public is not mamash like murdering. I do think it’s not a good idea, especially in modern times, as we may consider them as “family members” like some nonjews do, and this is an aveira. We had a mitzva to have (kosher) pets once, just before we left Mitzrayim, it is very difficult if you think about it, have children grow affectionate with a lamb, a sweet gentle lamb, hug it, have it respond to our calls, we see the lamb growing day by day, getting stronger and more beautiful — and then one day we shecht it, with the children watching. Nowadays if we had to do, it would be very difficult, and it seems to me we have a weakness, and we should put a fence. Plus, it takes much money, much emotional drain, much time and effort (such as cleaning after them, keeping nonkosher pots, pans and dishes, figuring out what to do over Pesach, etc) which I believe we should direct elsewhere, starting with our own family members and then, if we still have money and time we wish to donate, there are many worthy causes to devote one’s time and money and help Yidden, which, differently from the pets, is an obligation and is the very reason we are in the world.

    TCG, you have already explained us that your cats are neutered, which is an issur d’oraita, so your cats are the perfect example of the choice of keeping pets leading to another aveira. In addition, I doubt you would spend everything you have, much less take loans, to help a fellow Jew.

    #926938

    mercury
    Member

    Gatesheader, I dont think your a “heretic” at all. You saved the lives of these animals and who knows what there tafkid is on this planet. We had a cat once that came to kiddush every shabbos. It Really did! And the one shabbos it didnt, we found it dead outside. I took in a 2 week old kitten whos mother abandoned it. It wasnt sick or dying but I remember feeding it with an eye dropper because it was so small and couldnt eat regular cat food yet. So I understand where your coming from. If Rivka and Moshe both went out of there way to care for animals, (there could be others from tnach)I believe we should too. I just know my bird probably sings more shira to Hashem then I do so who am I to let it die when she could be saved. The fact she regressed tho, no one expected. This is whats costing us alot of money- trying to figure out whats wrong and treat her accordingly. BH they said her injuries are healing nicely but something happened that led her to decline. The vet said she was acting alittle more perky today and actually flew around the room. She just for whatever reason is still not eating properly and acting depressed. One feeling he has is that it could be her pain meds. The other vet assumed head trauma, but this vet thinks if it was head trauma it would have happened immediately not 5 days later. He is also thinking it could be possible lead poisoning as shes showing symptoms similar to that. So they stopped her pain meds to see if shed perk up and gave her meds for lead poisoning. He said birds tend to not show they are sick, esp if they are prey birds. And when they do show signs that they are sick, many times its too late. Hes not sure why she would show the symptoms now but his feeling was maybe be becuase shes weak and injured she cant hide it anymore. So they treated her for lead poisoning without even testing because he said its cheaper this way and wouldnt harm her if his instinct is wrong. Like I said she does come out of her cage often and she loves this one spot in our apartment which is too high for us to see whats up there. I never knew what she was doing there. Maybe eating things she shouldnt eat. So well see if this treatment works.

    Daniela, I am so sorry for belittling your title! You should have your name as Dr Daniela :). Anyways your right I can see where having a pet can lead to aveiros. Nueturing I remember I think we were told we had to sell our cat to a goy and then buy it back. And we had to get foods that did not have mixed milk and meat products in it and of course no chometz ingredients during pesach. You just have to be careful with halachos.

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