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Wed Jan 23, 2019, 04:24 AM

The Invisible Emotional Burden of Caring for a Sick Pet.

Earlier this year, kindergarten teacher Jessica Wiles, 35, found herself faced with a choice: her boyfriend or her dog, Mia. The problem had been brewing for some time: Two years into Wiles’s relationship, Mia was diagnosed with Cushing syndrome, an endocrine disorder that can cause lethargy, weakness, and frequent infections. Wiles began staying home more often to take care of her; as time wore on, she says, her boyfriend became frustrated, accusing her of neglecting him to be with her dog. This past June, he reached a breaking point: “He actually ended the relationship because he said the dog took precedence over him,” Wiles says. “He didn’t understand that it’s not just a piece of property. They are living, breathing things.”

When Wiles told other people about her situation, she says, she was often met with bafflement and scorn rather than sympathy, and questions about why she didn’t just put Mia down. But Cushing, while chronic, is manageable. “I have a problem deciding to kill my dog just because of health issues. I don’t understand the mind-set of, ‘She’s got a health problem, we’re going to put her down,’” Wiles says. “If the dog was suffering, it would be one thing, but she is still interested in life.”

There’s no question, though, that caring for her has made Wiles’s own life more difficult — emotionally, socially, financially. It’s well known that people caring for ill relatives can suffer from caregiver burden, negatively impacting the health and well-being of the caregiver, but the toll of taking care of a sick pet is often minimized or overlooked. According to a new study, that’s a mistake.


“I wouldn’t equate pet caregiving with human, and certainly don’t want to minimize what family caregivers go through,” said lead author Mary Beth Spitznagel, a clinical neuropsychologist at Kent State University, but “we are seeing similar patterns in terms of a greater level of burden, higher level of stress, depressive symptoms, and a lower quality of life.”

Spitznagel, who had previously worked with caregivers of relatives with dementia, says she got the idea for the study while caring for her dog Allo, who had recently been diagnosed with bladder cancer. “It was a daily challenge trying to fix the problems that sprang up.
And that was kind of when I realized the similarity,” she says. “When we see a burdened caregiver, oftentimes the burden is kind of the constant problem solving, because new problems are always emerging when you are caring for someone who is sick.”

https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/the-invisible-emotional-burden-of-caring-for-a-sick-pet.html?utm_campaign=nym&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s1&fbclid=IwAR2fejSLyjYTaQF6feXGHI18AyVSlot7NVWWRB8W1Vtz4wO9h9B46PIK8jk

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Reply The Invisible Emotional Burden of Caring for a Sick Pet. (Original post)
Cattledog Jan 2019 OP
femmedem Jan 2019 #1
sinkingfeeling Jan 2019 #2
Duppers Jan 2019 #3
Bayard Jan 2019 #4
Duppers Jan 2019 #5

Response to Cattledog (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 07:06 AM

1. I once spent $2000 on vet bills for a rabbit.

He needed round the clock care, including syringe feeding, for about six weeks. (He had head tilt and didn't know which way was up.) Three vets advised me to put him down but not only did he survive it, but he went on to live four more happy years.

It was a lot of money. I was a farmers market vendor, barely making ends meet. No one could believe that I'd spend that amount of money for a rabbit that cost $20.

But the way I see it, when you accept a pet into your home, you're making a pact. You're saying, "I know you depend on me, and I will take care of you." Sometimes circumstances make taking care of a pet not just difficult, but impossible. I get that. But it's incumbent upon a pet owner to do what is possible, not just convenient, when their pet needs medical care.

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Response to Cattledog (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 07:53 AM

2. My Samoyed, Crissy Ann (1996-2009), had Cushings, diabetes, lupus,

and glaucoma. I spent over $8,000 on her health, including 3 eye surgeries. Her vets were at Oklahoma State University, which is 180 miles away. I drove her to and fro 24 times.
I made up charts for her medications and tested her blood twice a day. She got insulin shots 3 times a day.
She was my baby girl and I have no regrets.

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Response to Cattledog (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 02:39 PM

3. I know a DUer who recently had to pay $2000+

To save her big dog. She has 3 other pups and many other critters, so such an expense is not easy to cover.

My pup or a heartless, non-understanding jerk? Hit the door, buddy.

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Response to Cattledog (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 06:11 PM

4. I have a mare with Cushings

Its pretty manageable with horses, and a large percentage of them develop it as they get older. The main thing you see is that they get incredibly CURLY. My girl is on daily meds, that kick the disease back quite a bit.

The lady's story sounds very familiar. When I was in Calif, after I got divorced, I dated an anesthesiologist for a couple years. He never could understand that animals need to be fed on a schedule, along with their other needs. I was supposed to take care of him first. He grew to resent them. Finally, he gave me a choice--get rid of "all these animals" (I HATE that phrase!), move down out of the mountains to the city with me, then marry me. I tried to compromise--get some acreage closer to town, but that didn't work for him.

My animals won. Most people said--are you nuts? You could have married a doctor! Not worth it.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 07:12 PM

5. He wanted a slave, not a wife.

Good for you.

I too have no patience for people who refuse to recognize that animals are feeling, intelligent, affectionate beings with needs and that we are lucky to share their love.

He must have been a narcissist - bigly.




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