Contrary to what seems to be popular belief there is not a section in the Veterinary Oath that says “…and I promise to provide medical care to animals for free because I love them. I also promise to put animals before people including my friends and family because if I ask to be paid for my services so I can pay for my wedding I am cruel and cold hearted.”
Veterinarian is a job title not a hobby. While the vast majority of vets absolutely love what they do, we still need to get paid for it. It costs quite a lot of money to keep a clinic going; there are utilities, medicines, staff pay, etc etc. and the only way to make money is to charge clients. I find it absolutely ridiculous that people will tell me I obviously do not care about animals because I won’t perform a surgery for free. Having a pet is a privilege not a right and if you cannot take care of that pet it is not my fault. Of course I help people out when I can but I am much more willing to do that if someone at least tries first.
Veterinarians themselves can be just as bad as the public. Many vets give services away at steeply discounted prices and all this does is make what we do seem cheap and not worth charging for. Every vet has gone to school for 8+ years and spent hundreds of hours studying to learn everything they need, at a HUGE financial cost. We need to charge to pay our student loans and pay rent. 99% of us do not have fancy houses and cars. I drive a 1996 Ford Taurus that does not have a/c, the windows don’t roll down, and it leaks oil. This is the car I am going to have for many more years, the student debt and low income we make just doesn’t allow for luxuries.
I do love animals and I am compassionate towards them. But I am also compassionate and loving toward my fiancé, and he comes before any animals. It would be very unfair (and ridiculous) of me to say “Looks like you need a second job, I just can’t charge people for my services. I love the animals too much.” For that matter, I like to have heat in the house and like to pay the bills on time so debt collectors don’t harass me.
Put money away for your pet, get pet insurance, do something so you have emergency funds for your animals. Stop going to Starbucks for a few months. Nothing angers me more than someone saying that they cannot afford necessary medical treatment for their pet, but the entire appointment they are sipping a mocha frappuccino and texting on their iphone. If you truly cared about your pet, you’d do without a few luxuries so you could pay the bill.
Keep your animals healthy by making yearly appointments, put money away for emergencies, and work with your vet. You’d be amazed how far politeness and a willingness to do what needs to be done may help decrease your bill a bit.
(Photo from Marketoracle.co.uk)