Pets are bright spots in dark times


Times are tough, but clients still depend on the services of their veterinarian.

These are uncertain times. Even if we haven't been directly affected by the economic crisis and are just reading headlines and watching the news—and studiously avoiding our 401(k) statements—it seems dark and scary in the world out there. It's almost the holidays, and nobody feels very festive.

Kristi Reimer

What's worse, our favorite guy might not win (or have won, by the time this is printed) the November election. What will happen to us then? Can the other guy possibly fix these problems we're facing? Will they just get worse? The anxiety factor is high.

However, it's during dark times that the things we hold close glow a little brighter. Our families. Our faith. Our homes. Our friends. And, yes, our pets. These are what we draw strength and comfort from when our position in the world seems tenuous.

I've wondered if there's a psychological factor at work in times like these that makes us value our pets even more. As Michigan practice owner Dr. Jeff Rothstein points out in his article "Offer dentistry to combat the economy" (See Related Links below), people may be skipping their vacations this year, but they're still bringing in the family dog for preventive care. The family dog represents all that is warm and comforting and faithful. He's going to be there to welcome a client home even if his company is laying off workers. So a family is not going to be that traumatized if they don't make it to Disney World, but if Buddy gets sick and dies, well, that's a tragedy.

When I decide to stay in and read a book instead of going out and spending money at the movies, I'm glad my cat is curled up beside me keeping me company. (Never mind that I know her arthritic joints are simply seeking warmth as the temperature drops outside.) I can rein in my spending on dining out, clothes, entertainment, and other nonessentials, but I'll pony up for her expensive food and wellness testing—even if I grumble about it a little. I want her around a good long while yet.

Obviously some people are going to feel differently—if it comes down to groceries for the kids or expensive food for the pet, for example. But many pet owners' priorities and choices may be more nuanced than they appear on first glance. So don't give up. Your clients may be depending on you now more than ever.

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