Introduced by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican from Michigan, the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act would allow pet parents to deduct up to $3,500 in pet care costs each year.
In these tough economic times thousands of people who love their pets have been forced to give them up after losing their jobs or homes or both. Because although it is very true that pets don’t ask for much, it doesn’t mean they don’t cost much.
My three dogs and two cats lead a pretty no-frills life: they eat healthy and sleep in comfortable beds I buy at Costco, stay in a clean and safe but unfancy boarding kennel when we travel, and play with toys I buy in a thrift store. All the kids get groomed at home with the only exception being two visits to the groomer each year for Freddie whose fast-growing silky hair is too complicated for us to handle.
But medical costs for dogs and cats can be daunting– between checkups for all our pets, vaccines and daily meds, a cardiologist for Freddie who has a mitral valve relapse, and frequent vet visits for Opie who suffers from hypothyroidism, arthritis and mild hip dysplasia, our pets take a bigger bite out of our resources than we ourselves do.
While I cannot imagine giving up my pets under any circumstance, I can see why some people are left with no choice. But how cruel it must be for those who love their pets and need their unconditional love during tough times to have to give them up too. Even worse, many of these pets end up being euthanized in shelters because there are not enough homes for them.
Even if you don’t have a pet at home you can surely understand how important it is to keep animals in loving homes. Please go to the ASPCA advocacy center now and urge your congressman to support the HAPPY Act, H. R. 3501. It’ll take a minute of your time but think of what a difference you will make to all those beautiful animals and their grateful parents out there!
On the same note, here’s another suggestion for more direct ways to help keep animals in loving homes that are going through rough times. I often clip newspaper coupons for pet food and treats that I can buy for cents or sometimes get for free at the grocery store or pet store, and then I take them to my local animal shelter. They donate the stuff to pet parents who cannot afford to buy food for their animals but are eager to hold on to them.
I also sometimes ask friends and neighbors for donations of any old blankets and towels that I can take to the shelter. Animal shelters house dogs in runs that get unbearably chilly during the cold months, and given that most shelters are run by the city, they usually have very limited resources to keep the dogs warm. And trust me, they are always grateful for anything you can bring in.
The picture at the top of the page is of a super-sweet rescue who was waiting for adoption as part of a drive organized by the Humane Society of Charlotte in the Bank of America corporate headquarters building in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was one of our road-trip stops last week. All the dogs were incredibly gorgeous and super-friendly (my face was sticky with all the kisses I got!)
I think this guy’s name was Murphy…who could resist that innocent face?