The Iditarod recently ended when the 55th racer reached Nome, Alaska, capping one of the most famous dog sled races in the world.
Although one dog had gone missing for a few days during the trek around Alaska, it’s been reported that no dogs died during the 1,100 mile race, according to The New York Times. This is great news for the race, as it appears that dog deaths have become synonymous with the event.
Chief race veterinarian Stuart Nelson told the news provider that he could not remember a race without a dog death since he became involved in the event. Approximately 1,100 dogs participate in the two week race.
While the economy has caused many individuals to tighten their purse strings as a means of saving some cash, others are still looking to make sure they and their loved ones enjoy a lavish life – including their pets.
Pet owners are still spending the big bucks to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of and happy, according to IndyStar.com. Some pet owners told the news provider that they spend as much as $300 per month on their pets.
According to the news provider, while other retail industries are feeling strains from the economic recession, pet care sales remain stable.
Some industry insiders attribute people’s love for their pets as the reason that they continue to splurge on them.
"As times have gotten tough and scary for people, pets are where people find comfort and solace," Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, told the news provider. "Pets don’t have bad days. They can’t tell you a sad story. They are just there saying, ‘Let’s play.’"
According to BusinessWeek, Americans spend approximately $41 billion on their pets each year.
While animal owners are known for being extremely attentive when it comes to pet care for their furry friends, sometimes they can completely misdiagnose a problem.
John Grant was noticing that his Black Labrador, Bracken, was having trouble coughing something up and brought him to the vet, according to PeoplePets.com. When the doctors gave the pup X-rays, they noticed a strange, dark object near his heart.
Veterinarians suggested that Bracken be moved to a larger facility at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School for surgery, fearing that the object was a cancerous tumor. It turned out that the object in question was actually a 5-inch soccer ball. Bracken quickly received surgery to remove the ball, potentially saving his life.
"Most definitely, if he didn’t have this surgery, he would have died," surgeon, Damian Chase, told the news provider. "It’s good that he came in, though, because this way we found out about his disorder. He’s very lucky."
Grant told the BBC that he knows his dog has developed a taste for foreign objects, including plastic bottles, stones and golf balls.
For many pet owners, their pet is a best friend or even sometimes a family member. While they try to instill the best pet care imaginable, animal owners know that death is inevitable. Because people become so attached to their pet, losing their furry friend can be unimaginably devastating.
A recent study conducted by More Than found that one-third of pet owners believe that the death of their pet is comparable to the death of a parent, sibling or spouse, according to the Daily Mail. More than 1,300 dog and cat owners were interviewed in the study, and more than half believe that a pet’s death is equivalent to that of a close family member.
Approximately 53 percent of respondents also ventured to say that once a pet dies, their grief "never goes away."
According to USA Today, pet owners are also going above and beyond when it comes to funeral arrangements. Some animal lovers go as far as having a goodbye ceremony complete with $500 casket and headstones that could cost up to $3,000.
"Even in this economy, some people want to go the extra mile to commemorate their pet, and we do whatever helps them," Chris Stoessner, a licensed funeral director, told the news provider.
While pet owners can have the utmost dedication to their animals, some individuals may be doing more harm than good when it comes to pet care.
Carol Lynette Samuels, who was hit hard by the recession last year, was recently fined $9,000 for animal cruelty for living in her car with 11 Persian cats, one Himalayan cat, nine Pomeranians and two poodles, according to the Herald Sun.
Samuels was forced to move out of her $1.5 million mansion last year due to financial troubles, and said she could not bear to part with her animals as they were like her children.
"I’d lost an awful lot and didn’t want to lose my cats as well because they are the only family I’ve got," she told the news provider.
The animals were taken to the local veterinarian where a majority were found to be in poor pet health. A number of the cats were malnourished and had matted fur. While all of the animals were seized, one cat had to be put down.
According to News.com.au, Samuels was charged on nine counts of animal cruelty.