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October 15, 2007


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Hmm...I would have hoped AIG would have had a link to a real study instead of a paragraph on some random website! It doesn't reference any of these studies, either. Not saying they're lying, but it's also possible the studies were privately funded by Petco. ;)

I have pets already, so I guess I will live longer!

This sounds like a great deal. Extend your life and gain companionship. We have two dogs in our home and they definitely bring joy and laughter to our lives.

Must add medical expenses for 7 years of elderly life :-)

Actually, the cost is far greater than $45,000. What would the value of that $1,000 spent at age 23 be worth when you reach 67? What about the $1,000 spent at age 24 be worth when you reach 67?

That money invested at a 10% return with 1k added each year would grow to approx. $119,000 in 45 years...

Uhm, my question is why stop at age 67?

DK - still completely worth it.

Of course, are the people who buy pets the same ones who are predisposed to good habits and health? Just throwing it out there...because studies may not have taken it into account.

I doubt you have to own the pet for your entire adult life to reap the benefits.

Pets give the elderly companionship and a sense of purpose, especially those who are alone in life (spouse has died, they live in a nursing home, etc). It's been shown that their effects on mood and blood pressure are more or immediate, which I imagine is why hospitals have programs where volunteers bring around puppies once a week.

So you could arguably wait until your 60's or later to purchase your first pet and still reap the rewards of higher self-esteem, etc. Just a thought!

I'd guess that most people keep pets due to a love for animals rather than from a desire to extend their life, minimize depression, etc. (though people who do so for those reasons exist as well, I'm sure). And most don't measure love in dollars or years lived. I can't imagine being so formulaic in my approach to making a decision or assessment of this kind.

With all due respect for the post in general, to me, talking about having a pet for a reason like the one discussed here feels completely foreign and irrelevant to any decision making process I'd ever go through in thinking about owning a pet. No offense to those who do find value in that statistic; I simply find it to be a moot point as far as my life, my experiences, and observations are concerned.

I think this statistic might be most useful for those who perhaps are ill or elderly and either want to get a pet or are considering participating in a visiting pet type program through their community.

Now, if you are talking about how much pets cost in general and taking that into account in making the decision to have one or not, that is a conversation I find *very* relevant in my life as well as many other pet owners (and potential owners) I've talked to.

I find a lot of value in realistically taking into account the potentially high expense of pets before committing to one for its lifetime. And I do believe pet owners should do everything in their ability once they own a pet to care for it to the fullest extent possible for the pet's life span, so knowing in advance how much that can cost is very important in my view. I know you cover that a lot here, which I think is great, both for potential pet owners as well as the pets they consider adopting.

I think that the statistic is an average. If you felt that was true in your own case maybe. As my spouse absolutely abhors animals and would loathe having one in our household I can't see it adding any years to his life. And the stress would probably take from mine. So in our situation no it wouldn't be worth it. But if the statistic probably applied to your situation I could see doing it.

Or, you could save the 45k, and make yourself feel useful by doing volunteer work. :P

Sounds like a great deal, but in my experience, pets add up to far more than $1K year. Our current dog is 14 years old and enjoys a high quality of life. However, keeping his joints healthy, maintaining the small size of a tumor on his adrenal glands, buying prescription food, etc. costs us more than $400/month. This is not something that's really within our means right now, but (a) no one else is going to take on such an expensive $400 dog; (b) we love him; and (c) when my husband brought him into his life many years ago as a young adult dog, he entered into an implicit contract to provide the dog the best possible care for its entire life. That said, my husband and I have already had "the talk" and have decided where we will draw the line.

I hate to tally up the dog's life, but because of maintenance care, one surgery and the various follow-up treatments associated with it, plus all his meds, this mostly healthy dog will have easily ended up costing us about $40,000 over his lifetime (est'd at 15 years).

Is it worth it to us? I think so. But the finances and the care of an old dog are a source of stress, and I suspect some of that stress will counterbalance the supposed benefit of owning a pet.

I don't think this dog is a particular exception to the $1K rule. I've owned other dogs and cats as well, and they all have illnesses and needs that can easily top $1K/year. If you travel at all, you need to find someone to care for the dog or cat, and bringing in someone to provide care or boarding the animal can easily cost a couple hundred dollars for a few days. If your neighbors can do it for free, great, but if the animal needs particular kinds of care, such a situation might not be feasible.

Too bad the working poor are usually not allowed to have pets.

I have 2 dogs, so I guess I get to live another 14 years. Sweet.

But seriously, having a dog is a great thing. They get me out of bed every morning for the pre-dawn walks, which help me get my day off to a good start. Sure, they are trouble sometimes, but the good far outweighs the bad.

Correlation does not imply causation:

ro --

I think you're taking me way too seriously on this one.

Like some of the other commenters I suspect that they study confuses cause and effect...

A dog or cat may make you more healthy (maybe), but it seems more reasonable to me that if you are sick or poor your life expectancy is lower, and you are probably also less likely to own a pet.

I think that not owning a pet and having a lower life expectancy are probably both caused by sickness or low income, and not vice-versa.

"Too bad the working poor are usually not allowed to have pets."

Allowed by whom? Is there a law against having a pet?

Just as an aside...the article you reference was originally posted to my website, being submitted by one of my readers. My website has gone through a transformation and that article is now in a different location. It cannot be assessed through the link given.

If you want to read the full article, here is its current location:
(cut and paste into your browser if the link is broken)

Wow, AIG was sending out my interesting. I agree with you that, based on their purpose, they should have given more research. Shame on them...borrowing website content and not even being very good at it! Those rascals--not to be trusted! LOL!

Together, we are stronger.
Vicki Flaugher, the original SmartWoman

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