This blog is purely an opinion piece, looking for the thoughts of other dog lovers who have read about the “snout-less dog”.
I love the story about the dog from the Philippines who saved the lives of children who were about to be hit by a motorcycle, and lost her snout as a result [story]. Not only is it heartwarming as children will be able to live out their lives, but it is a testament about how dogs will do anything for their humans. Including risk their own lives. It goes without saying that this dog should be given the same respect, and help mend her injuries from this heroic act. As a dog lover, I wouldn’t want anything less. I myself spent a huge amount of money trying to save the life of my dearly departed canine companion, dying from a swift disease and I sent him to the best possible (and very expensive) vet to give him a chance. Dogs are worth it, and I was fortunate to have the funds to do so.
Back to the dog from the Philippines. First of all, the dog was being cared for by a family who initially found her in a swamp with the intent to consume her for food. She then became a pet, saved lives, ran off and had puppies, and then returned and was sent for medical care after funds were raised to fly her to the USA. I do not know about the economic status of that family, or why the dog was going to be consumed (religious, sustenance, or otherwise). That said, and regardless, the yearly salary for someone around the poverty line in that nation is low. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board in the Philippines, for 2009 it was 16841 pesos. This converts to $408USD/year. It goes without saying that this is much less than the poverty line in North America.
Note: Yes, I understand I am alluding this family may have not had a lot of income, and that it is an assumption that someone headed to the swamp for the dog is not earning a lucrative salary. It’s possible that they were earning more, but I think it is fair to assume that $20,000 would feed a family in the Philippines for a long time based on their poverty line. And I am not going to broach the subject of using canines for food, an entirely different topic.
The story states that many of the donations came from the SF Bay Area, which is obviously one of the most expensive places to live (with incomes to match). Donations were said to exceed $20,000 as of mid-September – huge props to those who donated. Of note, this is approximately 49 years of income for a family living around the poverty level in their country.
49 years of basic sustenance.
This puts me in a weird place, as a person of facts and figures and scraping by in past years. Yes, I absolutely believe this heroic dog deserves care to help her avoid infection, and that is what the funds were raised for. But flown to our backyard at great expense while the family may be starving (and perhaps this dog in the future)? Could she have received adequate but maybe less “first class western world” care somewhere closer and at a lesser expense while the saved funds (as this lucky dog had so many kind donations) could be reserved for feeding her family and future care? Should she have survived and lived a good life with less, in order to save some funds for the family, children, or other dogs of that nation? I can’t help but think there would be an adequate vet closer to the Philippines than UC Davis. I pose this question to you: what are your feelings? Insights? Maybe additional points this article missed? Please comment.
I have some mixed feelings, and I am sure there is more to the story than the media presents, but I do feel this: I absolutely hope that UC Davis will donate their services in return for the publicity that they are receiving from this news story, and allow the family to use that money to feed their children and care for this dog in the future – or (if this is wrong) send it to a charity in the Philippines to help the children or animals in that nation.