How much is a pet's life worth?

For anyone with a pet, the figure can go as high as your credit card limit when a veterinarian's bill arrives. But if you're unemployed, it could be lower.

Whatever number you come up with, chances are you haven't had to spend as much as Michelle Hamilton of San Carlos, Calif., has chosen to spend -- $75,000 and counting. And not only has Hamilton spent the money on her own pets, but most of it has gone for medical care for the pets of other people who were otherwise planning to euthanize them, according to a story on SFGate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle's Web site.

Hamilton, a mother of two and a business analyst for a San Francisco Bay Area tech firm, has adopted or cared for dozens of animals she's found on Craigslist for adoption or on roadsides or in feral colonies.

According to the story, her habit started in 1997 when she took her cat to a vet for a checkup and heard someone else was there to euthanize a cat because it had diabetes and didn't want to pay for and deal with the insulin shots.

She took the cat and has been taking care of, and paying for the care of, other peoples' animals ever since.

Her latest vet bill is $10,000 for a Shetland sheepdog with various medical problems.

As a dog owner, I feel for any pet owner having to make the choice of going into debt for their pet's health. I plan to take care of my dog as long as possible. But when the medical care gets too expensive and his quality of life would suffer even with the care, then it's time to say a sad goodbye.

What do you think?


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