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Updated: January 22, 2024 From the Editor

From the Editor: I love dogs

Two of the Kane family dogs: Maximus and Lilo

Ever since my parents adopted a Yorkshire terrier named Pretzel when I was about 10, I’ve always had at least one dog in my life. While they’ve fulfilled my life in ways only furry friends can, caring for dogs over their lifetimes is an expensive endeavor.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

When my wife, Sarah, and I first moved in together, I owned two dogs, and she had one. Bella, Molly, and Vegas (a border collie and two mixed breeds) were the steady rocks of our early marriage, moving with us from Florida to Marlborough to Springfield and welcoming our first babies into our lives. Vegas, unfortunately, developed diabetes and required twice daily shots of insulin, which initially cost $120 a bottle plus needles. Sarah and I debated cutting our grocery budget for us and the kids to get Vegas her medicine, before we fortunately found a generic insulin for $25, which enabled us to keep her healthy until she died of old age.

In the years since Bella, Molly, and Vegas passed away, three new young dogs have come into our lives: Lilo, Maximus, and Flynn Rider (a Texas heeler and two Australian shepherds). Flynn follows my oldest daughter Maggie everywhere, Lilo is my constant companion, and Max is the world’s most patient dog, especially with our younger children. Unfortunately, they’ve needed four surgeries in the last year, so we’ll be making the equivalent of a monthly car payment until 2025 to cover the vet bills.

So, I feel the pain of Second Chance Animal Services in Brookfield and Dog Orphans in Douglas in the story “Struggling to keep people and pets together.” More than just adoption services, these pet nonprofits offer discounted veterinary services and other ways to help people afford their pets. Demand for their services is spiking – Second Chance helped a record 49,000 animals in 2023 – while the donations remain stagnant. The problem is similar to ones human services nonprofits highlighted last year: People are struggling and need services like food assistance more, but the nonprofits aren’t bringing in extra revenue to meet this need. These are problems without easy solutions, even if a nonprofit can find new donors or convince existing donors to give more, which is tough because people are struggling.

Being a pet owner leads to a life filled with love, and at least some financial hardship. Similarly, nonprofit officials are committed to the love of their missions, understanding financial hardships are part of the deal. It would be nice, though, if those monetary pressures were less pronounced.

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