Of course you love your pet—but the bills from the vet are another matter. Follow these tips on covering the costs, and on when it might be time to let go.
My late dwarf rabbit Molly was known as the Two-Thousand-Dollar Bunny among my friends. In fact, medical bills for this fluffball—adopted for just 20 bucks—were closer to $3,000 by the end of her life, 11 months after I brought her home.
Molly had Snuffles—not as cute as it sounds. Snuffles, or pasteurellosis, involves sneezing, wheezing, runny eyes and, in my bun’s case, an out-of-control abscess needing daily draining and two rounds of ultimately unsuccessful surgery.
I was a student at the time, and when my vet was talking options and price tags, I can't say every one of the tears I shed was for Molly. Later, as the bills piled up, my then-boyfriend demanded to know exactly where I'd draw the line. I couldn't say. He saw an inversely proportional relationship between the amount I'd spent on a rabbit and my suitability as a life partner. We'd already split up by the time Molly passed away.
Alda Loughlin, practice manager of the Animal Clinic in Toronto, sees many clients struggle with emotionally charged financial decisions about treatment. Here she shares insights into handling high-cost medical care for pets.
People usually underestimate veterinary costs when they're planning to become pet owners. Loughlin relates that her clinic asks prospective animal adoptees how much they expect medical care will cost in the first year.
"How they answer dictates how we'll go forward with the application," she says. "People often think about $500 for a new cat or dog, but you may be looking—without medical problems—at $900 to $1,100, for neutering, exams, vaccinations and microchipping."
If those figures shock you, best get your fix of kitten cuteness on YouTube.
One way of being prepared for big bills is taking out pet insurance; at Loughlin's practice, 30 per cent of clients have policies. While Loughlin supports this precaution, she admits hearing regular complaints about the hoops claimants jump through for reimbursements.
"If people don’t want pet insurance, I suggest they take $30 a month and put it away, or even pay it forward to their vet," she says. Loughlin stashes $100 a month between August and April for her own poodle's annual dental cleaning. "It's good to have a cushion," she says.
Negotiate a payment plan
If you're facing a big bill and you're not covered, your vet may let you pay in installments. "Mention that a treatment is price-sensitive," suggests Loughlin.
A word of caution: Not every practice offers this option, and if they do, they won't automatically make it available to every client. Loughlin recommends establishing a relationship with your veterinarian, as this will help.
Some charitable organizations will help pet owners who are retired, on disability benefits or on a fixed low income and faced with expensive veterinary procedures. In Ontario, pet owners may be eligible for assistance from the Companion Animal Wellness Foundation (requests go through the Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Toronto) or the Farley Foundation, says Loughlin. Ask your vet about similar foundations in your home province.
Do your research
The price tags for treatments can vary quite dramatically from clinic to clinic, so it's OK to shop around, advises Loughlin -- it's a question of balancing out quality and cost. "Call a couple of clinics, ask questions, and be very candid about your pet's condition," she says. She also advises asking exactly what's covered in each quote: is it just the surgery or also the pre-op bloodwork, post-op meds and follow-up visit?
And don't just let cost be the deciding factor. Checking websites with scores and client reviews of local practices or asking your network for recommendations gives you a sense of the level of care you can expect from an unfamiliar vet.
Draw your line
While I couldn't draw a line for my rabbit Molly's medical care, I admit I sometimes felt frustrated that such sophisticated and expensive options even existed as I fell deeper into the red. And I've sometimes wondered if all the interventions were even fair to her.
I polled my friends recently on where they'd draw the line for their own pets. Most said there was no line, but one had an important insight to share, based on her experience paying a fortune to prolong the life of a suffering cat.
"I've regretted the course of treatment we gave my cat who had kidney failure, for more than a decade, but that taught me a lesson," she says. "Find a vet you trust -- one who knows you and your pet well. Just because you can do another test or try another treatment doesn't necessarily mean you should."
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Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Laura Dern and more!
The best and brightest from the world of television and movies turned out for the 74th Golden Globe Awards—and the right carpet was on fire. Here are our top 10 looks from the event.
Emma Stone in Valentino
Emma Stone Image by: Getty Images
You know how they say dress for the job you want? Well, this gown is literarily star-studded. Emma Stone is no stranger to owning the red carpet, and it looks like the 2017 red carpet season is no exception. Nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role of Mia, an aspiring actress, in La La Land. Stone looked dazzling in a backless, blush Valentino gown with beaded stars strewn across the delicate flowing frock. The elaborate dress didn’t need much help in terms of accessories, yet a statement diamond-encrusted choker from Tiffany & Co was added. A brilliant addition.
Drew Barrymore in Monique Lhuillier
Drew Barrymore Image by: Getty Images
The 41-year-old actress was a brilliant vision on the red carpet in a shimmery floor-length gown while attending and presenting at the the 2017 Golden Globe Awards. The romantic gown with delicate art deco detailing is Monique Lhuillier while her sparkling jewellery was Harry Winston. What we loved about Barrymore’s look was the overall styling, she opted for flowing beachy waves rather than something more predictable and polish, well played!
Tracee Ellis Ross in Zuhair Murad
Tracee Ellis Ross Image by: Getty Images
Ellis Ross won her first Golden Globe at the age of 44 for Best Actress in a TV Musical/Comedy for her role in Blackish and she took to the stage welling up at the accomplishment, while giving viewers a beautiful acceptance speech. The star also won on the red carpet, wearing a silver Zuhair Murad dress from the designer's spring 2016 couture collection and a pair of matching sparkly pumps by Christian Louboutin. One of our favourite parts of her look was the stacked diamond rings… on each finger! The unexpected statement jewellery was edgy, daring and oh-so-glamorous—the risk totally paid off.
Sienna Miller in Michael Kors
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Sienna Miller proves that sometimes simple is best. In a sleek white Michael Kors gown with cut-out details, Miller embraced lady-like elegance with a twist. She wore the dress with a simple string of pearls and a low-maintenance ponytail—and she looked radiant.
Millie Bobby Brown in Jenny Packham
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Millie Bobby Brown is only twelve—though you’d never guess it from her poise and class on the red carpet. We are glad the Stranger Things star chose a dress well-suited to her age though. This sparkly Jenny Packham frock is fun and vibrant. Perfect for a star on the rise.
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton
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Williams, who is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Manchester by the Sea. This is her fourth Golden Globe nomination and if Williams wins tonight, it will be her second Golden Globe win. She first took home a Globe at the 2011 awards show for playing Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. Williams looked like a vision in a fitted white strapless Louis Vuitton column gown and a chic petite black bow choker. We also loved her fresh platinum hair and delicate and fresh makeup.
Natalie Portman in Prada
Natalie Portman Image by: Getty Images
Tonight, at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, a pregnant Natalie Portman arrived with a coveted Best Actress nomination for her performance of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Jackie. For the red carpet occasion, Portman channeled Kennedy Onassis with a modern take on the former first lady’s iconic bouffant, classic makeup and wore a dress similar to a yellow frock that she once wore to the Metropolitan Opera House in 1975. Portman’s sunny gown was from Prada, while she grounded the look with Jimmy Choo shoes and was dripping in Tiffany & Co. jewellery.
Olivia Culpo in Zuhair Murad Couture
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One of the more dramatic looks on the red carpet, Olivia Culpo embraces intricate embroidery and a bit of the dark side with this Zuhair Murad Couture pick. We love the full skirt and interesting neckline. She definitely stood out—in the best way.
Felicity Jones in Gucci
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Felicity Jones' big year (starring in a Star Wars movie will do that) has led this actor to be in the spotlight a lot more—and we like what we see. Her pick for the Golden Globes was a stunning pink Gucci dress. She wisely pulled back her hair and kept her makeup simple—this dress is the star of this look, but it doesn't overwhelm Jones. Instead she looks elegant and at ease—no easy feat when you're wearing a bubblegum pink gown.
Laura Dern in Burberry
Laura Dern Image by: Getty Images
Laura Dern looked fantastic in this floral, floor-length number by Burberry as she presented at the Golden Globes. The simple column gown with plunging neckline was made special by the beautiful print and Dern's hair and subtle jewellery let this dress shine.
Photography by Davina Choy Image by: Photography by Davina Choy
On those cold, wintry days when you need something warm around your face, grab your knitting needles, hibernate for a weekend and knit up The Stone and Arrow Winter Set. Designed in bulky yarn, The Arrow Headband and The Stone Scarf come together in a snap. And with simple repeating patterns, they're perfect for confident beginners looking to expand their knitting skills.
The Stone Scarf got its name from its 3D texture, created by alternating knits and purls, that resembles a stonewall. The quirky stone-like bumps are tempered by a garter-stitch border and a slipped selvedge for a tidy edge.
• 2 balls (each 150 g/225 m) Schachenmayr SMC Tweed Montage* in Dusty Ranch (actual amount used for scarf: approx. 322 m)
• A 7-mm knitting needle
*If you are having difficulty finding the Schachenmayr SMC Tweed yarn, try Noro Obi or Noro Kama. Both are available online and can be shipped to Canada. Both give very similar stitch gauge and have a nice gradual colour change.
Lana Gross Medio is also very close in colour. This yarn can also be purchased online, but be advised that the shipping costs may be hefty. Lana Gross Medio is thinner than what the pattern calls for, so if you decide to use this yarn you should cast on 34 sts instead of 24, and follow the pattern exactly as it’s written. The width will be roughly the same.
14 sts/25 rows = 10 cm/4 inches in Basket Welt Stitch
Basket Welt Stitch:
Rows 1 and 2: Sl1, k1 *p5, k5* repeat to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 3: Sl1, knit all stitches to end of row.
Rows 4 and 5: Sl1, k1 *k5, p5* repeat to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 6: Sl1, k1, purl to last 2 sts, k2.
Repeat Rows 1 to 6 for pattern stitch.
Width: 17 cm/6.8 inches
Length: 203 cm/80 inches
CO = cast on
k = knit
p = purl
sl = slip
st(s) = stitch(es)
* * = repeat instructions between * and * the number of times indicated
CO 24 sts.
Knit 8 rows in garter stitch, slipping first stitch at beginning of every row.
Row 9: K2, p all stitches to last 2 sts, k2.
Repeat Rows 1 to 6 of Basket Welt Pattern Stitch until scarf measures 198 cm/78 inches.
Knit Rows 1 to 3 of Basket Welt Pattern.
Knit 7 rows in garter stitch, slipping first stitch at the beginning of every row.
Cast off all stitches and weave in loose ends.
Keep your ears warm and toasty by knitting this stylish winter headband.
Looking for knitting tips? Check out Sheep & Stitch’s guide on how to knit.
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