Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Health Care and Dog Care

Written by Rebecca Zietlow on September 24th, 2009

Owen faceThis week, I have ahad a taste of what it might be like not to have health insurance for members of my family. Fortunately, my experience did not involve uninsured children, but instead an uninsured dog. My puppy, Owen, just turned 6 months old and he does not have health insurance. Being a risk adverse person, I investigated the insurance options when we got Owen. However, I soon learned that health insurance for dogs is prohibitvely expensive. Even simple catastrophic coverage cost at least $30-40 per month (For those who don’t know, “catastrophic insurance” is insurance that covers only “catastrophically” expensive health care for illness or injury), and regular health insurance coverage for dogs is simply not cost effective.

Last week, Owen had surgery. Fortunately, the surgery was routine (OK, we took away his ability to father puppies) and surgery for dogs is a lot less expensive than surgery for humans. Still, I paid several hundred dollars for his care. I had to make some tough decisions, such as whether to pay extra for the less invasive, less painful laser surgery, and how much to spend on pain medication (not to mention our worries about breaking or chipping the cone on his head – an added expense). Furthermore, when Owen’s stitches started bleding on Saturday afternoon, we had to decide whether to take him to the Emergency Animal Care and pay another large sum, or wait until Monday to have him re-checked by his regular doctor for free. Since Owen is, after all, a non-human animal, and since he continued to romp happily (as much as he could with a cone on his head), we decided to wait until Monday.

This experience got me thinking. I have a friend who is pregnant who only has catastrophic health insurance. I have another friend who has children and no health insurance. I imagine how hard it must be to make health care decisions for them. Wait until the cheaper doctor on Monday or go to the ER? Purchase the highest quality, least pain method of surgery or opt for the cheaper and plan to do lots of handholding? These decisions can’t be easy – indeed, they must be agonizing for the millions of uninsured parents with uninsured children in this country. I am lucky. Only my dog is uninsured. But I sure do feel for the many others are not so lucky.

Will She or Won’t She? Rachel Alexandra at the Preakness

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on May 16th, 2009

Will this talented filly beat the Kentucky Derby winner Mine that Bird? Calvin Borell, Mine That Bird’s jockey in the Derby, has jumped ship, horses, that is.  He’s chosen to ride the Kentucky Oaks winner, Rachel Alexandra. This horse is his regular mount and he was aboard when she won the Oaks.  That was an historic week for Borell, winning both the Oaks and the Derby.  He will make history again by riding a different horse in the Preakness after riding Mine That Bird to a Derby victory. The Preakness has never emanated such intrigue and excitement. Here’s a photo of the beautiful filly.


Let’s hope the race goes off smoothly unlike last year’s Kentucky Derby when the filly, Eight Belles, the second place finisher, broke both front ankles and was euthanized on the track, or the Preakness of a few years ago when the splendid stallion Barbaro was injured eventually leading to his death several months later. Thoroughbred racing needs a complete reexamination concerning the breeding and training techniques which emphasize speed at the expense of the horse’s health and well-being.

She will. Rachel Alexandra beat Mine that Bird by almost a length as the stallion again came from last to almost win the race.


Will they meet in the Belmont? I’m not sure that Rachel Alexandra can beat Mine that Bird in a mile and one half race.

Are NFL Super-Stars Going to the Dogs

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on May 20th, 2007

One wonders why fabulously talented athletes, earning more money than anyone deserves, cannot exhibit a modicum of good sense and responsibility. Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick for instance, is under investigation for conducting dog fights in his Virginia home. It appears that, though inordinately wealthy, Mr. Vick lacks the character of appreciating that dog fighting is cruel to the animals and a distortion of the kind of responsibility NFL players should berecruiting other NFL players into to the exhilarating realm of dogs ripping each other’s throats out. Apparently, Vick is not alone. CBS sports reports that other NFL players are equally psychopathic when it comes to animal rights and welfare. One notable example is Pittsburgh Steeler’s linebacker Joey Porter whose pit bull and mastiff killed one of his neighbor’s miniature horses. Don’t blame the dogs. That’s what they are bred to do.

required to exhibit. More sinister is the possibility that Vick is These are not isolated instances of dogs attacking small horses or ponies; yet they are difficult to prosecute. Why? Typically, there are no human witnesses willing to terstify. More important, prosecutors are loath to invest their valuable time in prosecuting the death of a pony when their career goals are rarely advanced by such litigation. The irresponsibility of the dogs’ owners, like Porter, are what needs to be addressed. When dogs who are bred and trained to bring down four legged prey are not properly confined, inevitably, they will invade someone’s territory and are then llikely to maule to death a small horse peacefully grazing in a pasture. The dogs’ owners need to pay, not only financially, but by some jail time. In general when these wealthy, but morally impoverished super-athletes, treat animals inhumanely, sympathy should be reserved for the animals. The penalty for these miscreants should be severe.