Maintaining a pet in Canada/USA is a serious matter and needs lot of effort and care by the pet owners. The Municipal laws requires that all dogs and cats owned must be licensed and wearing a tag. Licensing helps prevent against rabies outbreaks by requiring a certificate of vaccination for all dogs over the age of 4 months. All the animals must be neutered/spayed prior to licensing in order to ensure population control. By licensing your dog or cat, Animal Services will make every effort to reunite you with your pet if it gets lost. There is a normally a limit laid down for the maximum numbers of pets that you can own.
The laws also specify that while on any private or public property, you got to pick up after your pet and the dog must be kept on a leash no more than two metre long and you must be holding onto the leash. The owner of a dog is liable for a bite on another person or animal. If your dog is continuously barking or whining and disturbing your neighbours, you can be fined under the Noise Bylaw.
There are many veterinary clinics dotting the city and there is a pet emergency hospital providing services 24 hours. The Canadian government provides medical cover for all the citizens, but not for your pets and hence every visit to the veterinarian will ease a few hundred dollars.
The veterinary clinics will maintain all health records of the pets and the pharmacy will maintain all the medications dispensed. To facilitate searching the database for the pet’s record, it is practice to give the pet also a last name, which is your family name. Hence our dog is named Maximus Koduvath. In case the pharmacy pulls up records of Koduvaths, the dog’s name will also popup. Why not? He is also a member of the family.
Once Maximus ingested some poison and had to be taken to the pet emergency hospital. We called up the hospital and the moment we reached there with Maximus, there were two attendants waiting with a stretcher to roll him in. They carried out a stomach wash and the entire event made me poorer by $400.
While waiting for Maximus at the hospital, there was an elderly couple also sitting there. I got into a conversation with them and they told me that their ten year dog had developed some kidney complications and is being operated upon. I casually asked them about the cost of the procedure and behold – they were expecting anything to the tune of $6000 upwards.
Due to constant pestering by the children for a dog (we got Maximus because of the same), a friend of ours settled the deal with the children for a cat, being less costly and easy to maintain. It takes much less effort to maintain a cat as unlike a dog, one does not have to take the cat for a walk in the morning and evening (a pretty difficult task during the freezing Canadian winter). One day a car ran over the cat, and the car driver called the Animal Services and they immediately dispatched a blue-cross ambulance, which picked up the injured cat and moved it to the pet emergency. The Animal Services called up the owner (based on the information retrieved using the license tag) and informed him about the condition of the animal and the hospital where it was.
The owner rushed to the hospital and he was informed that the cat needed urgent life saving surgery which would cost a minimum of $3000. The owner thought if it was back home he would have buried the cat by now and would never cost him a penny. He did not want to part with $3000, that too for a cat. He wanted a cheaper option and the hospital offered to carryout euthanasia and would cost him $500. He immediately settled for the second option and made the payment and drove back home.