Dogs Like Us

Sunday's column explored whether our treat-pets-as-family philosophy should extend to the bitter end. Story concerned a Delaware County couple whose chocolate lab, Baxter, died suddenly at a suburban animal hospital. Since then, they've searched for answers about how and why he expired so quickly. And, at the same time, they've fended off the hospital's billing department and had to contend with creepy posthumous promotional materials urging them to bring their four-legged friend in for his shots.

Many readers wrote or posted online comments seeking to demonize, or defend, the animal hospital. One offered an intriguing theory that dogs (and cats and guinea pigs) may have it better than humans when it comes to their medical care and final days.

"No doubt that the Stanleys were treated poorly and the office management needs to be addressed," wrote Collingswood's Dr. Arthur Thurm, whose website says he's one of only 250 general dentists in the nation certified in general anesthesia for general dentistry. "However, you make it seem like veterinarians are a money hungry uncaring lot. As a dog owner of three dogs and having had one that had to be euthanized, I can assure you that veterinarians are way more caring and sympathetic than physicians."

"To be able to give a suffering dog or any animal peace through euthanization is a gift," Thurm continued. "Humans need to take lessons from vets on efficient diagnosis, prompt treatment, receiving drugs on site, and having the right and privilege to euthanize a loved one when the need and desire is there. I am sorry for the Stanleys poor management and they should receive a partial refund. But you should not paint veterinarians because of this one incident.  Malpractice and poor judgment is far more rampant in medicine than veterinary care."

Seems like a point well-made and worth sharing. So here it is.

-- Monica Yant Kinney