SCOT BELLAVIA: Pet insurance | Roanoke Star News


I swear I’m not an animal person, but here I am shopping for pet insurance.

I was even scared of dogs and still was when friends pressured daddy to pressure daddy to have a dog. She turned out to be the tallest dog in the world, but I always wore winter gloves while struggling for fear of her friendly, playful bites.

Thanks to her, I more or less overcame the cynophobia, but I was still not an animal lover. I’ve done less than my fair share of dog-related chores, but isn’t that the natural order of things: Dad takes all of the pet’s responsibilities when kids inevitably give up on promises they make? made in their pleadings?

The plan had always been to slaughter the animal if it was diagnosed with something for which people with comparable diagnoses have treatments for: cancer, dementia, heart disease or general scabies. Pet insurance was a laughable luxury. It was an expense for the weird or lonely people who send their furry babies Christmas cards and claim their parents have four-legged grandchildren.

My family doesn’t believe that all dogs go to Heaven – or that every animal believes it if we’re honest about it. But if the Lord doesn’t delay, the joke is that during The Rapture we’ll catch Bailey on the way up.

My family’s common obsession with Bailey’s cuteness and kindness eased in me when I went to college out of state. The distance made my heart go wild and my infatuation landed on my now wife, to whom I promised a cat in case we got married.

We did, and she assured me the cats weren’t too much of a bother. But she had grown up with the tallest cat in the world, so her research was hardly objective. She said the cats clean themselves (so no bath) and just laze around (so no walks) and can babysit for a long weekend (so no kennel fee).

Finn was cute as a kitten, but we didn’t recognize the trauma he suffered in the year the three of us lived in an apartment that didn’t get any sunlight. So when we stepped into the light, we saw who Finn really was: quick to hiss, bite and scratch. Not the cute feline my wife imagined when she was my girlfriend.

We found that fleas weren’t the worst problem since we started letting it roam outside. Finn apparently became a street fighter, and suffered some injuries and a urinary tract problem.

When I would have laughed at pet insurance – which was any time until the other day I was told about my outstanding vet debt – I thought pets company were either alive and in good health or better dead. But life, too, is laughable in the way things change. And although I have never been an animal person and since Finn’s diagnosis is chronic and not fatal, I am now shopping for pet insurance.

Scottish Bellavia


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