Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Helping pets

My friend Stacey, aka @LasVegasPokers, has for a couple of months been running a new web site, You can donate to specific animals that need specific treatments that their owners or caretakers won't be able to afford without support from donors.

Now, personally I have some qualms about the general wisdom of administering chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to older animals with tumors or cancer, which is the nature of a lot of the projects listed. I worry that sometimes (though surely not always) such treatments, though well-intentioned, actually cause a net increase rather than decrease in suffering, and as a donor I'm not sure how to tell which of the pets with tumors or cancer might fall under that description. But there are many others about which I have no such concerns. I have thrown small donations via PayPal to an adorable obese beagle (Albert) who needed lots of physical therapy, for instance, and to a shelter for the extra expenses it faced when it took in 40 abandoned kittens at once.

Here's a local TV news clip about one of the animals for which a fund has been established.

Please take a peek at the site, and if you find a dog or cat whose needs tug at your heart, make yourself feel good with a donation.


Anonymous said...

Hi Grump,
Just a word of caution when contributing money to animals. I work at an animal shelter and there are so many scammers out there, it breaks your heart! Does your friend verify the postings on her site? There are many rescues that are nothing more than animal hoarders and end up dumping these poor souls off to a county facility after "raising funds" and never providing for the animals that need the care in the first place...

Stacey Nutini said...

Thank you for writing this! It means a lot to Don and I that you took the time to put this info out into the pokerverse :)

If I may add one comment......our 15 year old dog Jake just had cancer surgery, granted there was no radiation or chemo involved, just cutting out a softball sized tumor...and he is happier and healthier than ever afterward. It's hard to put an "age" qualification on when you should/shouldn't treat a sick animal, mainly because the "family" element is there to consider.

I however by no means condone prolonging an animal's suffering of course and I know chemo and radiation are tough treatments. Still on the other token, if you ask any vet, you will find that chemo and radiation are MUCH easier on animals than they are on humans.

Anyone wishing to read a first hand account of dealing with dog cancer should read the book "The Dog Lived (And So Will I" by Teresa Rhyne. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Thank you for your donations and this blog, Poker Grump, you are a great ambassador to pets everywhere :)

Rakewell said...

I know, and I was trying hard not to paint all tumor/cancer treatments for animals with the same brush. I'm sure the costs (both financial and in terms of enduring suffering) to benefits ratio is all over the map, depending on the type of tumor, the age of the animal, its general underlying health, etc.

Rather than pick on cancer specifically, I perhaps should have said that there are some projects where it's hard for me to know whether, were I the owner, I would think the treatment is something I should pursue. Because of that, my preference is to find ones where I feel confident that the treatment is likely to result in a happy, healthy pet with a good life span ahead of it.

Or, put another way, given the relative small amounts of money I feel I can devote, I want to try to make sure I get the most bang for the buck--especially if it will turn one from being difficult to adopt to being easy to adopt.

But I have no problem with other people using whatever criteria they deem most important--do it by breed, or because an animal has a condition you've seen in your own pet, or because one is geographically close to you, or needs only a small amount of money, or whatever. You can't pick badly, and even the degrees of picking well are just our own subjective judgments.

Rakewell said...


Yeah, I shared your concern instantly when I first heard about the site. But they do take reasonable steps to screen for authenticity of need. See here, as posted on the site: