Who should get my resources?

My dog, or some random kid?

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Re: Who should get my resources?

#21  Postby Ven. Kwan Tam Woo » Nov 11, 2014 5:13 am

The_Metatron wrote:My dog has a cancer mass that will kill her. I can pay $1100 and maybe extend her life another two to twelve months. This is a first world problem.

Or, I could give that $1100 to some random kid with cancer.

Ethics dictates my dog should not get that money.

This is fucking with me. I like my dog very much.


Presumably your dog is within your Dunbar's Number while some random kid isn't. But then what if you met the kid and/or his family in person? Would that change the ethical calculus? Should it?
Do you think that a dog's life is worth more, less or the same as a human's? Why?

Is it more ethical to give the money to an impoverished family trying to escape a war zone (or an organisation which helps families escape from war zones) than it is to give it to a kid with cancer? Is there an even more ethical use of the money than that? Where does it end? What is the most ethical thing you could possibly do with the money, and why?
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#22  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 11, 2014 5:34 am

The_Metatron wrote:My dog has a cancer mass that will kill her. I can pay $1100 and maybe extend her life another two to twelve months. This is a first world problem.

Or, I could give that $1100 to some random kid with cancer.

Ethics dictates my dog should not get that money.

This is fucking with me. I like my dog very much.



This is my take only referring to what I would do and how I would think were in your position.

Personally, I value animals as much as I value humans. To me, that dog is your companion, your friend; it trusts you, cares for you, and would probably risk its own life to protect yours.

Just as you would put your immediate family first over some distant, unknown human, so I would say that your companion should be first over some distant, unknown human. It is part of your family.

For me, ethics would dictate that the dog gets every possible resource you can muster to protect it or to salve its pain. There's no obligation to pay for a distant, unknown human, but there is for a companion.

Further, you could be spending $1000 a month for the rest of your life, and there'd still be distant, unknown humans dying of cancer, but your dog is one of a kind and its well-being relies solely on you.

I hope you can find a way that meets the demands of your conscience, and I hope your dog doesn't suffer long, whatever you choose!

All the best mate!
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#23  Postby Fallible » Nov 11, 2014 9:15 am

Yes, best wishes to you, Jesse.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#24  Postby jamest » Nov 11, 2014 10:08 am

The_Metatron wrote:
What you're suggesting is that because I like my dog very much, her life is more valuable than a random child's. I reject that suggestion.

It's a difficult situation, but your reasoning on the matter can lead to questions like why haven't you sold most of your possessions and donated the proceeds to charity? After all, a child's life is worth more than your comfort and pleasure.

Anyway, if the dog was suffering and/or had a poor quality of life, it was probably not the best idea to prolong its life. I don't envy you your difficult situation nor decision that had to be made, and don't want to sound as though I'm condemning that decision. I just think that having a pet is not much different to having a child, so I personally would do what was right for the pet. I wouldn't be basing my decisions on world suffering.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#25  Postby Blip » Nov 11, 2014 12:13 pm

The primary ethical consideration, for me at least, is that your dog (what is her name?) depends on you completely and you must do everything in your power to spare her from suffering.

That being said, you cannot save everyone in the world from suffering, whatever their species, as your resources are finite, so I agree with Spearthrower, Jerome da Gnome, scott1328 and jamest: your first moral obligation is to those who depend on you - your family, of whom this dog is one.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#26  Postby Strontium Dog » Nov 11, 2014 12:39 pm

I don't see how ethics comes into this. If you were overly worried about ethics, you would be sponsoring kids in the third world instead of getting a dog in the first place. I see no reason to alter this course now.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#27  Postby Fallible » Nov 11, 2014 12:45 pm

False dichotomy.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#28  Postby Blip » Nov 11, 2014 12:54 pm

I came back to make a similar point: you have been spending discretionary income on your canine companion for over a decade now, The_Metatron. Following the reasoning in your OP through, you would have spent that money on alleviating childhood cancer instead.

Indeed, taking such thinking further, none of us would keep companion animals or donate to animal charities while there are homo sapiens suffering. I came across that very attitude once while I was collecting for Animals Asia at Victoria Station: my interlocutor informed me that I would be going to hell for 'putting bears before people'.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#29  Postby laklak » Nov 11, 2014 5:55 pm

It's a tough decision, Jesse. We'll be facing it with our two soon enough (one is between 11 and 13 and the other is 10). There's no easy answer.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#30  Postby Emmeline » Nov 11, 2014 9:18 pm

What do the other members of your family think about the dilemma?
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#31  Postby monkeyboy » Nov 11, 2014 9:22 pm

Wow Jesse, I can't get over how similar your pooch is to the dog I had from around 16-32 yrs ( my age). She lived a ripe old 17 yrs and went out under similar circumstances to those you describe. She had a cancerous mass operated on age 13 and had a really good extra 4 yrs of life. For the arthritis I used to take her swimming quite a bit, got some odd looks, me in my wetsuit larking about with the dog in a local lake but it got her the fun without the pain that long walks started to give her.
For me, your dilemma is fairly simple and has been already stated by others, and to a degree by yourself. Your dog is a part of your family, a lifelong companion to your kids. You will lose her one day but if you have the ability to extend her life, whilst maintaining a good quality for her, why wouldn't you? If this was one of your kids with a shorter life expectancy than normal in a similar situation, you wouldn't blink over the decision to try for an extension.
I understand where you're coming from in particular with what you went through with your son recently but what would be a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of cancer treatment elsewhere could do really well in your household at the moment all things considered ( your son, the moving hassle etc and now the dog).
Its credit to you to be even considering helping others at a time like this but there are times when charity begins at home.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#32  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 12, 2014 12:40 am

Emmeline wrote:What do the other members of your family think about the dilemma?

My boys think it's better to help a child than postpone the inevitable for our dog.

I have to admit, my mind changes back and forth.

There is another option: see what surgery can do for my dog as well as seeing what we can do to help some family with a kid with cancer.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#33  Postby jamest » Nov 12, 2014 1:36 am

deleted, because of irrelevance.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#34  Postby igorfrankensteen » Nov 12, 2014 1:54 am

I disagree with your reasoning, as far as I understand it.

I suggest you consider that you may have committed emotional transference in this situation, rather than reasoning it out as logically and ethically as you think that you have.

Is this you, essentially offering a sacrifice of sorts, in a way to prove to yourself how much you care about your child, and again by transference, other children?

Note I'm making no accusations, just reacting to both the exact conundrum, and to the fact that you brought it to us to discuss, which suggests that you actually DO know, or think on some level, that you aren't reasoning this out as you think you are doing.

Spend the money now on your dog. I would do so in your situation, and given the prognosis, because if you don't, you will likely regret and fret about having decided as you did, going forward. That is a cost as well.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#35  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 12, 2014 2:05 am

No offense taken.

Earlier in this post, I think I read about the idea that it was already spending discretionary resources on a pet for the last ten years which could have been better used helping other people, and that's true. It is discretionary to have a pet. She serves no function beyond companionship, which is a luxury.

For example, when I harken back to my training as a nuclear fallout shelter manager, I can tell you that we would never accept a pet in such a shelter. The survival of people was the goal. Clearly, my dog didn't do any particular service to humanity.

I think my reasoning and ethical analysis is sound, though I may not follow it, anyway.

We went for a short walk today. I am curious to see how well she moves tomorrow. If that arthritis is crippling her after that mild exercise, her ability to be a dog is about at an end.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#36  Postby Emmeline » Nov 12, 2014 9:31 am

I feel so sorry for you & your family as I know what it's like to have to make these decisions. I've spent money on pets' health too when that money could have gone to a children's charity instead. It's applicable to all aspects of life though isn't it ie holidays, treats & hobbies cost money that could be put to more ethical use. Unless you live a very simple life devoid of all material luxuries, you're always going to be spending money in ways that don't relieve the suffering of others & it's something most of us have to reconcile with our conscience.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#37  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Nov 12, 2014 11:32 am

The_Metatron wrote:...Clearly, my dog didn't do any particular service to humanity...

Are you not a member of humanity? Has your dog not been of particular service to you (if only as a friend/companion)?
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#38  Postby Fallible » Nov 12, 2014 11:37 am

I also don't agree that companionship is a luxury. There may be those who are perfectly happy to live alone and with no companionship to speak of, but for many of us it is an essential component of a fulfilling life. For some of us that may mean one other human or other animal, for others more than that.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#39  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 13, 2014 2:13 am

We went for a nice walk yesterday, in Alton-Baker park. Probably for a couple kilometers. I wanted to see if her legs were still able to allow her to be a dog.

The next day, she was moving around just fine. That arthritis the doc mentioned is not crippling her.

Based on that result, and against my ethical judgment, we have scheduled this surgery to remove that tumor.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#40  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Nov 13, 2014 2:21 am

I wish you guys well, love is never a wrong choice, will be thinking good thoughts for all of you.

:hug:
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