Who should get my resources?

My dog, or some random kid?

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Who should get my resources?

#1  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 12:58 am

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.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#2  Postby epepke » Nov 11, 2014 1:12 am

The dog would give anything to save your life. The kid probably wouldn't. That has to count for something.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#3  Postby Griz_ » Nov 11, 2014 1:13 am

An interesting ethical dilemma. Of course, the correct answer would be to donate the money to where it would alleviate the most human suffering. But you could also ask yourself the same question about the $2 you spent on a cup of coffee or the money you spent on your last vacation. Taken to it's conclusion you will eventually drive yourself mad or end up penniless. Perhaps both. The real issue is guilt and the fact that you have acknowledged it. Do you give to charitable causes? If not, consider it. If you do, add a little to it. At the end of the day it's all about whether you can sleep at night.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#4  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Nov 11, 2014 1:19 am

There is always thousands of things you can instead do with your resources.

You should decide what would be best for the dog. Don't weigh it on cost, weigh it on the benefit for the dog. The surgery may be the wrong choice regardless access to resources.

What is best for the dog.

Sorry you are having this difficult circumstance before you. Do the best you can for your friend is all you can do.

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Re: Who should get my resources?

#5  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 1:37 am

Where I keep landing is, if I decide to try to cure cancer in an animal, my attempt would be more ethical if I chose a younger animal, and better still if I were to choose a younger human child.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#6  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 1:38 am

I could choose to do nothing, too. This dog's days are numbered, and I've given her a fine life.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#7  Postby Griz_ » Nov 11, 2014 1:44 am

How old and what breed?
Ignore the questions if you wish, I've been through this. It ain't easy.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#8  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 2:16 am

Oh, no problem. She's a dog pound dog, approaching 12 years old, maybe more. We don't know. The dog pound guessed she was around a year old when we got her.

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IMGP9355.JPG (1.81 MiB) Viewed 4143 times


About knee high. Weighs 20 kilos or so.

She has degenerative arthritis, which is taking muscle mass from her hips and rear legs, too. Some days she has a hell of a time getting up. Other days, not so bad.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#9  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Nov 11, 2014 2:26 am

Handsome.

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Re: Who should get my resources?

#10  Postby Griz_ » Nov 11, 2014 2:32 am

She's a sweet looking dog.

It's such a tough call. We had to make a decision about surgery with a cat that was around 6. It was not looking good for her at all and we were warned of that but she lived to be 14. That was a fairly easy decision. Had the same decision with a dog that was about the same age and decided against. I still think it was the right thing. I think we are going to be facing a similar thing with our miniature pinscher who is 14 and really beginning to fail with arthritis. My view is that extending life does not always equate to quality of life. It's a very personal thing and so much depends on the best advice from your veterinarian as to the prognosis and weighing the benefit of surgery. I feel for you, man. I really do.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#11  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 2:33 am

My youngest boy had an optic nerve anomaly this last summer that had the appearance of being caused by brain cancer. For about three weeks, we didn't know what was the actual problem, which turned out to be not cancer or life threatening.

I had a taste of what it would be like to try to cure a seven year old boy of cancer. Man, you don't want to experience that.

My point is, because of what I learned this summer, I can very well weigh the ethical importance of the consequences of each situation.

I find myself unable to satisfactorily trump the expenditure of that $1100 on a dog in comparison to giving that money to a family with a child facing the same fate. If successful, there would be a last chemotherapy treatment for a child with cancer. Could be that I can make it possible for a family to get their kid to that treatment.

I know what is the most ethical thing to do. It is a surprisingly simple thing to resolve.

What it does nothing to resolve is how our family will feel about the death of our dog. This is the only dog my boys have known. For me, I've done this before. I don't have to like it, but I know what to do. But, I have to get my boys through this, and equip them to deal with the concept in a healthy way. Dogs don't live as long as people do. For that matter, people don't always live as long as people do.

It is this pain of loss with which we must learn to cope.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#12  Postby jamest » Nov 11, 2014 2:57 am

The_Metatron wrote:My youngest boy had an optic nerve anomaly this last summer that had the appearance of being caused by brain cancer. For about three weeks, we didn't know what was the actual problem, which turned out to be not cancer or life threatening.

I had a taste of what it would be like to try to cure a seven year old boy of cancer. Man, you don't want to experience that.

My point is, because of what I learned this summer, I can very well weigh the ethical importance of the consequences of each situation.

I find myself unable to satisfactorily trump the expenditure of that $1100 on a dog in comparison to giving that money to a family with a child facing the same fate. If successful, there would be a last chemotherapy treatment for a child with cancer. Could be that I can make it possible for a family to get their kid to that treatment.

I know what is the most ethical thing to do. It is a surprisingly simple thing to resolve.

What it does nothing to resolve is how our family will feel about the death of our dog. This is the only dog my boys have known. For me, I've done this before. I don't have to like it, but I know what to do. But, I have to get my boys through this, and equip them to deal with the concept in a healthy way. Dogs don't live as long as people do. For that matter, people don't always live as long as people do.

It is this pain of loss with which we must learn to cope.

You didn't have a taste of what it would be like to cure a seven year old boy of cancer. Seven year old boys are not your primary concern. You had a taste of what it would be like to face the loss of someone you love. Love is the issue here. And if you realise that, then you'll do what is right for your dog.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#13  Postby kennyc » Nov 11, 2014 3:18 am

You've given the dog a good life. As I did my older shelter dog that died from cancer at about the same age as yours. I tried to ease him out as best I could, but no extraordinary procedures and I would not want them for me either. My family all know this and I have a living will in place.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#14  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 4:00 am

jamest wrote:
The_Metatron wrote:My youngest boy had an optic nerve anomaly this last summer that had the appearance of being caused by brain cancer. For about three weeks, we didn't know what was the actual problem, which turned out to be not cancer or life threatening.

I had a taste of what it would be like to try to cure a seven year old boy of cancer. Man, you don't want to experience that.

My point is, because of what I learned this summer, I can very well weigh the ethical importance of the consequences of each situation.

I find myself unable to satisfactorily trump the expenditure of that $1100 on a dog in comparison to giving that money to a family with a child facing the same fate. If successful, there would be a last chemotherapy treatment for a child with cancer. Could be that I can make it possible for a family to get their kid to that treatment.

I know what is the most ethical thing to do. It is a surprisingly simple thing to resolve.

What it does nothing to resolve is how our family will feel about the death of our dog. This is the only dog my boys have known. For me, I've done this before. I don't have to like it, but I know what to do. But, I have to get my boys through this, and equip them to deal with the concept in a healthy way. Dogs don't live as long as people do. For that matter, people don't always live as long as people do.

It is this pain of loss with which we must learn to cope.

You didn't have a taste of what it would be like to cure a seven year old boy of cancer. Seven year old boys are not your primary concern. You had a taste of what it would be like to face the loss of someone you love. Love is the issue here. And if you realise that, then you'll do what is right for your dog.

It would be best if you didn't couch that in what you think I did or didn't experience.

You didn't read what I wrote, or you failed to understand it. For that three weeks, I faced the specter of my boy having cancer that would likely kill him. A quality we would call empathy teaches me that anyone else facing the same specter would feel similarly.

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.

The fact is, other peoples' kids die all the time, and it doesn't affect me in the least, as I don't know those people. But I do know my dog very well, and the effect of her death is strong on me. That relative effect on me doesn't factor into my examination of this situation.

In the same way I would save the life of a random child over a random dog, I have no choice but reach the same conclusion when considering the life of my own dog. Which, in reality, I cannot prolong much.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#15  Postby scott1328 » Nov 11, 2014 4:02 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.


Can the pain from the arthritis be managed?

Will surgery to remove the mass impose other risks on the dog's health?

What is the dog's disposition? Is she alert? Does she seem happy? Is she suffering?

Where is the tumor? What are the risks of surgery? What can you expect post-op?

In 2011, I was faced with these decisions very unexpectedly with my border collie Zeke. I have related that experience on this forum before. For me, it was a question of quality of life for my dog. If I had thought surgery would have restored him to good health at the age of 12, I would have doled out the money to remove the tumor that was blocking his digestive track. Considerations of the ethics of the situation focused on what was best for my dog.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#16  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 4:12 am

That was mine, too. But, I realized I was doing a cost/benefit analysis centered on the outcome to the dog. The decision became more complicated when I considered what else could be done with that $1100, while still keeping some of the benefit analysis in there. Would this question be different if my dog was only a year old? It may seem so, but I still don't think it would outweigh the benefit to some random child.

I've never thought if this in those terms before. That's what surprised me about the ethical conclusion I reached.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#17  Postby scott1328 » Nov 11, 2014 4:16 am

The_Metatron wrote:That was mine, too. But, I realized I was doing a cost/benefit analysis centered on the outcome to the dog. The decision became more complicated when I considered what else could be done with that $1100, while still keeping some of the benefit analysis in there. Would this question be different if my dog was only a year old? It may seem so, but I still don't think it would outweigh the benefit to some random child.

I've never thought if this in those terms before. That's what surprised me about the ethical conclusion I reached.

Consider that to treat cancer in a child, $1100 doesn't even cover a single Chemo treatment. But it could save your dog's life.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#18  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 4:21 am

No, but it would go a long ways to enabling a family to get to that treatment, or pay an insurance co-pay. Even if it enabled a mother to take some time off from work to comfort her dying child, that would be more valuable than extending the life of my dog for a few months.

I'm looking for no justification to kill my dog, mind you. This has been the best dog I've ever known.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#19  Postby scott1328 » Nov 11, 2014 4:25 am

The_Metatron wrote:No, but it would go a long ways to enabling a family to get to that treatment, or pay an insurance co-pay. Even if it enabled a mother to take some time off from work to comfort her dying child, that would be more valuable than extending the life of my dog for a few months.

I'm looking for no justification to kill my dog, mind you. This has been the best dog I've ever known.

It sounds like you've already decided.

My best wishes for you, no matter how you decide.
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Re: Who should get my resources?

#20  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 11, 2014 4:34 am

Yeah, I pretty much have, that's true.

What I've found so far, is that if I consider only the outcome for my dog, I would get that surgery. I can afford it, and I don't think it would add to her suffering in the future, though there is no solid evidence that it would reduce it, either.

But, if I consider the utility of the resources I would spend on that surgery, without regards to the outcome to the dog, I can find many scenarios that are much more sure to reduce the suffering of some child.

There is also the reality that this entire discussion is a first world problem. There sure are a lot of places on earth where this wouldn't even be a decision more complex than getting a cup of coffee.

I suppose I never thought about it in those terms before this afternoon,
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