When we asked Globe and Mail readers about their pets, their love was clear. As one wrote, "[I] grieved more for my cat than I did my mother." That may explain the lengths to which many go for their animal companions: a monthly spa day for a Shih Tzu, hand-feeding kibble to a chi pin, installing a closed-circuit camera in the bathroom to monitor cats' litter-box action, forgoing vacations to avoid leaving the household Pomeranian in strangers' hands. And don't even mention vet bills.
I've spent about $30,000 on chemotherapy treatments for Alex, my goldendoodle who was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. We have flown twice to Ontario, from Newfoundland, for treatments with specialized veterinarians.
Lisa Haines, St. John's
We regularly took our 33-foot, fifth-wheel trailer when we went to visit friends and relatives so our old cat, Critter, would have "her own home." The most expensive cat condo ever!
Barry Hiebert, Coaldale, Alta.
I take my dog, Radar, an Australian shepherd, regularly to the dog park. We go on off-leash hikes, or sometimes I take him just for a ride in the car. The thing is: I didn't take my children to the park regularly or on hikes, and I looked forward to the times I could go for a drive by myself.
Sandra Hodgson, Toronto
I spend more than $300 a month on my four cats. It's death by a thousand cuts: deluxe condo scratching posts, special beds, a fancy heating pad, gourmet wet and dry food, special medication, blood, scat and urine tests, fancy cat toys, water fountain … Really? All they seem to want is a cardboard box to sleep in.
Steph Chambers, Toronto
I have a 12-year-old Green-cheeked Conure, a small green, teal, red and brown parrot about double the size and weight of a budgie. I give Cheeky a homemade blueberry muffin (a.k.a. parrot birthday cake!) for his annual "Hatch Day" celebration; I want him to feel that he is a full member of the family.
Heather R., North York, Ont.
I cashed in over $10,000 in RRSPs to pay for my dog's surgery so she wouldn't lose her leg. My family, friends, and co-workers thought that was pretty outrageous. I didn't.
Sue Kinoshita, Vancouver
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