Pet lovers are a special breed.
Twenty-two Times and tampabay.com readers responded to my recent story about the costs that my wife and I have incurred with Mojo, our beloved bichon frise. Many of you said you could relate to our expenses, which are averaging $2,000 annually.
As I said in my story, he's worth every penny. Pet lovers that you are, most of you said your pet is worth it, too. Some of you suggested ways to cut costs; others offered treatment options.
Barbara Snow, executive director of the Humane Society of Pinellas, wrote a letter to the editor, published June 28, that referenced the story and noted what a good deal it is to adopt a pet from that organization.
My story also attracted additional comments after it was distributed nationally.
Here are excerpts of comments that were posted with the story and photo on tampabay.com or sent in e-mail to me.
Posted by Patty:
"Love your article about Mojo's costs. He's a cutie. I have two 'Mojos' of my own and your story taught me a lesson — NEVER, NEVER, NEVER add up the cost of owning them! Hugs and wags from one fluff lover to another."
Posted by Karlie:
"I hope this article doesn't deter any future pet owners who would be worried by such bills. You can reduce pet costs by adopting a homeless cat/dog and sticking to Purina products (which my vet recommends). You can't put a price on 'family.' "
Posted by Vinny:
"Welcome, Mr. Schlander, to the high-cost world of dog ownership. Bear in mind that you're dealing with just one. The truly bankrupt, like myself, have no less than three."
E-mail from Calvin Obara and Penny Thompson, founders of the Suncoast Bichon Club (For club information, send e-mail to Bichons3@tampabay.rr.com.):
"I read your article yesterday and can sympathize with you as we have three fluffs that each have their own wardrobe, two baskets of toys, and multiple crates and gates, not to mention all the bichon-related items for ourselves. Grooming and vetting is a totally other thing."
E-mail from Lana McDonald, owner of Ted, a Lhasa apso, pictured at top:
"I looked at the big smiles on yours and Mojo's faces, and you both look HAPPY! And isn't that what life should be all about? What's money, it's paper, it comes and it goes, but sometimes it allows us to have a real friend who's always glad to see you, who gives all the love he has to give.''