I’ll never forget the first time I saw him. We met on the Internet in 1999 and I fell for him instantly. He had the most beautiful brown eyes. Then he was just known as number 81 by the Washington D.C. Humane Society. He was a beagle and chocolate lab mix. The adoption process took a bit of time. I had only met him once, but I fought for him. He was in a short-term foster home that didn’t seem to want to give him up despite having me go through the process. Four days before Christmas I showed up unannounced and took my Buster home.
Buster was more than just a pet. He was my companion and best friend. I had him for almost nine years before he passed away last September. He suffered from a heart murmur for many years and as he got older his heart problems worsened. Any time he needed an EKG, x-ray or new medication, my wallet, heart and mind were open to the possibility that it could extend our time together. My finances took a heavy toll, but he lived a comfortable six months longer than the veterinarian predicted.
I am so thankful that I was able to take care of him until the end. It might have been too much of a financial burden for another owner. Given that there are over 80 million homes that have a dog or cat, there are millions of pets that will be in the same situation as my Buster. I recently learned that there is a proposal that can ease the financial costs of our companions.
At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), I had the pleasure of meeting actor and director Robert Davi, also a fellow pet lover. We talked about our pets and he told me about a new project he’s working on with his cousin Leo Grillo, founder of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue Sanctuary. In a recent commentary for The Washington Times, Davi wrote “It has become clear to my cousin Leo and me that we should have a national debate about the ability to declare our pets as tax exemptions like any other dependent or valued property with costs.”
Last week Davi launched the website PetExemption.com in order to further a debate on the issue. Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan is working with Davi and Grillo on writing the legislation.
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