Good Dog, Hard Choice: Downturn Puts Pressure on Placer County Pet Owners

By Gus Thomson, Auburn Journal

Economic hard times have put the squeeze on many pet owners. And while the idea of paying off a four-figure bill for a pet procedure or even putting food in the dog dish when a dog owner’s family is hungry or in need of new clothes is daunting to some, extraordinary measures are occurring on a near-daily basis.

North Auburn’s Suzy McMinn epitomizes that special bond that develops between a pet and its owner – and the lengths she’ll go to keep her dog. McMinn isn’t close to wealthy. She lives in a mobile-home park and her Social Security check barely pays for her own needs. But she also has a partial hearing loss and adopted the terrier Peppermint Patty several years ago as her ears. Patty, is obedient and loyal while serving as McMinn’s companion animal. It fetches her slippers when McMinn returns home and picks up her own dog dish and returns it for washing when her meal is completed.

When a fire occurred last week at the mobile-home park McMinn lives in, Peppermint Patty was there to alert her. Several weeks ago, Peppermint Patty took off after a squirrel and tore a meniscus. McMinn said she’s careful with her finances, filling her car’s gas tank up once a month and walking if it nears empty.

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