Health Care: what’s all the yelling about?!

Health Care: what’s all the yelling about?!

(Originally included with Pawprint #1, November 2010)

It seems like all the grownup humans are talking about these days is Health Care. Adding to Health Care, taking away Health Care, reforming Health Care.

When I first heard all this talk, I had great hopes: Maybe they’ll finally agree with me and decide I don’t have to get any more shots!

Because oh I hate shots! Shots in the neck, shots in the foot, shots in the rump! I’m a big believer in equality and justice, and so, if it’s okay for a veterinarian to puncture me with a needle, I think it’s only fair I should be allowed to return the favor with a fang or two!

And oooooooh, there’s one thing that’s even worse than shots. Most kids never get these, but have you ever seen one of those vaccinations where they squirt it up your nose?! Now remember, a dog’s nose is way more sensitive than a person’s. So me getting one of those is like someone squirting a lemon into your eye! And then they sit around and talk about it being good for me?! Give me a break! Stupid rotten nose-squirt shot-giving meanies!

Okay, sorry, I had to have a little tantrum there. The truth is, I trust what Handsome tells me, and he insists that all these crazy things the doctors do – injecting me with this, taking that out of me, squirting whatever up my nose, groping me here and there, and even scraping my teeth – are really important and good for my health.

Most importantly, he says that they do all this for two main reasons – for me to feel good and energetic, and for me to live longer. Well I’m all for those, so if I have to suffer a few strange activities, I guess it’s worth it.


But that isn’t really what the Health Care debate is about, is it? I don’t hear any Representatives or Senators complaining about big needles. Their debate is really about insurance. And all the talk about insurance gets really complicated, but at its core, it’s actually pretty simple.

It’s like when we dogs get bones. We could enjoy them right away when we get them, and often we do. But we also like to bury them, so that on a day when we don’t have anything fresh to eat, we can go dig that bone up and satisfy our hunger.


Now imagine if a whole pack of dogs did that, buried some bones so that any member of the pack could get one when they needed it. That’s what an insurance company does – you pay a little money to it every month so that there will be a lot of money there for anyone who gets sick or hurt, enough to pay for them to get fixed up.

Now imagine that the leaders of that dog pack decide that all dogs should have to put bones in every month, and that that way all the pack members will be sure to not starve. Sounds good, right?

But maybe one dog says “I’m such a good hunter I won’t ever need a buried bone, so I want to keep my bones for myself.” And another says “I don’t like Fido over there, so I won’t put a bone in if there’s a chance he’ll get it.” And another says “But there are too many of us, we’ll run out of bones!” While at the same time, lots of the other dogs are saying that this is the only fair way for the pack to take care of its members, and anyone against it is being selfish and stupid!

Pretty complicated, isn’t it? Well that’s basically what they’re all yelling about, as far as I can tell. Most countries have some sort of a Health Care plan, and the one that we’re beginning in the United States is different from any other. So we’ll have to see how it works out over time.


But for right now, all I can say is, whether it’s paid for by the government, or an insurance company, or right out of Handsome’s pocket, the only thing I like about going to the veterinarian’s office is being done with it! When they give me a cookie, and let me take it in my mouth as I run full-speed out the door!


– Shirelle


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