Growing up, I saw my family go through a lot of pets; parakeets, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and dogs (Dad hated cats and only let Mom get one after everyone was grown and out of the house.)
Because we were poor, pet care fell to the bottom of the budget; we did not (to my knowledge) ever take a dog to the vet, regardless of what the problem might be. Our dogs ran away regularly (maybe because they were hungry?), had no shots, and sometimes disappeared forever. I think that's why I have just never allowed myself to get too attached to pets.
I think I was about nine when Pepe (my grandma's cranky chihuahua that my mom had inherited) disappeared one day after a clearly-unbalanced brawl with a Great Dane. Poor thing spent ten days behind the couch before he abruptly disappeared and I was told that my brother had taken him to live with a girl chihuahau. Months later, on a bike ride with another brother (name withheld to protect the innocent), I learned the truth when said brother lifted a rock in the woods and showed me a pile of tiny bones. Obviously, it was a little traumatic for me.
My sisters are not like me on this front. Michelle, Mary, and Judy are devoted pet-lovers. (I'm not sure about my brothers.) I have no idea why I can't be bothered with emotional involvement in my pets.
Karen Z wrote that she is surprised that only 60% of pet owners purchase Christmas gifts for their pets.
I do have our pets vaccinated and spayed or neutered. When Cooper passes on to that kennel in the sky, I will be very, very sad, but not for my own loss. It will be for the kids and Mr.4444, who will be heartbroken.
I did cry when our favorite ever cat, Max, died, but it wasn't because I would miss him; it was more to say thanks, and Mr.4444 was really broken up about it.