No doubt the pet insurance world is hoping their business is recession-proof—perhaps even recession-fueled.

It’s clear that having less money with which to pay for your vet expenses must leave lots of pet owners standing outside their vet’s place, credit card statement in hand, echoing Scarlett O’Hara’s immortal sentiment: “God as my witness, I will never let Fluffy live without pet insurance coverage again!” Remember this image?

In fact, it’s only after serious healthcare crises or expensive appointments that owners raise the issue of pet insurance before I do.

I tend to discuss health insurance at well-puppy and first-time kitten visits. After discussing the potential merits of pet health coverage I usually hand over a brochure with a website address added in bold, hand-written, Sharpie-marker scarwl: www.petinsurance

Historically, it’s been the case that only a handful of my clients seem genuinely interested while the vast majority acts as if I’m having a bit of fun with them. In these latter cases the brochure is necessary by way of letting them know that, no, I am not wasting my breath with the intent of eliciting a chuckle.

Lately, however, the tone of these exchanges has grown heavier, what with more clients willing to take seriously my request that they contemplate worst-case scenarios.

Perhaps my delivery of the message has been irrevocably altered in some imperceptible way (to me, at least) ever since my Sophie’s brain tumor and expensive radiation treatments.

Perhaps it’s that some new pet health insurance message has made its way across the American psyche via advertising or the media.

But something makes me think that scary money concerns are more likely the cause of this heightened level of attention my little pet health insurance speech now recruits.

Here’s a sampling of some not-so-subtle cultural reminders of what’s at stake:

•    Abandoned, foreclosed on pets are not just in the media, they’re in my hospital. In fact, I’m seeing more adoptions off the streets these days than from the shelter.

•    “Saving on pet care” articles more widely disseminated in the media.

•    “How far will you go for your pets?” stories making the rounds of The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Miami Herald.

How about you? Does a tightening economy make you want to take on a pet health insurance policy?