My resistance finally broke down and I agreed. We would get a dog.
We decided we wouldn’t buy a puppy from a pet store and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. Instead, we would adopt a dog from a rescue shelter or from animal control. My wife scoured the internet looking for our dream pup and found hers two hours away in Alabama.
We got there just in time — she was on “death row,” meaning that if no one adopted her within a few days, she would be euthanized.
One look into the dog’s loving puppy eyes and my wife was sold, even though the pup had scabs all over her body and a hernia on her belly. Nonetheless, we signed some paperwork, paid $15, and named her Daphne on our way home.
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Here's the deal with doggienomics: A purebred can cost a fortune — sometimes thousands of dollars. You even get the dog’s lineage papers, sort of like the aristocracy in England.
On the other hand, adopting a dog seems like a sensible economic choice, with the added bonus of saving a life.
We knew there would be some upfront expenses: a crate, dog bowls, dog food, some chew toys, and a gate to keep her from falling down the stairs. These items didn’t set us back by much.
That said, if you’ve never owned a pet, you have no idea how expensive your commitment can become.
We first took Daphne for a checkup, which cost a few hundred dollars, including vaccinations. Luckily, we found out her hernia was an umbilical hernia, and while it looked concerning, it would not cause problems going forward.
Once Daphne was old enough, we had her spayed — another few hundred dollars.
We quickly discovered her scabs were the result of irritation from her constant scratching. Our vet suggested a $400 test for environmental allergens. A bit excessive, we thought, but we couldn’t bear to see our puppy suffer.
It turns out that Daphne had allergies — just like any toddler. Hers were to ragweed and cocklebur, and so she was put on a course of allergy shots ($125 for a six-month supply). We knew at this point we were close to a thousand dollars in the red, but the shots helped Daphne enormously.
Not to mention, Daphne has had some awful luck with her toenails — and no, I don’t mean chipped nail polish. She has broken her toenails on two occasions. The first time she only cracked her nail, so they cut it back and everything was fine — after spending $50 for what was essentially a doggy manicure.
The second time was on Easter Sunday. She had to have one nail removed and one cut back. The vet wasn’t actually there that morning, but we still managed to pay $200.
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Then there are naughty doggy costs: When Daphne was a puppy, she chewed through my wife's $90 Apple laptop charger.
We weren’t around to see Daphne's reaction, but I imagine she got a small jolt. She never chewed on an electrical cord again.
Not all dogs cost as much as Daphne. However, all dogs can have accidents that cost hundreds — even thousands — of dollars in vet bills. Worse, they are prone to diseases just like people. You may even have to decide whether to pay for chemotherapy if your dog is diagnosed with cancer.
If you’re going to get a dog, be prepared and have an emergency fund in case something happens.
Your pet will quickly become a member of your family, and you won’t want to see it suffer. If we could go back in time, would we pick another dog? Definitely not. Daphne is part of our family. She’s a kind, smart, loyal dog, and she’s worth every penny we’ve paid to keep her healthy. Like many things in life, it has simply cost more money than we initially expected.