I grew up with a golden retriever that passed when I was 15. My family then got two border collies that are now 9 years old. The personalities my dogs have bring me so much joy when I get to see them while visiting my parents. Most of our friends are in their 20’s and we know of at least 6 couples that got a puppy over the past year (including Derek & Mrs. LAMF!). Every time I see a friend’s puppy I turn to Dave and say “We NEED to get one.” I would really REALLY love to have a puppy, but it’s just not in the cards for us (yet) for a few reasons…
Our work and living situation
Dave and I are both working full time and we live in a one-bedroom apartment. It breaks my heart that my parents work 10-12 hour days and the dogs sit in their kennel all day until one of my parents gets home. I recently met a fellow dietitian who works in a nursing home setting and she had her dog trained to be a therapy dog. She brings him to work every day! While I would love for this to be my situation, it’s not very likely.
Another reason we aren’t getting a dog yet is because we’re gone too much. From June 2011 to June 2012 we went to 8 weddings, spent a week in Nashville, and at least every other month we were visiting Dave’s family on the West side of Michigan or mine in Southeast Michigan. We attended a wedding this past weekend and my friend’s husband wasn’t able to come because they got a new puppy and they didn’t want to leave it home alone since it wasn’t potty trained yet! I’d hate to miss out because one of us had to stay home with the pup. Heck, I’d hate having to leave early from an event just because our little friend needs to be let out.
There are quite a few financial reasons why we don’t have a dog (yet). After talking with friends, I found that it can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per year. In my naïve mind I only think of buying the dog and food… that’s all there is to it, right? There is the initial $100-$1,000 purchase, but add to that:
Depending on the type/breed, the total cost of a dog who lives to be 14 years old can range from $5,000 to $40,000 from the factors listed above and more. On top of that, who says my dog won’t have hip dysplasia, food allergies, or behavior problems?
There is the possibility of starting our own family within the next year or so. While I love the thought of having a child and a puppy, I’m not too fond of the idea of having to take care of both at the same time. I’ll be staying home instead of working (hopefully bringing in a few bucks through Budget for Health!) so once Baby is a little older then I think it would work out better for us and the pup since we’d travel less often and I’d be home.
Our financial goals
I know the joy I’d receive from owning a dog would be worth the financial cost, but it will have to wait a couple years because the work/living/traveling factors outweigh the financial cost at this point. We do have some big financial goals we’d like to accomplish – one being saving up for a house. If we continue saving like we currently are, we should be able to buy a house next June instead of renewing our lease once again. I hate the thought of throwing our money away on an apartment instead of putting it toward a home, so for now a dog can wait.
What are your thoughts on getting a dog/pet?
This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.