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We’re Getting a Puppy!


Back in July 2012 I wrote about our decision to NOT get a dog (yet). A lot has changed over a year and a half so the topic was recently readdressed. My sister pitched the idea of getting a Leader Dog puppy and after doing some research we decided to sign up! To give a brief background- you get a Leader Dog puppy at 2 months old and raise it, teach basic obedience skills, and familiarize it with social surroundings before the dog is returned at 12-15 months for actual Leader Dog training and getting placed with an owner. I do realize that there’s a 100% chance I’ll cry when we have to give it back. In my previous article I addressed a few reasons why we were NOT getting a dog, so I figured it makes sense to compare then versus now. Let me know what you think.

Our work and living situation

Previously: We both worked full time and rented a one-bedroom apartment. Having no one home for 8+ hours each day was a huge reason we decided not to get a dog.

Now: My husband is still with his employer full time. I’ve cut down my hours and will be working a few days each month so I can stay home with our baby girl due this January. We bought a condo in March 2013 and after renting it to friends for 6 months while we were in Calgary we’ve finally settled in and love it.

Travel frequency

Previously: We frequently visit family and friends all over Michigan and something is always going on over the weekend. Witnessing friends try to coordinate a sitter for their dogs every time they left town looked like a pain we didn’t want to deal with.

Now: We still travel often, but with a Leader Dog puppy, we are actually encouraged to take it everywhere we go (grocery store, church, mall) to help the dog get acclimated to various environments. Since Leader Dog puppies don’t become an official Leader Dog until after we give it back, it’s not automatically allowed in all public places; we’d check ahead of time to ensure we can bring it along.

Financial costs

Previously: We weren’t too fond of all the costs that come with buying & owning a dog. That really hasn’t changed since our last discussion.

Now: With a baby arriving soon we’re basically transitioning from a double income to a single income home. It doesn’t make sense to add extra expenses from a pet with our new situation. However, the only costs we incur with a Leader Dog puppy are for food, a crate, and any toys we’d buy on our own. We don’t buy the dog, vaccinations & vet bills are covered as long as we go through a Leader Dog vet, and a puppy training class is provided.

Baby time

Previously: We weren’t sure when we were going to start trying for our first child but figured it would be within a year from the time I wrote the previous article.

Now: I’m 34 weeks in and we’re expecting a baby girl early January 2014! I’m aware of the amount of poop I’ll be dealing with from a baby which is why we decided not to sign up for Leader Dog until now. The waiting list is about 6 months for a lab, 9 months for a golden retriever, and 12 months for a German shepherd. We opted for a retriever or shepherd so we have a little more time to get use to one baby before we take on a puppy.

Our financial goals

Previously: We had a few financial goals we were tackling full force so we ruled out the option of getting a dog until the goals were completed.

Now: Thankfully we’ve accomplished our financial goals for 2012-2013. We’ve got our 6-month emergency fund in place, we’ve saved for a new (ish) replacement car, and are close to dropping the extra PMI payments for our home. We won’t have as much extra cash flow to throw toward saving and investing so for the next year we plan to continue living simply like we have been for the past 3.5 years of marriage and will re-evaluate our financial situation in 2015.

It’s puppy time!

As much as I will hate giving the puppy back after 12-15 months, we view this as a neat opportunity that doesn’t come with a huge commitment like buying a dog to own long-term. We’d love to have our own dog someday but it will likely be when our kids are old enough to start helping out with pet responsibilities. Stay tuned for an update in 9-12 months!

What factors led you to decide to get (or not get) a 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.


  1. Congratulations!

    The #1 reason I didn’t get a dog for the longest was financial. However, after I did, I wasn’t sure why I didn’t sooner. Sure, there are costs involved, but I rarely think about them because I wouldn’t give up my pooches for the world. They are worth every penny!

    • It is hard to quantify joy when it comes to having a dog (if you have a good one!) I’m glad to hear your pups are a great addition!

  2. What factors had us decide when to get the dogs?
    – the first dog (Labrador Retriever) is great with kids, friendly, and also scary if you’re even remotely afraid of dogs
    – the second dog is because the kids had been asking about a pug, and we happened to find one just 2 days after Christmas, and the kids fell in love with her

    Just about 11 months later with a decent amount of training (mostly keeping the puppy pug on somewhat set schedules and crate training her), she does very well without having to use a leash in our yard … granted it is 174′ x 371′ in size, but puppies usually have a lot of energy.
    I often call the newest addition our “Evil Pug” … stressing the “evil” part. Because she looks at us with those huge brown eyes, against her black coat, and it just looks like she’s crying slightly.
    One of these days I’ll put her picture up in place of my Avatar picture. 🙂

    • Evil pug! At least it’s from evil looks and not misbehaving. It sounds like she provides plenty of entertainment 😉

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