So I was thinking. Why can't I have another dog?
Bandit is so darned cute, everyone overlooks the Pit Bulls, and Charlie would love someone closer to her age and energy to play with. He deserves a great home, and if I say so myself, I can give him just that.
Bandit is a really nice dog, playful and respectful, I think he'll be easy to train, and any dog who can be housebroken in a kennel filled with dogs vying for attention has got my vote. He's a great size - about 40 lbs., not too small, not too large.
But there's so much more to having pets than just giving them a warm place to sleep and lots of love.
First of all, they need attention. I can't just push the older ones aside because the younger ones are more demanding of me. Just look at Trouper being all cute. He's such a smush face. And he does the Cute Thing really well.
Second, can I afford FIVE dogs? I just did some quick math to see what I spent over the last year on regular, every day costs of having four dogs (stay tuned to this post for the results). Nothing extraordinary; other than Buster's recent eye problem, all of my monkeys, knock on wood, are in good health.
So, what's "normal" care? Well, in my house, it's heartworm preventative, flea and tick goo, and the older dogs get joint supplements. And now that Trouper has found poop to be a tasty treat, everyone gets coprophagia pills every day.
I bring everyone to the vet for yearly exams. Now that Buster, Trouper, and Lucy have reached A Certain Age, they all need senior blood panels, which we do twice a year. Buster has chest x-rays to keep an eye on his osteosarcoma - remember, his appeared on his ribs rather than on a limb; my dogs are Special.
All four get regular vaccinations, except for the Special Boy, Buster, who can't get anything but his rabies vaccination because he's immunocompromised.
Trouper has skin allergies, so he gets a daily dose of Atopica - thank goodness for this medication - it's not cheap, but it has relieved his itchy skin and feet remarkably well. If I skip more than two days in a row, he's miserable - chewing, licking, and generally driving himself crazy.
Then, there's my Heart Dog, Lucy. She has a heart murmur, so we have to do an ultrasound each year to check its progress. She's not on any medication at this point, and we're due for this year's ultrasound. Gotta make that appointment... Look at that face! Mwaa!
Charlie is the youngest and most... Let's just say robust. If robust means getting into trouble all the time and somehow coming out the other side in one piece. She's the one who ate the potholder when she was just about a year old and ended up having emergency surgery a week before Christmas. She's also the one who plays very roughly with my older kids, and leaves them with ugly wounds. Not in a mean way, just in an "I thought you were a soccer ball" way. Of course, the other dogs don't care much for being Charlie's soccer ball.
So, here's the part you've been waiting for. It might be the cause of my persistent headaches, now that I think about it.
I looked back over my vet expenses for the past year. Including Buster's recent eye surgery, Trouper's very expensive medicine, joint supplements, Lucy's yearly ultrasound, heartworm medication for four dogs, and annual exams and vaccinations for four dogs... I've spent over $6,400. In twelve months. And that doesn't include food. The pooches have to eat. And then there are treats. And there's Christmas. And Nylabones. Gotta have Nylabones...
Hey, they're worth every penny. And I'll just be an indentured servant to my current employer until who knows when.
So - can I really afford a fifth dog? In terms of love, yes. Absolutely!