Monday, March 22, 2010

More Than Love

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!


  1. but what about in terms of money? hee hee heee I thought you were a soccer ball hee hee hee

  2. Oh my gosh, that it a lot :( It's true, there's never a shortage from the love perspective!

  3. well, I would vote no.
    I have 3 and love them all dearly. But I wish I didn't.
    Time, money, logistics, a life besides your dogs... those are the hard ones. The love part is easy.

  4. I've been wrestling with the idea of adding a fifth dog too. I could easily get to be one of those crazy hoarder ladies. :-)

  5. @EmilyS: It's true - the logistics. Just going to the vet is like coordinating a small army. (What's a life beyond that with my dogs?)

    @Jan: There are people who refer to me as the Crazy Dog Lady now... :)

  6. boy does mommish know about that one
    she ish doing it all by her lonesome now but she loves ush so much that she would'nt have it any other way
    she ish a sucker for woggies big and shmall can you tell??

  7. @kissa-bull: Your mommish's heart is huge! She loves all of you very much! She makes us all very proud.

  8. Wow, and I thought we spent a lot. So does that mean he's coming home?

  9. I totally understand where you are at - with dogs and cats. We are an all cat house now but I would love a dog - it just isn't possible with our small house right now. Because believe me if it was just a matter of love it wouldn't be a problem. We had a lot of vet bills last year and hopefully won't have as many this year - so we are planning on another cat because logistically it will work ok (and we did have 5 at one point and it worked ok). So we didn't go dog because of the lack of space more than anything else. I can't really vote either way because it is just a tough call either way. And believe me if we had the space we would have a dog already (I don't know if you have been to dog foster mom blog but I am totally in love with Ziggy and would adopt him in a second if I could). My big problem is going to be when they call and say that oh, they don't have one kitten, they have 2 that need a home. We did the math - 2 would work - but then what if it is 3 (actually 3 would be easier because we could leave 2 but I would feel awful just leaving one alone). But cost is something I thought about hard before deciding - could we handle another big vet year after the last one and how healthy is everyone right now were big deciding factors.

    So, on a completely different note, I tagged you for the photo tag game - you can get the details at my blog.

  10. YEAH, there is nothing like another dog!! Just ask me!!!
    PS Buffy is my fifth dog and I just love her so much :)

  11. My momma says, gosh - she sure understands that! We think it's really good that you are thinking about these Most Important things. Lots of peoples don't. (But since we don't have to pays the V-E-T bills, we still wish very much you could adopt Bandit!)

    Wiggles & Wags,

  12. Aww, your dogs are so lucky to have you! Vet care is getting more expensive every year, and we see more and more pets turned in because the owners can't afford to pay for their health care. Thanks for sharing this reminder of the reality of being a responsible pet owner! My dogs have asked me to consider getting a second job in order to keep them supplied with new dog toys and chew bones. I told them no, they would have to suffer. :-)

  13. I have never done that,totaled it up. Mine would proabbly be similar between 3 now 2 dogs and 2 cats. I owuld get another dog, but Daisy is so dog selective I am more woried about the compatibility. Which maybe for now is a good thing.


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