The Newest Addition to the Frugal Family

Meet Chloe. She’s a 10-12 month mixed breed that we adopted from Animal Control last Thursday. The family (especially the kids) is excited to welcome her into our home. The only exception is the cats, who are a little perturbed about Chloe invading their space. But they seem to be adjusting.

There are a few things I’ve learned (and many things I still have to learn), as we’ve gone from considering a dog to adopting a dog. Sometimes spending a little money up front will save on expensive vet bills down the line.

1. Take your time making the decision. We first started considering a dog when we signed the papers to buy our house last year. We didn’t want to rush into it, though, and ultimately decided to get through our first winter in our new home, before we added a dog to the family.

2. Understand how much time and work a dog will take. We’ve owned a dog before, so we had a pretty good idea of how much responsibility a dog is. You have to make sure they’re kept fed and in good health. You need to make sure they get enough training, socialization, and exercise. That means spending time with the dog, taking it for walks, and taking it to obedience classes, if you have no idea how to train a dog.

3. Find a reputable vet. Before you adopt a dog, ask friends to recommend a vet. Call around, also, to see how much vets in your area charge for vaccinations and spays and neuters. The cost can vary greatly.

4. When it’s time to adopt, consider giving a home to an unwanted pet. Animal control was full of dogs looking for loving homes. We talked a lot with one of the animal control employees, and he really helped us find the dog we were looking for. We spent some time outside with Chloe to see how she would respond to each of us, before we made the decision to adopt her.

A side benefit to adopting from the pound is that it’s relatively inexpensive. Chloe’s adoption cost was $80, but that included a certificate for $50 to go towards her spay operation. Speaking of spaying…

5. Spay or neuter your dog. This is an important one. The animal shelter was full of sad little dogs, who wanted homes. A responsible dog owner will make sure their pet is spayed or neutered, so their dog doesn’t have a litter of unwanted puppies.

6. Don’t buy the cheapest dog food. It turns out the cheap stuff isn’t very good for dogs. I don’t buy the most expensive stuff, but I do buy a reputable brand. When our cats got sick, the lady at the pet store recommended Nutro brand cat food, and our vet agreed. I figured that was probably pretty good for a dog, too, so Nutro is what Chloe eats now.

Buying a healthier food can prevent expensive vet visits later in life.

7. Have a fun! We’re really enjoying having Chloe in our family! She’s a great dog, and fairly well behaved. We’re planning on taking the pound up on their offer of one free dog training class, as soon as Chloe gets her rabies shot and is spayed. We’ve already made that appointment, though the vet couldn’t work her in until August 6.

I’m glad we made the decision to get a dog. And I’m glad we adopted from the pound. Every time Chloe comes running when we call, I can tell that she’s glad to have a family of her own, and I’m glad it’s us!

Do you have any additional tips? And do any of you dog experts have a clue as to what breed Chloe is? We’re guessing that she has some Border Collie or Australian Shepherd in her.


By , on Jul 6, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Debbie:

    We just adopted a dog two months ago. He’s a Border Collie/Springer Spaniel Cross. Your new dog looks a lot like a Border Collie and I might hazzard to guess that she’s got some American Eskimo in her too.

    I have become addicted to the show The Dog Whisperer. Ceasar Milan is just amazing with dogs. I have to check out the library to see about getting some of his books. Being your dog’s ‘pack leader’ and ensuring that the dog realizes that she is the lowest on the totem pole in the family is a good way to ensure that you have a well behaved dog.

    Good luck with your new addition. I hope you are prepared for lots of walks. Border Collies and American Eskimos (if I’m correct) require a tonne of excercise or they can get bored and distructive. I refer to Rupert as my very pushy physical fitness trainer. LOL.

  2. she:

    be careful about nutro. remember the cat & dog food 2 years ago that was shutting down the kidneys of animals?? nutro was on that list.

  3. Vanessa:

    Don’t forget that the rabies shot is not the only one she needs! Parvovirus and distemper are both killers, and very expensive to treat. I am surprised that the shelter did not vaccinate her before she left. Usually they do, and often they take care of the spaying/neutering as well.

    Also remember that cheapest doesn’t always mean best, and a good vet can be a huge asset when your dog gets sick. Form a relationship with one now, while she is young and healthy, and go every year for a checkup, even if she is not due for vaccines. “Wellness clinics” that offer very cheap routine care often will not provide sick care/hospitalization (and notice I said cheap-not inexpensive-I’ve worked at one of these places and know other techs/doctors that have worked at others, and the care is not that good). A good vet, on the other hand, will, and if you are an established client they are more likely to work with you on the bill (and sometimes just not charge you for some little things-often you don’t even notice because they don’t point it out).

    I have worked as a technician for five years at three different clinics, and believe me, most (if not all) vets are in it for the love of animals-not the money. At the emergency clinic where I am now (the most expensive place I have ever worked), we all laugh because the nice new cars in the parking lot all belong to the technicians, not the doctors!

    Finally, don’t forget to keep your dog on heartworm preventative per your vets instructions. Here in Texas, we have to do it year round, but in other places you can get away with seasonal use. Just remember-it only takes one mosquito!

  4. marci:

    Every kid needs a dog – and every dog needs a kid (or two)!
    Congrats on the new addition!

  5. Darcy:

    Congrats on the new dog! We just got a puppy so I am feeling your joy and excitement at having a new member of the family settle in.

    I just got a list of pet food that are ranked according to their nutrition. Everyone starts out with 100 and then points are deducted for somethings and points are added for others. This came from the breeder.

    One of the best is Kirkland from Costco!! (AND it is cheaper than most of the other quality brands!!) I was so surprised. The brand you picked is also good.

    If you want the list I can send it to you. Most brands are already tallied. (Thank goodness!)

  6. Nathalie:

    Isn’t it amazing how many cute dogs you can find in the pound?! How wonderful for you to rescue little Chloe. She’s adorable!

  7. What a sweet dog. She is so cute. We sure do love our dog.

  8. Nora:

    We feed the cats Diamond Cat Maintenance and there is a dog version… One of our cats had a urinary blockage when we were buying the store brand, $1,000 later we switched cat foods. Since the switch everyone has been healthy and no more blockages. Another good thing about the Diamond Cat Maintenance is that it comes in 40lb bags so we are set for the month!!

  9. Angelsong:

    Check with your local County Humane Society for spaying/neutering. We had both of our cats spayed, and it cost $30. Fifteen dollars for medication for pain for both cats, and fifteen dollars because one of them was still in heat. We thought she was done, and she wasn’t. We got a discounted rate because my husband is a disabled veteran. Our regular vet would have charged $80 to spay both cats.

  10. Lynnae, she is so cute! Congrats!

  11. Kari:

    Chloe is beautiful! I have 2 greyhounds, and I feed them a raw diet. Yes, it’s more expensive than kibble, but in the long run will keep my dog’s healthy and away from the vet.

  12. Lynnae:

    @Angie – We’re very fortunate to have a vet around here who really does his job for the love of the animals and to train other vets. He charges a ton less than the other vets in the area, but the animals still receive great care.

  13. Angelsong:

    Chloe is a beauty! If she is a year old, she is likely fully grown, and she is a nice size. Even if she has two months of growing left, she probably will not get much larger. She looks like she has long hair, and you will want to keep her brushed so her hair does not mat. If she is not already trained to the leash, it’s a good idea to do that soon. There is just something really special about the bond between kids and dogs (or cats, for that matter). Chloe is very fortunate to have you as her family.

  14. Jean:

    She’s adorable – I wish her a long and healthy life with you. My greyhound is about to turn 11 (old for a big dog) – there is nothing sweeter than an old dog who just loves you to death!

  15. Victoria:

    There are also many health/behavior reasons to spay & neuter. Intact male dogs may have issues with aggression. Their prostate continues to grow under the influence of testosterone and can cause issues. Retained testicles can become cancerous, and should always be removed. Female dogs can get life-threatening infections of the uterus if they are not spayed (which means removal of the uterus AND ovaries). Intact females are also more likely to develop cancer due to the hormones secreted by the ovaries. Spaying & neutering is one of the best things you can do for your furry family members!

  16. she very very cute.

  17. Angie:

    She’s gorgeous! Such pretty white fur. Enjoy! You’ll have to educate us on saving money at the vets. I just got my dog spayed and that cost waaayyy more than the actual dog did! ugh!

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