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Adopting a Shelter Dog Emptied My Wallet (but Filled My Heart)

Our kids had been hammering us for months: “Pleeeeeeease, can we get a dog? Pleeeeeease?”

My husband and I were reluctant. With my business, his demanding job, our love of travel and his time-consuming cycling hobby, it just seemed unnecessary. Impractical. Burdensome.

But, turns out, we’re raising some exceptional, tenacious little salespeople. They turned up the campaign and started sharing online photo after online photo of rescued strays who were available for adoption. Most of them were cute (a few were decidedly ugly), but there was this one … and, well, you know how the rest of this tale goes.

It’s National Shelter Dog Month — the perfect time to share our story.

Read More: 30 Least Expensive Dog Breeds

The “Almost Free” New Family Member

The moment we spotted Daisy, all five of us pretty much knew we wouldn’t be leaving the shelter without her. She was adorable, gentle and seemed genuinely glad to meet all of us. And her story? It was gut-wrenching. How, exactly, do you say no to a lovable, almost-free mutt who’d — days earlier — been found (starving) in a field in northern California?

I’ll tell you how: You don’t.

We impulsively adopted Daisy three days from a planned family vacation, thinking she could simply stay in the shelter that was housing her until we returned. This would have worked just fine had her nose not started gushing blood just as we were having her evaluated for the extended stay.

More on Getting a Dog: The Most and Least Expensive Cities to Own a Pet

The Unexpected Expenses

That illness nixed our chances of keeping her in any group kennel situation and thrust us into an immediate scramble to find a Plan B. We ended up hiring an in-home pet sitter to stay with our new family member for the entire vacation, an investment that gave us tremendous peace of mind, but made a considerably larger dent in our wallets than anticipated. (Not to mention the immediate extra vet bills.)

She healed from this, settled into our home and then — a few weeks later — discovered a large, dark chocolate bar on the coffee table. Add another $340 in vet bills for stomach pumping. And then she ate my shoe. And then another shoe. And then another one.

Related: I Knew I Didn’t Have Enough Saved When One Grape Nearly Cost Me $2K

In all, we spent more than four times what we had anticipated within three months of adopting her.

What We Gained

While I’m certain I had some choice words as I scrambled to jump through the unanticipated hoops and cover the expenses that came along with Daisy, she created an immediate sense of warmth, closeness and joy in our home that we just can’t put a price tag on. (She’s also cut way back on the shoes, which is a great relief.)

Shelter dogs may not always be your cheapest option, but this one sure does appreciate the new life she was offered. And our family? We appreciate the new life she’s given us.

Read More: The Crazy Costs of Cat vs. Dog Ownership

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