There is a reason this blog is called almost frugal. Occasionally, we all do something which starts off as trying to save money but which in the end, costs you plenty.

It all started with a simple premise. My almost 16 year old dog died at the beginning of the year after a sickly year. A couple months later, I started browsing dogs on Petfinder. Then I found Gidget, a Corgi mix who was described as sweet, laid back, and ‘loves life.’

Gidget was a Corgi mix listed by a shelter in Massachusetts, a do-able distance from where I live. Then I read further that the dog was actually in Georgia (across the country) but could be transported.

Gidget, my slightly expensive but very cute dog.

Gidget, my slightly expensive but very cute dog.

Threeish weeks worth of phone calls, emails, and learning way too much about avial dog transport, my boyfriend and I drove five hours in each direction (622 miles to be exact) to and from Boston to pick her up off her Delta flight. (The shelter could only get her on a plane after they opened at noon which meant by the time she would have gotten to Maine, the cargo areas of both major Maine airports were closed for the night. In other words, Boston was the only option.)

I adopted a dog from a shelter in part because I like not having to train a puppy but also because it’s cost effective. My adoption fee was only $125.Β  It was everything else that made this less than frugal:

Two tanks of gas- $50
Tolls- $15
Dog airline ticket- $250
Fast food dinner on the road for my co-driver and I- $15
Food, treats, and a stuffed animal (I reused other stuff I had, like a bed and collar)- $75
Grocery run to Trader Joe’s, since we had to go to Boston anyway- $85

A lot of people asked why I didn’t adopt from a local shelter. To be honest, Maine shelters don’t have a lot of smaller dogs and I absolutely love the Corgi breed (mixed with something else to give it a bit more height and that extra something interesting). I also had no idea what I was getting into, both dog transport and money wise.

So I paid over $600 to give a dog, sight unseen, a forever home. Yeah, I can’t believe I did it either.

Like any pain in the butt endeavor though, all the hassle melted away when she snuggled on my lap and licked my hand on the way home. I know Gidget won’t be like having my old dog again, but she will be a new friend once she can relax and settle in.

Of course friends, dog ownership shouldn’t be entered into lightly. There is a lot to it, including asking yourself hard questions like can you afford it and do you have the time to devote. If you are considering pet ownership, a shelter dog, and especially a local one, is cost effective and a nice thing to do. Also, I am a big fan of getting an adult dog for a few reasons, in particular if it’s your first.

The things we do for 30 pounds of happiness perched on 6 inch legs!

I am curious to hear other people’s trying to be frugal but failing pet-related stories… If you have them, do share so I feel less crazy.


1 Junebug March 26, 2010

Corgis’ are so cute. Our first dog was only $35 at the shelter but with the getting her fixed, her coming down with kennel cough that lasted forever, her shots plus supplies we spend over $1,000 the first year we had her. Our second was a $100 rescue but, also, came down with kennel cough, immediately got into fire ants and needed medicine, needed fixed, shots, etc. Another huge chunk of change. But they are both were every penny and bring us so much joy. Pets are not cheap but great entertainment when you are so bored you just watch them act silly.
.-= Junebug´s last blog ..Throwback Thursday – Gator =-.

2 Random Thoughts of a March 26, 2010

It sounds like a lot for a dog but I'm sure she's worth it! =)
.-= Random Thoughts of a Jersey Mom´s last blog ..Spending Hard-Earned Money =-.

3 Arlene March 26, 2010

I lost my beloved 16 year old dog this past October. So we decided to get another dog soon after to keep our 8 year old dog company and because my husband knew it would make me miss Basie less. Went to the local shelter, found a 9 month old chihuahua/dachschund mix who is an absolute love. Took him home after paying my hundred dollar adoption fee. Easy as pie. Turns out the pup had kennel cough and gave it to the 8 year old dog. Vet trip and medications = 650.00. But it was all worth it. And I reeeally did try to be frugal about it!
.-= Arlene´s last blog ..And what is a Pajama Day, reallly? =-.

4 Leslie March 26, 2010

What a great story! Pets are like family…there is no price.

5 Kristi @ Creative Kr March 26, 2010

How could I have been a loyal subscriber and not know you lived in Maine too?? I sometimes feel like the ONLY person in Maine trying to be frugal!!

The dog is adorable! I am happy with my one (really really hyper, sometimes a pain) dog and I've only ever gotten a dog from a shelter (lived in Maine my whole life)-besides this one, Hubby had her when I moved in- so I'll just wait until I find what I want when the time comes πŸ˜‰ I personally am thinking a younger dog since I'm tired of dealing with everyone else's training (or lack of) πŸ™

I hope we see more of this cute little dog and I totally hope that you share where to get frugal dog supplies in Maine πŸ˜‰
.-= Kristi @ Creative Kristi´s last blog ..Happy Friday!! =-.

6 Kelly March 27, 2010

Hi Kristi,

Nicole lives in Maine. I (Kelly) live in France.

I’m trying to figure out a way to make it clearer who is writing what!


7 Nicole March 27, 2010

I wrote a quick email to Kristi to let her know but next time, I’ll also leave a blog comment follow-up so people know. :^)

8 Karen March 26, 2010

We have a golden retriever that owns a permanent space in my heart! I decided to buy a nail clipper to clip his nails at home instead of getting it done at the groomer. The clippers cost around $7.00. The vet bill after I clipped his nail too short and it wouldn’t stop bleeding – $225.00! I felt awful about hurting him but I couldn’t have cared less about the vet fee – this dog is my baby! Good luck with your new baby, she’s adorable!

9 Sue March 26, 2010

My FREE dog!

Long story short, a friend of a friend had a young bichon frise in need of a new home and we were in the market for getting another bichon (allergies limit the breeds we can have). We adopted her sight unseen but she included a bed, bag of food, toys, leash and collar. All for FREE! Good deal right?

Between the initial vet visit with shots and hospitalization for a dire illness due to poor nutrition, we paid over $1000 for our Aubrie.

Yes, we're crazy and would have paid five times that much for the joy she's given us in the past year.

10 Kelly March 27, 2010

Sue, the next time I get a dog, I’m seriously considering getting a bichon frisé.


11 Nicole March 27, 2010

Thanks all of you for making me feel better. Everyone has been asking me if it was worth it. I mean, I would have liked to not pay so much money but this dog was worth getting! :^) Also appreciate the cautionary tales. I was considering trying to cut her nails myself for example. Keep the comments coming!

12 Kelly March 28, 2010

For what it’s worth, for all you cat owners out there, cutting a cat’s claws is really easy. I do my three cats at the same time I do the three kids (ie, right before I vacuum) and as long as you don’t cut below the white part of the nail, it’ll be OK. The cat may not like it very much, but neither will the kid!

13 Revanche March 29, 2010

P.S. If you’re dealing with all black nails, you can always just take the tips off and work your way up over time – or just ask the tech at your vet to show you where you can clip up to so you’ve got a template for next time.
.-= Revanche´s last blog ..Anecdotally =-.

14 Revanche March 29, 2010

Dogs with clear nails (or at least one on each paw) makes nail clipping a sight easier than dogs with black nails. If she has a clear/white one, you can usually see the pink part where the "quick" (aka: bleeding part) starts. Just clip up to that part, and then clip the rest of the nails to the same approximate length.

Good luck! πŸ™‚

15 Abigail March 27, 2010

My first pet has been a cat who is adorable, if really dumb. And she was, for awhile, insane. Which is to say that she was fine with Tim until she realized he had moved in with us. Then he was a big scary monster who was trying to eat her. (Okay, that last part was supposition.) We think she has been abused, which would explain the skittishness, at least.

She’s sweet and cute as hell, though, so we put up with it. And, since our trip down to AZ, she got used to Tim somehow, which is a relief.

That said, this $30 cat, which I got as an adult because I didn’t want to deal with a kitten, will be costing us at least $300-400 because she has gum abscesses. She has four teeth that need to be pulled. We put her on wet food, so that we can try to get out of credit card debt in the next couple of months and THEN get her teeth pulled. Still, it’ll be interesting. It’s a good thing she’s cute…
.-= Abigail´s last blog ..Should we tax junk food? =-.

16 Kelly March 28, 2010

My cat (who recently died) was the most skittish, scared creature that ever lived. Even after living with my husband for 9 years she was convinced he was trying to kill her. I got her as a kitten and she was never abused, just naturally neurotic, but I can relate. She was my special cat.

I never really had that many big vet bills for her, but when I had to spend money on her it was without hesitation!

17 Julia March 28, 2010

Gidget's adorable! So, here are a few things to make you feel better . . . 1) you really can't add those $85 worth of TJ's groceries to the dog's tab, unless she's going to eat it. That belongs under 'grocery splurge', not 'dog' πŸ˜‰ 2) You saved the rescue/shelter folks a bundle by paying for her transit. Think of at least $300 of that as a charitable donation, no matter what the IRS says. You helped some good folks. 3) Finding the right fit for you is worth a few bucks, and amortized over her life, not such a high price. I have rescued many dogs, but now have two beagles who came from breeders, as adults. They're excellent health & training offset their price – no vet bills, no couches eaten. Please consider insurance, speaking of frugality!

18 Nicole at Almost Frugal March 28, 2010

All good points, Julia. And a non-eaten couch and lack of crazy vet bills are definitely worth something! :^)
.-= Nicole at Almost Frugal´s last blog ..Weekly Round-Up: Springing and Sprunging =-.

19 teri March 29, 2010

Doesn’t your newspaper run ads for “free puppies” or “free dog needs good home”? They are free here quite often especially older dogs rather than pups. You could have saved yourself a lot of cash. I see at least a half dozen ads like that a week. They need homes too.
Congrats on your new dog. I pray she is everything you can love in a dog.

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