Why I bolstered my emergency fund before adopting a dog

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It’s a move I’m still grateful for.


Key points

  • I added about $5,000 to my emergency fund in the months leading up to my dog’s adoption.
  • In the end, that money went a long way.

When my old dog, Casey, passed away at 13, it was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever experienced. And it took me a while to feel ready to adopt another dog.

In early 2020, my family decided the time was right to introduce a new dog to our personal mix. Our children were a little older and easier to handle, and we were ready to take on the responsibility of caring for an animal.

Then the pandemic hit and we decided to wait a few months for things to calm down before applying for adoption. We began submitting applications at various rescues at the beginning of the summer, only to be repeatedly outbid and, in some cases, rejected (understandably in the event that younger children are not a good fit).

The fact that it took several months to find the perfect puppy for our family frustrated us at first. But in the end, it was kind of a blessing.

Once we decided to go ahead with adopting a dog, I started funneling as much money as I could into our emergency fund. See, Casey ended up having a lot of medical problems later in life, and we repeatedly had to dip into our savings account to fix them. I thought it would be wise to increase our emergency fund in case similar problems arose with our new dog.

Since adopting took longer than expected and I worked longer hours during the pandemic (a byproduct of not having as many places to go), I was able to save an extra $5,000 just before we welcomed our new puppy, Champ, into our family. And it’s a good thing I did.

an unexpected surprise

Within a few months of adopting Champ, he started having problems with joint pain. Fortunately, they can be easily controlled with medication. But it took $3,000 worth of diagnostic tests to get to the root of the problem, and since those problems arose before we had a chance to get pet insurance, we had to pay for those tests out of pocket.

Fortunately, we had the extra money in our emergency fund, which meant I didn’t have to worry about where it would come from or stress about working harder to get that money back. Instead, I was able to focus on keeping my pup healthy and pain free.

it’s good to be prepared

People are often surprised at how expensive owning a dog can be. He knew from experience that the moment a medical issue arises, the cost of owning a pet can skyrocket, and he wanted to be prepared ahead of time.

These days, I have a fair amount of money in my budget allocated to pet care. That way, if additional costs come up, I don’t have to constantly dip into my savings to cover them.

If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, be sure to research the costs involved before you commit. Many people adopt with the best of intentions, only to find that they really can’t afford a dog. You don’t have to be rich to take on the responsibility of owning a dog, but you must have Some money in the bank in case additional expenses arise.

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