100 Words On: Why My Dog Is Worth Every Penny I’ve Spent On Him

Earlier this month our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Major — that’s him there in the picture — celebrated his 8th birthday. Over that time, we’ve spent a little over $6500 on him — not counting the $1500 the Honeybee and I paid for him way back in 2003. We’ve spent roughly $1500 on his food and another $900 on boarding; the rest has paid for Major’s vet bills, grooming, and license fees to keep the dog catcher at bay.

The bottom line: That may seem like a lot of cash, but there are some things money just can’t buy. The unconditional love and unwavering loyalty of a good dog is certainly one of them.

Photo Credit: Nina Penzo


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    We’ve put $3500 or more into our Pug, a 6 year old rescue in 2008 with bad teeth and major allergies. And we’ve spent $2000 or more into our dachshund, a 7 year old rescue in 2005 with hardly any problems at all. So we now have a 9 year old Pug and a 13 year old dachshund that are my best friends at home.

    I really hope they stick around long enough to suck out another small fortune. Dogs are my favorite luxury expense!

    • 2

      Len Penzo says

      I think that is great that you have rescue hounds, Crystal! I lobbied for a Rhodesian rescue pooch, but was over-ruled at the time. Still, I am glad we ended up with Major. I can’t imagine not having him as part of our family.

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    Pets are part of the family and I never want to think of them in terms of dollars and cents. As soon as you do that, they are objects. Dogs are part of our lives for as long as I can remember. They are important for quality of life, therefore priceless.

  3. 5


    I agree that pets are family, and you have to take care of them. What I can’t stand is vets who take advantage of this to run silly tests and stuff that is not needed.

    I recently had an experience with my pet around this. My dog has been ‘dripping’ around the house, if you know what I mean. My wife took the dog to the vet to check the basics – bladder infection, etc. All the tests came back normal. The vet calls me, and over about 10 minutes, tries to convince me that a $2,000 exploratory surgery is needed, even though she doesn’t know what is wrong. And then she tried to make me feel bad about saying no in the end.

    Well, a week later I took my dog to a vet a family friend recommended. The vet looked at her, read the prior test results, and prescribed a pill that cleared everything up. It cost a whopping $10.

    • 6

      Len Penzo says

      That’s a bummer about your vet, Robert. I’ve had two family vets over my entire life, and they’ve actually been the other side of the spectrum where they are maybe too reluctant at times to run certain tests or procedures.

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      Robert–I suspect the pill you were prescribed was a form of estrogen? Well, you can get the same results with cubes of tofu for even less money. I’ve used it with two dogs with very good results. And they both loved it!

    • 10

      Len Penzo says

      The smaller the dog, typically the longer the lifespan. I’ve owned a couple of great danes that didn’t make it past 8. I also grew up with a couple of mutts and a siberian husky that made it to 15 and cocker spaniel that lived to be 17! I suspect your lil’ chihuahua mix will live a happy long life! :-)

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    Samantha says

    People spend far more on useless crap so I feel no one should be berated for picking people and animals and splurging on them rather than simple items in Wal-Mart. My son is expensive, doctors bills, toys (and i really don’t buy anything not necessary, Christmas and Birthday toys last a long time) clothes-all of those things I never regret buying or spending on him. My sister just spend $300 on a vet bill to literally save her dogs life and while it did hurt their finances (shes with a guy) they never considered not getting this procedure done. It’s not splurging, its love.

    • 12

      Len Penzo says

      Well said, Samantha. In both cases, the money spent is not even given a second thought — well, except in this case when I was trying to make a point. :-)

  5. 13

    aeko says

    was watching a tv show and the couple had an infant, they asked the 4 yr older brother which was harder to take care of, the baby or their dog. He said “they are both hard to take care of, but you do it, cause they are both family” Too cute.

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    I had to use my credit card when I first got my dog, a rescue dog in shocking condition with starvation, pregnant and covered in mange. Two and a half years later we are inseparable, credit card debt is gone and she has blossomed into a beautiful little missy! All up I most probably spent $4000 on her that I could ill afford but she was worth it.

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    At the end of 2010, we looked out our annual spending and discovered our dog was our third biggest expenditure of the year (after our mortgage and charitable giving). Hopefully, we won’t have a repeat of surgery to remove a wayward squeaker from her intestine. But still, I can’t think of where I could have spent that money where it would have given me as good a return on (emotional) investment.

    Your post made me very happy this morning. Thank you.

    • 18

      Len Penzo says

      I’m glad I could make your day, Pamela! Any bills from my dog’s vet are always treated like water off a duck’s back. :-)

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    I have a bichon and a weimaraner. The bichon is 11 and the weim is 3. I call the weim my “million dollar dog” because I think she has cost more than the bichon in a much shorter amount of time — I never once went to the emergency vet clinic until I got her! She’s a walking accident waiting to happen and she tends to eat whatever isn’t nailed down… whatever happens to get left on the counter, fully packaged, what she can find in cabinets if they aren’t carefully latched and various household items including scissors, steak knives, my three favorite pairs of shoes, random socks, stocking stuffers, a baby’s first christmas ornament, hairbrushes, plants, the cord to the portable dvd player…. I could go on for a while but I think you get the picture.

    However, my pups are worth every penny I’ve ever spent on them…. and quite honestly they are probably be what will keep me from becoming a crazy cat lady when the Princess goes off to college next year!

    • 20

      Len Penzo says

      Scissors and steak knives? Really? I bet you could get your million dollars back by using your weim as a circus act — the amazing sword swallowing dog! 😉

    • 23

      Len Penzo says

      Cuter than Major? Just look at my dog’s face! Come on, Paula! How can any cat be cuter than that!? LOL

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    Any dog developed in Africa must be athletic, loyal and smart.

    Lee Miller
    Owner: zdogpark.com
    Breeder: italian greyhounds
    Blogger: rock-n-roll-over

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    I hope parents think this way with their kids too. If we can spend for our pets and not regret the expenses, we should feel this too for our children. The money spent on our children is worth it because we love them.

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    They are things worth spending and sacrificing for. I don’t mind working hard for my family, actually it is a joy working for them.


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