“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner (comedian)
I was initially going to start this article off with something quirky like how our dog was my Valentine this year instead of my husband, but let’s be real here…this little four-legged fur baby holds a special place is both our hearts and lives, and she will always be our Valentine.
Without further ado, meet the infamous RRjR. She’s an 18-year-old Jack Russell who doesn’t look a day over 5. Okay so maybe she does, but people always think she’s still a puppy. And maybe it’s because she’s only 12 pounds and can still run around in fields and give the best hugs. She used to have black spots throughout her white body, but like most living things, she has slowly turned white over the years and is almost completely white (or grey, whatever you want to call it). She officially goes by the name Cookie. Unofficially, she goes by: Cooks, Cookster, Cookie Monster, Little Monster, Monster, Little Babe, Shadow, Sweets, Sweet Pea…you get the gist.
You see this little angel used to be James’s, but as luck would have it, her allegiance changed and she quickly became my dog. I think it might’ve been having her as my flower girl in our wedding that won her over. As she has gotten older, she tends to need to go out in the middle of the night, and I have turned on my maternal instincts when it comes to this dog. She starts whining, and I’m automatically up. You see we will do just about anything for this dog, including taking the time to cook her a gourmet meal.
Unfortunately, little RRjR is allergic to grass, off all things. I know what you’re thinking, what dog is allergic to grass? Our dog, that’s who. And because of this allergy, she needs prescription hypoallergenic dog food. This dog food is not cheap, priced at $84.99 for a 17.6 lb bag. She used to really like the food, but over time, she started performing hunger strikes to protest the food. So, James and I decided to start mixing up her diet a little bit and get her interested in her food again, because good heavens we couldn’t have her wasting that expensive ass food.
We quickly became master chefs when it came to making her food because we would have to cook a new batch every 4 or 5 days. Each batch would consist of her dry dog food, ground turkey, eggs, rice or oats, and canned green beans or shredded carrots. She would get a bowl full of this one time a day. We continued this for a little while until she became disinterested again, leading to longer than 4 or 5 days to get through a batch, resulting in spoiled food. We were forced to throw away food, which is basically a cardinal sin to us. Also, having to throw away her expensive prescription food? You can forget about that.
So once again, we switched things up.
It’s much more stream-lined in not only the steps we have to take to cook her food, but also the ingredients in which she gets. We give her about half a cup of her dog food with an egg and oats or rice. Pop it in the microwave for a minute or so, until the eggs are done, and she’s got her meal, still gourmet even without all of the extra ingredients. Sometimes she’s beyond excited to eat, and other times, not so much. In that case, we entice her with a little bit of peanut butter or olive oil.
Cookie is pushing 19 years old, and she’s been, understandably, struggling with more health issues lately, like arthritis and gum disease. We recently got her CBD oil to help ease the stiffness and inflammation. And while it seems to be helping, it’s really too soon to know. This past year, we’ve had to spend hundreds of dollars on her teeth and gums, but she’s not always so expensive. Actually, we always think people might overexaggerate on pet costs, but that’s because we are still frugal when it comes to the pupper.
Some ways we personally have kept costs down for Cookie:
- Brush her teeth almost every night.
- Regular walks, morning and night, to not only keep her in good health, but to keep her nails filed down.
- Supplement her prescription food with cheaper, budget-friendly, and still healthy food.
- Feed her appropriate amounts, so she doesn’t have any heart, obesity, or unnecessary joint issues.
- We never feed her “table food”, although I guess you could consider eggs and oats or rice “table food”, along with the occasional bite of banana.
- We don’t buy her toys or treats (she wouldn’t play with toys even if we bought them), and we don’t buy her new beds or crates, when we can just occasionally wash the ones she has.
- We have used the same leash and harness for going on 4 years, we got a new one just because her old ones got lost.
These are ways that we have personally kept our pet costs low with our dog. Understand that every animal is different, and what works for us might not work for everyone else. I just wanted to share how we have kept costs low, when we could have easily been spending 2 or 3 times more than we are now.
Dogs don’t require much, and it takes very little to make them happy, just attention, affection, and especially food. They also bring so much joy, laughter, and happiness into our lives. My heart swells with love every time I look at Cookie. So tell me, do you have any dogs or pets? If so, what kind are they? Are there any recurring or unexpected costs you have experienced?
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings