Author Topic: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?  (Read 15152 times)

HappyHoya

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My family has one dog who is the joy of our lives. We consider her a family member. She is relatively low-maintenance and inexpensive, even though we are committed to taking good care of her. Like many dog owners, having a dog changed our lifestyle for the better (in terms of money saving). We are considering getting a second dog to provide companionship for the first dog and to give another dog a home. We found an adult dog who seems to be a lot like the dog we already have, and has a similarly sad story, which pulled at our heartstrings. She's had a rough start in life and we'd like to make sure she has a better quality of life going forward.

We are in an okay place financially and can afford to provide for another dog, including increasing our emergency fund to account for having another family member and all the variables that come with it. We recently paid off six figures of student debt and have no other consumer debt. We are working hard to maintain the lifestyle that allowed us to pay off our debt, which allows us to easily max out both our retirement accounts with additional savings. Because of the habits we developed while paying down our debt, I am not at all worried about our long-term trajectory or our ability to live ridiculously well in almost any financial situation. However, since we only just recently paid off the debt, it certainly wouldn't hurt to just save the expenses associated with the second dog.

I having a hard time determining if adopting another dog is a reasonable decision in line with our priorities or if it's simply lifestyle creep. I acknowledge that a pet is discretionary spending before you choose to adopt them, although it becomes non-optional once we make that decision. I don't think we're at risk for wanting a third dog (just two adults and we don't want to be outnumbered) or going down some slippery slope towards face-punch-worthiness, but I'm struggling with drawing the line. I have not committed to any new recurring expenses since finding these forums, and have instead been in cutting back mode for quite some time. How do you know when you're making a choice for something you value as opposed to deluding yourself?

DoubleDown

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 08:42:30 AM »
No you are not crazy. Now that your debt is gone, what better way to spend your money than to rescue a creature and provide it with a happy home, not to mention the happiness it will likely bring you? I'd say just have some guidelines in place about what "extreme" measures you'd be willing to go to should your dog get sick or injured (or maybe consider insurance). The only thing that I find a little ridiculous about pets (besides people having way too many) are folks that spend thousands and thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars on vet bills.

Meanwhile, keep saving and investing like you are in a "hair on fire debt emergency" (but now without the debt) and you will soon be rich.

Source: I am not even a dog person, and see no problem with adding a second.

HappyHoya

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 09:01:35 AM »
Thank you, DoubleDown, for believing dog rescue is a worthwhile pursuit. It often feels futile, because there will always be so much more need than it would be reasonable or possible to meet, but I'm hoping it's worth the sacrifice to help one more.

Cookie78

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 09:22:07 AM »
Thank you, DoubleDown, for believing dog rescue is a worthwhile pursuit. It often feels futile, because there will always be so much more need than it would be reasonable or possible to meet, but I'm hoping it's worth the sacrifice to help one more.

I understand your pain! I foster dogs and often wonder if I could adopt one more. I've decided I can't, for other reasons, but I don't see any problem with you wanting one more. The extra dog would provide you and your family happiness and companionship for your current dog. You sound like you've already drawn the line at two dogs max. :)

Good luck. :)

Seņora Savings

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2015, 09:27:04 AM »
My family has one dog who is the joy of our lives.

It is reasonable.  You should spend your money where it will make you the happiest.  That could be early retirement, a charity or a new dog.

If someone said "Watching cable TV is the joy of my life, should I get HBO" I would tell them to do it.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 09:29:15 AM »
Thank you, DoubleDown, for believing dog rescue is a worthwhile pursuit. It often feels futile, because there will always be so much more need than it would be reasonable or possible to meet, but I'm hoping it's worth the sacrifice to help one more.

There is a saying that goes something like, "When you adopt a dog, it doesn't change the world at all. But you change that dog's world completely."

I believe that adopting/rescuing is worth it, as long as, like a PP said, you go into it with set boundaries and limits on how much you're willing to spend. We've had several rescues over the years and, when they reach a certain age, we just kind of say, "If they get ill, we'll do our best to keep the comfortable for as long as we can, but no heroics."  Mustachianism isn't about not spending. It's about spending on what makes you happy and brings joy. Sounds like another pup would bring you a lot of joy and you know the financial deal going in, so I say go for it.

PtboEliz

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 09:34:56 AM »
Sounds like you are in a secure and responsible position so I think adopting a second dog is a great idea. I definitely have an animal loving bias, so I don't see it as lifestyle creep at all. Giving a rescue animal a forever home is definitely a worthwhile pursuit! Kudos to you :) (If you decide on adoption, please post a photo! :)

Gone Fishing

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2015, 09:41:24 AM »
I like to think about discretionary purchases and expenses in terms of how much longer I will have to work, makes it easier to determine if it is "worth" it or not to me. 

My math on a dog would look something like this:

Estimated annual cost: $1,000

Additional 'stache required to support one additional dog for a (human) lifetime: $25,000

Estimated years until retirement: 10

Savings foregone over the net 10 years @ a 7% return with the dog: $13,800

Net additonal savings required to support an additional dog on an ongoing basis: $38,800

Savings per month $4k

So just ballparking (I know th math isn't perfect but better than nothing), having an extra dog (for a human life) could delay one's retirement around a year in the above example. 

Do your own math and see what you come up with, only you can say if it is "worth" it or not.

Just curious, how did the first dog save you money?  Less travel?  Less gym membership? Less purchased entertainment?     

CU Tiger

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2015, 10:48:47 AM »
Coming from someone who has three, get the second dog!

ketchup

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2015, 10:55:32 AM »
Dogs are pack animals and are happier and healthier with companions. Sometimes two are less work than one.

We have three.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2015, 11:05:51 AM »
My family has one dog who is the joy of our lives.

It is reasonable.  You should spend your money where it will make you the happiest.  That could be early retirement, a charity or a new dog.

If someone said "Watching cable TV is the joy of my life, should I get HBO" I would tell them to do it.

Agreed. I like kids, so I'm not necessarily saving for early retirement so much as to be able to afford more kids than most people have if other factors align. I'd only worry about the additional dog if you're going to have kids soon as I think I'd get extra-frustrated with a pet I had to take care of if I had a newborn.

I also agree with earlier posters about veterinary heroics. My parents have done this with one of their dogs, and frankly the dog would have had more happiness integrated over its life had it just been put down.

HappyHoya

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2015, 11:29:42 AM »
My family has one dog who is the joy of our lives.

It is reasonable.  You should spend your money where it will make you the happiest.  That could be early retirement, a charity or a new dog.

If someone said "Watching cable TV is the joy of my life, should I get HBO" I would tell them to do it.

Would you say that even if they already had premium cable, Showtime, Cinemax, etc? I suppose Mustachianism doesn't have to be minimalism, but it certainly seems connected and useful--which is why I am struggling. FWIW, I really liked your advice and am playing devil's advocate to make sure I really make the best decision.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 12:02:01 PM by HappyHoya »

HappyHoya

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2015, 12:01:11 PM »
Just curious, how did the first dog save you money?  Less travel?  Less gym membership? Less purchased entertainment?   

Our first dog didn't necessarily save us more money than we spend on taking care of her, but the lifestyle changes that came with having a dog significantly offset the cost. There were so many changes, so I'll focus on the big ones:

1. We stay home more. When one of us is working the other has to come home to take care of the dog (which we enjoy), resulting in participating in a healthy activity instead of happy hour, grabbing coffee, or staying too late at work. A lot of our friends love her and would rather hang out in our home now, whereas previously it was a struggle to get people to hang out without pricey food or drinks.
2. The dog is a great excuse to dodge out of quasi-obligatory situations that are likely to result in spending money (work or family event that goes too late to use transit, for example). While there have been several times (5 or fewer) where we had to leave a place where I may have preferred to stay, there have been many more times when taking care of the dog got us out of a place we didn't want to be anyway.
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.
4. We both found amazing determination to save when we knew it was for her well-being. We trimmed expenses we thought had previously been cut to the bare necessities and significantly increased our frugality potential in times when she was sick and needed unexpected vet care. We continued with the other cost savings, even after her health improved and her bills decreased.
5. While we didn't have a ton of free time before, with a dog who sleeps while we are at work, there's no free alone time when we are home. While we can get things done without paying complete attention to her, I am never looking for something to do. There's much lower risk of spending money on entertainment or mindlessly shopping online. I can't remember the last time since she's be around when I had the opportunity to be bored. When would I have time to spend money?
6. Material stuff became even less important. It's silly to spend money on home stuff or clothing with a dog around. While our dog isn't at all deliberately destructive, there's still a higher probability that our stuff will get thrown up on if she's sick, or that our clothes will end up with dog hair on them. We've given up any illusion that we need possessions to project who we are. Our home is wonderful because it's full of life.
7. I'm much happier (likely the result of increased physical activity as well as the companionship, so maybe this is possible to achieve without a dog). Before getting a dog, I did feel like there were things I didn't do in the interest of frugality that I still really wanted to do. After getting a dog, walking through the park or going on a hike for a family outing is much more exciting, and the best way I could possibly imagine to spend my time. I know I can stick to my current lifestyle for the long haul.


4alpacas

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2015, 12:53:07 PM »
Just curious, how did the first dog save you money?  Less travel?  Less gym membership? Less purchased entertainment?   

Our first dog didn't necessarily save us more money than we spend on taking care of her, but the lifestyle changes that came with having a dog significantly offset the cost. There were so many changes, so I'll focus on the big ones:

1. We stay home more. When one of us is working the other has to come home to take care of the dog (which we enjoy), resulting in participating in a healthy activity instead of happy hour, grabbing coffee, or staying too late at work. A lot of our friends love her and would rather hang out in our home now, whereas previously it was a struggle to get people to hang out without pricey food or drinks.
2. The dog is a great excuse to dodge out of quasi-obligatory situations that are likely to result in spending money (work or family event that goes too late to use transit, for example). While there have been several times (5 or fewer) where we had to leave a place where I may have preferred to stay, there have been many more times when taking care of the dog got us out of a place we didn't want to be anyway.
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.
4. We both found amazing determination to save when we knew it was for her well-being. We trimmed expenses we thought had previously been cut to the bare necessities and significantly increased our frugality potential in times when she was sick and needed unexpected vet care. We continued with the other cost savings, even after her health improved and her bills decreased.
5. While we didn't have a ton of free time before, with a dog who sleeps while we are at work, there's no free alone time when we are home. While we can get things done without paying complete attention to her, I am never looking for something to do. There's much lower risk of spending money on entertainment or mindlessly shopping online. I can't remember the last time since she's be around when I had the opportunity to be bored. When would I have time to spend money?
6. Material stuff became even less important. It's silly to spend money on home stuff or clothing with a dog around. While our dog isn't at all deliberately destructive, there's still a higher probability that our stuff will get thrown up on if she's sick, or that our clothes will end up with dog hair on them. We've given up any illusion that we need possessions to project who we are. Our home is wonderful because it's full of life.
7. I'm much happier (likely the result of increased physical activity as well as the companionship, so maybe this is possible to achieve without a dog). Before getting a dog, I did feel like there were things I didn't do in the interest of frugality that I still really wanted to do. After getting a dog, walking through the park or going on a hike for a family outing is much more exciting, and the best way I could possibly imagine to spend my time. I know I can stick to my current lifestyle for the long haul.
We also save more money since we got our dog!  While we spend quite a bit on her, we have cut back on "big" outings.  It's hard to find a hotel that allows dogs, but AirBnB hosts do (it's cheaper and nicer).  We also stopped going out to restaurants and bars for nights that we're bored.  On the weekends, we spend a few hours at a dog park (FREE) instead of going to a movie or shopping.  I also spend a lot of my time walking the dog.  We both enjoy it, and it's totally free. 

southern granny

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 01:14:38 PM »
You do have to be careful that the dog will accept a new dog.  A co-worker got a second dog and they do not get along at all.  They even had fights that required stitches.  So now she still has two dogs, but has to keep them physically separated or have a muzzle on the aggressive dog.  It is not a good situation.  I also had two dogs once that got along fine as long as I was not with them, but If I was in the mix there was going to be trouble.  I guess it was a jealousy thing.

caliq

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2015, 01:35:18 PM »
You do have to be careful that the dog will accept a new dog.  A co-worker got a second dog and they do not get along at all.  They even had fights that required stitches.  So now she still has two dogs, but has to keep them physically separated or have a muzzle on the aggressive dog.  It is not a good situation.  I also had two dogs once that got along fine as long as I was not with them, but If I was in the mix there was going to be trouble.  I guess it was a jealousy thing.

+1

There's a higher risk of this with two dogs of the same gender, especially females.  Make sure you do lots of research about how to introduce them and establish a healthy relationship.

We have three big dogs, all young -- two females and a male.  Recently my mom was petsitting for us and the girls got into a fight.  We've managed the situation and they're okay together now but it's not something a novice dog owner should really take on.  Make sure you're educated and prepared :)

Cassie

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2015, 02:08:22 PM »
I would have the dogs meet to make sure they get along first. We have 4 dogs, 1 big & three tiny ones & they bring us so much joy.  They are all old so plan to downsize to 1 by natural attrition because we are semi-retired & want to travel more.  When we were working f.t. we always had at least 2 so they were not lonely when we were gone all day.  We did not plan on having 4-actually ended up taking 2 we didn't plan on but won't do that again.
 

HappyHoya

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2015, 02:47:55 PM »
We are definitely having the dogs meet on neutral ground first. We plan on spending some time with the foster mom observing the dogs together. One is us will also be around at all time for a few days and we can watch them on a security camera after that. All that said, for those of you who have experienced or heard of issues with dogs fighting, do you think its ever safe to leave two dogs along? These dogs are super mellow. They are both females, both have had puppies but are currently fixed. They are hound mixes. Our current dog is extremely laid back about everything except squirrels and deer. While I hope she enjoys our attention, she seldom actively tries to get it (she will bring us toys and drop them at our feet to get us to play, but she isn't jumpy and is okay when we hold other dogs or kids around her). I would hate to have anything happen to either one of them.

zinnie

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2015, 03:17:16 PM »
We are definitely having the dogs meet on neutral ground first. We plan on spending some time with the foster mom observing the dogs together. One is us will also be around at all time for a few days and we can watch them on a security camera after that. All that said, for those of you who have experienced or heard of issues with dogs fighting, do you think its ever safe to leave two dogs along? These dogs are super mellow. They are both females, both have had puppies but are currently fixed. They are hound mixes. Our current dog is extremely laid back about everything except squirrels and deer. While I hope she enjoys our attention, she seldom actively tries to get it (she will bring us toys and drop them at our feet to get us to play, but she isn't jumpy and is okay when we hold other dogs or kids around her). I would hate to have anything happen to either one of them.

I introduced a new dog after having the first one for five years, and it wasn't hard to tell when it was fine to leave them alone together. I probably waited 4 or 5 months, as they had a few snarls at each other in the beginning over food or toys. (And when you first introduce and before you see how they do together don't give them anything they can be defensive of, like food or toys.) Once they learned eachothers' boundaries mine were fine (and now they are BFFs), but it took a while.

I say get the second dog, if it makes you that happy! Something to consider, though, is that introducing a second dog can change the first dog's behavior. My first dog who is the love of my life got a little more recluse with the second dog since he was younger and more energetic than her. She is much better than she was when we first got him, but probably only 95% her old self, instead of 100%.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2015, 03:38:15 PM »
Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.

Oh my gosh, it is cheesy but SO true!!! I find hiking with our dogs to be a million times more fun that just hiking with us humans. They just get the biggest kick out of everything and it's so cute to watch them frolic. LOL.

To add to the conversation, we used to only have one dog, pretty much the best dog in the world--my boyfriend got him when he was 3 months old, when I met them he was 7 years old--and BF kept talking about getting another one, but I was worried about the extra level of hassle, difficulty of traveling with two dogs, would our older dog like the new one, etc. We knew it had to be a female dog, since he's a male and is more easygoing with females than other male dogs, like someone else said. A stray 8 week old female puppy ended up showing up at our house earlier this year, so we kept her. She's completely insane and a total pain in the ass, but I love her so much and I'm so glad we have two!! And ours have gotten along amazingly well even though our first dog is an old man... 11 years old. He's super mellow and awesome, though, and we still keep them separate while we're away--the puppy gets baby-gated in the bathroom and the older dog has the run of the house. I would really hate for something bad to happen. I would be more easygoing about leaving them along together if they were closer in age and size, though (older dog is ~50 lbs, younger dog is ~30 lbs, and due to the age/behavior difference she could REALLY piss him off and then he could REALLY hurt her if he wanted to... don't want that to happen!).

Seņora Savings

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2015, 03:44:02 PM »
My family has one dog who is the joy of our lives.

It is reasonable.  You should spend your money where it will make you the happiest.  That could be early retirement, a charity or a new dog.

If someone said "Watching cable TV is the joy of my life, should I get HBO" I would tell them to do it.

Would you say that even if they already had premium cable, Showtime, Cinemax, etc? I suppose Mustachianism doesn't have to be minimalism, but it certainly seems connected and useful--which is why I am struggling. FWIW, I really liked your advice and am playing devil's advocate to make sure I really make the best decision.

If that was really what they wanted out of life, than yes.  I would probably also avoid spending time with that person because they sound lame.

Obviously there is a big lifestyle change between no dogs and one dog and pretty small one between one dog and two dogs.  But there is a difference, and happiness is the most precious thing in the world, so go for more of it.  Growing up my family had four full sized dogs for a couple of years.  It makes me really happy to remember them running around the house in a herd a sitting around me, each one getting pets from a different limb.

It often seems that people spend money on reoccurring convenience and cut corners on things that give their life meaning.  I think that this is the wrong way to go about things.

caliq

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2015, 04:08:44 PM »
I don't leave my dogs alone together when we're not home -- but I have 2 100 lb Great Danes and a 70 lb Weimaraner, plus a cat.  We choose to give the kitty some peace and avoid counter surfing so we crate them.  My husband is a disabled vet and is home 99% of the time so I don't feel bad -- if it was a 40 hr a week thing I would probably feel differently. 

I think dogs can be very enriching and we choose to spend our money on them rather than other areas of entertainment/leisure.  For example, we don't really travel and we don't drink.  The tradeoff is worth it imo :)


SantaFeSteve

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2015, 04:25:52 PM »
Just curious, how did the first dog save you money?  Less travel?  Less gym membership? Less purchased entertainment?   

Our first dog didn't necessarily save us more money than we spend on taking care of her, but the lifestyle changes that came with having a dog significantly offset the cost. There were so many changes, so I'll focus on the big ones:

1. We stay home more. When one of us is working the other has to come home to take care of the dog (which we enjoy), resulting in participating in a healthy activity instead of happy hour, grabbing coffee, or staying too late at work. A lot of our friends love her and would rather hang out in our home now, whereas previously it was a struggle to get people to hang out without pricey food or drinks.
2. The dog is a great excuse to dodge out of quasi-obligatory situations that are likely to result in spending money (work or family event that goes too late to use transit, for example). While there have been several times (5 or fewer) where we had to leave a place where I may have preferred to stay, there have been many more times when taking care of the dog got us out of a place we didn't want to be anyway.
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.
4. We both found amazing determination to save when we knew it was for her well-being. We trimmed expenses we thought had previously been cut to the bare necessities and significantly increased our frugality potential in times when she was sick and needed unexpected vet care. We continued with the other cost savings, even after her health improved and her bills decreased.
5. While we didn't have a ton of free time before, with a dog who sleeps while we are at work, there's no free alone time when we are home. While we can get things done without paying complete attention to her, I am never looking for something to do. There's much lower risk of spending money on entertainment or mindlessly shopping online. I can't remember the last time since she's be around when I had the opportunity to be bored. When would I have time to spend money?
6. Material stuff became even less important. It's silly to spend money on home stuff or clothing with a dog around. While our dog isn't at all deliberately destructive, there's still a higher probability that our stuff will get thrown up on if she's sick, or that our clothes will end up with dog hair on them. We've given up any illusion that we need possessions to project who we are. Our home is wonderful because it's full of life.
7. I'm much happier (likely the result of increased physical activity as well as the companionship, so maybe this is possible to achieve without a dog). Before getting a dog, I did feel like there were things I didn't do in the interest of frugality that I still really wanted to do. After getting a dog, walking through the park or going on a hike for a family outing is much more exciting, and the best way I could possibly imagine to spend my time. I know I can stick to my current lifestyle for the long haul.
We also save more money since we got our dog!  While we spend quite a bit on her, we have cut back on "big" outings. It's hard to find a hotel that allows dogs, but AirBnB hosts do (it's cheaper and nicer).  We also stopped going out to restaurants and bars for nights that we're bored.  On the weekends, we spend a few hours at a dog park (FREE) instead of going to a movie or shopping.  I also spend a lot of my time walking the dog.  We both enjoy it, and it's totally free. 

On this note, pretty much All LaQuinta hotels allow dogs.  It is our go-to hotel chain when road tripping with our boy.

4alpacas

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2015, 05:25:51 PM »
Just curious, how did the first dog save you money?  Less travel?  Less gym membership? Less purchased entertainment?   

Our first dog didn't necessarily save us more money than we spend on taking care of her, but the lifestyle changes that came with having a dog significantly offset the cost. There were so many changes, so I'll focus on the big ones:

1. We stay home more. When one of us is working the other has to come home to take care of the dog (which we enjoy), resulting in participating in a healthy activity instead of happy hour, grabbing coffee, or staying too late at work. A lot of our friends love her and would rather hang out in our home now, whereas previously it was a struggle to get people to hang out without pricey food or drinks.
2. The dog is a great excuse to dodge out of quasi-obligatory situations that are likely to result in spending money (work or family event that goes too late to use transit, for example). While there have been several times (5 or fewer) where we had to leave a place where I may have preferred to stay, there have been many more times when taking care of the dog got us out of a place we didn't want to be anyway.
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.
4. We both found amazing determination to save when we knew it was for her well-being. We trimmed expenses we thought had previously been cut to the bare necessities and significantly increased our frugality potential in times when she was sick and needed unexpected vet care. We continued with the other cost savings, even after her health improved and her bills decreased.
5. While we didn't have a ton of free time before, with a dog who sleeps while we are at work, there's no free alone time when we are home. While we can get things done without paying complete attention to her, I am never looking for something to do. There's much lower risk of spending money on entertainment or mindlessly shopping online. I can't remember the last time since she's be around when I had the opportunity to be bored. When would I have time to spend money?
6. Material stuff became even less important. It's silly to spend money on home stuff or clothing with a dog around. While our dog isn't at all deliberately destructive, there's still a higher probability that our stuff will get thrown up on if she's sick, or that our clothes will end up with dog hair on them. We've given up any illusion that we need possessions to project who we are. Our home is wonderful because it's full of life.
7. I'm much happier (likely the result of increased physical activity as well as the companionship, so maybe this is possible to achieve without a dog). Before getting a dog, I did feel like there were things I didn't do in the interest of frugality that I still really wanted to do. After getting a dog, walking through the park or going on a hike for a family outing is much more exciting, and the best way I could possibly imagine to spend my time. I know I can stick to my current lifestyle for the long haul.
We also save more money since we got our dog!  While we spend quite a bit on her, we have cut back on "big" outings. It's hard to find a hotel that allows dogs, but AirBnB hosts do (it's cheaper and nicer).  We also stopped going out to restaurants and bars for nights that we're bored.  On the weekends, we spend a few hours at a dog park (FREE) instead of going to a movie or shopping.  I also spend a lot of my time walking the dog.  We both enjoy it, and it's totally free. 

On this note, pretty much All LaQuinta hotels allow dogs.  It is our go-to hotel chain when road tripping with our boy.
Thanks for the tip! Does LaQuinta have a pet fee? Per day? Per stay?

Prepube

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2015, 10:07:08 PM »
I have 475 pounds of dog: one 200 pounder, one that's about 150, and one that's 125.  Two of these dogs were horribly abused before we got them, and we worked hard for months to help them develop some trust in us.  Three years later, they're nearly normal, cost me only the food they eat (250 per month), and bring me more joy than any of my other activities.  They stink, they bark at and chase the deer, elk and foxes that frequent our property, and they hog the bed.  They chase the cats, knock over lamps with their tails, and one recently chewed a nice hole in the passenger seat of my car.  The biggest one drools, has farts that smell like dead animals, and eats cat litter.  The smallest one can get up on the kitchen counter, where she regularly eats whatever I have left there and has figured out how to open the cabinets.  The middle one (a Saint Bernard), wakes me up every night acting like she needs to go out, but all she really wants to do is lie down in the snow.  These dogs know how to open the sliding doors, and frequently do so.  Last summer I came home from a short errand run and found that they had opened the door during a rainstorm and apparently gone in and out a few times.  The entire house was tracked with mud and they had taken all (and I mean the sum total) of my clothing and shoes from my bedroom closet outside into the yard.

I love them.  Definitely get a second dog. 

Knapptyme

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2015, 10:19:33 PM »
We rescued one dog, and two years later just had to rescue another. They love each other, play with other, sleep with each other, and make us happier most of the time. While I'm not proud of it, we spent less money on our lives with the addition of dogs for many of the reason mentioned by HappyHoya, but we also spent more money on dog related stuff that they likely did not need.

I'm not sure what other people do with multiple dogs on vacations, but we need to get a house sitter for them (boarding them is way more expensive). The benefit is two-fold, yet we always need to factor in extra costs for leaving the dogs. When it was only one dog, we took him everywhere with us.

While I love my dogs, there is a very real possibility that we go a period of our adult, kid-raising lives without them (after our two live long, healthy lives) for time, money, and travel purposes.

Cookie78

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2015, 10:25:03 PM »
I have 475 pounds of dog: one 200 pounder, one that's about 150, and one that's 125.  Two of these dogs were horribly abused before we got them, and we worked hard for months to help them develop some trust in us.  Three years later, they're nearly normal, cost me only the food they eat (250 per month), and bring me more joy than any of my other activities.  They stink, they bark at and chase the deer, elk and foxes that frequent our property, and they hog the bed.  They chase the cats, knock over lamps with their tails, and one recently chewed a nice hole in the passenger seat of my car.  The biggest one drools, has farts that smell like dead animals, and eats cat litter.  The smallest one can get up on the kitchen counter, where she regularly eats whatever I have left there and has figured out how to open the cabinets.  The middle one (a Saint Bernard), wakes me up every night acting like she needs to go out, but all she really wants to do is lie down in the snow.  These dogs know how to open the sliding doors, and frequently do so.  Last summer I came home from a short errand run and found that they had opened the door during a rainstorm and apparently gone in and out a few times.  The entire house was tracked with mud and they had taken all (and I mean the sum total) of my clothing and shoes from my bedroom closet outside into the yard.

I love them.  Definitely get a second dog.

:D !!!

kathrynd

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2015, 11:16:30 PM »
Get the second dog.  :)

Money isn't everything.
We  retired 4 years ago at 46 & 50 and travel 8 months of the year (extremely frugally)
but we miss having cats.

While we are home we foster momma cats and her kittens, or orphaned kittens, until they are old enough for their 'forever homes'.
The SPCA supplies all the food, litter, toys, and we supply the love.

Bbqmustache

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2015, 04:30:30 AM »
Financial implications of the second dog, from my blog:  http://wp.me/p3Ktae-87

Gray Matter

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2015, 04:55:50 AM »
I have 475 pounds of dog: one 200 pounder, one that's about 150, and one that's 125.  Two of these dogs were horribly abused before we got them, and we worked hard for months to help them develop some trust in us.  Three years later, they're nearly normal, cost me only the food they eat (250 per month), and bring me more joy than any of my other activities.  They stink, they bark at and chase the deer, elk and foxes that frequent our property, and they hog the bed.  They chase the cats, knock over lamps with their tails, and one recently chewed a nice hole in the passenger seat of my car.  The biggest one drools, has farts that smell like dead animals, and eats cat litter.  The smallest one can get up on the kitchen counter, where she regularly eats whatever I have left there and has figured out how to open the cabinets.  The middle one (a Saint Bernard), wakes me up every night acting like she needs to go out, but all she really wants to do is lie down in the snow.  These dogs know how to open the sliding doors, and frequently do so.  Last summer I came home from a short errand run and found that they had opened the door during a rainstorm and apparently gone in and out a few times.  The entire house was tracked with mud and they had taken all (and I mean the sum total) of my clothing and shoes from my bedroom closet outside into the yard.

I love them.  Definitely get a second dog.

Prepube - You're my hero!  The world needs more people like you.

And to the OP, definitely get another dog.  These are the very things that money is for.  When my three kids were young, I estimated how much money I would have in retirement if I'd never had kids.  At the time, I was aiming for a normal retirement age and 5 million, and would have easily had twice that much if I didn't have kids.  But would I rather be 65, with no children and grandchildren, or 65 with an abundant family and 5 million dollars.  No contest.

For the record, I have three rescue dogs.  One sweet little beagle that was abused, and two obnoxious coonhounds that weren't (and I can't imagine why not).

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2015, 07:56:03 AM »
It often seems that people spend money on reoccurring convenience and cut corners on things that give their life meaning.  I think that this is the wrong way to go about things.

wow, so true. never really thought about that before!

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2015, 09:32:38 AM »
@ 4alpacas - We have not been charged a pet fee at all.  They are great!

Breaker

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2015, 10:30:54 AM »
Financial implications of the second dog, from my blog:  http://wp.me/p3Ktae-87

Let me be the first to tell you that your numbers are insane.  There is no way a dog costs that much.  If it does, you are doing something wrong.  My dogs work with me everyday.  In fact they have earned my living for the last 16 years.  I have owned up to 6 dogs at one time but am now down to 4. 

Dog food:  you need to check around but there are places where you can get the same food for less.   A local Pet Store chain sells their food/treats with a bulk discount.  IE:  buy 3 bags get the 4th free, same for treats.  I also belong to a raw food co-op and buy their meat for less than I can get it by myself.

Vet bills:   These can be high the first year of ownership, either for a puppy or rescue as you need to get shots and take care of any problems the dogs come with.  They can also be high at the end of life, just like with humans.  The eight years in the middle are relatively cheap.  Often my dogs don't go to the Vet for several years in a row.  Once they have their initial vaccines there is no need to repeat yearly.  Rabies by law needs to be given every 3 years in my State.  If they need meds you can often buy them for less at the Costco pharmacy or on line.  Costco will even give a discount as my dogs don't have RX insurance.  Costco sells Frontline now too.

Training can be expensive but you can choose to do that or not.  If you get hooked say on Agility it might be possible to work out a deal with the trainer or Trial Sect'y to exchange work for lessons/entry fees.

I don't have time to check my tax returns right now but I definitely keep track of my dog expenses because I need to list them for business expenses.  The only way I can come up with that kind of expense is to put everything that could conceivably be thought of as dog related is added in.

As for toys/equipment:  I have leashes that are well over 15 years old and have been used on many dogs.  Toys can be old socks knotted together or empty milk cartons, tennis balls found near tennis courts or tennis playing friends will supply them.  Cardboard boxes can be a lot of fun too.

I can usually tell within a few days if the new dog will get along with the old.  One thing for certain, I can't play with a dog the way another dog can and single dogs miss that.  They also appreciate a companion when you are not at home.

OP, get the second dog if you find one that your present dog likes.  It will add to your pleasure and you will know that you have made a difference in that dog's life.

 

RumbleKittie

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2015, 12:31:34 PM »
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.

Which national parks do you go to? The national parks near us allow leashed dogs at the campsite but not on the hiking trails, which would severely limit our activities there.

We have two 100-lb dogs, and I agree that I love vacationing with them. We go camping with them sometimes at some local state parks, and it's such a joy to have them pile in the tent with us at night.

HappyHoya

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2015, 06:54:19 AM »
3. Fewer and different vacations. We didn't vacation for almost two years after we got her, and I didn't miss it (and I love to travel!). We didn't want to leave her before we knew she was secure, and we were discovering a lot of beautiful local places. Additionally, our idea of a dream vacation changed from an expensive beach resort to camping in a dog-friendly National Park. As cheesy as it sounds, our dog's appreciation for the simply beauty in nature is really inspiring.

Which national parks do you go to? The national parks near us allow leashed dogs at the campsite but not on the hiking trails, which would severely limit our activities there.

We have two 100-lb dogs, and I agree that I love vacationing with them. We go camping with them sometimes at some local state parks, and it's such a joy to have them pile in the tent with us at night.

We've been to a lot of parks on east coast with our dog. Many of the parks along the Appalachian trail allow leashed dogs in at least some of the hiking areas.

alleykat

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2015, 07:30:27 AM »
It often seems that people spend money on reoccurring convenience and cut corners on things that give their life meaning.  I think that this is the wrong way to go about things.

wow, so true. never really thought about that before!

I totally totally agree.  You cant forget to live and have what brings you joy.  Saving is great but not at the expense of life. We need to remember to enjoy the journey. 

I hope you adopt that second dog and save a life. There are so many animals that need taking care of. We do what we can. 

I have two kitties and would love to have a dog as well, but in an apt, it is tough.

puglogic

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2015, 09:03:56 PM »


Our first dog didn't necessarily save us more money than we spend on taking care of her, but the lifestyle changes that came with having a dog significantly offset the cost. There were so many changes, so I'll focus on the big ones:.....

HappyHoya, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed -- and resonated with -- your list.  All the same here, with our two. Sure, they cost, but life's better all around.  We also foster.

citrine

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2015, 12:08:13 PM »
Get the second dog!  You will have a lot of fun and save her life! 
We have three cats, all rescues and they are amazing.  I cannot wait to have dogs as well!

libertarian4321

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2015, 12:30:50 PM »
A second dog can actually come in handy, as the dogs will often play with each other and not demand your attention quite as much when you don't want to be annoyed. :)

We currently have 2 as that seems to be the best number for us, but have had up to 4 in the past.  My wife is looking into rescuing a tiny chihuahua from a co-worker today, so if we get that dog, we will be up to 2.5 dogs, I guess.

As discretionary spending goes, it's about the best you can make.  Not only do they make great companions, lower stress, and help you live longer, they also make great security alarms.

We always get rescue dogs.  They are healthier and don't help "puppy mills" the way many store bought pets do.

TGod

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2015, 01:07:02 PM »
We just went through this ourselves. We have always had 2 dogs, and lost one of them last September to old age. Our other dog who is still pretty young, went into a funk, starting getting neurotic, and required more attention. We kept talking about whether we wanted to get another one, as he is a smaller dog and is easy to cart around if we go away for a weekend. We discussed whether it would make our lives more difficult to have another one and decided that given at this time we have 2 young kids, a cat, chickens and one dog, that adding another smaller dog to the mix isn't going to impact us either way. We still need to have a pet sitter if we are away for a longer period, and having a 2nd dog again won't change that.

We just recently received a rescue dog from an international SPCA and she is great! Having the 2nd dog has pushed me to start walking the dogs (usually would just throw the ball till he was tuckered out) every morning and doing some fun trick training with them. So I have a) started excersizing again and b) enriched our other dog's life as well. He's got a playmate now when we are at work.

Not everybody enjoys pets, not everyone enjoys multiple pets. It is a very personal choice. And like many have said your choice depends on whether or not it will bring you joy and enrich your life. That is something we can apply to everything we bring into our lives.

jopiquant

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2015, 01:16:43 PM »
I'm another vote in favour, but we too have two, so I'm a bit biased. My icon is our smaller dog. We got her a year after losing an only dog to old age. She's a jack russell cross and is boundless energy and a bit crazy. We're mostly still away during working hours weekdays and that was too much stir-crazy for her. We got a second dog from an acquaintance's litter of unintended puppies to keep Libby company and do dog stuff with.

They are both female. When we brought home our second, she was still a puppy, so Libby was kinder to her than she otherwise might have been. They wrestle happily daily, and get into what sounds like serious snits about once every six months (note - one is 16 lb, the other is 52) and neither has ever bled as a result. We do leave them alone together, but not with any special toys that might cause jealousy.

We spend a lot more on food because we have two active dogs and because we feed a grain free diet. Their food alone costs over $1000 a year, but we're okay with that. The good news is they are a lot more mellow with us because they have the company of another dog to get rowdy with.

I think we'll pretty much always have two. My grand plan was to get two about 25-35 lb, but c'est la vie.

Going away without the dogs is more challenging than it was with only a single small dog. We get a housesitter.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2015, 09:01:06 AM »
When we brought home our second, she was still a puppy, so Libby was kinder to her than she otherwise might have been.

I think this is so true, too. I've been amazed with how patient and restrained our 11-year-old 50-lb dog has been with our 9-month-old batshit insane puppy... it's like he understood that she was just a puppy, and also that she was part of the pack now. We actually have to encourage him to let her know when she's being a brat.

roadtofreedom

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Re: Are we crazy to get a second dog?/How do you ever choose to spend money?
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2015, 12:24:07 PM »
No doubt.

That second dog will make you happier and deserve an opportunity.

Many times, dogs are better than people. More often than we think ...

HappyHoya

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It's been a long time since I asked this question, but I wanted to update you all and let you know we did go forward with getting a second dog. It took a few months to find a dog that was a good fit, and a few more months for us all to get used to each other, but everything is going well. We got a dog that was retired from a hunt club, and having a working dog has been an exciting challenge! She encourages us to wake up early and we've all been a lot more active since adding her to our family. I like to think she's glad for it too, as she lived outside and without a lot of human attention before we got her. She loves being with us and is my default snuggle buddy. Even with the increased food and vet expenses, she's worth it and infinity more. I love having an active, happy, sometimes slightly chaotic home, and she brings us so much joy.

Thanks for all the comments and advice!

Eric

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We want a pic!  Give us a pic!  :)

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Yay! Doggie photos please. Two dogs are so much better than one.

The_path_less_taken

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Dogs are pack animals and are happier and healthier with companions. Sometimes two are less work than one.

We have three.



Get the second dog.

Two dogs have always been easier than one for me as they entertain each other. I currently have 5, all rescues. Now that some are older they are expensive. And one with allergies and one with a mystery condition: expensive.

But worth every penny and then some.

I look at it like this: they are a part of my family. I chose them: I adopted them. With dogs I get up and go for walks and play ball more and just spend more time being active.

Does it cost a bit? Yes. To me, it's worth it. I don't smoke or do drugs or need a sports car or a Coach bag, or drink pricey wine or liquor so I figure...everybody gets one 'gimme'.

Pets are mine.

4alpacas

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DOG PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HappyHoya

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Two is definitely better than one.

Edit: I tried attaching three photos, but I'm not sure they're viewable. Any tips?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 01:11:54 PM by HappyHoya »

Cassie

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Cute!!