Author Topic: Do you have pets?  (Read 7932 times)

poorboyrichman

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Do you have pets?
« on: October 17, 2014, 05:32:20 PM »
Meet Hunter,





Before my moustache revolution and in a previous relationship, in my infinite wisdom decided to get a dog, and not just any dog, a bloomin' huge German Shepherd Dog. This mutt weighs in at 35kg, he probably sheds and equal amount in hair on a monthly basis, chomps through 21.32 in reasonable quality dog biscuits a month, and his current insurance policy is 17.23/month (which reminds me I need to see if I can get this renewed with a better premium). So far I have spent approx 200-300 in vet bills each year (he's 2 now, so hopefully this will calm down a bit now until he inevitably gets old :( ).

Hunter ironically has his own whiskers, and seems to prefer playing with sticks and rolling in mud, rather than playing with fancypants toys that my girlfriend keeps buying him, his favourite past times are sleeping in the garage while I fettle with various bicycles, or heading out for long walks in the morning and before dinner.

Now I would never get another dog knowing what I know about the amount of money, time, effort arequired to have share your home with such a creature. The financial expense is just about tolerable, but the vacuum cleaning not so! Considering the amount of joy and happiness he brings to me and my current GF he gets to stay (lucky dog!) despite all the other changes I have made to my life in recent months. Having him here while browsing the forum had me thinking about how many of you keep pets? How do they fit in with your moustached lives?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 05:35:19 PM by poorboyrichman »

Prepube

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2014, 05:40:58 PM »
I am over-dogged at the moment with three large breeds (200 pound newfoundland, 140 pound St. Bernard, 125 pound Leonberger).  I love them, but they are way too expensive and I wish I could find a good home for one or two of them.  250.00 per month, average, including vet bills and food.  If I count all the repairs and damage I will need to fix before I sell this house, they are definitely not worth it... or maybe they are.  I don't know, but if one is trying to be mustachian about everything, don't get a dog or cat.  They are money-suckers (but I love them).  I am so conflicted...

Spartana

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 05:48:31 PM »
Just call me Octo-dog Mom. Had 8 pets (maybe nine I've lost count) in the last 10ish years. Only 2 were originally mine, the rest were strays who kind of adopted me or I inherited when my Dad died and I couldn't find them homes. Big expenses and a real pooping, shedding, stinky, slobbery pain in the butt but absolutely loved them like crazy. I only have one dog left - the yappy Barkinator - so my life is easier but pets do tie you down a lot. You often need different kind of housing that may be more expensive. You aren't free to just "go" whenever you want and have to make arrangements - again can be expensive. They can take a toll on FIRE plans if you want to do any long term travel or live as an ex-pat somewhere cheaper. Once I FIRE'd I had plans to get rid of everything I own and travel around the world with just a backpack for a few years. But all the critters kind of put a halt to that plan. But now with just the one dog I can do a modified version via car/camping in North America. 

Spork

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2014, 05:48:58 PM »
I'm not conflicted at all.

We've always had pets.  We always will.  (Wifey has been referred to as "Ellie May" for pretty much all her life.) Currently we have 2 small dogs and 2 cats.  We've been as high as 4 dogs/3 cats... occasional rabbits.  We don't have them to save money.  We have them because they add something to our lives.

If you want them: enjoy them.  Don't feel guilty.  It's like having kids.  You can over do it, sure.  But animals have the awesome ability to be happy with just a warm place to stay and a full belly. 

Retired To Win

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2014, 06:02:51 PM »
We peaked at 17 rescued cats and 3 rescued dogs.  Old-age attrition and enforced discipline not to keep picking up strays has now got us down to 4 cats and 2 dogs.

And, yea, the incredible proliferation of dust bunnies is the pits!

NinetyFour

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2014, 06:16:10 PM »
I have no pets.  Someday I might, but for now, I am glad I don't.  I am usually out of my house for 10 - 12 hours per work day, and wouldn't want to leave pets unattended for that long.

iris lily

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2014, 06:44:28 PM »
I love all of my pets. We've had a constant parade of them through here the past 20 years. We take in older dogs, who I love. I'm not a puppy person.
But due to their age, they don't live a long time with us.  We also do breed rescue.

We've had ten bulldogs of our own, and another 10 - 12 rescue dogs who were "foster" dogs. Plus we have had a passel of French bulldogs, we fostered a group of 6 at one time when they were in need of an immediate home.

At the moment we have 1 bulldog and 2 Frenchies. I can hardly wait for the eldest Frenchie to go off to doggie heaven, she is so damn messy. But otherwise, she's easy because she is sweet and just sleeps all the time. She is 15 years old and won't be around much longer. Her cute but nasty biting daughter died last summer at age 13.

Bulldogs are well known for their high vet bills and while I would say that most of that is exaggerated, they DO have their issues. Our current bulldog is the funniest, silliest, most affectionate guy in the world and he was born with ALL of the bulldog health crap: horrific skin problems, propensity to kidney stones, bad eyes. His family turned him in to Rescue because they couldn't afford to take care of him. I adopted him because he made me laugh every day and that's well worth the cost of his medicine.

Also we have cats. At the moment, two. We've had as many at 4 at one time. I'm really a cat person, temporarily besotted with silly bulldogs. When I want to greatly simplify my life, when I am  elderly, I'll have 1 cat and 0 dogs.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 07:14:53 PM by iris lily »

MoneyCat

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2014, 06:47:44 PM »
We have two cats and it is absolutely worth the expense.  They are much cheaper than kids, especially if you make your own cat litter and buy food in bulk using coupons.  Late in their lives, cats' veterinary needs can be expensive, but it's worth it to have the unconditional love that they give.  You can't put a price on that.

tracylayton

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2014, 06:52:42 PM »
I have had many pets over the last 25 years, but I no longer do. I do cat-sit for my daughter for a few weeks at a time. I really enjoy the cat while she's here, but I'm relieved not to have to clean the litter box or clean cat hair up after she is gone. I understand how people get very attached to their pets, but I am content to take on the responsibility on a part-time basis.

studentdoc2

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2014, 07:03:29 PM »
We have a 140-lb Great Dane (rescued as a 2.5-year-old pup, now 5.5 years old) and 3 cats (1 was mine originally, as was the dog, and the other 2 were my now-spouse's -- our "blended family", as it were) in our 1-bdm apartment. I love my dog to death (originally rescued within a week of breaking up with my boyfriend of many years and a definite upgrade -- more friendly, loveable, sweet, loyal, easy-going, and shockingly cleaner and cheaper!) and will likely always have Great Danes, but Oh. The. Cats. Individually they are each lovely, but 3 cats in one apartment with 1 giant dog and 2 humans is really too much. We feel too much guilt to try rehoming them, so they will be with us for a long time (they are 5-7 years old currently). But I eagerly look forward to the day that I am free of all of their hair and litter and messes!

I agree with previous posts that sure, having pets isn't mustachian, but neither is having kids or about a million other hobbies that bring us joy.

iris lily

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2014, 07:12:49 PM »
By the way, Hunter is one handsome dude!

ketchup

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2014, 07:23:45 PM »
Three Australian Shepherds.




They're not as cheap as a goldfish, but they're good value.  We insource anything we can with them.  We probably spend less than the average cable bill + Starbucks budget on them.

horsepoor

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2014, 07:37:02 PM »
I won't get into the horses, but we have two dogs, six chickens and a sparsely populated 60 gallon aquarium.

The dogs are actually pretty cheap.  They do great on CostCo dog food, and aside from the original vet bills when the older dog showed up in my front yard with a broken leg, and also required spaying, they have been pretty cheap.  The older dog is 12 now, and the younger one is 8.  The older one gets joint supplements for arthritis from the broken leg @$20/month, and we had to buy a bark collar for the younger one recently, for about $100.

The hair is really the worst thing, and the older dog is the worse offender, being sort of a lab/pit mix.  The younger one we believe to be Border Collie and Curly Coated Retriever, and his hair is much more manageable.

The costs don't bother me at all.  I won't run bills into the thousands on surgery and such for them, especially towards the end of their lifespans.  The younger one is my alarm clock and running buddy, and the older one is an eternal optimist and I would hate to be totally dogless.

OTOH, we used to have two cats, and again with the hair, but I just didn't get as much out of having the cats around.  Now that they are gone, I don't intend to own cats again, for various reasons.

The chickens more or less pay their way with eggs, and they're kind of expendable, so I don't really think of them as pets.  In fact right now I'm thinking of applying for a detail out of state, and figure I'll just give away the chickens and get new ones when I get back in the spring, easy peasy.

thesilv3r

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2014, 09:20:38 PM »
Yes. I grew up on a sheep farm and my parents were shearing contractors so we had anywhere from 6-10 dogs growing up as well as cats (to keep down snake and mouse populations). Once I finished uni I got a job working in finance for a large pet food manufacturer, so my current rescued dog costs me probably around $15 a month (excluding the annual vet check up and immunisation). I also get a lot of canned food to help my parents out in feeding their working dogs.

I'm always perplexed by the "reviews" you read on the internet about manufactured pet food, and why some people insist on buying the ultra premium stuff when their pet doesn't need it (actual medical conditions are an exception here). I feed a fairly "mainstream" quality dry with b-rated "premium" wet (only because I get it so cheap) and my dog looks great! Maybe it's all the exercise, brushing and a bit of mutt genetics helping out, but I doubt it.

Before I started my mustachian ways I bought a treadmill when I had a sudden windfall of cash, two years later I got the puppy and I think I've used the treadmill maybe 10-20 times in the 5 years since I got him. Great motivator to get out and go for a run/walk every day.

AllieVaulter

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2014, 12:43:25 AM »
We got a dog before we started our Money Mustache and there is no way I could get rid of him now.  He costs about $700 a year (vet & food).  Riley's only a little 20 lb Welsh Terrier.  But we did have to plonk down $500 to buy him.  I'm allergic to dogs, so we needed a hypoallergenic one.  We waited for a few months to see if the Humane Society would get one in and then my husband couldn't wait any longer. 

He's so sweet and so funny, there's no way I could let him go unless we were in a situation where we couldn't afford to feed him.  He doesn't even really need toys.  I've given him a few of my old socks with holes in them and he's smart enough to know which socks are ones he can play with and which aren't (be careful, not all dogs can do this).  The thing that makes him happiest in the world is a trip to the dog park - and that's free. 

He's even earning a bit in keep.  The other day he freaked out and when we checked it out, we found our back gate was open.  Someone had come within 10 feet of our BACK door and opened our gate.  Little 20 pound Riley had scared them off!  It was a bit scary, but I'm glad to know that if someone tries to sneak in to my house, Riley will a) let me know and b) do his best to defend our house. 

However, if you've got any debt, I would definitely suggest paying that off before getting a pet!  Yes, they enrich our lives, but you've got to be able to not only feed them, but pay for the vet & regular medicine (fleas, etc).

Ozstache

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2014, 02:54:53 AM »
I have 2 adorable dogs and value them far more than the piddly $1200 a year they both cost to 'operate' and more than most human beings I know. There are many, many things that would be cut loose in the ER budget before I'd let them go.

Rural

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2014, 05:23:14 AM »
We have a 140-lb Great Dane (rescued as a 2.5-year-old pup, now 5.5 years old) and 3 cats (1 was mine originally, as was the dog, and the other 2 were my now-spouse's -- our "blended family", as it were) in our 1-bdm apartment. I love my dog to death (originally rescued within a week of breaking up with my boyfriend of many years and a definite upgrade -- more friendly, loveable, sweet, loyal, easy-going, and shockingly cleaner and cheaper!) and will likely always have Great Danes,


I see you also have the Dane bed-chewing problem. We have two black Danes who look remarkably like yours (a bit bigger). I've found they don't chew up layered fuzzy bathmats (get 'em at thrift stores, and get lots), and they can be thrown in the wash.


We have two Danes and three cats. I'd go down by one cat if I could- he wasn't rescued so much as dumped on us, and he's a fine cat, but three years later, he's still just not mine, and he makes the other cats, who are mine, unhappy.


But the rest of the herd? They fall firmly into the category of "that's what money is for." More important than FIRE, and I have no angst over that.

DecD

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2014, 07:41:08 AM »
I had a cat for 14 years (got him from the animal shelter in 1998) and we currently have a 9 yr old lab mix (found on the side of the road at 5 weeks old by a neighbor girl).   There's no such thing as a free pet of course, but the dog earns his keep.  I expect we will always have a dog around the house.

He brings lots of love to the house, but as a side benefit, it's nice knowing that our house might be less attractive to the bad guys given the ferocious-sounding barking when folks come to the door. 

studentdoc2

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2014, 08:10:45 AM »
We have a 140-lb Great Dane (rescued as a 2.5-year-old pup, now 5.5 years old) and 3 cats (1 was mine originally, as was the dog, and the other 2 were my now-spouse's -- our "blended family", as it were) in our 1-bdm apartment. I love my dog to death (originally rescued within a week of breaking up with my boyfriend of many years and a definite upgrade -- more friendly, loveable, sweet, loyal, easy-going, and shockingly cleaner and cheaper!) and will likely always have Great Danes,


I see you also have the Dane bed-chewing problem. We have two black Danes who look remarkably like yours (a bit bigger). I've found they don't chew up layered fuzzy bathmats (get 'em at thrift stores, and get lots), and they can be thrown in the wash.


We have two Danes and three cats. I'd go down by one cat if I could- he wasn't rescued so much as dumped on us, and he's a fine cat, but three years later, he's still just not mine, and he makes the other cats, who are mine, unhappy.


Haha, yes, admittedly my Dane was a bit more expensive in the beginning as we went through a few cheap beds (and did you notice the angle food cake container in the corner of that pic? It used to be on TOP of the fridge...). A few months ago, we put some old sheets on a loveseat we never used and gave it over to the dog. He's happier and I no longer need to replace chewed up beds :).

I'd love to have two Dane in the future, but we decided a yard has to come first!

Rural

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2014, 08:31:44 AM »
We have a 140-lb Great Dane (rescued as a 2.5-year-old pup, now 5.5 years old) and 3 cats (1 was mine originally, as was the dog, and the other 2 were my now-spouse's -- our "blended family", as it were) in our 1-bdm apartment. I love my dog to death (originally rescued within a week of breaking up with my boyfriend of many years and a definite upgrade -- more friendly, loveable, sweet, loyal, easy-going, and shockingly cleaner and cheaper!) and will likely always have Great Danes,


I see you also have the Dane bed-chewing problem. We have two black Danes who look remarkably like yours (a bit bigger). I've found they don't chew up layered fuzzy bathmats (get 'em at thrift stores, and get lots), and they can be thrown in the wash.


We have two Danes and three cats. I'd go down by one cat if I could- he wasn't rescued so much as dumped on us, and he's a fine cat, but three years later, he's still just not mine, and he makes the other cats, who are mine, unhappy.


Haha, yes, admittedly my Dane was a bit more expensive in the beginning as we went through a few cheap beds (and did you notice the angle food cake container in the corner of that pic? It used to be on TOP of the fridge...). A few months ago, we put some old sheets on a loveseat we never used and gave it over to the dog. He's happier and I no longer need to replace chewed up beds :).

I'd love to have two Dane in the future, but we decided a yard has to come first!


Yes, probably, but ours have a couple of acres fenced and spend 98.5% of their time in the house or on the porch (they have a ginormous dog door opening onto the porch, which open on their fenced woods, so free choice).


I know better than to let ours into the kitchen, since counter grazing can be done flat footed and fridge top grazing isn't much of an effort. One of ours is good enough that one "no"will keep him away from a warm roast even if we leave him alone in a room with it. The other's a pretty good girl, but, well...

southern granny

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2014, 05:14:37 PM »
One spoiled rotten 10 year old Brittany Spaniel.  I have always had a dog. I can't imagine life without a dog to welcome me home every time I walk in the door.  They cost money, but worth every penny.

firedup

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2014, 10:42:43 PM »
135 lb German shedder here too. Love him but he is everything you describe and more. Plus he is a really bad dog at times. Very headstrong and doesn't mind unless there is food attached then he becomes the worlds smartest and most obedient dog. But then I wouldn't work for free either so I get it. We call him our union dog. Our cats are so much cheaper and easier. But wouldn't trade any of them. They are spoiled and money is almost no object on my fur kids. They get the best food and quality everything. We lost a cat & a dog strangely about the time of the melamine scare so I did a lot of research on pet food and what an education I got. I look at their food and diet very differently now.

BTW-Hunter is just stunning. What a handsome boy!

TheRabbit

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2014, 06:14:55 AM »
I have two large dogs as well (1 Great Dane, 1 80lb Boxer mix). Currently they are money suckers, but there are ways to gain income from having a dog!
1. Take a Therapy Dog course and start employing your dog and yourself at local hospitals and/or juvenile shelters
2. Take obedience courses and start participating in competitions
3. Get really good at dog training and you could start your own side business
4. Start your own money-generating business as a dog-sitter
5. Become a dog walker and advertise on Craigslist

Since you own a dog, you should have plenty of experience with caring for one and can use that the build your 'stash!

amberfocus

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2014, 03:53:39 PM »
I agree with previous posts that sure, having pets isn't mustachian, but neither is having kids or about a million other hobbies that bring us joy.

I disagree with the premise that having pets (or kids, or even cars) is inherently un-Mustachian. Sure, there are un-Mustachian ways to approach pets, kids, and cars, but there are also perfectly reasonable ways to handle them, and I don't think being Mustachian necessarily precludes having any of those things.

I can certainly think of plenty of ways that pet ownership goes way over the top -- anything from pet spas/hotels that cost more than the human equivalent, exotic/rare/pure breeds (including show animals) that not only cost a fortune but also have a ton of medical problems, or even heroic/invasive veterinary interventions that only delay the inevitable, and are more for the owner's psychological rather than the animal's health benefit.

But just like you can turn down the Ivy League preschool or fancy clown car, you can also just ask a neighbor to petsit, rescue a mutt from the shelter, or learn when it's (sadly) time to say goodbye. The actual cost of keeping a pet (or child, or car) does not have to be exorbitant. If you think about it, animals in the wild take care of themselves for free, so us spending a fortune on their care is obviously not a prerequisite. It is ultimately down to not falling for Tiny Details Exaggeration Syndrome.

We have two rescue cats, we adore and spoil them, and we're almost certainly going to adopt a few more. Yes, their six foot tall $120 cat tree is the most expensive piece of furniture in the house, and I have literally spent more on their medical care than on my own, but they're also perfectly happy playing with a cardboard box or crumpled paper dug out of the trashcan. The ultimate cost of my pets is still less than most folk's normal entertainment/recreation budgets, and they make me happier than anything else I spend discretionary money on, so I don't regret a thing.

dodojojo

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2014, 07:05:07 PM »
I have a pair of sister cats and yes, they surely are a drag on Mustachian savings and FIRE plans.  I'll admit the kitties are the exception to the rule in terms of scrimping and saving.  I don't make a big show of it, but they do get higher end food and the vet care in my area is really expensive.  I also have additional expenses because one of my cats is very skittish and freaks out periodically.  I have spent on a diverse array of expenses in order to keep her calm and from killing her sister during one of her "episodes."

If saving dough was the be all and end all, then pets are off the table.  I volunteer with rescue dogs and cats and as much as I want the animals to be adopted, I gingerly advise some people to really think through an adoption.  If you're not able to financially care for a pet or feel comfortable with the expenses associated with pet care--give it a pass.  I'd rather a cat stay a little longer at the adoption center than have a college student going into debt to come up with an adoption fee.  And the cat goes without vet care or worse, ends up at a high kill shelter again because the owner can't afford pet care.  Or doesn't want to afford pet care.

My girls are 6 years old and I hope they'll be around for another decade or a decade and half at least.  At that point, the plan is take a break from kitties.  Not for money matters but to allow for travel.  I hope to be FIRE at that point and I'd love to do some extensive travel.  Right now, I don't want to leave my cats for longer than 2 weeks.  They get excellent care while I'm away but one or two visits a day for many weeks can't be optimal.  Plus...I miss them.

smalllife

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2014, 04:53:00 AM »
Mustachianism is about cutting life down to what matters to you, and finding the most frugal way to do that.  Pets have always been a part of my life, I missed having them when I was at college, and I can't imagine a home without them.  We have two cats and a dog now but would likely cap at two dogs and two cats.  Some people want kids, I want furballs :-)  They don't have toys because they make their own, vet bills are a little high as we just went through some mystery illness, but for the cost of most people's cable bill we have three additional members of the family.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Do you have pets?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2014, 08:07:02 AM »
I have a house cat and an outdoor dog.  Our dog is a Great Pyrenees and St. Bernard Mix.  He is about 140 lbs and makes a great guard dog for our livestock.  We also have pigs and chickens, but don't consider them pets.  We average about $40 a month on pet expenses.  Our vet is very inexpensive and I do most of the vaccines and treatments myself when possible.