Frugal Beautiful

Posts Tagged ‘Pugs

Meet Ralph.  He’s a 7 year old foster pug that was relinquished from his owners because they were “too attached to their child,” as if having a child and a dog are somehow mutually exclusive.  He is one of hundreds of dogs put in shelters everyday and his story is not unique.

I have been wanting to adopt a pug since moving out to Chicago 6 months ago.  I was having a hard time finding “the right fit,” and didn’t realize that for purebreds (even if they aren’t documented) there is usually a waiting list.  After several attempts to adopt that fell through at various organizations, usually based upon the sheer amount of stairs to my apartment or my lack of transportation, I was about to give up hope.  I also had worries as to whether I could handle a dog with limited finances and limited time.  Getting a puppy from a breeder would cost double that of an adoption ($300 for the puppy, plus at least $300 for vet bills, etc.)  and training a puppy could be nearly impossible and be a drag for my roomies.  It was quite a quandary- but I oddly had some faith that a solution would present itself.

Someone eventually made the suggestion that I should get in touch with a Pug Rescue and offer to foster- at least that way I could fill my need for a pug, and if it didn’t work out in the long term, I could still get my “fix.”  I found out that if you can get in touch with a rescue and offer to foster, you’ll usually get placed with a dog much sooner if there’s usually a wait.  My rescue is amazing- they offered to cover the expense of a leash and harness and cover the vet costs.  If I decide to adopt, I just pay the typically adoption fee.  Through fostering, I can have the joy of rescuing a dog from a shelter without any obligation if his personality would better fit with a different family who is looking to adopt.

Enter Ralph.  Ralph entered my life a few days ago and has made quite an impression.  In just a few days, I’ve experienced the heart-exploding joy of walking him around the neighborhood- impressing smiles upon random passer-bys as we go on morning walks.  I have also experienced the tremendous strength and compassion of those who do this work all the time.

I took Ralph to the vet yesterday- the president of the rescue called ahead to cover the vet costs so I, as a student, wouldn’t have to front the money.  Turns out little Ralphy has an infection in both ears, a yeast infection on the skin of his face (due to not being washed), and a bad tooth.  He needed immunization shots and a serious ear cleaning.  I was holding him on the table during the ear cleaning- and he collapsed in my arms. He had a reaction to the rabies vaccination and the vets were able to revive him with steroids and fluids.  I was a nervous wreck- I was totally attached to this little guy after just two days.

I sat there in the waiting room as they gave him an IV and eventually heard him wake up and start whining and barking- I knew he’d be fine.  I sat there, struck by how amazing life is (cliche I know), and also the resiliency of those who rescue animals.  This was my first experience- other people go through this time and time again to save animals. I can’t imagine what it feels like to take in a dog with unknown health issues, only to find out they cannot be saved, or to lose them during treatment.  I called the president of the rescue, and she did a tremendous job of comforting me, commending my bravery and relaying to “not worry about the unanticipated expenses,” as it usually costs more than the adoption price to get a dog healthy upon rescue.

An average dog adoption fee is $200-$300.  The cost of treating a myriad of unpredictable medical conditions to make a pet adoptable is anywhere from $350-$600, plus the rehabilitation and socialization that goes into making them suitable to adopt is immeasurable.

If you want a pet- adopt or foster.  Otherwise, support your local rescue or shelter, it saves pets, but I think- it saves people too.

Ralph and I are very happy- and we are very much looking forward to making an impression on the neighborhood on our next morning walk.

For those of you who know me personally, you know I’ve been pursuing a dog for quite some time.  Shouldn’t be that hard to find an adoptable dog that meets my specifications, right?  Well let’s start with some pointers so you don’t have to endure the ordeal I have:

-Decide what you want in a dog. Are you going for looks, where a mutt/mix would do just fine, or do you want more measurable traits that are typically found in a purebred?  Are you fine with the “luck of the draw” or do you want a cute puppy you can get from a breeder that has predictability?

-Decide if you really want a puppy. Many dogs are given up for adoption or resold while they are still really young.  Adopting a dog over a year old might be a better bet if want a companion but not the energy and destructive tendencies of a pup.

-Decide what the dog is for. Do you want a show dog?  Do you just want someone to take to the park? Do you want a mellow mutt that will just hang out while you work on the computer?  Do you want a dog that’s great for jogging?  Do your research beyond just looks and see what kinds of personality you’d like.  Go beyond looks- a Pug and a Boston Terrier are both similarly adorable, but Boston’s are notorious for being high energy.  Know the traits before you decide.

Knowing these questions will help you decide if you want to buy from a breeder or shelter adopt.  Even if you’re adopting, you CAN find purebreds at a shelter- it just takes more patience.

What to know about breeders:

-Know Where to Look. You can look on Ebay Classifieds, do a quick net search or go to a pet store.   But buyer beware! Just because a person has a litter of puppies doesn’t mean they are REAL breeders! Nor does it ensure they are healthy dogs, or they are “worth” the sometimes exorbitant prices faux-“breeders” charge.  I spoke to a man in the city who was breeding pugs to pay his tuition…ya, that sounds legit.

-Decide what you want the dog for, and how much you’re willing to pay. Unless you’re breeding or showing, you don’t HAVE to pay hundreds or thousands for a dog.  For the average person who wants an animal companion, you can find a dog that is healthy, bred ethically and is affordable.

-Your puppy will have more expenses on top of the purchase price. Veterinary care may/may not be included in the purhcase price.  Tack on at least $300-400  to the price of your puppy for vet care, training, supplies and carpet spray.

Decide if you have the time (and patience) for a puppy. Breeders may or may not have trained or socialized the puppy.  The younger they are, the more time you’ll need with them.  If you get grossed out by poo or pissed off by pee on the carpet, you CANNOT handle a puppy.  Know there will be accidents, be prepared with lots of paper towels.

What to know about shelters:

Shelters are amazing!  Even if you want a purebred, (or an adorable mixed breed) you can find whatever you’re looking for.  Here are some of the perks:

-You can find puppies at shelters. Many people give up young puppies because they can’t afford it or didn’t anticipate the time and cost of a young dog and weren’t well informed by the person who sold it to them.

-You can save a LOT of money on a dog if you go the shelter route. All rescue dogs will already have had their shots, been fixed and

-You can save a LOT of time if you go the shelter route. Many dogs at shelters have had at least some basic training and socialization depending on their age. You can avoid some behavioral problems if the dogs are already well acquainted with people and other dogs, and potty training can sometimes be just a matter of “fine tuning” instead of starting from scratch.

-You can feel darn good about adopting a shelter dog. These volunteers aren’t in it for the money and fame- they just want to help and aren’t going to charge you a boatload to do so.

Searching for a specific breed to adopt?

-Google local rescues for your breed or do a search on

-When you find a dog, put the application in IMMEDIATELY.  Certain dogs go FAST.  Most shelters choose homes on a first-come-first-served basis, not necessarily your love or familiarity with the breed, or the offer of “bribe money.”

-Each shelter is going to be different in the application process and what it charges.  Depending on the breed, age of the dog and any special medical attention it has needed could affect the price.  You can get an older dog (fully vetted and past that annoying chew-on-everything puppy phase) for $50-150, on up to $350-600.   A french bulldog rescue in my area charges $350-600 for their dogs, but you might find a similar frenchie  on for $250!

-Diligence will pay off.  If you don’t end up with the first dog you apply for, keep trying!  You will find the right one, and I hope I do!

Subscribe to the Frugal Feed:

Follow Me on Twitter:

Support LoveDrop!

Powered by
August 2020