It's time to get back to basics. There are a lot of dogs in the world. In this country. Everywhere: fliers, ads, posters, events, pages of sad statistics. Much of the population problem is the fault of careless and/or thoughtless, greedy humans. These LIVING dogs could die and will die unless responsible humans step in and give them warm and loving homes. If you can, go to the shelter and adopt. Save someone. http://www.benldadoptapet.org/ , http://www.apl-shelter.org/ are some of our close-by locations, crammed with hopeful dogs. Don't spew out that "I want them all..." "It breaks my heart to go there so I don't..." BUCK UP.
Our local newspaper ran an article which listed the annual cost of a dog to be $695. It's a bit more for a large dog, say, another $100. Round it off to $800. You cannot put a price on love. Still, to more people than I can imagine, this is a lot of money to spend. Take the pet insurance out of the equation and the costs go down over $200. Work instead to keep your dog healthy by feeding decent food, not overdoing treats, going to an obedience class, exercising your pet, and keeping him or her groomed. Sorry, if it turns out you cannot keep your pet then good care, socialization, and health are important in re-homing, or adopting your dog to someone else.
Maybe a better choice at first is to help out by donating to your favorite shelter and help pets find homes before you adopt one yourself and have to return it. That's no fun for the dog either. It will break your heart to give up your friend but you have other friends. The dog knows only you and has only you and depends upon only you. Talk about broken hearts.
But maybe you only need ways to make having a pet affordable.
Other tips: Get a used crate from a garage sale. Buy bedding at a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Make your own dog treats. Use old tee shirts, cut into 2" strips, braided and knotted at each end, to make toys. Make your own meals for your dogs - be aware: no raisins, chocolate, grapes, cooked bones (they are brittle), onions, garlic, almonds, and check for other toxic foods - you can get recipes on line; you're connected.
It's not just what you spend though. You are apt to not spend money elsewhere.Your dog can save you hundreds of dollars on exercise equipment or club membership and you won't need special outfits to get in shape. Your dog keeps you out of the psychiatrist's office (a bit longer) because you have a therapist with you at home; one who not only will listen to you but will love you. Your dog will entertain you - hours of joyful activity can keep you away from passive time spent watching TV or videos, or other forgettable timewasters. Have your youngest friends read to your dog. Have a family night and include the dog. Cuddle up with Bowser and turn down the thermostat. There are so many ways dogs are good for you.
It's time for us to be good for dogs.