As most of you know, we got Frankie 1 month after we got married. He was so cute, and so small! In the beginning, he was quite a handful, as all puppies are. We really had no intentions of getting a puppy; we were looking to adopt a dog who was at least 1 or 2 years old. But Frankie was so dang cute and he was available without all the hoopla of home visits and large adoption fees. And (we thought) he didn’t shed.

Later on, I had reached my breaking point and felt as though we couldn’t handle him anymore. We were losing sleep, we were sleeping separately, potty training was a nightmare, he was constantly crying, and neighbors complained about his barking. You guys told me to give it more time, and I found that Frankie was certainly part of our family. Even our parents and my grandparents loved him. He’s got so much character and he’s super smart. He knows sit, stay, lay down, roll over, and even pretends to “die” when we shoot him with our finger gun. Not to mention he sings sometimes. He’s a great walking/jogging buddy, even with that scare we had a few weeks ago where the dog tag broke off and he got loose from the leash.

Some people wondered why we got a dog even with our tight finances. I replied that it’s not that expensive to have a dog, because really it isn’t. Once you find a vet who doesn’t overcharge you for vaccinations (we found that ours certainly was) and once you find deals on toys and food, it’s not an expensive commitment at all. Frank eats about a cup – a cup and a half of food everyday from a 5 pound natural food bag from Natural Balance. Include some Natural Balance treats and we probably only spend about $20-$30 on him a month. We recently spent about $50 to get him neutered and get pain medication. He’s not due for his next vaccination until this coming June, which will be about $15 at the Golden State Animal Society (would’ve cost $62.50 if we went to our local vet).

One thing we occasionally “splurge” on is taking him to doggy day care. I know how it feels to be an only child sometimes, and it can get lonely. Same holds true with dogs, especially when their owners are busy or not there. We found a very nice doggy day care and kennel not far from us that Frankie loves. He gets to play with other dogs, and burn that energy he usually has because he has a patio and not a yard at home. That’s $25/day, so we take him sometimes when we need a break. When we go out of town, or need a longer break, we take him there to stay overnight for $31.50/night. We took him when we went to Vegas for the weekend, and he had so much fun.

We may be spending money on training sessions next. Since Frankie is mixed with Jack Russell Terrier (I’m starting to believe there’s little to no Chihuahua in him from his personality to his size), he can be quite the defiant dog. He’s potty trained but lately has been pretending he doesn’t know where to go. He can be very bossy to me and tries to make me play with him. He’ll bark and fuss, bites me to get my attention (that’s never fun) and can truly be a hassel all over again. I should have taken him earlier, but training isn’t as cheap as food or doggy day care. It’ll be what some consider a splurge, but we believe it’s necessary if we’re going to keep this hilarious and sometimes crazy dog.

The doggy day care offers training classes and so does Petco. I know he’s a working dog, and feels like he needs a job to do. I ultimately want to get him trained to be a service dog, and maybe find a program where we can take him to schools for therapy for kids (he loves kids, or maybe just my little cousin Travis haha). But, one step (and dollar) at a time.

Tell me about your dog (and I’d love some pictures too). Did you take them to training classes? About how much do you spend on them every month? And yes, that’s us and Frankie.