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What is an ‘Emergency’?


We had to put our 14-year-old dog down today. His health has been slowly failing and I’ve been ignoring it for as long as possible. If I ignore it, I don’t have to do anything right? Last week, my husband mentioned that it was time. We needed to stop the suffering.

I couldn’t do it.

Yup, I admit I was willing to let my dog suffer because I simply can’t let go.

Last night, my son touched the dog and the dog howled in pain. My husband put his foot down and said I had one night to say goodbye. Ugh! At Christmas too!

We all said goodbye and my husband called the dog to the car. He gently stood up from his bed and obediently followed my husband out the door. He has no idea that today is his last. Oh geez. I’m glad none of you can see me. I’m a total mess as I’m writing this.

It doesn’t help that we lost our other senior dog less than 6 months ago. The kids still talk about how much they miss that dog. This is why you don’t adopt two dogs at the same time!

This loss is big. And the second in a very short time.

Our dogs have been such a big part of our kids’ lives. They love to take them for walks each morning and they argue about who the dogs will sleep with when we camp. Going without one isn’t something I want to do.

Morbid as it sounds, I’ve been budgeting for the vet expense (type A to a fault). I knew it was coming and even started budgeting for a replacement dog. But I didn’t plan on it happening so soon and we are short. We’re short $100 on the vet bill and likely $200 or so on an adoption fee/licensing/ID tags for a replacement dog. The vet bill is clearly an emergency and I’m pulling that from our emergency fund. The replacement dog is where I waiver.

The light in the tunnel is we’re hitting up on Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the holiday is a great distraction. Lots of sleepovers with grandma and cookie making for Santa. We can easily delay it until mid-January and by then, I’ll have the $200 covered if we stay slim on the budget. Had it not been the holiday season I’d be in a bind. But it did cross my mind to declare this an emergency and come home with a dog tomorrow.

Question… would you ever consider replacing a pet an emergency?

Note: Please don’t debate adopting vs breeding. We are shelter folks but even shelter dogs aren’t free.


  • Reply Reece |

    Sorry about your dogs, firstly.
    Secondly, no, a replacement dog isn’t an emergency. Please replenish your emergency fund first and take some time to grieve and then start your search.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    We had to put our cat down 7 years ago near Christmas. My husband who never wanted a cat cried with me. A very meager Christmas that year after vet bills and everything else. I would wait a while before getting a new dog and yes getting a new dog is not any emergency. Putting your baby out of misery is.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    So sorry for the loss of your pup <3
    As far as a replacement pet, I would hold off until you can replenish your emergency fund as we all know pets can be expensive. However, I’ve seen a few shelters in my area do things like “clear the shelters” for the holidays where they waive or reduce adoption fees. Just something to keep a lookout for. Hopefully when the time is right you’ll be able to save another life!

  • Reply Margann34 |

    So sorry for the loss of your dog. But I agree with the others. A new pup is NOT an emergency. You do not NEED a new pup to live. No dire consequences will befall you if you do not get the new pup right away. And doing so will not eliminate the grieving for your other doggies. I see many people fall into emotional spending. They use emotional situations to justify overspending. I think this falls into that category. It also gives some insight to how you ended up in debt again. You have to separate need from want. A new pup is a want.

  • Reply Reen |

    I agree with the other posters, although very emotional, not an emergency. I lost a dear furchild (almost 11) 18 months ago. The pain was raw for so long and some days still is. I know that a new pup might help to fill the void, but I also figured out it was not fair to the new pup to get one right away. I needed to grieve and be ready to accept a new pup for how special they were and not to fill a void or be compared to the last love of my life. I don’t have kids, so I can’t speak for the emotional toll on them. In September, we got a new 7-week old puppy. I will not debate breeder (not a puppy mill) vs. rescue but we considered both options. For us and the type of dog we wanted a reputable breeder worked out best. We are lucky to have ample resources to do so but also planned for 6+ months.

    Also, keep in mind any new puppy (whether an actual puppy or new to you dog) even as a rescue is going to incur new expenses besides the adoption fee, etc. New dogs always seem to need something that our old dog didn’t have. There is also the possibility of more vet care upfront as you get to know and understand the current dog’s health situation. You ultimately need to do what is best for your family, but my advice is to get through the holidays and maybe set some goals-like springtime and then save the adoptions fees and some additional funds for unanticipated vet bills and things the new pup might need.

  • Reply Jen |

    I’m sorry about your dog.

    The only way I could justify a new pet as an “emergency” is if you found an animal on the side of the road, and it needed vet care. Been there, done that, with 2 cats and $600 in vet bills for gravid spays.

  • Reply SMS |

    I am sorry you lost your dog, but it sounds like it was the right time and necessary.

    I agree with the others. Give yourself and your family time to grieve and later, when your emergency fund is replenished, you’ve saved up the adoption fee and it feels right, look for a new dog.

  • Reply JP |

    This is just me, but I would grieve for a while and not get another dog right away. I wouldnt visit the shelter at all because you will most likely find a pet you will find it hard to leave without. Also this gives you a little time to save for it.

  • Reply jj |

    I am sorry for the loss of your doggies in such a short space of time. But a new puppy is not an emergency, and not financially sound right now.

  • Reply Sarah |

    If you are willing to let your pet suffer because you are too selfish to let it go, you should not get another dog at all.

  • Reply Laura |

    “Replacing” a pet is not an emergency. If you’re so gung ho on immediately getting a “replacement” pet, it’s a sign that the actual pet wasn’t a part of your family, it was just a warm body that filled your personal needs. This is a clear example of emotional spending and not at all what you describe as Type A planning and spending.

  • Reply Kari |

    So sorry for your loss!
    I agree with the other posters, I’d wait on the dog until you have ample emergency savings. Our “million dollar mutt” has had two surgery’s (around 5k) to remove items eaten from her tummy. We have another dog that needs a mass removed. They are definitely not inexpensive to have.
    I’m so glad you are back posting, I really enjoy your posts.

  • Reply Jax |

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your pup. Dogs are such comfort and joy but also the biggest heartbreak.

    I would take a while to think about what you want in a dog and move slowly while you’re still grieving. I’d also caution you against getting another pet if you’re going to let it suffer at the end of its life because you don’t want to let it go. I’m not trying to be harsh, but when you are responsible for another life that means putting their needs before yours.

  • Reply Christy |

    Yes, I would consider adopting another dog now. The emotional benefit to help with the grieving would far outweigh the financial cost of adopting. And since the day-to-day expenses were already accounted for in your budget, choosing a new furry friend from a shelter would not be a huge hit to the budget.

So, what do you think ?