Thinking of getting a dog? In these economic times, it's a decision that people should think about carefully. Oh, sure, you've considered the cost of food, even of vaccinations or routine veterinary care. Maybe you've even looked into the cost of veterinary insurance, so that you never have to face the heartbreak of losing a dog because you couldn't afford to treat an injury or illness.
All that's fine. But have you considered some of the hidden costs of dogs?
This week, I spent $435 to get my clothes dryer working again. Thank you, dogs.
When you live with multiple dogs, there's a lot of dog laundry. I'm not talking about cute costumes, or even post-bath towels. No, I'm talking about dog bedding, blankets and covers for cushions. At my house, that makes up a good 4 or so loads a week. About 2 weeks ago, under the pressure of it all, my dryer gave a great sigh and quick producing hot air.
This is a bit of a crisis, since the local laundromat has BIG signs that say "DO NOT dry DOG BEDS in these machines."
Experimentation and some web research revealed that it was probably the heating element that had blown, and after a few calls Jim the Appliance Man came by and replaced it. Alas, he also declared that the reason it had blown was the blocked dryer vent running under my house. I also got a nice lecturette on the number of house fires caused by blocked dryer vents each year. So today Steve the Vent Guy came by and spent six hours cleaning every vent and duct in the house. The heating system went pretty quickly, but the dryer vent was a three hour challenge involving multiple tools - and although he kept it to himself, probably a lot of cussing.
Tonight I'm listening to the happy domestic sounds of laundry drying - first up, the dog bedding....my own things can hang dry until I get through the backlog. And come late spring, I'll be listening to the banging noises of a new, shorter, improved vent being installed. Figure another couple of hundred there.
Ok, who am I kidding? It will be more than that. By the time it's all done, I figure $1,000 total for the dryer and venting work over the course of this year.
Watch this space for other adventures in financial planning for a life in dogs. ;)