Monday, January 5, 2009

Dogs Should be Tax Deductible

A lot of people cannot afford puppies. Sure, there are plenty of free puppies to be had. But my experience over the last few months suggests that the purchase price is one of the smaller slices of the total cost pie. Becoming a dog owner has become so expensive that the IRS should consider your house dog to be a dependent--just like a human child. It's that expensive.

Besides the purchase price, the initial outlay for equipment and supplies can be significant. One must have the right crate, comfortable bedding, feeding bowl, watering dish, and a toy or two. We also needed three books on chihuahuas, two on dog training, and a subscription to a monthly magazine devoted to the breed. We believe in information.

You have to feed them. This used to be a simple thing. After a full year on Purina Puppy Chow (remember the ads?), you decided on canned or dry and that was it. Now there are endless varieties of top shelf and designer dog foods available in pet stores and from your veterinarian. Some of that stuff looks good enough to eat.

They have to have shots and stuff. Back when Purina Puppy Chow owned the puppy food market, you took puppies in for some cheap shots two or three times, got them "fixed" and then came back every year for a rabies shot. Today it's all that plus pills and potions to keep fleas, ticks, and heart-worms at bay. I've had more face time with the veterinarian in the last 3 months than I had with my physicians in the last year.

You have to see to their education. Nobody likes a bad dog. Tico is home schooled at present. We're thinking about sending him on to some preppy obedience school, but frankly he's so smart and doing so well I'm not sure he needs it. Even without tuition, you have to have the right collar and leash, a clicker, and treats. My observation is to be generous with the treats. Dogs are treat whores.

You have to keep them clean. Nobody likes a smelly dog. You need the right shampoo and for some, like little Tico, conditioner. Some, but never our little dog, might also need a flea comb. You'll need the right kind of brush. Note: "right" used this way throughout this posting means there is trial and error involved in finding just what you need. We have at least two of practically everything.

You have to dress them up and take them places--especially if they are little prissy dogs like chihuahuas. At long last, Tico can wear some of the smallest made-for-dog clothing available. He looks good in Georgia red and black. I've seen a little Georgia cheerleader skirt and top but I didn't buy it because I'm not allowed to dress him up like a little girl dog. I feel like he's comfortable enough with his chihuahua manhood to wear whatever looks good.

But that's just me...

The Crotchety Old Man

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