Things You Should Never Do On Impulse #1 ~ Get A Pet!

Although I’d like to think I’m quite a calculated guy, I’m also an impulsive one. When it comes to finances I tend to weigh up every move I make and some people (namely my wife!) might say I’m overly cautious. Even with all this over thinking I’ve still fallen foul on occasion, doing things I hadn’t really thought through. Some of these impulsive decisions have worked out brilliantly and I wouldn’t change them for the world, others have caused me no end of grief and really show why you shouldn’t act on impulse!

That Fateful Day

Getting a pet is one of those things I completely underestimated!

When my wife and I first got married we spent a lot of time walking out in the countryside. We often saw other happy couples walking along with their cute dogs and regularly talked of getting a dog ourselves. One day we drove past a farm that was advertising sheepdog puppies for sale. I’d always loved border collies and being the impulsive person that I am I decided to pull over and take a look.

A word of advice to anyone out there who is thinking of buying a pet. If you’re not completely sure don’t go looking at them, especially not the cute baby ones!

Not only did we buy a dog, we somehow managed to buy the most energetic, excitable dog known to man. I quickly realised what I’d let myself in for when I came home to find our puppy chewing through our dining room chairs and doing its doggy business on the carpet. Then we had to find the time to walk it every day and as I’ve mentioned this was no ordinary dog. I used to take it to the park for half an hour every day throwing a ball for it to fetch but no matter what I did this dog just wouldn’t tire out. Even after hours of walking, a 10 minute nap would be enough to revitalize our dog to do it all again. I wish I had that kind of energy!

Then there was the extra cost of owning a pet. After a few days of bringing our new family addition home I started to see how much food dogs actually eat! On top of that there were the injections, micro-chipping and pet insurance, our dog wasn’t the one time purchase I thought it would be.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Although my wife and I loved the idea of having a pet we didn’t really think through the implications of our lifestyle. We both worked full-time, led socially active lives and weren’t at home as often as we thought we were. We were also away visiting family a lot, family who weren’t all that thrilled at the thought of us bringing a dog along for the ride.

We quickly started to feel sorry for our poor energetic dog. I’m happy to say she now lives on a farm with plenty of space to burn off all that energy. If we’d have thought through the implications of pet ownership, I would have never have stopped the car that day.

I don’t want people thinking I didn’t care for our dog, I really did and I’m certainly not saying that people shouldn’t get a pet if they want to, just don’t do it on an impulse.

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22 Responses to Things You Should Never Do On Impulse #1 ~ Get A Pet!

  1. Matt says:

    FWIW I think you did the right thing passing your dog onto a new owner with the space and time for them.
    Speaking from a PF point of view, of course pets aren’t the greatest thing, as they are a financial burden, but they are definitely cheaper than having kids!!
    Matt recently posted..10 Tips for Buying a New Mobile PhoneMy Profile

  2. Getting a pet on a whim is a pretty silly thing to do. They require so much love and attention and you need to be sure you are ready for the commitment before racing off and picking up a pooch.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..11 Ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day – Without spending any moneyMy Profile

  3. We have a cat right now, but have decided that when he dies, we’re done with pets. Pets are great and all, but just too much with little ones in my opinion.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Why You Should Just Say No to Refund Anticipation LoansMy Profile

  4. Jason @ WSL says:

    I’d say that my purchase was on impulse as well…my landlord at the time didn’t allow pets and I was dumb enough to believe I could hide it from her for 6 months! Unfortunately she found out and hammered me with fees when we left (therefore taking most of my security deposit).

    Fortunately, we still have our awesome dog and he’s the laziest thing in the world. Active dogs are fun but I don’t think we’ll ever get anything other than a Bullmastiff. They’re so friendly (albeit large) and very inactive. He loves laying around all day! lol.
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..5 Majors With The Highest ROIMy Profile

    • Sounds ideal! I do love dogs and to be honest we’d have more time for one now we have kids as my wife’s at home more. We still have the problem of family scattered around the country though who we regularly visit, it’s hard work finding someone to look after a dog all the time.

  5. My wife and I love dogs and had 3 at one point. Now we have 2, but they are not cheap. We got the first one on impulse and that was not a great idea. Animals are cool in theory, but if you don’t have time to dedicate to them, then don’t get one.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Who Else Wants to Know how to Improve Their Credit Score Rating on the Cheap?My Profile

  6. Savvy Scot says:

    This post comes at a very good time… I great reminder that a ‘dog is not just for Christmas’ I think we will stick to borrowing my in-laws’ dog for weekend! :)
    Savvy Scot recently posted..Top Money Saving Tips for AppliancesMy Profile

  7. Do or Debt says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I want a cat so bad! I feel like a pet will make me happier. But I can’t justify the expense right now and there might be a move, so it’s just not right. It’s one of those things where timing is everything….
    Do or Debt recently posted..2013 Check In: Re-Assessing GoalsMy Profile

  8. Could not agree more!!! People often get pets because they think it would be so cute, but they are not toys…they are a huge responsibility. I don’t regret my cat one bit. I adopted him from a family for free, but in the first couple of years he had major medical problems. Thankfully I had a good full time job, but now that I’m a freelancer and money is really tight (and now he’s older), if something goes wrong it could really devastate me financially with his medical bills. But I would never in a million year give him up. He’s my fur kid. But I’d NEVER get a new pet under my current circumstances. And a dog is a whole other ball game. And I live in LA where most people rent and it’s much harder to find a place with a pet.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..When Spending Thousands is a Drop in the BucketMy Profile

    • It’s tough to rent a decent place over here in the UK with a pet, especially a dog. I really didn’t want to give up our dog, I even shed a few tears (don’t tell anyone else that!) but I think it was the right thing to do.

  9. Jose says:

    You should add volunteering at a cat rescue to your list. My wife volunteered to foster kittens for a local cat rescue a few years ago. We now have five cats since we kept as many as we fostered! She’s been banned from volunteering at animal rescues!!!!
    Jose recently posted..An Easy Way To Save On Your Heating BillMy Profile

  10. I did a post a while back on the cost of owning a pet and it can be very costly. Pets need love and attention and when I see or hear of pet owners that get pets and leave them plunked in the house or in a yard all day it breaks my heart. We also need to consider vet bills and if they are something that a potential pet owner can’t fund, then don’t own a pet. How heart wrenching it would be to have to put your pet down because you can’t help them. Pets cost money, end of story. If one can’t afford it don’t do it. Great post
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..CBB January 2013 Net Worth UpdateMy Profile

  11. Rachael says:

    Just to piggy-back on what Jose was saying, you can foster a dog or a cat for the RSPCA or Battersea until they find a new home for it. That way you can have a pet without the long term commitment.
    Plus it’s a great way to help out your local dog/cat shelter.

    This is something I have definitely thought about doing as I miss having a dog at home, but as Jose said, you then run the risk of not giving them back :P We have to be practical and think with our head and not our hearts on whether taking on any pet is a good idea for you and the animal concerned.

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