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Millennial Money: Do This Before Adopting Or Buying a Puppy

Clear the Shelters

Puppies provide us with comfort, happiness and love.

But bringing a four-legged friend into your daily life is quite an investment — a pup requires a considerable amount of your time, money and attention.

Here’s what to know and do before bringing Fido home.

DIG INTO YOUR BUDGET, LIFESTYLE

Ensure that you’re ready for a puppy and everything that goes along with one.

Your new family member will need to fit into your home and budget, points out Kristen Levine, founder of the Pet Living blog.

To get in the right mindset, ask yourself questions — and be honest with your answers. Levine, who is based in Tampa, Florida, recommends these: Do you really have time for a puppy? Will your family’s lifestyle accomodate a puppy? Can you afford to feed, train and care for a puppy? And are you ready for a 12- to 15-year obligation (the potential life span of the dog)?

“Puppies …are fun and adorable,” Levine says. “But they’re a puppy only for about a year. Then you have an animal that you are responsible for and that is completely dependent on you for everything it needs.”

Aside from the upfront cost of getting the puppy home and other one-time expenses, anticipate paying about $150 in average monthly expenses, according to a 2018 analysis by Rover.com. That includes food, toys, flea and tick prevention, dental chews and more.

FIND A PUPPY THAT NEEDS LOVE

If you still feel like you’re ready for a dog, visit your local shelters and rescue groups so you can consider adoption first before you shop.

Through an adoption, Levine says you’re saving the life of an animal that was at some point unwanted. You’re also freeing up space for another animal to be rescued.

If you’re not ready to decide, some shelters offer foster programs. In this arrangement, you can take on the responsibility of temporarily caring for an animal until it has a permanent home.

“Oftentimes you fall in love with the animal you’re fostering and you end up keeping it, but you’re not making a commitment to keep it just because you want to foster,” Levine says.

Still, there are some reasons you may want to buy a puppy instead of adopting one. For example, you may be looking to show a dog or you might have an affinity for a specific breed.

SNIFF OUT TRICKS

Buying a puppy is usually more expensive than adopting (which often comes with a minimal fee), so research breeders thoroughly before making a purchase or putting down a nonrefundable deposit to reserve your spot in a future litter. You can look up breeders online or rely on word of mouth.

Ask potential breeders what they’ll provide you with so you can set expectations and get clear information.

Reputable breeders like to show off their puppies, so they’ll likely send pictures, take videos, talk to you on the phone and encourage you to visit in person, according to Brandi Hunter, vice president of public relations and communications at the American Kennel Club.

And if the breeder claims to have purebred AKC-registered dogs, the puppies should come with paperwork, Hunter says. Make sure you get a registration certificate at the time you get the pup.

Whether you’re buying a purebred Yorkshire Terrier or a hybrid Goldendoodle, watch out for scams.

You could stand to lose hundreds or even $1,000 in a puppy scam, depending on the price of the dog, according to Lori Wilson, president and CEO for Better Business Bureau serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California.

To avoid being scammed, Wilson recommends doing a web search on any pictures the breeder sends you of the supposed puppy to ensure they’re not fake stock photos.

Don’t get reeled into a purchase decision based on the appearance of the breeder’s website. A fancy online presence isn’t an indication of whether the breeder is legit. After all, Wilson says, scammers will set the stage right.

Perhaps most importantly, the experts say not to hand over money too soon. If you do, you might risk never seeing your deposit or payment again.

“You want to see (the puppy) first,” Hunter says. “You want to know it exists. You don’t want to be taken for a ride.”

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17, 2019, to help find loving homes for animals in need.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015.

Now is the time for shelters to register by completing the online application located here. Organizations interested in participating in Clear the Shelters must complete the Commitment Registration form to ensure proper verification of all interested participants.

When registering, please make sure you select the TAMPA-ST.PETERSBURG-SARASOTA, FL region. This will put your shelter on our CLEAR THE SHELTERS online map, driving families to your shelter. 

Here are the local shelters that are offering no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions for this event:

  1. Citrus County Animal Services - 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  2. Humane Society of Polk County - 3195 Dundee Road Winter, Haven
  3. Barking Out Loud Rescue, Inc - 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  4. Paw Warriors, Inc. - 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  5. SPCA Florida - 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  6. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter - 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  7. Pinellas County Animal Services - 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  8. SPCA of Hernando County - 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  9. Humane Society of Tampa Bay - 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  10. SPCA Tampa Bay - 9099 130th Ave North, Largo
  11. Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services - 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  12. St. Francis Animal Rescue - 1925 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
  13. FLUFF Animal Rescue - 11220 Park Blvd N, Seminole
  14. Manatee County Animal Services: Palmetto Shelter - 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  15. Manatee County Cat Town - 216 6th Ave E, Bradenton
  16. Pasco County Animal Services - 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  17. St. Francis Society, Inc. - Pet Smart - 12835 Citrus Plaza Dr, Tampa
  18. The Humane Society of the Nature Coast - 7200 Mobley Road, Brooksville
  19. Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center - 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa
  20. Humane Society of Manatee County - 2515 14th Street W, Bradenton
  21. Save Our Strays Inc. Safety Harbor, FL - 3223 San Jose Street, Clearwater
  22. Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Section - 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  23. Hernando County Animal Services - 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville
  24. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, FL - 5718 21st Ave W, Bradenton
  25. Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  26. Rescue Cats of Florida, 211 West Alexander Street, Plant City
  27. Precious Paws Rescue, 5164 S. Florida Avenue (Route 41), Inverness
  28. Hands Helping Paws Rescue, 53 West Bay Boulevard South, Lake Wales
  29. Cat Kids Rescue, 10500 Ulmerton Road, Suite 308, Largo
  30. Suncoast Animal League, 1030 Pennsylvania Ave., Palm Harbor
  31. Cat Haven Rescue of Tampa-Pasco County, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Wesley Chapel
  32. Cat Haven Rescue of Pasco County, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  33. Suncoast Humane Society, 6781 San Casa Drive, Englewood
  34. Rebels Rescue, 11665 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa
  35. Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka city
  36. Cat Crusaders, Inc, 6248 Commerce Palms Drive, Tampa
  37. SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  38. Rescue Cats of Florida, 3313 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Valrico
  39. Countless Cats Rescue Inc., 3139 Duane Avenue, Oldsmar
  40. Cat Call Inc, Pet Smart 1051 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon
  41. Cat Call Inc, 11331 Causeway Blvd, Brandon

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