Animal house

Posted June 10th, 2005 by Penny Wise

The dreaded vet bill arrived today. Actually, it was slightly less than I had anticipated, but it was still (gulp) $438.83. I haven't told Noel, as he emphatically said that he didn't want to see it - even more so because Dudley isn't exactly his favourite dog (his precise words being 'if you shoved a broom handle up his backside, you could use him as a mop'). To be fair to poor old Dudley, the vet bill wasn't all his fault - $62 of the meticulously itemised bill went on worm tablets - can you believe it costs that much for three measly worm tablets! Luckily I decided not to get any for the cats until next month.

Noel tells anyone who will listen that he used to love animals until he married me. I have never really thought about how much they cost to maintain, but I do seem to spend an awful lot of time at the pet shop. A quick inventory shows last month's pet costs (excluding the vet bill of course):

Dogs x 3 = $35.28 (Food)
Cats x 6 (no, this is not a typing error, I do mean six) = $24.40 (Food)
Donkeys x 2 = $8.95 (Carrots)
Frogs x 4 = $20 (Flies - I spend $20 a month on flies???)
Goldfish x 2 = $3.95 (Fish food)
Tropical aquarium = $22 (Food)
Total pet costs for month = $114.58

I don't think I'll mention the above figure to Noel either. The question is, how can it be improved? The donkeys don't actually need carrots, we have enough grass on our two acre patch to feed a herd of cattle for a month, but it's a nice 'donkey bonding' thing to do isn't it? The frogs and the fish belong to Ali - he loves all creatures and they love him too. Unfortunately it's me who has to clean their three huge tanks. The tropical fish are a 'community' so I'm told, which means they eat various type of food, including bloodworm and algae tablets. Nice. The aquarium was Ali's 5th birthday present - we got it complete with 30-odd fish from eBay and the novelty hasn't worn off. It's much nicer to watch them than the TV if you ask me, and he has got far more enjoyment from that than any toy we could have bought him. Mind you, most toys don't have ongoing costs...

The frogs were carefully nurtured from tadpoles and we picked up an awesome tank to house them from the dump of all places! The cost of their flies is a bit scary, (OK, it's shocking) but until last month I did manage to keep costs down in that department by catching our own. I can only imagine how bizarre a supposedly adult woman must have looked, racing around the kitchen, grabbing unsuspecting flies and gleefully popping them into the tank. I even had the neighbours doing it when they came round for coffee! That worked fine in the summer, but now the colder weather is here, the creepy crawlies have all abandoned me, so I don't really have much choice but to head to the pet shop. So, my only money saving option is to try and cut down the costs of feeding the dogs and cats. I have seen some great pet food hints and DIY dog and cat food recipes in the Vault before, and have always thought 'Hmm, must try that' and have never got around to it. Well now's the perfect time to try it out! I shall make it my new project!

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