Beware of budget watchdog - MoneySense

Beware of budget watchdog

Meet Chomper. He eats treats, coins, and debt.



I’ve been happily introduced to the law of unintended consequences.

Friends of mine recently had a baby boy, but their Jack Russell terrier didn’t take too well to the newborn’s arrival. So Chomper (who is basically 25 pounds of pure-bred, hunting terror) has found himself living in my baby-free condo until a more permanent solution can be found.

I’m a big dog-lover, but I made the decision long ago not to get one of my own until my lifestyle could accommodate the responsibilities involved. Dogs need attention and space, and in my opinion, a single guy who works long hours has no business keeping his buddy cooped up all day.

However, with Sharlene (one of his owners) on maternity leave and therefore free to walk the Chomp-man at lunchtime, my main argument for not having a dog no longer applies.

Bringing this little guy into my life has produced many spin-off effects, both positive and negative. True to form, he chomped me last week. He often tries to steal my dinner, and keeping him off my bed is becoming a struggle for the ages.

On the plus side, his exercise needs have translated into much more frequent runs for me, and I’m learning a lot about what makes a dog tick.

But the biggest surprise about being roomies with Chomps is that my bank account is happier.

Part of the deal is that my friends pay for his food and treats, so I incur no additional costs. Now that my mind is constantly calculating how long it’s been since he last peed, I’m no longer free to do things at a moment’s notice and spend impulsively. Post-work drinks? Have to walk the dog first. Dinner party across town? Have to run him hard so he’ll sleep, after which I don’t really feel like going.

As a result, my expenditures on stuff like beer and pub food is way down, while the increased time at home means I’m reading more, which is always good.

This means I’m able to make larger monthly mortgage payments and save on interest, a major plus while rates remain low. Overall, I’m healthier, wealthier and arguably happier, all thanks to an infanticidal little canine.

So … anyone looking to adopt a dog?