Frugal way to have a dog in Germany

About 2 weeks ago, Martin and I got a dog!

Sort of.

She’s not our dog but we’re fostering her for a nearby, overcrowded shelter.

Meet Luna.

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She’s a 3.5 year old Golden Retriever mix, is smaller than the standard retriever, and clearly has the face of an angel!

Can you believe, that she’s actually the neighbourhood’s newest terror-dog? She gets violently aggressive when she sees other dogs and disabled elderly people (they take too long to pass).

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Luna comes from an abusive home so her actions are confusingly bipolar. She’s not like a normal, well-adjusted dog. Not yet.

She’s nervous if we get too close to her front (back is okay) and will jump half a metre away if we come close. She never licks or invites a belly rub. For the first few days, she would hang out at the furtherst end of the apartment away from us, and growl if we got close.

But she’s slowly warming up and making HUGE progress.

So are we. We have to exercise a lot of patience, and stick to training her. Germans like their dogs well-trained.

We hope to help rehab her by giving her a stable, loving, and active family life, so that she can be adopted into her forever home one day.

Why don’t we adopt her ourselves?

Seriously, I think it will be very heart wrenching to give her away once that day comes. She is getting attached to us and vice versa. But, we don’t want the long term committment of caring for a dog. We travel a lot to non pet-friendly places, and are also considering leaving Germany some day soon (this is my plan anyway!).

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Right now I have time to look after her since I’m at home, and I’m blown away by how much work she is!

I walk her a minimum of 5 times a day, and feed her 4 times a day. She’s a huge princess when it comes to food, which is why I feed her multiple smaller meals because she won’t finish larger portions in one sitting. Since I’ve transitioned her to a nutritionally balanced, vegan diet, that I cook for her myself and mix with organic vegan kibble, it hurts effort/time/money-wise to have it go to waste.

How is fostering a frugal choice?

By being dog foster parents (new identity!), we pay for her food and that’s it!

All of her vet bills, liability insurance, and the dog paraphernalia that was loaned to us (collar, leash, bowls, etc…) is paid for by the shelter. They even gave us a gigantic bag of dog food, which we only used a little bit of to transition her over to vegan food. We’ll be returning the food bag back to the shelter soon.

In Germany, there’s a Hundesteuer (dog tax) paid to the city where you live. In our city, the Hundesteuer is 84€ per year, which is not the worst but also not something I’m excited to pay or take time to register. However with fostering, the Hundesteuer and administration is handled by the shelter!

Conclusion:

It’s a lot harder to foster than anticipated, but the experience is overall very positive on both sides. Martin and I tend to think only about ourselves or each other all the time, so it’s nice to step out of that and use our privelege to make a difference in someone else’s life.

We love getting to know Luna and she is bringing us a lot of joy and silliness! Since I’m at home now, it’s nice to have company and a reason to GET OUTSIDE. She is a sweet addition to our family. 🙂