Wednesday, January 10, 2007

American Idol's Simon Cowell & the Rescued Pup

In this photo from People* magazine, American Idol's Simon Cowell is pictured holding a rescued pup from a local shelter. Cowell was doing his good-citizen duty at a benefit for rescued animals.

photo credit: Malibu Media

"New Idol contestants take note! Proving his bark is worse than his bite, Simon Cowell lets his guard down Tuesday during an encounter with a furry friend at the opening of The HOPE Animal Rescue Sanctuary on Barbados."

Pet rescue and pet adoption organizations are a great way to adopt pets. Our pup Scruffy was abandoned with several of his siblings in a bag in front of a supermarket when they were weeks old.

After years of avoiding pet pleas from our kids, we gave in. We adopted Scruffy, who has been a great pet. I have this advice for parents of pet-craving children

1) Adopt a pet. Avoid high-priced new "designer" dogs, which sport new labels for mutt, according to animal experts I have interviewed. Example: puggles (a pug and beagle mix), labadoodles (lab and poodle mix). Call it a mutt and save your money.

Those new-breed mixes can cost $1,000 and more. But to adopt a pet will cost somewhere around $50 to $200, including shots and other vet services. (Adoption fees vary according to the non-profit group.)

2) Reality check: Realize that it's your pet, not the kids. Children lose a bit of interest after the second week. As an adult, you will walk, train, feed and play with the dog most of the time. What's more, you will fall in love with the dog.

3) Even an adopted pet is going to cost you lots of money. (You have no idea. We had no idea.)

4) Say goodbye to your carpets if you get a puppy. We had a new tile floor installed last week.

5) Pets are a great learning/parenting tool. In all fairness, our kids do pitch in to help with Scruffy. Not as much as we imagined, but there is a sense of shared responsibility. We've all become more disciplined.

6) Shop frugally for pet supplies and services. The Mighty Bargain Hunter had a great series on containing pet costs. Here's a piece I wrote about pet supplies from the dollar store.

Here are my other Scruffy stories and another link: Scruffy, Our life coach.

*disclosure: On a contract (free-lance) basis, I periodically work for People. My blogging work is independent of those ties and I regularly write about many news organizations: Us magazine,, WSJ, NYT and Miami Herald, and others.
See my full disclosure.



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