One of the things I get asked when I do my educational presentations is how much animals cost at HAWS. When I tell kids our adoption fees for certain animals, I invariably hear: "Oh, I could get him. I have (fill in amount here)at home.
While this is what I hear from children, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that many adults think like this as well. But truthfully the cost of the animal itself is just the beginning and is really the most inexpensive part of having a pet.
When I visited third graders at Hadfield Elementary School I brought Speckles the Guinea Pig with me. And of course the kids were very excited to hear that her adoption fee is only $13.00 and thought that they could afford to adopt her.
It was a great opportunity for me to discuss with them what the actual cost of a guinea pig would be. We had to factor in her cage, water bottle, food dish, chew toys, house, bedding and food -- the last two would be an on-going expense. And I talked about having money saved up in case their guinea pig got sick and needed to go to the vet.
While it's natural for kids to want something without thinking about the cost, I think it's a good idea to plant the seed that having a pet is a long-term financial commitment.