My wife and I went to the local Humane Society last night and adopted this beauty:
Our previous cat sadly passed away on Halloween, and we were waiting until we were settled in at our new address to get a new pet. Budget-wise, we have a cat factored in to our expenses already, so we shouldn't have any trouble (See how I just snuck that in to make this post topical? Seriously, folks, getting a pet should always include some time spent on the budget, making sure you can afford it. And remember, there's no such thing as a free cat.)
I was impressed with the Humane Society here; they have a heck of an operation. As we were filling out the paperwork, an older couple brought in a gorgeous dog. It was huge, and looked like it might be a golden-retriever/chow mix. They were surrendering the dog, and they looked devastated by it. I don't know the exact reasons they were having to give up their pet, but it made me think of the people who will lose their homes to foreclosure, and what they'll do with their pets. I know the "mortgage crisis" is affecting a relatively tiny number of households, but it's sad to think about pet-owners who face eviction.
Even if you're hard-hearted and think the sub-prime borrowers committed fraud and deserve to lose their homes, it might be nice to think of their pets and make a donation to your local Humane Society.
And if you're thinking of getting a pet, start setting aside money now. Work with your budget to make sure it's something you can afford. You wouldn't want to find yourself in a situation where you have to give up your pet because you can't make ends meet.