So consider your options before letting go of your faithful friend.
An organization called Paws Companions offers veterinary services for families who qualify as low-income earners, including spaying and neutering as well as vaccinations.
And the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a comprehensive list of things you can do before you think about parting ways with your best friend - including handy tips for negotiating with a veterinarian.
It may even come down to something as simple as finding your local food bank. And yes, there are food banks just for pets.
And if you think you're one of those people who will never, ever give up your four-legged friend, think again. Economics has a funny way of changing our perspective on life. Consider a pet insurance plan like the HSUS-approved PetPlan.
They march by our sides through thick and thin. But if you're considering marching them down the shelter road, for whatever reason, maybe it's time to think again. And ask for a little help. You may not know it right now. But you may need your pet as much as she needs you.