Well, the ixus is around £300, so that's around $600
As it's mainly for taking pictures of friends/family (and pups!) I wouldn't suggest you got anything overly camera-person-y. The camera I have I got for that reason, and you just don't need most of the functions. My mom has an Ixus though and it's marvellous!
What you want is a fast shutter speed too - then you can catch focused shots of the dogs running, because the lens only opens up for a split second, and catches the action real quick