5 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
I know I haven’t posted in a while, but this is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Last month, we stopped fostering guinea pigs and resumed fostering dogs. We took in a small, easy dog named Emerson. But unfortunately, the rescue we foster for has been having troubles renewing their dog selling license, so getting him adopted has been tricky.
Until the rescue gets everything figured out, Emerson and other dogs formerly owned by the rescue can’t be advertised or adopted out through the rescue. So, a volunteer currently owns him while Molly fosters him. The volunteer wanted to keep the adoption process as similar to the rescue’s as possible, which includes the adoption fee.
Molly has never questioned the adoption fees before. She knows they’re on the higher end (a couple hundred dollars), but considering how much it costs for volunteers to care for a dog, it seems logical. However, since she has had to advertise Emerson herself through Facebook groups and apps like Nextdoor, she has had to deal with all communications firsthand without the rescue’s help. She quickly learned that many humans are against high adoption fees.
Why are People Mad About Adoption Fees?
When Molly made a post about Emerson on Nextdoor, she was shocked to see lots of people leaving negative comments. Right away, people accused her of charging too much for a dog she’s just “getting rid of.” Of course, Molly kindly explained the situation and assured everyone that Emerson is very loved and that no one is getting rid of him. She also pointed out that she was not in charge of the fee.
Luckily, nobody fought back after she gave a reasonable response, but a few more comments popped up saying that the price was ridiculous. It caused Molly to wonder if they were right, and she considered trying to get the fee reduced slightly. But later, other animal rescuers commented defending her and thanking her for taking care of Emerson. Those comments reminded her that she’s doing the right thing, so she shouldn’t let mean comments get to her.
For a while, Molly wondered what she would set the adoption fee at if it were up to her. She concluded that she would make it a little less, but she wouldn’t drastically change it. She knows people don’t like to spend more money than they have to, but a dog is different from other products. We’re living creatures and family members!
Are High Adoption Fees Reasonable?
Molly believes that high adoption fees are reasonable, especially when a rescue has had lots of success with their fees in the past. Adoption fees not only include the dog’s adoption paperwork, but they also cover their recent vaccines, monthly preventatives, and spay/neuter procedure. At the rescue, Molly often sent some supplies home with the dog too.
Another reason we think high adoption fees are okay is because dogs are a big commitment. Even if the fee is low, they will still require hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year in supplies, vet care, training, and other expenses. So, if someone is refusing to pay the fee that’s listed, it makes me wonder if they can afford a dog in the long run. If someone is willing to pay the fee, there’s a better chance they’ll take good care of the dog.
The only time I think adoption fees are “too high” is if someone is trying to get rid of a dog as quickly as possible. If a dog is about to be euthanized or if someone had to re-home their dog within a few days, they can’t be picky with the price for the dog’s sake. Some fee should be in place, but if it seems too high for that situation, it’s likely someone trying to scam you, such as a puppy mill or someone trying to re-sell a dog they got for a cheap price.
So, if a rescue or shelter has a high adoption price, don’t judge them. They work hard to care for those dogs and they want to ensure they go to a family that’s serious about the dog’s care. Plus, I’ve never seen rescue organizations have the insane prices that breeders have. They would never charge thousands of dollars for a dog unless they were shipping them from another country (such as dogs rescued from the meat trade).
Why Shouldn’t Adoption Fees Be Low or Free?
Many humans seem to think that if someone is re-homing a dog, they should be given away for cheap or free. Sadly, that’s a bad idea because there are many not nice humans out there. People may scoop up free dogs to re-sell them or use them for dog fighting or as bait dogs. If the dog is not fixed, they could become a breeding dog at a puppy mill.
Thus, even if you’re not associated with a rescue, please require a fee if you need to re-home your dog. If you don’t have time to re-home them, find a no-kill rescue to take them in and re-home them for you. That way, you can ensure they’ll go to a good family.
I know adoption fees can be more than people are willing to pay, but please look at the bigger picture. These fees are in place to keep dogs safe and organizations funded. If you don’t like a fee, it doesn’t cost anything to scroll past the post and not say anything. And even if you do comment about it, please don’t be rude. There are a lot of people out there trying to help dogs that face hate comments for no reason.
Please be nice to animal rescue volunteers, and please don’t assume the worst in people who are trying to help dogs. For people like Molly, the dog’s happiness and well-being are a priority, so of course, the adoption fee is never set with profit or any malicious intent in mind.
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