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Do you think our shelters should discount dog adoptions? The question arose (in my head) when I was reading an article about Animal Shelter has dogs for half-price adoption. My initial reaction is “that’s great…hopefully we can get more dogs and cats adopted by discounting the adoption fee.” However, on second thought I’m not so sure it is a great idea.
Image By Gore Fiendus (Jerry Frausto)
After further review of Discounting Dog Adoptions I’ve come to the conclusion that there are good and bad things that may result from discounting. Lets start out with the good:
The Good of Discounting
- Discounting may be that final incentive someone needs to adopt a dog.
- A discount gives a person more money to spend on dog toys, veterinarian bills, etc.
- Marketing your discount program brings in more prospective adopters.
The Bad of Discounting
- If there is a discount the shelter receives less money.
- Okay, lets be honest…if you can’t afford the full adoption fee ($75 from the article) then should you really be adopting a pet. – my point being that the adoption fee should be the least of your monetary concerns when adopting a dog.
Shelter adoption fees are probably one of the smallest expenses you’ll spend on your new dog.
Here is an example of some of the fees you encounter during dog adoption: I brought Linus home from the shelter for somewhere in that price range of $35-40 adoption fee. We then proceeded to spend approximately $200 on supplies including dog food,kennel, dog toys, treats, grooming supplies, etc. When we got him home we noticed he was sluggish, infested with fleas (he had encrusted blood in his ears), stomach virus, worms, and was very anemic. We took him to a self grooming shop, purchased a flea comb, medicated shampoo, and proceeded to clean him up – that was another 50 bucks.
The next day we took Linus to the veterinarian for a checkup. He got his regular vaccinations, medication for his stomach virus and worms and we got another bill for about $200. Finally, the shelter offered to neuter Linus at no charge…no thanks…Instead of bringing him back to the shelter we used our veterinarian. When all was said and done another $250. All of these fees piled up to nearly $1,000 in the first few weeks after adopting Linus.
On a positive note, Linus did receive his initial vaccinations from the shelter and they did offer to neuter him free of charge. My fear of bringing him back for neutering was that he’d end up with fleas, worms, and another stomach virus.
A question I often get asked is what would I do today if I were to adopt a dog? After all my experience with dog adoptions, rescues, shelters, fostering, guide dogs, puppy raising my first choice would be to establish a relationship with one of the our wonderful local dog rescues like Cuddly Canines and over time be patient and select a dog that would fit my personality and energy level. I believe most rescues charge somewhere in the neighborhood of a $200-300 donation. However, that usually includes spay/neuter which most rescues will do before you take home your dog, up to date vaccinations, de-flea and de-worm. Also, dogs and puppies usually stay with a foster for at least 14 days for health and temperament evaluations.
Of course every dog rescue is different and I’d check with your favorite rescue volunteers to see exactly what their rescue has to offer before adopting.
How about you? What kind of experience do you have with dog adoption? Do you think discounting is a good way to “sell” adoption?