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17 July 2014


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Saving Pets

Great post.

For me it's about mission alignment. If your mission is to 'feed the hungry', you seek out financial supporters for that goal and you give your food to those who need it.

You don't open a restaurant.

(Restaurants are already a thing, and they evidently don't meet your mission/goals. That is why you exist.)

If your mission is to 'save homeless pets and place them in homes' - then you seek out financial supporters to help you achieve that goal. Supporters should be covering the expenses of the work you do. This makes adoption fees no longer an operational requirement.

That’s not to say people can’t give you money when they adopt a pet – but this shouldn’t be a condition of the adoption. If that pet and that owner are a good match, then they should be united together.

Adoption fees are an obstacle to your goal. They are the equivalent of charging for your charity's food.

If you want people to do something, then make it easy for them to do it. Make it free for them to do it. Make it impossible for them to say no to doing it.

We continually put up obstacles up to people to doing what we want. Let’s stop doing that.

Peggy Wildsmith

The problem with NOT charging an adoption fee is ... free dogs can end up in the hands of abusers as they will not pay for dogs but prey on "free to a good home" dogs. A fee is a deterrent to those less than desirable people. Now, before you say, well you should look into who you are adopting a dog to, let me tell you good rescues do just that. However, these bait dog groups and animal abusers and dog brokers are smart, real smart and can go to great lengths to seem normal. Let's say you make a mistake and adopt to someone who is really a broker then they flip the free dog and get $400 to $500 for the dog by selling it to someone else. Rescues and shelters try to avoid that sort of thing but you can't stop them all. So it's not all about covering expenses. It's about making whoever adopts the dog, accountable for the dog. Bottom line, if someone pays a fee for something, in this case a rescue dog, they tend take better care of it.


Peggy, that was what the FIRST blog post was about. What evidence we have says that's not correct. There's no correlation between what someone pays for a pet and how much they love and value them. And after all, Michael Vick paid for his dogs, and nearly all of us in rescue have taken in a pet we didn't pay for and loved them, right?

It's very important we challenge what "everyone knows" and make sure it's accurate. In this case, it's not. Here's my first post in which I discuss why: http://www.doggedblog.com/doggedblog/2012/09/what-opponents-of-free-pet-adoptions-dont-get.html

kristina nethercott

This article is offensive to me as a rescue group volunteer.......we do not charge adoption fees and do NOTHING ELSE! Seriously? You have clearly never been involved in non profit rescue group on the front lines. Our group takes in sick, injured, HW+ cases, each costing thousands of dollars to fix! 13 HW+ dogs, 7 amputations and several major surgeries later (in less than one year), we frankly need all the money we can get and we run several very large fundraising events throughout the year and small ones all year long. To say we have to simply do some legwork and networking in order to make up the adoption fees is insulting. We live and breathe rescue and spend 10's of thousands of dollars doing so. And the types of people applying for a free dog is a whole other comment that I won't get into here.


This will certainly shake out the small grassroot rescues. Allowing a consolidation of fundraising and donors, a co marketing and PR agreement with the big national pet stores and the well funded rescues.

The push is on for more offsite adoption venues and every dollar that is going to a grassroots is one less dollar for the government funded or deep pocketed orgs. whose purpose is growth of the organization (company) and can sell their widgets at a loss.

I don't believe it's about the animals at all-


I am on the board of a rescue, so I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about your piece. However, you make a great point, most charitable organizations do not charge a fee to help those in need.

So how did we get stuck in this model and what would it take to get out? Your point about others changing and being left in the lurch as one of the few charging is one way to force people out, but I think it's more than that. I think it not only requires a paradigm shift, but making real organizational changes that scare a lot of rescue groups. I don't know about your experience, but it seems like many of the rescues in my area are managed by a few people and don't work to expand opportunities in the volunteer-sdie of the organization (including a marketing ones). As a result, many people, who might be able to really change a rescue into a free adoption one, are left on the sidelines. I have no doubt that fear plays a big part in the resistance to change.

You've given me a lot to think about.

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