An Ode to Adoption Fees
Oh, adoption fee, the frustration you cause, for rescuers and their, er, rescues with four paws…
Yeah, yeah, I’m no Shakespeare. Although being a Limey, I’ve probably called at least three rescue dogs, ‘Shakespeare’. Often preceded by the words, ‘Noooo!’, ‘That’s my toothbrush,’ or Get Down.’ I once read that some pop star named his dog ‘Funky’, so that he could say, ‘Get down, Funky!’ when the dog jumped on the furniture. Anyway…
As a rescuer, adoption fees can be a thorny issue. I’ve had adopters be so grateful for the dog they’re adopting, they’ll give more than is asked. One knitted me a scarf. Others threaten to call Fox News because HOW DARE YOU expect them to pay over $100. Even when the going rate at an LA City Shelter is $122. To them, rescuers can be bankrupt or booked onto the next episode of Hoarders, so long as adoption fees are kept low. And if they can’t afford it, or simply don’t want to pay it, then we must be rollin’ around the Hollywood Hills with hundred dollar bills, looking for thrills. Right.
My advice is simple. if you’re worried about fees, stick to the larger rescues who get grants, or have rich benefactors living in aforementioned hills. Organizations like Best Friends can afford to supplement adoption fees because they bring in millions of dollars. Smaller ones, or independents like me, are not even within birds eye view of that ball park. So fees are generally higher to reflect that. If you’re worried that a rescue is out to rip you off, talk to them. See if they know where their dogs are, if they show follow ups, and answer questions you have. If you smell something funny, then chances are there’s a skeleton in the cupboard needing a shit. However, the majority of us are just trying to help animals.
Here’s an example. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce MiLord Benn. My latest rescue pug, 10 years old. I mean seriously, how could I resist this face? The breath, on the other hand, is halitosis with Roid Rage. But it’s not like he’s going to be ‘Hey Girl-ing’ anyone, anytime soon.
MiLord’s rescue fee? $5.50. His adoption fee, will probably be $125. So naturally, I’m rubbing my hands in glee at the profit I’ll squander on dog beds. Not so fast. Being 10 years-old, and a brachycephalic breed, the shelter deferred MiLord’s neuter so that I could run a blood panel first. This is to check he’s ok to undergo anesthesia. $100. Whilst under, he gets a British Special (Dental) Another $100. This is amazingly cheap compared to most places, as my vet is kind and does me a favor (Dr Joey at North Figueroa Animal Hospital in Los Angeles.) Add meds for dry eye, antibiotics, and you’re probably looking at another $60. So what started as $5.50, winds up at least $265.50. It doesn’t take Susie Orman to figure out, I ain’t living large on that one!
Example #2. Tigger. Shelter fee $65. Adoption fee $425. He was healthy – so woah, what a mark up! I’m a capitalist off to buy a Louboutin shoe and a sandwich. Or am I?…
No. Because along came Horace the Handsome.
Again, a bargain at $5.50. He’s a young, purebred English Bulldog, so his adoption fee will probably be $500. ‘He’s so cute, can’t you lower it?’ ask some. No, I say. ‘Bitch,’ they reply. ‘I agree,’ I sigh. ‘But trust me, if you can’t afford $500, you can’t afford a bulldog.’ Now back to that profit. To cut a long story short, after being treated for mange and a fungal infection, Horace has been to an animal dermatologist for a skin biopsy due to continued bald patches. Cost so far – probably around $1100. And it’s not over yet.
Add to that another, 5, 10, 15 rescue dogs (or however many a rescue has), and you can see why adoption fees are important. Even when I raise donations for my medical dogs, there’s still the hundreds spent on gas, food, supplements, etc. I’m certainly not in rescue to get bling. I’ve even worn Crocs. Ultimately, adopting from a rescue often saves you money in the long run because we take care of all the health issues before you get the dog.
So I put this to the naysayers – instead of thinking that rescuers are out to take your money, why not think of it as a chance to give back? You get a new buddy, and we get to continue to help dogs and save lives. It’s the bigger picture, man!
Don’t miss Nikki’s other TPM Diary of a Dog Rescuer posts. You’ll find them here.
For more information on these great dogs available for adoption, or to learn how you can help with costs, contact Nikki Carvey on Facebook. And Nikki has her own blog, Road Dogs and Rescues on WordPress.