Understanding The Adoption Fee

First it was Elsa, now it’s Moxie. It seems like there’s always at least one dog that is in dire need of emergency care. If only that were true. The real truth is that there are thousands of animals that are in need of emergency care around the world every single day. It is a sad fact of life, that we as animal rescuers are hoping to put an end to.

I thought that right now while we’re discussing the dollars and cents aspect of Moxie, that it may be a good time to talk about our adoption fees.

On January 1, our adoption fees increased a small amount to $350 and $250 respectively for puppies and adults (seniors remained $125). The biggest question that we seem to get, or rather the thing that seems to detract people, is why do we charge this amount? There are many reasons that go into this and I thought we might lay out the math and explain those reasons.

Let’s start with the reasons before we get to the math…

First, K9 Kindness Rescue, Inc. is what is known as a 501(c)(3) organization . This means that the organization is non-profit – that is, we make no money. We depend on donations and rallies and events in order to generate supplemental income. We now do have a store where you can purchase rescue items, but these are treated the same way as they would at an event. We adopt more dogs each year than we have events.

Second, we have a higher standard of care. Some of you would have a retort like “Michael, I can go and buy a puppy for this cost.” Yes, you could. But where has that puppy been living for the past 6 to 10 weeks? What has it been eating? What kind of personality does it have? What kind of health issues might it have? Has it had all of the necessary shots? There are many “what” questions, and not a whole heck of a lot that’s sure fire.

News Flash – We love pure dogs just as much as the next guy, but don’t kid yourself. It is widely observed that mutts are less prone to have long-term diseases, stay healthy longer, and have a longer life span. Do not assume just because you got your dog from a breeder of two of the same breed that there’s a low risk of health issues browse this site. It is simply not true.

Lastly, emergencies. Dramatic things happen. We take many dogs from high risk animal shelters in the Midwest, and even owner surrenders. When we do this, sometimes there is a risk of a dog that might have a serious issue that isn’t initially observed. It falls on us to take care of this animal, where other organizations may opt to put the animal down. We believe that the dog has a right to a fighting chance and the life of the dog supersedes financial boons.

“Alright Michael, fine…you got me, but do you guys check your math? I mean come on…”

Ah, my fellow readers…yes. First let us consider that Elsa’s surgery and care was over $2,500. Then let us also consider that Moxie’s surgery and care is over $3,500. In two months, that’s over $6,000 in vet bills for two dogs. Now, while this isn’t exactly the norm, it can and has happened. While we would love it if there were just about $10,000 sitting at our disposal at all times, that is not the case.

“That’s not fair, Michael…”

Okay…so let’s look at things as if we never had a problem at all with a dog (on average)…

A Rabies Vaccination runs approximately $16, DHPP is $11, Leptospirosis Vaccinations are $16, Bordatella Vaccinations are $14, Lyme Vaccinations are $22. For the vaccinations alone we have arrived at $79. But wait! There’s more…

Heartworm SNAP Testing runs $30, and a Fecal Exam runs $20. Add the microchip at $10 and we’ve added another $60, so now we’re at $139.

Altering the dog can run between $175 and $195. You just passed the adoption fee, and are now somewhere between $314 and $334.

Now…here’s where things get really interesting. Say that the dog had heartworms and had to be treated…you’d add another $300. What about dental work? You’d add that in there too. Urinary tract issues? What about cancer? If we charged the amount of our actual costs some of our dogs would easily push $900. But the difference is that they have a clean bill of health.

We didn’t even factor in the food we’ve been feeding (which is not the same as most other shelters where they use anything), or heartworm preventative…or flea and tick medication. Let alone the fact that the prices listed are even with a vet discount. Your dog could be perfectly healthy, but the out of pocket expenses for us exceeded well over $450. Let’s not even begin to talk about obedience and learning about the dog and socializing it.

The bottom line is this:
These dogs were taken out of situations where their lives were on the line. We owe them a fighting chance at a happy life. We learn about our dogs, we love our dogs, and will do just about anything for them. They become members of our family until they become members of yours. As such, we do not spare any expense in helping them get the care that they need so they can go on to become a happy tail of their own. We know they understand and are gratuitous – if only seeing it in their eyes and the action of their tails.

So next time you cringe at an adoption fee – be it with us or another organization – remember, there’s a reason for that fee. Chances are that the shelter is taking the hit on that dog or cat. Don’t fret or forget, your shelter dog will give you back that money and then some.

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