Giving away free dogs

I will never pay a “re-homing fee” to an individual giving up his dog.

Of course, I would pay an adoption fee to adopt a dog from a shelter, humane society, pound or rescue group, but I won’t pay an individual.

Since pets are property, everyone seems OK with the idea that dogs and cats should be sold. Apparently even a bad owner deserves $100 for realizing he doesn’t deserve his dog. Just search Craigslist or look in the newspaper classifieds for a few examples. But it’s not the price that shows irresponsibility, it’s how the person goes about selecting the next home for his dog.

My cat Scout came from an “accidental” litter, and I adopted him for free. I did not pay anything for my mutt Ace either, who was also an “accident.” I offered his original family $50, but the response I got was something like, “No, just take him.”

I was doing them a favor and saving them money for every day they did not have him. Since then, I’ve changed my mind about how I will acquire pets.

Ace the black lab mix covered in drool

Irresponsible and responsible are not defined by a price.

An irresponsible person doesn’t care who gets his dog. He might give the dog away for free or he might sell it. It doesn’t matter. Either way, the pet will likely go to another irresponsible person who agreed to take the pet after a fast, thoughtless decision. This only continues the cycle of dogs being recycled from home to home and eventually a pound. That’s why people say not to advertise with words like “Free to good home” or “Free dog.” When things are free, quick decisions are made.

On the other hand, a responsible person is going to take the time to select the best person for his dog. There will be questions, an interview process, maybe even a home visit, a follow-up and plenty of time to think. Whether the next owner pays for the dog or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is the dog will get a good home.

I will never pay someone for a puppy or dog they no longer want.

1. If someone has an adult dog he can’t afford or doesn’t have time for, then he should be paying me to take the dog off his hands.

2. If someone has a litter of mixed-breed or purebred puppies from an “accidental” litter, I’m not going to encourage irresponsibility by paying for one of those pups.

There are too many people out there who refuse to have their pets spayed or neutered. Instead, they profit from “accidental” litters by selling the pups. Most people will pay at least $100 for a puppy, no matter what kind of mutt it is. In a state like North Dakota where dogs run loose in rural areas, “accidental” litters happen all the time.

There will always be exceptions to this. For example, I might pay someone for his dog if I had no other way to get the dog out of an abusive home. Or if for some reason I was dead set on a certain mutt, I would probably pay for him. And I can’t say I will never buy a dog from a breeder either. My boyfriend has his heart set on greater Swiss mountain dogs. With rare breeds, there aren’t many to rescue. Does that mean we shouldn’t buy one?

For more information, see my post on where to get a dog.

Have you paid or charged a re-homing fee for a dog? Why or why not?

42 thoughts on “Giving away free dogs”

  1. I would like to say that I have only given one of my dogs away my whole life. That was because of a relationship situation that I was in that changed. I couldn’t have two big dogs by my self back then. But I knew who he went to and knew he was going to a good home. I will say that if I ever did need to get rid of one of my dogs I would charge a rehoming fee if I couldn’t give them to someone that I knew. The reason being. The rehoming fee usually weeds out a lot of the people that you do not want to have the dog in the first place. If they can’t afford the rehoming fee they probably won’t be able to afford the dogs expenses. Plus they usually get stuff with the dog that if they had to purchase it would cost them the rehoming fee anyway. You can always change your mind once you meet the people. If you think they are going to be great for the dog tell them that they don’t need to pay the fee. Usually you will be able to tell if they are going to be a good home or not by how they act around the dog. But hopefully I never have to give another dog away and then I don’t have to worry about it.

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yeah those are good points Shane. It would be a tough decision to give up a dog, and I’d want to find the best person possible. I agree that requesting a re-homing fee could weed out some of the people I wouldn’t choose as a new home for my dog. Thanks for your input.

  3. I’ve noticed that private parties will put a re-homing fee in their listings for dog in order to weed out snap decision makers as well. At the very least, it is a small safeguard. However, I totally agree that irresponsible people should not be given money for “accidental” litters or animals that they simply don’t feel like taking care of anymore.

  4. Oh, and I forgot to mention (and you can merge this with my other comment or not count it)…is that drool all over Ace’s handsome face? Gus looks like that most of the day also! Hahahahaha! We carry a drool towel every time we take him out!

  5. I’ve only given away one dog, which was planned from the beginning, and I regretted it. The only reason I would give away a dog again would be if I had to leave the country, and really couldn’t take the dog with me. That dog would have to go to someone I knew had a very special bond with him/her, or I would rather have my dog put down.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yes, that would be drool all over my dog’s face! Very typical.

    Hi Esther. Yeah, I can’t imagine having to give up my dog. I hope my family or a friend would take him, but I can’t count on that. I wouldn’t have him put down though. I think he’d be an easy dog to place in a new home.

    1. Flora Vouglitois


      I hope a wonderful day. I am looking for a toy dog. I a
      Have just fought through to bought of cancer. Please send pictures and if he/she is still available. Thanking you in advance.


  7. I have only given up one cat – my Luna girl went to a new home last year. I wouldn’t have even thought of charging a fee!! In fact, I was willing to help pay for her care for a while to help the family who took her!

    We had to find her a new home to restore harmony in our home. She picked on our Miss Girl and it never improved (we tried for TWO years!) It was the toughest decision to make… but now I know Luna is with good people and happy. And Miss G is doing MUCH better without being picked on all the time.

    I have paid rescue fees – Luna for instance! 🙂 It covered her spay and care before I adopted her. It went to a shelter and I didn’t mind paying it at all.

  8. After we stupidly didn’t get Daisy spayed in time and she escaped, we ended up with five puppies. We still have Jet but found good homes for the rest.

    We were just glad we could find homes for them. Heck, I would have paid for people to take the Pups not want money for them.

    Dogs can be expensive to keep. I am surprised that people want money for accidental puppies. They should realise the kind of bills they will be stuck with for 15 years or so if they can’t get homes for them.

  9. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hi Tammy. I remember when you had to find a new home for Luna. It wasn’t easy for you at all but you did what was best for your cats.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Three Dog. Most people don’t admit fault when their dog gets pregnant. I know what you mean about paying people to take the puppies. I would probably do the same.

    1. You still have a puppy? And what’s the race? Please need to be male and small because she’s lives in apt.
      Is for my boss she’s just lost her dog and she’s very sad .
      I wish to help her out because she has a cancer stage 3 and I don’t know how long she will be around and I want to do her dream came true, she’s live with a her family please help me.

  10. I’m with you all the way. I’ve only given away 1 dog in my lifetime, and that was only after I found I couldn’t handle him – he was becoming agressive towards my other dog and cat, and then turned on me and I became terrified of him. Luckily a man I worked with that had experience with hard to handle dogs agreed to take him and he was very happy to have him. He was more stern with him than I could be and was able to work through the agression and he became a good dog for him, although he still lapsed back into his bad behavior toward the man’s wife from time to time, but he was there to control him. I would never have asked for money because I felt bad enough that I had to admit I couldn’t handle the dog and my friend was helping me out of a bad situation for which I was grateful.

  11. Hi Lindsay, thanks for sniffing by my blog. Mummy thinks that Ace has the same white bib and trainer socks as my sister Sophie. He does look a bit Daney and possibly Mastiffy.
    Me and Sophie were shelter hounds and Mummy says we were worth every penny she paid, considering the castration surgery we returned for was more than the price of our fee’s to free us.
    She said she’d consider paying someone to give a hound a good home, dependant on the situation.
    Love George

  12. Well, I’m going to be in the minority here with my opinion. Although I’m vehemently opposed to irresponsible breeding, and even more so to those people profiting from unplanned litters, I am not opposed to people asking for re-homing fees.

    The reason being that in my area it’s common for people to try to get “free” dogs to use for breeding. It happens all the time with Labradors and Lab X here. They don’t want to put any initial investment into it, but they assume that they’ll be able to sell puppies. They used to come into the shelter and then were appalled that there was an adoption fee. So, even a small re-homing fee is sometimes enough to deter them from taking the dog.

    Also, in my ideal world, I’d like to see people (even if it was an accidental litter), having taken care of at least vaccinations and of course spaying/neutering prior to re-homing and I wouldn’t have any problem reimbursing them for those costs.

    Just my two cents…

  13. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks Marie. Good points. I wish people would pay for vaccinations and spaying or neutering before re-homing their pets too.

    1. What area do you live in so to make sure when i find homes for the dogs i rescue they do not ever go there.. I don’t ask for anything from people who takes my dogs but to sit, talk with me, and I will take the dog on the final time to their home, stay awhile and watch, and the thing that is always told to them–if it does not work out you bring them back to me. I have only had one return when a home situation changed. He is now a permanent. He is to old to go through the changes. I rescue dogs and attempt to find them good homes. I don’t ask for money because sometimes someone will want a dog but don’t have the money to get them spayed.. they can keep the shots up to date. that is all the expense required and of course toys. One dog became a lap dog for this elderly woman and was her companion. She died before the dog and of course, the dog came back, but the dog grieved and died within a few months of her. She could not afford the vet bills and other things because of a fixed income but she gave that little dog so much love and he gave in returned. Not all people are like this, I wish they would be responsible for their actions. I have a pitt female now trying to find a home for. She is ready but because of her being a pitt i am very selective to where she will go. She may end up not going anywhere if I am not satisfied with what i hear and see. She has went through enough trauma in her lifetime. She was found wandering the streets with her throat cut. She has rewarded me time and time again. There are always 2 sides to the story but you have to weed out the free homes just like anything else. It is the responsibility of the person with the dog to make sure they go to a new home. Humans get choices an animal does not get that privilege. I agree with a lot of things but also disagree with some.. And yes, I may occasionally drive by the house or ask if I can come to visit occasionally. I dont just give, I follow up with it. I figure if you are getting her for free, then you will not mind my coming to check occasionally that first month or two. A dog can tell you many things by their actions with people.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl


        Sounds like you do a great job re-homing the dogs.

        I would not take a “free” dog from someone unless it was up to date on shots and neutered/spayed. That’s just me. I figure I am saving that person money just by taking the animal of his or her hands. Most people who are giving away free animals are irresponsible. They just are. They did not plan ahead or they got bored with the dog or the dog has “too much energy” or whatever it might be.

        The least that person could do for the dog is have it vaccinated and fixed.

  14. We live where there are pharmaceutical companies and pit bull rings that will use dogs for bait.

    We suggest anyone here who advertises a dog to ask at least $100 for the dog and to never give away free kittens either.

    There is a chance that the dog or cat you are giving away will make good chum for pits or for testing and the people who take them for free make money on the re-sale of them.

    So we actually contact people with free ads in the papers here and plead with them to change their mind and ask for a re-homing fee and beg them to check references also but if you ask for a fee and bad guys can not make a profit, they will not mess with it.

    Then everyone here are so paranoid that when I try and rescue animals, I get the third degree and so many follow up phone calls and visits from the surrenderer, because they are all so worried that I am one of the people who took their animal to re-sale it to a fighter down in Va or to sell right here in our backyard at the pharma companies. YIKES! At least we are raising awareness though.

  15. I’m writing for a different sort of reason, related to rehoming my dog. I Love my dogs, 2 border collies and a malamute. All spayed/neutered and vaccinations up to date. Two of them accompany me everywhere. I experienced some changes in my life that resulted in my thinking i couldn’t handle the responsibility and i was thinking my kids aged 18 and 15 weren’t helping with giving them all attention so i thought of rehoming one of the border collies. In my heart i knew it felt wrong from the beginning. A young man fell in love with the collie and in feeling bad for the young man allowed my dog to go with him on a condition that we keep in touch and go for walks together and keep close. I realized after feeling as though my heart was being torn out that I couldn’t “give up” this dog so wrote him and told him i had made a mistake and was sorry but i really needed to have my dog back. His mom wrote me back and refused to give the dog back. I am really devastated, as are my kids. I don’t understand how they could not give him back? I know i made a mistake in even thinking of rehoming this boy, but I don’t know what to do now.

  16. Lindsay Stordahl

    I feel bad that you miss dog, but I don’t think it’s fair for you to get the dog back when you decided to give him up. Try to be happy for the dog and his new owner and be glad that the dog has a good home. If you are ready for a third dog again, try to consider the millions of animals out there in need of homes.

  17. When you say that you won’t pay a re-homing fee, you are only seeing one side of the equation. You are a responsible person and will treat any dog you acquire well. But a lot of people are not. I see a re-homing fee as a way to weed out some of the irresponsible potential dog owners, so I would not paying such a fee myself. And just because an owner is giving up their dog does not mean that THEY are irresponsible. Many people give up their dogs due to circumstances beyond their control. Asking for a modest rehoming fee is their way of trying to ensure that their dog will go to a responsible person. Your ideas about screening potential owners, home visitations, etc are nice, but aren’t practical in many cases due to time and distance constraints.

  18. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks for sharing your opinion on this. I do not believe it is irresponsible to give up a dog, but it is irresponsible not to take the time to find that dog a proper home. Charging $50 does not guarantee anything.

  19. I think that all of you that feel it is so irresponsible to give up a dog are crazy. I love animals but there are circumstances that can’t be prevented sometimes. For instance babies that come into the home years or months after you have the animal might have an allergy to it. I love my dogs and cats but at any time children are no hands down more important than any animal. Or if they continue to knock kids down,scratching and biting, tearing things up, or if they just cannot seem to potty train after months and months of training. This is the reason that I am giving mine up. I have been trying to potty train him for over 6 months and he just refuses. I have had him checked out, taken to a pro trainer, changed his diet, taken him for more walks and nothing. I love him dearly but I can’t have my apartment smelling like dog feces all the time anymore. I can’t even walk into the house wihtout smelling it. I’m sorry but it’s time for him to go.

  20. Lindsay Stordahl

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing by finding the dog a new home. When an animal is that stressful for you, it is not worth it to keep it. I agree that the humans should come first. I only hope that you take the time to find the dog a good home. That is definitely your responsibility, and since you love him, I know you will do this for him. I’m sorry to hear it did not work out for you to keep him.

  21. I need to give away my dog by today. I lost my job and cant afford him and the neighbors are complaing to the association where i live. He is a 4 year old adult large neutered beagle. He friendly and good with my kids and other kids so please help me find a place that takes dogs in and wont kill them. im in the los angeles county area. thank you and have a great day.

  22. My grandfather was a veterinarian back in the 40’s. He’d often get dogs to place. He always charged at least $1. He said that the new owner will value the animal more if they paid something for it.

  23. Lindsay Stordahl

    That is the case with a lot of people. If I were giving away a dog, I would just make sure it was going to the right family by doing an interview, a home visit, checking references, etc. I may or may not charge an adoption fee.

    I did not pay anything for my dog and he has the best home (in my opinion, of course). I guess it just depends on each situation. I don’t think someone deserves a $100 re-homing fee just because they failed to spay or neuter their dog and then ended up with pups. They should be paying ME to take the dog (the expense) off of their hands. I will be the one stuck paying vet bills for that animal – vaccinations, de-worming, heartworm medication, spaying or neutering, etc.

  24. Just read the comments and I have to say that giving away a dog is not that easy. I offered a re-homing fee to anyone who could give my large mix breed a good home. All I wanted is someone who had time to love and play with the dog and maybe a nice big yard. I offered a $100.00 reward with food and toys etc. NO ONE WANTS THIS DOG. Oh I did get one taker who lived in the country, but when I took the dog to him it was not safe. He lived in a very small travel trailor with a wife and 2 little kids. There was no fence and semi trucks speeding down the road. To top things off he kept hitting the 2yr old boy in the back of the head and the dog did not like him. That was a no go. Anyway, it is not so easy to find a new home for a lonley dog. Oh, he has all shots, chipped, license, wormed.

  25. Lindsay Stordahl

    It is not easy to find a new home for a dog, let alone a GOOD home for the dog. I’m glad to hear you are doing it responsibly. I’m sure you’ve tried Craigslist and a classified ad in the paper, but if not you could try that. Dog rescues and shelters will also sometimes let individuals post their dogs for adoption on their web sites as a “courtesy” posting for free.

  26. I would put that rehoming fee to weed out those irresponsible people who jump at free but I believe people who cant go out and just buy a dog can still be good dog owners. I myself have never charged but I have paid to get dogs. I have my Chi I bought online, they said he was purebred but didn’t send the papres with him. Oh well I have had him for almost 5 years and mutt or not he is my best friend. Allthough I had some neighbor who found a scotty puppy on the side of the road bring her to my house and dump her, I tried placing her in a shelter but she just growled at the lady which is weird because she is so friendly. I live in apartment and am disabled, I tried to find if someone was looking for her but no one claimed her. So I need to find a good home for her. I will need to inspect them and there place because I love dogs and am against Dog Abuse. I live in WA. state. Love your dog BTW

  27. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks Carrie! Yeah, the main thing is finding the dog a good home, regardless of whether or not you are charging a re-homing fee and regardless of whether the new owner pays anything. I just don’t like how people assume that the re-homing fee alone is going to weed out the irresponsible owners. Anyone can come up with $50, but not everyone can afford the long-term care of a dog or is willing to put in the money for that care.

  28. I think an animal should always go to a good home but the shelters and the private sellers i dont think understand that the best home for the dog shouldnt be about how much the person or family is willing to pay to adopt the dog or cat. The best home in the world for the animal is love, affection and caring for your new family member. I am a single mother working at a fast food place, i dont make alot of money but my heart along with my daughters is huge but i dont make alot of money, so paying $100 to $2500 for a dog is a little high, i will already have to pay to utd the shot and get the dog or cat fixed. Baffles me how people want their dogs to go to a good home but then put a price tag on the animal like it is a hand bag. I understand they say that is to insure a good home, i dont necessarily agree. Caring and love are worth far more than the price tag that people put on animals.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I agree with you. Luckily there are other places loving, responsible people can go to get a dog such as a pound or someone re-homing a dog on Craigslist. I got my dog Ace for free from his previous owner. She was a responsible person just doing what she thought was better for her dog.

  29. I’ve quickly gone into a mire and haven’t worked my way out yet. I have a large family and due to financial straits, have to move into a small apartment that won’t allow us to bring our DJ due to his size and breed. I’ve exhausted all avenues trying to find him a home within our family/friend circle and then some. We’ve been trying for over a month (since we found out what was going to happen) to get him secured but no luck at all. I cannot offer money or anything other than his cute little self. DJ’s an 8 mth old brindle Pitt/Black Lab mix. He’s been neutered and is up to date on all vaccinations & deworming. He’s extremely loving and playful, has never had a moment of agression, has been raised with a B&T Coonhound (who we were able to find a home for through rescue), sleeps every night with my 11 yr. old daugther (he’s her baby!), fully potty trained and accepts the crate for up to 10 hours (so long as you give him a good run when you let him out!!!) and interacts with our family, friends, neighbors and strangers without issue. He will bark at a stranger but that is all. His only negative that I can possibly think of is his fascination with chewing (and no doggie toys don’t do the trick). He’s all about chewing wood (I hear that’s a pitt thing) and shoes. So we make sure shoes are put up and he has his own special old shoes supply. He’s used to being outside while we are at work and being with us from the time we come home until we leave in the morning (uncrated). The only time he gets crated is when we somewhere overnight that has an abundance of wood furniture…

  30. Oh, did I happen to mention that I only 2 days left to find him a home?! Then I won’t have a choice but to lie to my daughter and take him to the only shelter within 100 miles of us that WILL take him, a kill shelter. We know the outcome of that….

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      What part of the country do you live in? If you do take him to that kill shelter, do all you can to label him anything but a pit bull. Call him a lab mix or a lab-boxer mix. Could you find someone to temporarily foster him?

  31. kathleen bodiford

    I have 2 pit bull and bull dogs a brother and a sister they are good guard dogs but I’m moving and cant take them with me I’m short on cash there both black dogs I’m usually home all day for awile if you know ant one who wants two dogs ill leave mv address here 5638 fort rd greenwood fl 32443

  32. hay my name is Ivan leave in Rustenburg looking for a puppy anyone that is giving away his or her puppy please call me on 0814060294

    you’re assistance will be highly appreciated

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