Skip to Content

Free dog and cat adoptions attract good homes

Shelters are in the business of selling pets

There is a demand for “adopted” animals, and people are willing to pay a price to take one home.

However, there is also a lot of competition, even for adopted animals.

There are other shelters and rescues. There is Craigslist. There are people trying to re-home their pets.

If shelters are not competitive, people will get dogs and cats from somewhere else, and they’ll probably do so for less money.

One way to attract more adopters is to offer adoption discounts. For example, instead of charging $150 to adopt a dog, the dogs could be $50 for one weekend.

Progressive shelters and rescue groups are already doing this.

But why are some shelters so hesitant?

There is this myth out there that advertising the animals as free will attract animal abusers, as though animal abusers are lurking around shelters just waiting for a bargain price.

They’re not.

People have gotten so protective of pets that they would rather see them “euthanized” than go into decent homes.

That’s scary to me, much scarier than the slight chance that a bad person could end up adopting one of the animals.

We can’t protect dogs and cats from everything. We can only do our very best to give them a chance at life. To do that, we have to get them out of the shelters and into homes.

You can’t put a price on love.

I know a family that paid $5,000 for a purebred puppy from a breeder. They were very proud of this puppy and couldn’t stop talking about her. They flew across the country to pick her up.

My dog Ace and me!

But, after a year they decided they’d had enough fun and gave the dog away.

Don’t we all know of a similar story?

People buy dogs all the time and it doesn’t work out. I’m not saying this family did not love their dog, but the price they paid for her did not predict their commitment to her.

Meanwhile, don’t we all know someone who has taken in stray animals (for free) and loved and cared for them?

Two of my three pets were free. One happened to be a spur-of-the-moment gift. Another was from a “free to good home” listing online. We paid just $35 for our third pet.

Do you think we would love them more if we’d paid $200, $500 or $5,000 for them?

Of course not.

This is why I believe in adoption specials, as in offering free or discounted adoptions from time to time in a fun way.

And it’s why That Mutt sponsors the adoption fee of a shelter dog each month.

I can’t stress it enough.

Adoption specials matter. Free adoptions make a difference. Dogs and cats are better off with just about any family than at a shelter. Even if it’s the best shelter.

Let’s send them all home.

What are some fun adoption events your local shelter has advertised?

Sam Yaw

Monday 4th of August 2014



Wednesday 5th of February 2014

Our local Humane Society does specials, Two for One cat adoptions, Black Animal Month, and free older pets to the Senior Citizens. They are located off the main freeway, and have an electronic board to feature different pets daily. They are proud of a 100% adoption rate for dogs and just completed a wonderful Kitty City, and hope to up their cat adoptions from 80 to 100%.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 6th of February 2014

Wow, that is so awesome! Which humane society is this?

Jenna Z

Wednesday 5th of February 2014

I'm not sure the issue is individuals who are just waiting for free animals to abuse in their own home for personal enjoyment. The case around here is animal brokers/dealers, people waiting for free animals to then make money off of. This is a larger problem with cats, they are bundled and sold for high school dissection. Another huge issue in our area is dog fighting so when people can get free dogs (craigslist is a notorious hangout for them) they snatch them up and use them for bait. I LOVE the idea of sponsoring adoptions, I will have to steal that from you! And I am not against adoption specials, but I think it does involve some risk.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 5th of February 2014

I don't know of any statistics on how many animals are actually sold for fighting/research as you suggested. Unfortunately, it does happen. I believe it happens a lot less often than we think, though. It would be an interesting post to look into for the future. This argument comes up all the time.