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.
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.
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.