Sunday, September 26, 2010

How Much is a Life Worth?

Do you know what AARF's adoption fees are? We ask folks to donate $225 when they adopt a dog and $150 when they adopt a cat. Lately, a few potential adopters have complained about our adoption fees and decided that a "rescue" pet isn't worth that much. And we even had one shelter in the metro area claiming that rescue groups are just in it for the money.

I simply don't understand those perspectives.

Let's look at what each pet comes with at the time of adoption:
  • Dogs: spay/neuter, DHLPP vaccine, rabies vaccine, bordatella vaccine, heartworm test, deworming and microchip
  • Cats: spay/neuter, FVCRP vaccine, rabies vaccine, feline leukemia vaccine, FIV/FeLV test, deworming and microchip
That's just the basics.

Now, let's assume that we bring in a pet from a shelter, have them fully vetted, and they get adopted the next day. Already, the adoption fee is a bargain. Call any veterinarian in Atlanta and ask them for an estimate of each list.

Unfortunately, that never really happens. So, the dogs and cats move in to a foster home. Almost every pet that comes to us from a shelter needs at least one trip to the vet and a round of antibiotics. They need flea and heartworm preventative every month. They eat. They need collars and leashes. They need toys and training to help them get socialized and ready for new homes. Sometimes their fosters travel and they need a place to stay.

Let's look at an example -- Daisy joined us in January, 2010. She has been waiting for 9 months for a forever home. In those 9 months, Daisy has needed $997.84 worth of veterinary care. She has needed boarding 3 times, for a total over $550. And her supplies have added up to about $224. So, AARF's investment in Daisy is at least $1800 at this point.

When she gets adopted, we'll get a $225 adoption fee. She would have needed the veterinary care and supplies whether she was with AARF or someone got her as a "free" dog. If she was with a family that never went anywhere, maybe the boarding costs would have been less.

Daisy is worth absolutely every penny of the money spent on her care. She is an amazing dog, and will be a wonderful companion for the lucky family that adopts her. But for the potential adopters who said our adoption fee is "out of line" with shelter fees, you have missed out on a wonderful dog because you instead wanted a "cheap" dog. You passed over a sweet, funny, healthy, housebroken, trained dog because you think we "charge" too much.

I wish before people passed over rescue pets because our fees are too much, they would consider the cost of a "free" pet.

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