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Old 11-18-2012, 12:33 PM
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Airn Airn is offline
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Default Your Thoughts On "Free Adoption Days" (and other things)

I am in a group that volunteers at my local shelter to organize and help with events they do. A few weeks ago we were invited to a "Free" (or price reduced by $50) pet adoption. There were quite a few local shelters and rescues. A lot of people came and around 57 animals were adopted.

That sounds great and all but a lot of the volunteers couldn't help wondering if it was actually a horrible idea. While I personally wouldn't pay hundreds for a dog, I believe you should pay something. They are getting all of their shots, micro-chipped, spayed/neutered and a lot of shelters/rescues give additional things like food.

I am a bit concerned that people think "Oh it's free! I should get a dog/cat then!". Having an animal shouldn't be determined by "free" and I worry that some of the animals that get adopted at these "free" events aren't going to be cared for properly. Not only is the decision usually based on a whim but several times I've had people ignore what the volunteers say about the dog.

If we say the dog would be best with older children, we don't mean you should bring your two children under five to crawl all over the dog. Or if we mention that this dog is working on her space issues and would prefer to be left alone, don't assume you will be the sole exception to this rule and try to pick up the dog. (In my opinion this dog should not have been brought to the event, but she was being fostered and I believe it was more of a test.)

(Side note: I get annoyed by a lot of the dogs that get hand picked to come to events. It's usually the same dogs and there are reasons they don't do well at events. One is an good old shepherd mix who is 8 years old. I love him but at these types of events, people rarely want older dogs. Another was a blind and deaf spaniel. She was a great dog, but again, not the best candidate for immediate adoption. There were a couple of others who had kennel depression and I assume the guy brought them to get them out. We had four dogs adopted out. All small and all younger. I would think you would bring the dogs you know could easily be adopted so you could have more room at the shelter for those dogs that can't find homes. What are your thoughts? Would you bring the scraggly, old and disabled or the happy, ready-to-go dogs? Am I missing something? )

There was even a group that really wanted to adopt a dog even though their dog hated the dog she wanted to adopt. Their dog was not very well behaved and they didn't really seem to notice.

Anyway, rant's mostly over. What do you think of these "free" events? If you could only bring a few (under 15) dogs, what would be the determining factors? (Age, time at shelter, breed, etc)
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 PM
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I don't really have a problem with it so long as the same screening processes happens to ensure the dog is going to the appropriate home. The shelter may need to be more careful to be sure the people who are coming can actually afford the pet and are not doing this spur of the moment with no planning. This can be accomplished by talking with them and having a good application. I also might not let them take the animal that day, make them come back and get them from the shelter the next day or later in the week so they have time to think it over.


I sort of understand why they would bring the older/less attractive dogs. For example take this 12 year old cat:



Never in a million years would I choose to adopt that cat based off of her picture and description on the shelter website. She's old, female (I like males generally) and looks freaked out in the picture, plus her pink bottom lip looks funny to me.

Yesterday I went to the shelter to volunteer, met every single cat they had (like 20-30 cats) and she was the one I would have taken home. She was super outgoing, trilled when I opened her cage, mewed when I spoke to her, then confidently jumped out of the cage and rubbed all over me. I sat down and she settled on my lap for loving.

Some animals just don't look great in photos or sitting in a kennel or don't sound very special in a write up, but they shine when you actually meet them in person. So they figure if they bring the animals who would get passed over on first glance walking down the isles of the shelter or looking at their pictures online, people will actually have a chance to meet the dog and fall in love. The young lively pups probably would have gotten adopted from the shelter quickly anyways within the next few days if they had not come to the event. The older dogs' best chance is to make someone fall for them with their personality, and that can only be done in person. Same thing goes for certain breeds, plenty of people walk right by a cage with a pit bull in it because it's a pit bull and they don't want one of those. If the person meets him in a store and is cuddling with him on the floor they might not be so concerned about what breed the kennel card says he is, they see the real him right there.


The dog who will show their best at the event should be brought, regardless of age. So dogs who are friendly to people and dogs, not easily overwhelmed, and who don't have terrible manners. Those are my feelings anyway.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:34 PM
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I would bring the 'hard to adopt' dogs to something like that, and perhaps some 'not ready to adopt but here to socialize' dogs too. A wait period either way, but the 'free' dogs would be the harder to adopt ones that are older - maybe ones that need a lot of training and the fee to adopt is waived but the new owners have to prepay and then attend classes with the dog.

I'd bring some pups to socialize, but those would not be 'free'. I think it's a good event since there are good homes sometimes that can't pay much for a pet but are still responsible people. If nothing else it's a good way to spread the word.

I organized an adoption event in our little village and was not impressed that some of the bigger rescues couldn't be bothered to send anyone for the day. Considering our area is one that NEEDS those sorts of things and educated people to talk to residents. It's not unheard of to see cats breeding when you go fill up with gas...... huge feral population.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:45 PM
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The shelter we got Lucy from is doing it for black friday. Free adoptions (usually dogs are anywhere from $50-150 depending if the shelter had to pay for the spay/neuter), but they're still asking for a tax deductible donation. They also require the same application, home visit, vet check, etc. that they always do. It's not just a "walk away with a critter" day.

I see no problem with it--it's a promotional thing. When we filled out the application for Lucy, one of the boxes was "I expect to spend $________ on this dog each year". They looked at our number (I think I had put something ridiculous like $200) and handed us a sheet with all the average costs for food/vet care/training/etc for our area, and gave us a more realistic number, so we weren't shocked. It was good for us, because even though I was paying for the dog, I had absolutely no idea what caring for a critter cost.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:54 PM
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To put it succinctly I have very mixed feelings about free adoption days. There are already so few measures in place to protect the high energy breeds of dog that are in the shelters here... at least the fee weeds out a few weirdos.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:01 PM
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I am with monkeys23. The shelter I update petfinder for is having "free" adoptions for seniors as it's adopt a senior pet month. But they don't give them to just anyone. They have to fill out an application and be approved first. But shelters that do it and don't screen thoroughly I have a problem with.
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