The issue of fee-waived, or free, adoptions is one that triggers a lot of passion, for and against. Here’s what I think.
Before I worked at an animal shelter, I would have said no one should ever get a pet for free. I thought, “If they aren’t willing to pay for a pet, they won’t take good care of it, right?” Wrong. Turns out, the facts don’t support this.
Take me, for example. I have five dogs all of which I got for free.
They have never gone hungry, or had a medical need that went untreated or lacked grooming. Even when money was tight, I put their needs above my own. I know I’m not alone in this. In fact, I would confidently say that almost everyone I know would do anything necessary to make sure their pet was taken care of, regardless of what they paid to adopt/buy the pet.
There’s good research to back this up. Studies conducted by the ASPCA and Maddie’s Fund, two leaders in the animal welfare industry, show that successful adoptions aren’t correlated with the payment of a fee. They found that most pets lived predominantly indoors, slept in the family bed, and had been to a veterinarian – and a resounding 94% of all respondents declared a strong or very strong attachment to the pet.
But what about people getting a pet for bad purposes?
This one can be tricky. There are certainly bad actors out there. You need to screen adopters, quiz them carefully to be sure they have good intentions. Setting a fee can help weed out undesirables as a first filter. But at Get Your Pet, we believe the ultimate weapon against these people is the Guardian. No one is more motivated to see that a pet goes into a good home than their Guardian, the person who loves them enough to keep them out of the shelter.
No system is perfect; neither ours nor the shelters’ has a 100% track record of picking a perfect home. But we give the Guardians on our site tips and suggested questions to ask and things to look for in an adopter to help them make a good choice. We trust them to put the time and effort into making a good choice for the pet they love. Plus, throughout the process, we monitor messages between Guardians and Adopters to check for red flags.
You may then want to ask me – why does Get Your Pet charge a fee at all?
The answer, quite simply, is we are not a charity supported by donations. We didn’t want our future to depend on charity dollars we took away from charitable businesses like shelters (which also charge, by the way, and usually much more than we do.)
Instead, we decided to create a business that we call capitalism with a conscience, where we offer a service that charges as little as possible, but gives great value and benefits to the people we serve, our Community of Adopters and Guardians. An interactive, national website like ours costs a lot of money to create, maintain, manage and grow. So, we charge what we need to survive and help more pets stay out of shelters by going from one good home to another.
That being said, we don’t have to charge a fee every day to keep the site up and running, and that is why starting today, August 19th, through the end of August, we are able to waive our fees and participate in the massive nationwide effort to “Clear the Shelters”. Even though we don’t have a physical “shelter” to visit, an adoption on getyourpet.com ensures the pet never even has to know what a shelter is… and what could be better than that?