Why Adoptions Are FREE Now Through August 31st

Tell a friend – We are waiving adoption fees now through August 31st!

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 ensures the pet never even has to know what a shelter is… and what could be better than that?

Mixed Breed vs. Purebred Dogs: The Myths About Mutts

Fluffy Mixed Breed Dog

You might know, or have seen recently on social media, that July ended with National Mutt Day. Putting aside the dozens of “Happy #NationalMuttDay!” tweets that flooded our timelines, the occasion gives rise to a more serious conversation about breeding.

For breeders, it’s a challenging conversation to have. Their thought is that purebred dogs come from a long line of pure, traceable ancestry and boast polished, documented pedigrees. Mixed breeds do not, and many breeders believe that they are inferior.

This line of reasoning fails to take into account the many drawbacks of breeding and the detriment breeding can bring to a dog’s health and overall well-being. Not to mention how breeding contributes to the alarming overpopulation of dogs—a problem that shelters, rescues, and organizations like Get Your Pet are desperately trying to solve.

We’re not  suggesting that breeders don’t genuinely love their dogs, excepting the horrible puppy millers of our country. We’re simply taking issue with the idea that a purebred dog is automatically superior to the equally lovable mutts we tend to find in shelters. Some people hear the hype and think that buying a purebred dog will somehow guarantee them a superior companion.

We don’t buy it.

There’s nothing “wrong” with having a preference for a certain breed of dog. Who can explain why we find one thing more attractive than another? But don’t reinforce your preference with any of the common myths about purebred vs. mixed breed dogs.

  • Purebred dogs don’t necessarily conform to the breed characteristics you might expect of them. We talked about this in a a previous blog, but it’s worth repeating. You might be in for some serious disappointment when a purebred dog behaves like the individual he or she is.
  • Purebred dogs aren’t necessarily likely to be healthier. Medical ailments and genetically inherited diseases are quite common in certain breeds. Whereas mutts are often hardier.

If you’ve got your heart set on having a purebred dog in your life, you have options. Get Your Pet routinely sees purebred dogs listed for adoption, and there are many reputable breed-specific rescues out there. You can even check out your local shelter because, according to the ASPCA, roughly 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred.

The fact is that even with purebred dogs, we can’t always know the history or genetic lineage of a pet. What we can do is shape its future. Overlooking the stereotypes and stripping away the bias about breeds can bring our community of pet lovers closer to giving all dogs a good home—mutt or not.

Find the Bernese Mountain Dog in this Picture

Bernese is in the eye of the beholder

Recently a Guardian published a Bernese Mountain Dog on and the response from potential adopters was off the charts. Hey, I get it. This Bernese was adorable. And it’s a truism in the adoption world that a cute little Bichon or a handsome Great Dane or any one of a number of purebred pets is going to generate a ton of interest, while the pitbull-type dogs languish unappreciated. But I’m here to tell you: this fellow in the picture doesn’t know he isn’t a Bernese. He is just as full of love, just as deserving of protection and affection as any purebred showdog could possibly be. Maybe we just need to squint just a little to see it.

Sometimes a Bernese is not a Bernese

We’ve all heard people say,  “My Chihuahua thinks he’s a bulldog” or “My mastiff thinks he’s a lap dog.”  The fact is, animals have personalities and sometimes their self-image doesn’t exactly correspond to their looks. The whole premise of Get Your Pet is that the best way to find the pet that will be a good fit in your household is to have meaningful communication with the person who has cared for and lived with them. And then, to meet them in a neutral, non-stressful place and see how they act.

Looks aren’t everything

So, what am I saying here? That you shouldn’t search for a pet that looks like the one you always imagined you’d have? Well, not exactly. I’m saying that choosing a pet is a lot like choosing a human life partner. Looks count, it’s undeniable, but they aren’t everything. In the end, other qualities are more important. Things like loyalty. Being a good companion. Love.

Keep an open heart

Maybe you found our site because you saw a post about a specific breed of dog. If that’s your heart’s desire, no problem. You can create a search to be notified when the type of pet you are looking for is published on But, keep in mind, we created to help all pets at risk of surrender go from one good home to another, regardless of age, size or breed. So help us — help them — out. Spread the word by talking about our site and sharing our posts. And check back often – new pets are listed every day. You never know, you just might be surprised at the one that steals your heart.

What a Great Testimonial!

Check out how happy Mel, one of our adopters, is with his new pet, Bentley:

“This adoption is completed and we are the very proud parents of ‘Bentley’, a 5-year-old Cockapoo. This was an incredible experience and the best way for animal lovers / owners to re-home their pets for whatever reason. Bentley took to us right away as well as with my 10-year-old granddaughter who went with us to pick up Bentley. Our communication with his former parents was smooth and pleasant, nice people who had their hands full with an active dog and two infant children. We went to an approved plan vet in Maple Shade, NJ and had a wonderful experience there as well. They certainly found a new client in us today.

“What I appreciated most with this process is the fact that it minimized the stress of changing families and regimens for Bentley. No time needed to be spent in a crazy shelter or a foster family which just adds another change in location for the pet. And to have a vet waiting to see us was great.

“Keep up your good work and feel free to use me as a reference any time.


Love, Live, Lose, Love – The Cycle of Pet Adoption

Dona Adopted Lily!
Dona with recently adopted Lily!


Welcoming a pet into our lives is a beautiful, even courageous, act, because it makes us instantly vulnerable. The love we have for our pets, like the love we have for our children, is all inclusive, and without reservation. Whether you adopt a senior cat to give them a few happy months or years, or adopt a puppy to give them a whole, long life, you’ve now invested your heart.

We do this even though somewhere we know we will outlive our pets, that we will one day lose them. And I think this is one of the truly wonderful aspects of being a full, truly live human being. Taking on the responsibility for a pet is an affirmation of the overriding importance of love in our lives.


Some may think that pointing out the inevitable life cycle of pet ownership will dissuade people from adopting a pet. Certainly, that’s not my intention. I’m simply recognizing how, as animal lovers, we consciously or unconsciously enter into this cycle and I think it says something remarkable about us. We love, they live, we lose them and somehow, we find the strength to love again.


Consider Dona, who recently adopted “Lily” through She had recently, and unexpectedly, lost her 8-year-old American Bulldog, Kimber. “On the morning of March 6, she could not get up out of her bed. She had been acting like her usual self until that morning. I rushed her to the emergency vet hospital but the news was not good. Kimber had a huge cancerous mass in her belly that had started bleeding. That afternoon as I held her in my arms, Kimber took her last breath. I was a total mess. My life revolved around Kimber. I felt so lost and so empty.”

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know exactly what Dona was feeling. But, like all of us animal lovers, she knew there was another dog out there that needed her, so a few weeks later she started to look for a dog who needed a home.

And Love Again

I saw and clicked on it. I started browsing the dogs there and there were a couple of dogs that I thought I might be interested in, but then I saw Lily. I messaged her guardian and a few days later they brought Lily to my house to meet me and my cat. I knew as soon as I met her she was going to be my new best friend. And I could afford the fee too! Lily and I became family that day. She has brought life back into the house and happiness back into my heart. She and I were meant to be. Home to home adoption is awesome. I’m so glad I got to meet Lily’s guardian and learn all about Lily. I am still in contact with her whenever I have a question. Her former guardian only lives about 8 miles away from me. It worked out perfectly and I’m so blessed to have Lily.”

Lily in her new home
Lily in her new home

Hurray for Dona, who opened her heart again to Lily. And hurray to all of you who save lives by choosing love.

Let’s Talk About “Screening” Adopters

 Adopter Applying to Adopt a Pet


In the few months since our site went live, I’ve been asked a number of times what we do about “screening” adopters. For sure, nobody wants to see the wrong kind of person get hold of an animal. In the many years that I have been in the animal welfare field, I’ve seen all kinds of screening criteria, including a written application, copy of driver’s license, personal references, home visitations and more. The honest truth of the matter is that there is no ideal test to guarantee an adopter’s suitability, any more than there is any way to guarantee the character of anyone you meet under any circumstances.


Some shelters have almost no requirements. Some have very, very strict hoops they put potential adopters through and still that doesn’t guarantee a successful adoption. Meanwhile, the restrictions they place (like requiring a fenced-in yard, for example) cause them to reject many, many otherwise good, potential adopters.  And, because space and money are tight in a shelter, many, many pets that could have been adopted languish in cages or are put to death.


The backbone of our system is not a series of hoops administered by well-meaning, but overworked and underpaid shelter employees. It’s the guardian (pet owner). The person who loves the pet most. Who knows the pet’s likes and dislikes and needs. Who wants to find the best new home possible for the pet, so much so that they came to rather than just drop the pet off at the pound. This is the person most interested and best suited to judge whether an adopter is a good fit. (We offer help to our guardians with a whole list of Questions to Ask a Potential Adopter listed under the Tips for Guardians section of our site.)


The other element in our system is our payment mechanism. We “pre-qualify” anyone wanting to adopt on our site by asking them to leave credit/debit card information before communicating with guardians. Even though they aren’t charged until they actually adopt a pet, this insures that they are sincere about wanting to adopt and have the finances to afford pet ownership.

If and when an adoption is completed, we charge the adopter $99, considerably lower than most shelters or rescues, but enough to weed out people who don’t mean well. (Bad actors will mostly try to get a pet for free, from a Want Ad-type source, like CraigsList.) The $99 covers the cost of our service;  provides the adopter a voucher for a free veterinary exam and, from most vets, a rabies vaccination, if necessary; and gives both the guardian and the adopter a legal adoption contract, which we believe is important for both parties. (See details at What does it cost?)


Getting pets re-homed and avoiding the shelter is what we are about. We don’t claim our approach is perfect (what is?), but it puts the decision-making in the hands of the people who care most. It is affordable. It gives pet lovers a chance to help each other. And most of all, it gives our best friends their best chance for happy lives in forever homes.

When Harry Met Holly (A Get Your Pet Love Story)

Harry’s friend Carol wrote in to tell us how pleased they are with the adoption of Holly the cocker spaniel:

“Adoption went smoothly and Harry (owner) is very happy… Holly is not so sure! Not sure where she is… but slowly adjusting… Just wanted to say this is so much better than trying to adopt from a shelter… Your fees are very reasonable and you don’t have all the paper work to fill out… I will pass this site along…

“Thank You,

A Shelter Just Isn’t A Home

Re-Home Your Pet, Home to Home Pet Adoption
Gary with adopted pups, LaLa & Cookie Monster


Hi, I’m Gary Childs, Volunteer Team Lead of Project P.E.T.  – the positive reinforcement-based canine training program at ACCT Philly. I’m pictured here with my two rescue dogs, LaLa and Cookie Monster, both ACCT alumni. I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for the past ten years and I’ve worked with many amazing dogs, cats, and all sorts of other companion animals.  Today, I’m thrilled to talk to you about Get Your Pet, the online community that connects people who need to find a new home for their companion animal with people who want to adopt a new buddy.

I recently learned about Get Your Pet, and I’m super excited about what this service can do. Animals that need to be re-homed can be listed on the Get Your Pet website by their current guardians. Potential adopters can search by zip code for lovable, furry friends, and use the site to contact pet guardians to arrange meet-ups or get more information about a particular pet they’re interested in adopting. If everyone agrees it’s a good match, the adoption can be completed!


This model of pet adoption has a number of important benefits. First and foremost, it reduces the stress on the pet. Being in a kennel or shelter can be very difficult on a pet. Suddenly, they’re without their guardian, their home, their cushy bed, their favorite toys – their whole routine changes. Shelters are full of new sounds and smells, not to mention unfamiliar animals. As you can imagine, these changes can be very scary and overwhelming for a pet. There are many amazing welfare staff and volunteers who do their best to make shelters as comfortable as possible, but a shelter just isn’t a home. With a service like Get Your Pet, animals avoid entering a shelter or rescue service entirely and remain in their home where they maintain a normal routine (like diet and potty schedule).

If you’re reading this, you’re someone who cares and wants to help animals in need. If you know someone who is looking for a new furry buddy or someone who needs to surrender their pet, tell them about Get Your Pet. You can help make a difference.

Get Your Pet is Featured on!

Photo by Anthony Beltran for the Philadelphia Inquirer


Our Founder, Angela Marcus, is featured on, sharing why she created, the current challenges local shelters face, as well as her life-long dedication to saving domestic animals. We thank reporter Robert Moran of the Philadelphia Inquirer for helping us get the word out so we can help more pets go from one good home to another!

Take a look at the article on or read below:

Angela Marcus, a former director of operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA, had an idea: What if there was a way to connect people who need to surrender pets with people who want to adopt, completely bypassing animal shelters. In today’s sharing economy, “if you want to go somewhere, you go in someone else’s car. If you want to stay somewhere, you stay in someone else’s house,” Marcus said, citing Uber and Airbnb.

Last November, Marcus, a 33-year-old Bucks County native, launched Get Your Pet, a website that enables home-to-home adoptions. She hopes it becomes the future of pet adoptions. Instead of dropping a pet off at a shelter, an owner can list their animal on Potential adopters browse listings for dogs and cats and can contact an owner directly. A meeting is set up between both parties. If everything works out, the pet is checked by a veterinarian and the adopter pays a $99 fee. The adoption is then made official.

An estimated 2.5 million pets are surrendered annually to shelters across the country, Marcus said. For many of the animals, shelters can be traumatic.

“You’re in a cage 24 hours a day,” Marcus said. Shelter life can lead to illness for the pet. And if there isn’t room, the pet is euthanized.

Her fledgling company has so far facilitated nine adoptions in the Philadelphia region. Get Your Pet recently entered into a partnership with Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, the city’s official shelter. The timing is fortuitous for both sides. On Monday, ACCT Philly began a major renovation of its kennel’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. During the two-month project, the shelter’s capacity to take in large dogs will be reduced by half, from 100 to 50. It is an opportunity for Get Your Pet, which will maintain a kiosk at the shelter during the renovation.

“We are referring to Get Your Pet,” said Audra Houghton, operations director at ACCT Philly. “Anything we can do to get people to keep their their pets in their home [to reduce] owner surrenders.”

ACCT Philly spends an average of $168 for each animal that arrives at the shelter, Houghton said. That covers basic care and medical expenses. The shelter takes in about 25,000 animals a year, so it will save money by avoiding surrenders. Also, with each adoption through Get Your Pet, 5 percent of the fee goes back to help shelters. 

The first success story for Get Your Pet started at ACCT Philly. Marcus was at the shelter when she met a Philadelphia man who needed to surrender a pit bull named Coco, who was not getting along with the family’s two other dogs. Marcus told him about her website and he agreed to try it to find Coco a new home. However, he could not keep Coco in his home, so Marcus arranged for a foster to take her. Through Get Your Pet, the man communicated with two potential adopters, but neither were a good fit.

Then he was contacted by Caitlyn and Adam Kotchetovsky of Sellersville. The couple had just lost a dog to cancer in October. They learned about Coco in early November through Caitlyn’s aunt and joined Get Your Pet. “Everything was through the website,” said Caitlyn, 26. The couple met Coco’s owner that weekend. They learned about tricks Coco could perform.

“That’s what I liked about the whole experience with Get Your Pet. You know the dog’s background,” Caitlyn said. The following Monday, Coco got a veterinary exam and then the adoption was completed. The couple renamed her Ruby.


Read the full article here on Thank you again to Robert Moran, the reporter who conducted the interview who you can find on Twitter here, and Anthony Beltran, who took the photos featured in the story.


The Better Way to Get a Beagle

Lisa found that adopting her beagle Trevor on Get Your Pet was a cinch:

“Trevor is a real sweetheart, we are so happy he has become part of our family. I would definitely recommend Get Your Pet to others. I actually already told one of my co-workers yesterday and she is going to tell her sister-in-law. The best part of using the site was the ease of the site and the step-by-step directions.