Why the adoption fee?
updated 2/14/11:
Why should you pay a much higher adoption fee to a rescue when you can get a puppy or dog from a newspaper ad for FREE?   Why does an animal shelter only charge a small amount, but a rescue is many times higher?  Why pay for a 'rescue' dog that has no papers, or traceable parentage?

First, nothing is really FREE!  Look at the VET cost chart below and see what your average initial cost will be for that Free dog. Also there can be Obedience Training (at $100 for a basic class) and liability insurance (incase he bites the delivery man)  If you are not going to care enough about your new dog to assure it is healthy and trustworthy, then you should not have a dog. Period! 

Most rescues want the best possible future for the dogs and puppies they save from death or abandonment. To help ensure this:

(1) They will work to ensure the adopter knows everything about the dog/puppy, including breed characteristics.  They evaluate for friendliness with other dogs, cats, other animals where appropriate, with men, women and children, and any issues the dog may have like: food aggression, chases cars, digs up the yard, frightened of thunder, etc. 

(2)They have complete vet testing done to assure a healthy dog or at least be able to make potential adopters aware of problems that are present.  If the problem is treatable, the rescue will spend as much resources as it is financially capable to get the dog as healthy as possible. (Brooks was $3500, Ashlee was over $1000 and Toast is up to $2000)

(3)They take applications and take the information provided very seriously.  Not any dog will 'fit' in any home.  Rescues want to make the very best 'match' so that the home is 'forever' "until death (by old age or terminal illness) do you part".  (So don't be offended because someone wants to come to your home and meet you or call your vet).

(4) Often many applicants are rejected.  Sometimes it is a lack of willingness to understand the breed characteristics. Sometimes it is just the attitude of the applicants about "owning" a dog. Often times it is because the 'match' is not good. (The dog does not like cats and they have 3 or they want a 130 pound barking dog and they live in an apartment complex.)  Sometimes several applicants will be great, but they all want the same dog.  Consideration for the dog always comes first.

Bottom line: most Rescues take a personal interest in EVERY dog.  Most rescues guarantee the dogs they adopt out. They can tell you everything about the dog that is humanly possible to learn in a few weeks or months. They always (even years later) require the dog be returned if for any reason you cannot keep the dog.  Rescues don't stop caring once the dog is out the door!  Ozark Dogs requires weekly updates for the first 2 months and then a monthly update thereafter.  (Do remember, though, dogs behave differently in different environments and under different rules so please, should a problem arise, immediately contact the rescue, talk to the dogs previous foster mom or whom ever knew the dog best.  Also check out "A New Fur Kid in the Home" for many common sense answers to common 'new dog in the home' problems.

Example of a typical VET bill on a healthy dog to assure it is a healthy dog:  (Ozarkdogs does what is indicated as necessary for the age of the dog and it's history.)  costs in purple are always done


My cost- Puppy 2- 4 mo.

My cost- Adult dog Average cost (but can be higher)
Office visit w/ mini exam  $35 $35 $ 45- $65
Sterilization: Spay or Neuter $85 $95 $130 - $250
After surgery pain meds $28 $28 $32
Antibiotics $32.50 $51.10 $60

CBC  Pre-surgery blood work

$70  (if indicated) $70 (if indicated) $ 100 minimal tests pre-surgery.
$1000+ can incl. thyroid, liver, kidney, cancer. contagious disease screen can run $1500
Heartworm (SNAP) test   $ 35 $ 50
HW+ treatment (70%)   $200 (slow) $700 (vet) $700 (vet)
Ear infections (80%)   $35  
x-rays (bone, joint, organs, etc)   $85 per x-ray (x 2) $ 550  head to paw to tail.
Rabies immunization $13.50 $13.50 $16
DHLP/Parvo immunization $27 x 4  ($7 x 4 med only) $27  ($7 med only) $144  by vet ($36x4)
Bordatello $23 vet  ($6 med only) $23 vet  ($6 med only) $28
Fecal exam (not incl. treatment) $14 $14 $18
wormings (strongent & Drontal+) $25 $45 (repeat every 4 - 6 mo.) $100
micro-chip & registration $22 (with program) $22 (with program) $55 + $20 reg
TOTAL $223  as high as $436 $287.50  as high as $1400 $ 798 - without X-rays, blood work, HW treatment

Other ordinary expenses
Ozark Dogs has every adult dog professionally groomed upon arrival and upon adoption.  We have a great groomer that does this for approx. $30 per bath (adding a cost of $60 to medical costs per dog).  We do feed them good, too!  Additional costs below are based on 6 month stay and above basic vet costs.  Some have stayed 2 and 3 years.
Bath, brush-out and nail trim x 2.  Most stray dogs are smelly and insect infested. $ 60
Collar, leash & ID tag go with dog $ 20 (cost) (ave. $30)
Frontline (for flea & tick prevention) $ 80  one month in 6 pk.
Ivermectine  (heartworm prevention) $ 3.75 6 mo.  (HeartGuard $50 -6 month pk.
Quality food (we don't feed junk) $ 150  typical large dog (bought on sale)
Supplements (vitamins, etc.) minimal $72
TOTAL care costs for 6 months (not including vet) $ 385.75   ($12,344 annually for 16 dogs)

In 2010, Ozark Dogs took in approx. $6000 in adoption & outside donations (plus $3000 designated donations for the heated "dog house" and carport.)  We vetted 20 dogs and adopted out 19. (intake and out go overlap & some returns)  Do the math to see how much we personally donated. (20 dogs X $255 (min.) + care expenses - undesignated donations = )
 A REAL Rescue is not in the dog business.  They are in the rescue business.    So when I ask a $300 adoption donation, think of it that you are getting a dog that is well vet checked, well cared for, aware of any physical or behavior issues, and saving $498 or more over the cost of a "Free" dog.