Bella Does Math: The True Cost Of A Rescue Dog
A common question that we at Southern California Pomeranian Rescue are asked is, “How much does the dog cost to adopt?” We are always happy to explain that there is a tax-deductible adoption fee, because we are a charity. Not only is the fee tax-deductible, adopters get a lot of tangible as well as intangible benefits when they adopt a dog from a good rescue like SCPR. There have been a few people who recoil in horror at the thought of having to pay any fee at all, and this blog is for them. I will explain to you why paying a fee to a rescue might just be a GOOD thing and a better deal for you in the long run. So put on your readers and let’s break it all down:
Not everything on this list applies to every dog, but for those who wonder why Rescues even need to ask for an adoption fee, just consider these things! When everything is added up, you will easily see that the true cost of a Rescue Dog is a lot more than the adoption fee. Costs will vary depending on region, and without additional donations and fundraisers to sustain the expenses of the Rescue, there would be no Rescue. Without fundraisers, there would just not be enough money available. I help SCPR raise funds with my Bella Blankie Project:
…and my Bella Pomeranian 2013 Calendar Project. If you would like to help, just click on the links to get donation information and help homeless Pomeranians!
1. Kenneling: The dog that is saved by the Rescue must have somewhere to go. If there is no foster home available, then it must be housed in a kennel until space in a temporary foster home is found. Kenneling is never ideal. Pets forget how to be pets when they are kept in kennels for extended periods of time.
2. Vaccinations and Testing: All dogs should be vaccinated for the most contagious and common viruses: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, parainfluenza, rabies, and bordatella. Most animal shelters automatically vaccinate upon intake and release of the dog; dogs taken in from private parties may not have been vaccinated. Either way, the rescue pays for the vaccinations included in the shelter fee or to a veterinarian.
3. Dental: When a dog is taken into rescue and the only thing holding his teeth in his mouth is all the tartar that is stuck to them, chances are high that there will be abscesses and advanced gingivitis that will require the removal of many teeth. Neglected teeth and the infections from them are often the reason why dogs develop heart murmurs, suffer from congestive heart failure, and die far too soon.
4. Transport: Rescues will often step forward to rescue a dog that is not local to them. At times a volunteer will transport a dog from point A to point B because they were going there anyway; at other times, a Rescue must pay a transporter a fee for service.
5. Spay/Neuter: Animal shelters will require and perform the spay/neuter, and include the cost in the shelter fee. Dogs taken into Rescue from private parties must be spayed/neutered before being adopted out and the cost is borne by the Rescue.
6. Grooming: Dogs coming into rescue from an animal shelter are dirty and smelly. After being on the streets and picked up by animal control, then kept in an animal shelter for the required period of time, they no longer resemble their siblings in the ring at Westminster. Long coats are matted and soiled; nails need clipping, bodies and coats need shampooing. A long-neglected dog of any breed can be transformed with a bath, a clipping and a little TLC.
7. Preventives: Dogs also need basic maintenance for their health, comfort, and safety. Flea and tick preventives, heartworm preventives, and deworming tablets are also necessary to make sure that the dog you are adopting is free of parasites.
8. Life-Saving Veterinary Care: There are dogs brought into animal shelters because they have been abandoned and found starved, or hit by cars with broken bones or other serious medical needs. Shelters strapped for funds cannot afford expensive veterinary care, and must euthanize animals not suitable for adoption unless a Rescue steps forward to take the dog as-is, and assume the responsibility for the cost of medical care necessary to save the dog’s life. We are truly grateful to organizations like Lifeline 4 Paws, a foundation that assists with veterinary sponsorship for non-routine medical treatment for sick and injured dogs in the care and custody of qualified Rescue groups in good standing.
Here is a great illustration that lists some of the expenses a Rescue takes on when they take a dog into rescue:
Thank you, ARF, for the delightful graphic depicting “A Rescue Dog’s True Cost”.
I hope that I have helped illuminate the TRUE cost of a Rescue Dog: Priceless.