These days, adoption from a shelter is almost always free. Waiving adoption fees is not always popular among critics. Research, however, shows that adoption fees have no correlation with the quality of care an adopter will provide.*
I am not here to debate the pros and cons of waiving adoption fees. I am here, however, to explain why adoption is the thriftier choice.
Animal shelters are in the business of removing barriers to adoption. Barriers do not prevent animals from falling into the wrong hands. Barriers only result in more animals stuck in a system that isn’t equipped to support them. Removing barriers is how we save more animals. Hence, why these days, it is often free to adopt.
This is important to point out for the folks who still believe the myth that shelter dogs are somehow substandard. Shelters don’t waive adoption fees because our dogs are inferior to dogs you pay for. Shelters are able to waive adoption fees due to government funding, grants and donations. Your adoption fee, while waived, comes out of someone else’s pocket.
Preparing for a new dog costs a pretty penny. I know when I adopted my dog Hope, I already had a bunch old supplies from my previous dog. Somehow, I still managed to drop a thousand dollars at PetSmart. Whatever your budget, you can expect to shell out some cash when you first bring your dog home.
Caring for a dog long-term also requires a financial investment. There is dog food, toys, and equipment. There are annual vet visits, and the unexpected ones. You may want to hire a trainer or take your dog to obedience classes. All of these things cost money.
Shelters are required to provide age-appropriate vaccinations. Many take care of spay/neuter before your dog even goes home with you. This means that a good chunk of your initial medical costs are free (or substantially reduced). Dogs purchased elsewhere do not come with these benefits.
Bottom line, when you adopt a shelter dog with reduced or waived fees, you get to spend more of your money on your new dog.
*This research is based on cat adoptions. I would like to see studies on dog adoptions as well.