“Here’s an idea – how to get a pet on the cheap through adoption agencies. Sometimes they will even agree to pay the vet bills (as our rat adoption agency did.)”
First of all, fab idea sis. Second of all, rats have vet bills?! And there are agencies that tend to their adoption??? Ha! Not that I have anything against rats. I had many rat-pets growing up, including one that built a home-away-from-home in our upright piano. But that’s another story.
I wouldn’t say rescuing from an agency is a cheap way to get a pet, but rather it’s a safer, more predictable and budget-friendly way to get a pet because reputable agencies take responsibility for the pets they adopt out. They have paid for the shots, spay neuter and medical problems the dog came with and many rescuers will help you through the sometimes expensive process of integrating your dog into your new home. Moreover many rescues will know a dog’s behaviors so they can help you avoid common, sometimes expensive problems.
So, even if the adoption fee from an agency is more than you would pay at the shelter, it’s a safer bet.
Then when you compare rescuing a dog to buying a dog, yes of course it’s a savings. However realize that the trade-off is that rescuers will ask questions and ask for home checks. They want to make sure the dog is going to a good home where whatever brought them into rescue in the first place won’t happen again.
It’s also important to know that when you buy a dog from a breeder or god forbid a pet store or online (which you should never do because they are most likely puppy mill dogs) even after you’ve already spent all that money there is no guarantee that dog will be healthy either. Breeders and particularly pet stores and online dog stores are notorious for walking away from unwell dogs, and leaving new dog owners to care for their sick puppies.
Per your sister’s situation, many rescues will subsidize a new dog owner who may be a dedicated dog owner, but who couldn’t otherwise afford a dog’s prescription or even a procedure. Rescues can pay hundreds of dollars a month to board their dogs until they find homes. It would be better to find a loving owner and help with a 40 dollar a month prescription than let the dog waste away in a boarding facility.
So yes rescuing a dog from an agency and remember many have purebreds as well – I just rescued a very sought after Labrador from a rescue – is both a cost conscious and good-karma way of bringing home a dog.