First of all, we think the work we do to save them is worth it.
Secondly, we have invested a great deal of money in each and every dog we make available for adoption, money that pays not only for food, housing, and socialization, but for vetting that includes spay or neuter, all core disease vaccines as well as rabies vaccine, deworming, a heartworm test, and in some cases a microchip. We feel it is more than acceptable to ask for partial reimbursement of these expenses so that we can go on saving other dogs at risk of being destroyed.
Thirdly, reaction to our fee is the first step in our screening process for potential adopters. Anyone who doesn’t think the work we do has value will probably not provide the best environment for a rescued dog. Also—as harsh as it may seem to some—someone who cannot afford a minimal adoption fee most likely cannot afford the routine care, feeding, and proper vetting of an animal over the course of its lifetime. Sure, “free” dogs are everywhere you look in Southwest Virginia. But food, vaccines, sterilization, and wellness exams are not. Most people looking for a “free” dog have no intention of properly caring for it once they get it home. Veterinary expenses for WELL dogs generally run between $500 and $1,000 a year, as they should include exams, routine bloodwork, vaccines, deworming, and monthly heartworm preventative. This doesn’t even factor the cost of emergencies.
So yes—our adoption policies are strict. We would rather transfer our animals to out of state rescues than place them in a home where their best interests will not be maintained. This choice comes at great expense to us, because placing animals in rescue out of state is an entirely revenue-negative enterprise. Adoption fees could be a much-needed source of income for our rescue—but at what cost to the animals? Many people are well-intentioned but poorly educated about proper animal care. If our attempts to influence and teach those who demonstrate a weakness in that area fall on deaf ears, we will not adopt an animal into that home.
That being said, there are hundreds of wonderful homes out there with responsible owners waiting to take home a new member of the family. We do find those homes, and we joyfully place animals in them. If you’re interested in adopting a Tazewell ARC dog rather than buy a puppy from a breeder, you’ve probably already arrived at the same conclusions we’ve discussed above and may easily qualify through our adoption process. We would love to talk more with you about the wonderful life you can offer our dog.