October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month and there have been a lot of great thought-provoking articles from some of the best dog blogging voices and as always Christie Keith is leading the pack with her post When Adoption groups charge different fees for different pets ...
What do different adoption fees for different pets say to potential adopters?
I was checking out the new Shelter Pet Project website this morning. I do their social media, and every weekday I find a pet to feature on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. And I noticed that one group had a wide range of adoption fees for their dogs: $100 for a young black Lab mix, $300 for a cute little white Poodle mix, and a note on a "special needs" dog who'd needed a lot of medical care that his adoption fee was $450 because of that care.
Now, I reacted really badly to this. I don't believe groups should "pass on" the expenses of a particular animal to the adopter, particularly because these treatable pets are often less, not more, desirable to many people.
And I definitely don't react well to the idea that a high fee on a "desirable" purebred or small or extra-cute pet offsets the costs of the harder-to-place. It turns me off adopting from that group, even though I would certainly add several hundred dollars in a donation to a group if I adopted a pet from them.
It's not the money, it's the message that's bothering me.
And yet, I constantly urge adoption groups to be "more professional" and learn from how businesses operate to do a better job.
I don't know if it's a case of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" with me, or if I just haven't figured out the real marketing/messaging problem with this concept.
What do you think?
There are many problems with placing dogs in good homes. One of the most troubling being "Black Dog Syndrome." There is a problem when the mission is confused with capitalism, particularly Christie's point that she doesn't buy the idea that charging more for a desirable dog offsets the cost of the other dogs. There are costs associated with rescuing animals. Some organizations have no choice but to pass these costs on to the adoptee. If an organization is doing good work, they deserve to be funded properly. But we agree that the messaging within the issue comes off as awkward and doesn't particularly help anyone's cause trying to secure the high ground in the breeder vs. puppy mill vs rescue scenario.
Country Dogs and City Dogs