Adopting a Big Fluffy
Adoption requires an application which you can find here with reference checks. We do home visits when a background check is not enough. We place dogs over a large area of the United States, excluding western states, but including the midwest, the mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the Northeast, the Plains states including Texas, northern states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the Rocky Mountain regions. For the most part, our dogs are strictly indoor companions. We almost never do livestock guardian dog placements as most of our dogs would be particularly bad livestock guardians or have already failed at it. In simple terms, our dogs would probably think chickens are tasty and we have had many serial chicken killers in our ranks.
Adoptions are made on a best home basis. If two excellent applications come in for the same dog, our policy is first in time, first in line. Our goal is to have the very best home for all our dogs. We do have a kennel for quarantine in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, but the overwhelming majority of our dogs are in private foster homes waiting to be adopted cross the United States. We carefully screen our dogs and our adopters to ensure we are placing the right dog in the right home.
What Are the Adoption Costs?
Our adoption fee is $500 for adult dogs and $600 for puppies. All of our dogs are spayed/neutered, have had all shots (age appropriate in the case of puppies) including bordetella (kennel cough), rabies, and the distemper/parvo series, as well as leptospirosis and we booster all of these shots as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines. All of our dogs have been heartworm-screened and are heartworm negative or have been treated for heartworms, have had a clear fecal exam and are up to date on parasite and heartworm preventatives. We screen dogs for anaplasma, ehrlychia and lyme disease and treat as needed, we perform fecal exams and treat, and we check and treat ears, eyes, teeth, skin and where a concern exists, orthopedic issues. The adoption fee covers any other medical treatments the dog may have had while in our care. We treat all dogs with heartworms or any other parasitic condition and we treat any medical condition the dog may have the we are aware of, including dental care, skin care, orthopedic surgeries, eye surgeries, etc. If the dog has a problem and we know about it, we definitely do our very best to fix it. That kind of vet care is expensive. All vet records travel with the dog. This adoption fee also covers all transport and health certificate costs we incur. We pay $150 of our adoption fee to transport dogs and we do health certificates for each of our dogs. The remainder of the adoption fee is designed to help defray the vet costs we have incurred while the dog is in our care.
Why does adopting a dog cost so much?
It is true that many government-run shelters may have a very low adoption fee to adopt a dog. However, most do not provide the level of vet care we do and those that do are generally heavily subsidized by taxpayers. We applaud the work that shelters do, but we do not have the resources of the tax-paying public to support our work. Those same shelters are also not subject to the government regulations we are. It is expensive to properly vet and place a giant breed dog. It is worth noting that we take in an abnormally high percentage of “trainwreck dogs” with significant health issues which also affects our costs. The adoption fees we receive allow us to continue rescuing other big fluffy dogs in need, but they do not cover the cost of the dog. As of 2015, the average cost of each of our dogs exceeded $650 and our adoption fee is less than that. Without our donors and fans, we would be unable to do what we do with just the adoption fees we charge. Many times the dogs we take in are in poor physical condition and are in need of extensive vet care. We do not turn down dogs in need simply because of the cost of their care as a matter of rescue ethics. A dog that has heartworms can cost $1000 to treat. Orthopedic issues can run in to the thousands of dollars. Recently, basic antibiotics used for tick-borne diseases like lyme and ehrlychia have skyrocketed in cost and we are spending an average of $100 per dog on just this one antibiotic. Many times, we also have to board dogs in areas where we don’t have a foster home available. That averages around $20 a day. We do fund raise to cover special needs dogs, but adoption fees allow us to keep doing rescue.
Yes, there are rescues that have lower adoption fees. We make no money on dogs and if anyone thinks we can, we want to know how because we’re doing it wrong. If you are bargain shopping for a dog, you’ve come to the wrong place. What we do for our dogs is extensive and it costs a lot of money and we can’t give them away or we’d be closed within a week. We also aren’t willing to lower our standards and we are not subsidized by either the government or a mythical compassionate vet who wants to donate all his or her time and supplies. If only such a fairy tale could be true, but, alas, vets have to pay their mortgages, too.
Every adopter is part of rescue. Adopters take our dogs and “finish” their rescue by making them family members. Without adopters, we could not continue our work. We thank you for considering rescue.