2001-Sat Dec 03 21:00:34 MST 2016
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What would you do if someone gave you a new car, the one you'd always wanted, the one that was perfect for your family? Would you treat it like trash because, after all, it was "free" so it wasn't worth anything? Or would you drive it proudly everywhere, telling everyone you know, "I won this car! I didn't have to pay for it! Isn't that great?"
I'm guessing you'd be pretty happy with your good fortune and happy to share your good news. The car is perfect for you, and the fact that you didn't have to pay for it won't change how much you value it or how well you care for it, not a bit.
Now what if you went to the shelter to adopt a pet and found out that your adoption fee was being paid by someone else and your pet was "free?" People in the shelter and rescue community have long believed that if you don't pay to adopt, you won't value or care for your four-legged family member. And at the first sign of strain in the relationship, you'd dump the animal.
That just doesn't seem like the pet lovers I know, and I bet it's not you, or any of the pet lovers you know, either.
It's time to change some attitudes.
If you're looking to adopt and ready to help prove how good most pet lovers truly are, you may be able to do both on June 1 and 2. Thanks to a pioneering nonprofit foundation stepping up to cover the costs, people in a handful of communities will be able to adopt a pet for free. Change a life and change an attitude. Want in on that deal? Read on!
I know that shelters and rescue groups are always trying to do what's best for pets. I know they're thinking that adoption fees make some sense as part of the screening process. If you can't afford to pay an adoption fee, the thinking goes, can you really afford to pay for food, veterinary care and the other costs of having an animal?
But what about all those people who can afford the fees just fine (which is most people) and waiving an adopt fee is just incentive enough to tip the scale for adoption? A couple of years ago, the folks at Maddie's Fund asked this very question, and the answer they got showed that the "conventional wisdom" was wrong. People love their pets, and the cost of acquiring that pet doesn't change how they feel.
They didn't just act on a hunch, either. They funded three small no-fee adoption drives, then studied the results. The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine followed up on the animals in their new homes. The result? The overwhelming majority of the fee-free adopted animals in the study were still in those homes long after their adoption and were just as loved as any other pet. They got good veterinary care, slept on comfortable beds and were treated as members of the family.
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