How to Find Free Pets
Anyone who has ever started looking around for an animal to add to the family knows that getting a new pet can be very expensive, and it seems almost impossible to find a free pet. Many breeders ask for several hundred dollars, even for the smallest dogs or cats. Golden Retrievers are usually $ 700 to $ 800, Maine Coon cats can cost up to $ 900 or $ 1000, and rare exotic animals run much higher.
However, considering all of the pets in the world who are currently homeless, and are living in animal shelters without a loving family, it seems unreasonable and nonsensical to spend hundreds of dollars for a pet when there are so many who need to be saved.
While there are a number of animal rescue organizations and pet shelters around the country, there is only one resource which you should always start with, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Healthy Pets Are not Always Free
Before we examine why it's best to start with the ASPCA, which does charge some fees for adopting and rescuing pets, it's important to note that it is possible to find a free pet, if you are careful and follow a few important guidelines.
Searching through the classified ads in the newspaper or online classified ads like PetsAds or PetsClassifieds.us, you can locate listings for free pets that people are giving away. It's critical to understand that most free pet ads are from people who are giving away their pets for the following reasons:
- They are moving to a place that does not take pets.
- They can no longer afford to have a pet.
- They found a stray, but can not keep it.
These are usually well-meaning people, but keep in mind that if they have a pet that they can no longer afford to keep, the pet may not be 100% healthy. If you do decide to take the classified ad route, just remember that most of the things that the fees pay for at the ASPCA, you will have to pay for anyway - including all shots, medical checkups and neutering.
It is perfectly okay to find free pets on your own, just remember that pets are never "free". You will need to pay for the up-front (and continuing) health care for the rest of it's life.
ASPCA and Pet Adoption
The ASPCA is a wonderful organization that helps to promote animal shelters and rescue organizations that take excellent care of animals across the country. At the ASPCA website, you can adopt and save homeless animals in the following ways:
Find a Shelter
By clicking on the "Find a Shelter" link, you are taken to a search page where you can search for local animal shelters by city and state. The ASPCA does not technically endorse the shelters listed by this utility, but it provides the search function to animal lovers who need a resource to find local shelters.
This is a very comprehensive National Shelter Directory, and it is a service to help families with lots of love to offer to connect with animals that need the love. Buying a pet from a local shelter is essentially like getting a free pet, because the fees to adopt a pet cover many of the upfront medical costs you were incur if you'd picked up the animal as a stray or free from a classified ad. Animal shelters take care of the upfront health concerns, so that when you adopt a pet from a shelter, you can be certain that the animal is healthy and well cared for.
In addition, many shelters offer a unique incentive for people to have their pets properly neutered by offering a discount or refund for the procedure with local vets.
ASPCA Adoption Center
The the ASPCA Adoption Center Provides listings of Hundreds of cats and dogs WHO COMPLETE need a home. The main page of the adoption center explains everything you will need in order to adopt a pet. This is good to read even if you are not going to the ASPCA, because most shelters require the same information. Things you will need if planning to adopt a pet:
- Two forms of identification with your address on it (at least one picture ID)
- Two personal references who can be reached by phone
- Proof of vaccination for the pets that you already own
- Proof of income
While this may seem excessive to some people, it's important to understand that there are a lot of people out there who would not think twice about harming or being cruel to animals. The job of the ASPCA and all animal shelters across the country, is to protect animals from cruelty, and to make sure that animals are placed in homes where they have the best chances of being as loved and cared for as they deserve to be.
The benefits of adopting through the ASPCA (many animal shelters offer these same benefits):
- 14 days of free follow-up vet care
- A leash, collar, and pet carrier to help bring the animal home
- Educational literature about pet behavior and pet care
- Free spay / neutering, vaccinations, microchipping and registration, all provided as part of the adoption fee.
Obviously, the only good option for finding a free pet is going through the ASPCA, or through a local animal shelter. This will ensure that you are getting a healthy pet, and you can feel good about doing your part to save an animal from a live without a home, and without love.