Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Pets provide laughs, joy, snuggles, and benefits that you just can’t put a price on.
I’ve been fortunate to have many pets in my lifetime — from stray cats and dogs off of the street to purebred and pampered babies. Each of these furry family members has been as unique as their pedigree and worth every penny spent to keep them happy and healthy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot to adopt a purebred pet! While it’s a great idea to donate your time, money, and resources when you can, you should also know the ways to get free or discounted adoptions. Additionally, it helps to know of resources that can save money on pet expenses.
Option 1: Reasonably priced adoptions through breed-specific rescue groups
My current cat holds a very special place in my heart – Shirley is a rescued rosette glitter Bengal and beautiful both inside and out. From the very moment I learned about this breed (smart, talkative, energetic, and sweet), I knew I had to have one. However, I had mixed feelings about purchasing one due to the large price tag and knowing there are so many wonderful pets who need to be rescued.
After a couple of encouraging chats with friends who had rescued purebred dogs (see 2 of them pictured below), I started my search for a Bengal through rescue groups on Facebook. To my delight, I found breed-specific rescue groups all over the country! I ended up fostering, then adopting Shirley through Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. I am forever grateful to them for connecting our family with this wonderful cat.
The adoption fees from these groups are usually on par with those of an animal shelter, but there may be different procedures and / or contract requirements in order to adopt. Breed-specific groups are more familiar with the needs of the animal, and are generally more thorough when screening for good homes.
No matter what breed you have your heart set on, it’s smart to look for a purebred rescue group. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, and fish are just a handful of the breed-specific animal rescue groups that work to find forever homes for animals in need.
Option 2: Free or low-cost adoptions through humane societies, shelters, rescues, & animal control agencies
While most people assume that you can’t get a purebred pet from an animal shelter, they do occasionally have these pets available! The cuties in the photo above were both rescues – Barron is an adorable rescued Yorkshire Terrier from NC Yorkie Rescue, and Teddy is a gorgeous rescued black Labradoodle from FAPS.
Although it may take more patience to find a specific breed at an animal shelter, some places (like the Atlanta Humane Society) offer a “Pet Alert” that will send you an email when the breed of cat or dog that you want is available for adoption! Check with your local shelter to see if a similar service is available in your area.
Adoption fees for a pet in a shelter can be as low as $0 (FREE) and can go up to a few hundred dollars (prices will vary based on the demand for the breed). Free adoptions usually happen in the summer when the shelters become crowded, like this recent adoption event in Georgia.
Rescuing from a shelter is a smart choice because in addition to getting a great price on the adoption, your new friend will already be screened for illnesses, vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.
Option 3: Free adoptions to rehome a surrendered pet
When I was a kid, our family’s first dog was an Airedale Terrier named Peanuts (not pictured). He originally belonged to one of my Dad’s friends, but when the friend moved out of the country, he couldn’t take the dog with him. We gladly welcomed Peanuts into our home, and had him for the rest of his life.
This adoption was not something that we had sought out, but sometimes life will present opportunities to provide a pet with a good home with no adoption costs to you. Plus, someone who needs to surrender their beloved pet due to allergies, illness, economic hardship, or work assignments will be comforted to know that their pet is going to a good home (especially if you are willing to share updates, photos, and / or visits with the pet).
When you are considering an adoption of a surrendered pet, be sure to ask the owner lots of questions about the animal’s habits, health, and temperament in order to ensure a good fit in your home.
Saving money on pet expenses
Once you’ve found your new furry (or feathered, finned, etc) family member, it will help to save money on the food, toys, and vet visits they may need. Take advantage of these offers and save your cash for more treats!
- Chewy – save on autoship orders and always have your pet’s favorites at home
- PetFlow – get $10 off your first order and get $10 for yourself when you refer new customers
- PetSmart – offers price matching (even against online prices), rewards points, and their “Treats” loyalty program will give your pet a birthday gift
- Pet First Insurance – avoid surprise vet bills with insurance for your pet
- Pet Plan Insurance – avoid surprise vet bills with insurance for your pet
Giving back to these great causes
With all the wonderful work that these groups do, it’s great to be able to give back to them when you can. The fastest way to share with these organizations is to make a much-needed monetary donation — they usually accept cash, checks, credit cards, and some even accept bitcoins! Even if you can’t spend a lot out of pocket to help these organizations, there are plenty of other ways that you can contribute. Consider these alternate ways to support pet charities:
Shelter groups almost always need volunteers to help keep their operations running. Volunteer your time and offer to:
- Take shelter dogs on a walk
- Work a few hours at a fundraising event
- Volunteer part-time in a shelter
- Foster an animal in your home
There are also a number of ways to make donations to charities without additional spending:
- Shop via AmazonSmile and a percentage of purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice
- Search and select a charity, then shop Amazon by starting from the smile.amazon.com URL
- It costs you nothing to do this and your favorite charities can receive thousands of dollars of donations each year!!!
- Shop via GoodShop to earn cashback (you can either keep the cash or redeem it as a charitable donation)
- Shop at popular stores including PetSmart, Target, DSW, Walgreens, Shutterfly, Apple, Sephora, & many more!
- Note that you will earn even more when you share GoodShop with your friends and family
- Surf the web using GoodSearch and earn your charity a penny each time you search
- Note that you’ll need to create your GoodShop profile first in order to select a charity
- Make a gift for a charity’s fundraising event from your business (or yourself)
- Fundraising events often need items they can auction or raffle off, so consider donating free car washes, spa visits, gift cards, or discounts from whatever business you are in
Hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect new companion animal and give a great new home to an animal in need.
When you finally find the perfect purebred pet for your home, be sure to pick up the supplies you’ll need to get your pet settled in at your home.