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Every rescuer has heard it. "If you really cared about finding the dogs a good home, you would charge less or give them away." Or, "I could go to a pet store or breeder and purchase a dog for just a little more than the adoption fee."

Although we cannot speak for all rescue groups, this section is an attempt to explain more fully the adoption fees charged by Yorkie Haven Rescue (YHR).

Yorkie Haven Rescue takes in all Yorkies/Yorkie mixes that we have room in foster homes for regardless of age, sight, hearing, or other handicaps and medical issues and treat them for anything that is needed. We are an approved 501(c)(3) charity that receives no outside government funding and is supported by private donations and our own fund raising efforts. 100% of the monies received goes directly towards the veterinary care of the dogs in our rescue. The public can easily look up our IRS filings at www.guidestar.org.

We set our fees on a scale that is much like most yorkie rescues. One look at many of our dogs on our website will tell you that we could not possibly recoup all of our veterinary expenses on adoption fees alone.

Although the adoption fee is one way we use to subsidize the cost of caring for our rescued dogs, it also serves one other function. The adoption fee will put off anyone who is not willing to spend money on properly caring for his or her companion dog. If you cannot afford an adoption fee, then you are unlikely to be able to afford care for your companion throughout its lifetime when it falls ill or has an accident. Saving the money it takes to adopt a dog is a lot easier than having $500.00 cash in hand when something goes wrong and medical attention is necessary IMMEDIATELY.

It is a harsh world out there for dogs, and making sure the dogs go to a good, responsible home that will care for them for the rest of their life is the number one concern of most rescue groups.


Every penny of an adoption fee goes towards the dogs' medical expenses. In fact, in almost all cases, the adoption fee falls far short of the actual medical expenses spent on the dogs (a fact you can easily see on our Form 990 that is available for public viewing at www.guidestar.org); so, we rely on public donations we receive, the many fund raising efforts of our volunteers, and crafted and donated items that we sell in our Boutique.

The adoption fees are used to cover the cost of medical treatments incurred while the dog is in the possession of YHR prior to adoption. We may pull a dog from a shelter that is healthy and we may only have to spend a small amount of money to have that dog ready for adoption. In this case, the profit from that dog's adoption fee is applied to the vetting costs of the many others whose vetting costs are not so fortunate. There are times the adoption fee for a dog that is not healthy starts as low as $100 when it could easily cost YHR as much as $2,000 or more to vet this dog depending on the medical issues.


A fully vetted pup.

When a rescue pup first enters YHR, it gets the basic vetting which includes the following:

Medical exam $40.00
Rabies vaccine and tag $17.00
Heartworm Test $25.00
Bordatella $17.00
DHPP Vaccine $20.00
Fecal $17.00
Microchip $50.00
Blood Work $70.00
Spay/Neuter (including anesthesia) $150.00
Medication after surgery $30.00
Heartworm (6 month pack) $40.00
(The cost to buy a single dose runs higher [$7.75 per month]. So rescues buy a box of 6 to save money)
Flea Preventative (3 month pack) $50.00
(The cost to buy a single dose runs higher [$18.44 per month]. So rescues buy a box of 3 to save money)

It is true, there are times that YHR will take in a pup that is already spayed/neutered and possibly up to date on shots. This is a rare treat for rescue, although, YHR still will get an initial exam done to check the dog out, a fecal; because when incorporating a new dog into our homes, we have to be sure that the new dog does not have any worms that they might spread to our own personal pets; blood work to be certain that there are no underlying problems that need to be addressed before adoption; and a microchip since we register all of the dogs that come into our program to YHR and, when adopted, add the new owners to the paperwork.

Most of the dogs we receive require a dental. If the vet recommends a dental, we try to have this done at the same time the spay or neuter is performed to save on anesthesia costs. But the dental itself runs approximately $80. This is if no teeth need to be extracted, which can run anywhere from $8 to $80 per tooth depending on the severity.

If a dog tests positive for heartworms, that dog is treated for heartworms before being adopted out. This cost runs anywhere from $500 - $1,000.

An adopter can also expect to find out everything there is to know about the foster dog's personality (as experienced by the foster home while in their care). If in a foster home long enough to tell the quirks, likes, dislikes, etc., each and every detail is discussed with a new home before being adoption.

Aside from all of these items, the main thing that an adopter can expect in return for their adoption fee is the unconditional love from owning a rescue dog and the satisfaction of knowing that you saved a life, and that is priceless.


The assumption that rescue is a business, or that rescuer's make a profit on the pups in their rescue could not be further from the truth.

Take the list of services above to your veterinarian and ask them what they would charge you to complete everything that rescue provides.

Some items a vet cannot give you a price quote on is the time spent rescuing, transporting, caring for, teaching, feeding, bathing and loving these dogs while they are housed in our own homes, co-existing with our own family and pets, just so they can finally find a family to call their own. Those of us who do rescue truly do it for our love of the animals, because there is no money to be made in rescue work. Only a pat on the back every now and then from a fellow rescuer and the joy felt when you see the strides made by a dog who is now happy and healthy and finally joining their forever family.


Yes, one could go to a pet store to purchase a puppy or adult dog with papers for a little more [more than likely, a LOT more] than the adoption fee a rescue group may request and be responsible for encouraging the puppy mill industry to flourish. Perhaps there are those who are unaware of the conditions that these animals are born to. Perhaps the thought of that sweet puppy's mother and father living out their entire lives confined to an overcrowded, feces infested cage, covered in mange, and barely able to stand does not trouble some folks.

However, even if the plight of the pup's mother and father didn't concern them, and their motivation was to save a few dollars, not go through the hassle of being screened by rescue to help match them with the pup that best fits their family, or, to show those rescue groups that they could go somewhere else, they would be woefully misinformed. Pet store pups are notorious for costing their owners, not just in the funds to cope with the many health problems, but emotionally, as many owners fight a losing battle with bad genetics, compromised immune systems, and unstable temperaments.

Prospective pet owners could also seek a breeder, pay $500-$1,000 or more for a puppy and, IF they are responsible pet owners, they would still need to spend the funds to properly vet their new pet (See pricing for basic vetting above). There are breeders who do breed for the betterment of the breed and they make sure that the pup's family history is known and all health concerns addressed, but you can expect to pay far more for a puppy from this type breeder for the piece of mind of getting a "quality" pup. These reputable breeders also carefully screen prospective families just like rescues do. If a breeder does not screen you, then he/she is not in breeding for the betterment of the breed!


Rescuers care enough to provide for these dogs when their original owners did not, to screen homes, to invest their hearts, time, and personal funds. Rescuers care enough to know that if someone cannot afford an adoption fee, it is likely that person would also be unable to provide proper veterinary care for the animal. Rescuers care enough to have researched and know what happens to those "free to good home" pets - the neglect, abuse and abandonment that these animals, deemed of no value, will suffer. We care enough that we cannot be governed by expenses.

Rescuers will foster these animals in their homes, making them part of their family while providing care and training. The animals will be screened for behavioral and health issues, have those issues addressed, and every attempt is made to make the best possible match with prospective adopting families. Rescuers spend hours on the computer each day seeking the perfect home, help for a dog, or transport for a dog needing to be saved. Setting up transports for these animals may take weeks to arrange, and require hundreds of e-mails. Phone bills are frequently outrageous, as rescuers still find it necessary to call shelters and vets, to interview prospective adopters and check their references.

Rescuers devote a lot of energy trying to close down the puppy mills and back yard breeders. These places breed grief and victimize the animals and the poor unsuspecting families that love, and sometimes lose, their beloved pets because of greed.


Animal Shelters receive city, county, state or federal funding, or any combination of these government entities. Rescue groups do not.

Animal Shelters are temporary safe houses for dogs in immediate need and they do not provide long term housing, extended vet care, or training. Rescue groups do this, and it is pricey. Most of the time rescue groups get their dogs from shelters, as shelters often have relationships with the rescue groups and will call upon them when needed to take in a pup that they cannot afford to pay for the vetting cost and know that it will get adopted to the home that best fits its personality and needs.

The sad truth is since we are living in a material world, pets without value are considered disposable.

This is in no way intended to convince someone to adopt a dog from a rescue rather than a shelter. It is to simply let you know the difference in cost between the two. In our eyes, an adopted dog, from any organization, is a rescued dog.


The below list of expenses are incurred by YHR foster homes each month for each dog they foster. These expenses are not reimbursed to the foster homes, so they are not considerations toward your adoption fee, but they are fees to consider nonetheless.

These are just estimates and do not include all items that volunteers pay for but do not get reimbursed for:

Food $40.00/month (depending the amount of fosters)
Toys/bedding $15.00
Grooming fees @$35.00/month
Some of our foster homes provide the monthly heartworm and flea prevention and do not ask for reimbursement for those items since they have small dogs of their own already.
Time, love, training, etc. PRICELESS

YHR volunteers and foster homes are not paid a salary and usually have full-time jobs, family, commitments and dogs of their own to care for. This kind of sacrifice takes away a substantial amount of time and energy from their personal lives and is the hugest donation on their part.


For this example, we will use a puppy named Davey that was previously a YHR foster dog. Davey was actually born in his foster home, since his mother, Allie, was already pregnant when brought into rescue and had 5 puppies, one of which was named Davey. We chose Davey for this example because he was a young puppy with no health issues with a $600 adoption fee required. The veterinary expenses below involved in bringing Davey to his "adoptable status" are the costs from just one vet's office that is used by YHR. Vet costs do vary, but the ones shown below are pretty typical.

Money Spent on Davey:

1st Exam $16.00
2nd Exam $41.00
3rd Exam w/Medicine $78.59
1st DHPP $12.00
2nd DHPP $12.00
3rd DHPP $12.00
Neuter $117.12
Rabies $17.00
Parvo Booster $12.00
2nd Parvo Booster $12.00
Microchip $50.00
Baby teeth extraction $137.00 w/anesthesia (these were baby teeth that did not fall out on their own and had to be removed)
Flea Preventative $13.00 (while in foster care for 10 months) (the foster home provided for most months without reimbursement)
Heartworm prevention $25.00 (while in foster care for 10 months) (the foster home provided for most months without reimbursement)

So as you can see, on this young, healthy puppy with no issues or major surgeries needed, the vetting costs to YHR was $554.71 and the adoption fee received for Davey was $600.

We at YHR hope this helps the public in understanding "why" there are adoption fees and "why" they are what they are; but if you are still upset or confused, then adopting a rescue dog is clearly not for you.