About 7.6 million pets are surrendered to animal shelters each year. In an effort to find homes for some of these pets, and at the same time ensure that owners have the resources to take care of them, pet care societies have begun to operate in the U.S. Are these companies that offer to provide you with a pet, all expenses paid, for a low monthly fee that includes food and any necessary animal hospital bills, giving the average pet owner a good deal?
The Positive Side of All-Inclusive Pet Adoption
The benefit to getting a pet in this way is that your expenses are always cut-and-dried. You'll pay one cost per month, that you can more easily budget for, and you don't have to worry about if the price of cat food increases or how to afford the cost of emergency surgery for your dog.
You also know that you're bringing home a pet that has already been checked for health issues and tested for behavior problems. If something could go wrong, you've likely been warned about it.
As well, you can return the animal if you need to. Lost a job? Need to move? Developed a nasty allergy? Your pet can go back to the adoption facility and, with luck, be adopted out to another loving home.
The Downside of All-Inclusive Pet Adoption
While different organizations have different policies, in some widely popularized cases, the facility you adopt from retains ownership of the animal. That means if you don't like the food they send, the animal hospital they choose, or their refusal to pay for a medical cost, you're out of luck.
In such cases, you may be able to buy out your contract, but you'll end up paying hundreds of dollars for the animal.
Also, you'll have to provide proof if something happens to your pet. If it dies at home, you'll likely have to send or deliver the remains to the pet adoption organization. And if your pet runs away, you may still be on the hook for the monthly payments.
Is All-Inclusive Pet Adoption Right For You?
There are some things to consider if you are looking at getting a pet from one of these organizations.
- Will you be traveling? If you plan to live away from your home area for any length of time, you may not be able to get the food and vet care you're paying for.
- Can you do a more traditional adoption from an animal shelter and put aside money in savings each month? You may save money this way.
- What if you don't like the company's decisions on food or medical care? Most organizations make final decisions about these things, and you'll have to pay additionally out of pocket if you wish to override them.
- Do you already have a pet? You may end up having to feed them different things and go to different vets.
If you have an existing relationship with an animal hospital, such as Lamb's Gap Animal Hospital, talk to them about pet leasing from an all-inclusive organization. They may have other options, such as pet insurance plans, that can reduce any concerns you have about affordable vet care if you adopt from a traditional shelter.