Free To Good Home

In my self-professed half-full way, I dislike having to be the pragmatist or as some people will surely suggest, the pessimist but I feel compelled to at least be informative.  Maybe enlightening for some. 

As this week in the classifieds of our local paper I saw it again – “Free to good home” and wanted to call the number and warn the advertisers of the realities of the world we’re now living in.  Free to good home ads are very dangerous and accordingly every time I see one, my reaction is always the same.  Don’t give you pets away to strangers!!!! 

First, giving away something for nothing does little to ensure that the end result is a good home and a good life.  The only thing it does ensure is that the animal is no longer with you.   I know this from direct experience in our shelter.

We used to have these incredible Black Friday adoption specials at the shelter where black animals were “free” with an approved application.  And while this practice predictably churned up a huge amount of interest and brought people into the shelter that normally might never consider adoption, I was always uncomfortable with the concept of people choosing an animal because of a price reduction.  Yes, certainly after those Friday’s we would have many animals adopted.  However the percentage of returns after those Friday’s was considerably higher than normal and I had doubts about many of those that we never saw again.  Those that weren’t returned but were not a good fit after all.  Those that were impulse adoptions because they were “free” and ultimately were not wanted.  Were they given away to someone else?  Were they dumped somewhere?  Or worse? 

Choices about a pet should be based on many things but least of them is their price.  How they fit into your lifestyle, their temperament and energy, health and care requirements, grooming needs, their personality, how they interact with your family and other pets, how much time you have for them…but not how much they cost.  In fact it is my strict belief that if you can’t afford to pay an adoption fee it is very likely you will not be able to afford the long term care of that animal and should really consider whether or not getting a pet is the wise thing for you to do.

Yes, I’d like to think that whether I got a pet for free or paid a huge price I would love and care for them the same.  And I would.  My greatest gift of all time was my dog Tag who I found along the side of the road.  You couldn’t buy him for a billion dollars.  But that’s me.  And I’m sure that’s many of my readers.  

But rest assured, there are unfortunately those that don’t value what they get for free or cheaply.  Hell there are those that don’t value what they pay thousands of dollars for either but I digress.  Way too often animals are treated as valueless possessions, so believe me when I say that there are those that while willing to take the free puppy given away outside of the big box store on Saturday morning are just as willing to dump it along the roadside a few days later when its whining and peeing and chewing become an annoyance.

What’s incredibly sad is that this example is not the worst…not by far.

Not long ago a woman that works down the hall from me contacted me about trying to help some friends of hers find homes for their two dogs.  She didn’t want to bring them to the shelter as that of course is still considered by some to be the worst possible destination.  I gave her some suggestions none of which included running “free to good homes” ads.   When she said that they would try that too, I gave her quite an earful.  She was shocked.  

We now live in a world where there are people that take advantage of these “free” animals in a way that is horrendous.   There are those that will stalk websites, Craig’s list, Facebook, the classifieds, etc. looking for the “free to good homes” ads in order to acquire animals to be used for torture, sold for medical research, bait for fighting dogs, food for other animals and other despicable acts I won’t go into.  If you don’t believe me, read this article ( but I warn you the graphic description and pictures are tough to take. 

If you can’t keep your pet, your first attempt to find it a home is to reach out to people you know…friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc.  Not strangers.  Not people that might pass you by outside of Wal-Mart on Saturday morning.  Not people that might come to your house responding to the “free to good home” ad.  I don’t care how sweet the little family looks…some of these people are devious in their methods. 

It is sad we have to be so distrusting and I hate it as much as anyone.  But there are too many sad stores of animals being mistreated to not take precautions in finding your pet a home if you find it absolutely necessary.  If you care about your pet at all, you’ll use caution and care in finding their new home and not resort to handing them over to a stranger.  Nothing in life is free, least of all a wonderful home for your beloved pet. 

Update from my last post:  The remaining two puppies are doing very well and are thriving.  They even have names now….Carole and Winsley, named after the wonderful vet who saved their lives. 

Categories: Shelter Facts

1 reply

  1. I’ve always been an animal lover and always had a great relationship with them, whether they be domesticated or wild. I did a college report on bunching and that was my introduction into the seedy business of kill shelters and free to good home animals. Kittens sold by the lb. puppies used for research if they were the right breed. Bunching is a term that describes animals on death row. Bunchers come in and euthenize those not considered marketable, and sell the remainder to…research and vet. schools who need to practise. Is it getting better? I pray it is. Am I Not until there are ZERO free to good homes and shelters no longer have animals who languish for months without a home. No. Not satisfied yet but hope is always there..just out of reach, but just there.

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