One of the greatest literary voices of the 20th century – I can’t quite remember whether it was Flannery O’Connor or Stevie Nicks – once wrote that there is nothing cheaper than free. This statement may be true in theory, but puppies are not theoretical. They are living, breathing creatures that rely on you for everything from food and shelter to love and movement. If you came here today and asked, “Where can I get free puppies?” and looking for unique answers to get free puppies, you are out of luck. You will surely get some vague, along with some useful alternatives.
Free Puppies – A Few Facts In Advance
Why should we deny you certainties when it comes to free puppies? The answer is simple. Yes, it is possible to find and bring home free puppies that won’t cost you anything in advance. However, there is always a cost associated with owning pets. Whether the friend you are looking for is a cute puppy, lizard, fish, or dwarf hamster, every pet you adopt has needs, and caring for them always comes with financial and other costs. For owning puppies, you can expect to spend money on:
- Spay or neuter operations
- Bed linen
- Toys and other accessories
- License / registration
There are other costs associated with adopting a new puppy that are not entirely financial. This includes investing the time, effort, and patience to:
- House training
- Regular exercise
- Grooming and bathing
The Free Puppy Myth
First, let’s examine what motivates people to look for free puppies. Is it the initial investment that makes people inquire about free puppies or cheap puppies or inexpensive puppy adoptions? Is it the assumption that getting a dog comes with a one-time price that can potentially cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars?
The popular or highly visible dog breeds that we see at dog shows, commercials, television, or movies on television drive these perceptions. This is compounded by the strange idea that purebred dogs are somehow superior to mixed breeds, mutts, dogs with previous owners, guard or rescue dogs. And then there’s the idea that adopting a puppy is a better or more authentic experience than bringing home an adult or older dog. Neither of these assumptions is quantifiable or objectively true.
The real financial cost of free puppies
Even if you acquire free puppies, raising live creatures is a significant investment. Money is required to care for and feed a dog. There is also a significant cost in terms of your time, energy, and patience. From a purely financial point of view aAn American Kennel Club article describes the efforts of two veterinary students, Kelly Giffear and Brittany Scott, of the University of Pennsylvania to determine the true cost of owning a dog.
This study differentiates the cost of owning a dog based on size and lifespan, from small dogs to giant breeds. Spending was further broken down by the dogs’ basic needs, from food and essential veterinary services to bedding and toys. They found that the average cost of owning dogs in the first year alone is $ 3,085. This amount, of course, brings the lie to the idea of a free puppy.
fRelated: How to Stop Toy Guarding in Puppies
On average, Giffear and Scott estimate that the lifetime cost of raising a dog is $ 23,410. Other websites have tried to calculate the cost of owning dogs, like this one from 2011, the total cost of which is much higher when you factor in the cost of dog health insurance. According to my own research, the results of Giffear and Scott are the most recent systematic and rational attempts to truly calculate the true cost of dog ownership, both in the first year and throughout the dog’s life.
Yes, you can get technically free puppies
Technically, of course, you can find free dogs of all ages and sizes if you don’t insist on a particular breed or mix. “Where can I get free puppies?” you ask?
Be on the lookout for no adoption fee events at your local animal shelters. This is the most responsible way to get free puppies.
You can also ask your friends, co-workers, and general acquaintances to keep their ears down for you. Someone’s dog will have puppies at some point, and those puppies will need new homes after weaning, around 8 to 12 weeks of age.
You can also browse a daily or weekly newspaper published in your area. Whether it is a newspaper with a large regional distribution or a local weekly, these publications usually contain at least one classifieds page. Among them, you are very likely to find an area dedicated to or introducing dogs in need of adoption. Some ads are literally labeled “Puppies Free for a Good Home”.
Craigslist is another potential place to find free, cheap, or inexpensive puppies. However, you should be extra careful when searching for free puppies on the internet, such as Craigslist. If you choose this route, read the list completely and ask as many relevant questions as you can. Why are they giving the dog away? Has he been vaccinated, neutered or neutered?
Valuable alternatives to free puppies
Are you a first-time or future dog owner? There are options and alternatives to free puppies that you or your children can get used to the experience of living with a dog without the obligations of adopting a baby puppy. For example:
- Grooming a dog: You can work with a local animal shelter or rescue center and bring a puppy or dog to your home on a limited basis. This can give you a taste of how to own a dog or puppy with no lifelong commitment.
- Visiting or volunteering at a dog house or rescue: There are many nonprofit shelters across the country that are always looking for reliable and dedicated volunteers. The fact that there are rescue organizations devoted to specific breeds means you can be exposed to the trivia of a dog breed without jumping head first into possession.
Conducting limited time activities with reputable organizations like these near you can prepare you for the responsibilities and investments that come with the long haul of puppy or dog ownership.
And the bottom line is that there are really no free puppies!
Top photo: © Photology1971 | Getty Images.
Originally published in 2015.