How to adopt dogs for free

One of the 20th-century’s greatest literary voices — I can’t remember off the top of my head whether it was Flannery O’Connor or Stevie Nicks — once wrote that there’s nothing cheaper than free. This statement may be true in theory, but puppies are not theoretical. They are living, breathing creatures who will depend on you for everything, from food and shelter to love and exercise. If you’ve come here today asking, “Where can I get free puppies?” and are looking for definite answers about getting free puppies, you’re out of luck. You will surely get some vague ones, along with some useful alternatives.

How to adopt dogs for free

Are free puppies truly free? Photography ©LivingImages | E+ / Getty Images.

Free puppies — some facts upfront

Why would we deny you certainties when it comes to free puppies? The answer is simple. Yes, it is possible to locate and bring home free puppies that cost you nothing upfront. But there are always costs associated with pet ownership. Whether the friend you seek is a cute puppy, lizard, fish, or dwarf hamster, any pet you adopt has needs and providing for them always incurs costs, both financial and otherwise. For puppy ownership, you can expect to lay out money on:

There are other costs tied to adopting a new puppy that aren’t strictly financial. These include investing the time, effort, and patience required for:

The myth of free puppies

First, we should investigate what motivates people to go in search of free puppies. Is it the initial investment that drives people to inquire about free puppies or cheap puppies or low-cost puppy adoptions? Is it the assumption that getting a dog involves a major one-time price tag that can potentially run into hundreds, even thousands of dollars?

The popular or highly visible dog breeds that we see participating in televised dog shows, commercials, television, or movies drive these notions. This is reinforced by the strange idea that purebred dogs are somehow superior to mixed breeds, mutts, dogs with previous owners, shelter 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 senior dog. None of these assumptions are quantifiably or objectively true.

The real financial costs of free puppies

Even if you do acquire free puppies, raising live creatures involves substantive investments. Caring and feeding any dog requires money. There are also significant costs in terms of your time, energy, and patience. From a strictly financial perspective, a n article by the American Kennel Club details the two veterinary students’ efforts, Kelly Giffear and Brittany Scott of the University of Pennsylvania, to determine the real costs of dog ownership.

This study differentiates between costs of owning a dog based on size and lifespan, ranging from small dogs right through to giant breeds. Expenses were further broken down by dogs’ most basic needs, from food and essential veterinary services to bedding and toys. They determined that the average cost of dog ownership in the first year alone comes out to $3,085. This amount, it goes without saying, puts the lie to the very notion of a free puppy.

On average, Giffear and Scott estimated that the lifetime expenses associated with raising a dog come out to $23,410. Other sites have attempted to calculate the cost of dog ownership, such as this one from 2011, which has a much higher total, factoring in dog health insurance costs. As far as my own research can find, Giffear and Scott’s findings are the most current systematic and rational attempts to truly price out the real costs of dog ownership, both in the first year and over the life of the dog.

Yes, you can technically get free puppies

Technically, of course, if you are not insistent on a particular breed or mix, you can find free dogs of all ages and sizes. “Where can I get free puppies?” you ask?

Keep an eye out for adoption-fee free events at your local shelters. This is the most responsible way to go about getting free puppies.

You can also ask your friends, coworkers and general acquaintances to keep their ears to the ground for you. Someone’s dog is bound to have puppies eventually, and those puppies will need new homes after they wean, around the age of 8 to 12 weeks.

You might also thumb through a daily or weekly newspaper published in your area. Whether that’s a paper with a wide regional circulation, or a local alt-weekly, these publications typically contain at least one page of classifieds. Among them, you’re very likely to find a section dedicated to, or featuring, dogs in need of adoption. Some ads are literally labeled, “Puppies free to good home.”

Craigslist is another potential venue to locate free, cheap or low-cost puppies. However, you should be especially careful when researching free puppies on the internet, on something like Craigslist. If you choose this route, read the listing in full and ask as many relevant questions as possible. Why are they giving the dog away? Is he vaccinated, spayed or neutered?

Valuable alternatives to free puppies

Are you a first-time or prospective dog owner? There are options and alternatives to free puppies that can acclimate you or your children to the experience of living with a dog without incurring the obligations associated with adopting a baby puppy. For example:

  • Fostering a dog: You can work with a local shelter or rescue and take a puppy or dog into your home on a limited basis. This can give you a taste of dog or puppy ownership without the lifetime commitment.
  • Visit or volunteer at a dog shelter or rescue: There are many nonprofit, no-kill shelters nationwide that are always looking for dependable and devoted volunteers. The fact that there are rescue organizations dedicated to specific breeds means that you can get exposure to the minutiae of a dog breed without leaping headlong into ownership.

Engaging in time-limited activities with reputable organizations like these in your area can prepare you for the responsibility and investment involved in the long-haul of puppy or dog ownership.

Find cute puppies for free here! Give your puppy up for adoption or adopt a puppy for free.

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Put your puppy up for adoption!

How to adopt dogs for free

Add your puppy to our list for puppies looking for a good home, so you will be sure our dog lovers who are looking for a new pet will contact you for adoption.

Adopting a shelter pet can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. We love the pets in our care and want to ensure that they only go to the best of homes.

In order to be considered as a suitable adopter, we require the following:

  • You must be at least 18 years old; show a valid driver’s license or photo ID with your date of birth; and present proof of your current address if it is not the same as what is on your ID
  • Fill out adoption application.
  • You must have the knowledge and consent of all adults living in your household
  • You must be able and willing to spend the time and money necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for the animal
  • If renting, you must have the knowledge and we may require written consent of your landlord
  • No more than six animals per household, of which no more than four may be dogs, are permitted in the City of Albuquerque.

Fee Waiver

AWD is waiving fees for all adoptions of available pets in care and in foster homes thru the Fall of 2021.

Adoption Fees

Adoption Locations: Eastside Shelter, Westside Shelter and Lucky Paws Adoption Center

  • $25 Dogs
  • $25 Cats
  • Fun-loving kittens that are 6 months and under: $25 – Kitty Kompanions, a second kitten or cat – is Free.
  • $25 Adopt a kitten get the babysitter for Free – babysitter means older cats

Working Cat

  • No fee to adopt working cats.

PetSmart Everyday Adoption Center – 350 Eubank Blvd. NE

  • $25 Dogs
  • $25 Cats

Young at Heart Senior Pet Special

  • $5 Senior pet who is age 7 or older

Exotic Animals

  • $20 for parakeets and small exotic birds
  • $30 for cockatiels and medium exotic birds
  • $50 for goats and sheep
  • $2 for mice
  • $5 for rats
  • $15 for guinea pigs
  • $20 for rabbits ($9 microchip optional)
  • $25 for ferrets

Adoption fees for parrots, large exotic birds, geese, turkeys, chickens, ducks, small and large livestock birds are determined by Animal Welfare Department managers, as are fees for snakes, lizards, turtles, and fish.

Senior Citizens (50 years of age and older, according to AARP), all Veterans with proper identification and documentation, and active military personnel with proper documentation get a $10 discount from the above fees. Various types of discounts cannot be combined.

Give someone the gift of a choice of pet. Gift Certificates allow an adopter to choose their own pet.

For companion animals that came into the shelter un-sterilized, this special price includes the following:

  • The animal’s sterilization (if old enough to undergo surgery);
  • Any postoperative care–if needed;
  • Rabies vaccination (1 year);
  • For dogs, their first Distemper/Parvo vaccination and Intranasal Bordatella;
  • For cats, their first Rhinotracheitis/Calicivirus/Panleukopenia vaccination and Feline Leukemia test;
  • Microchip with lifetime registration;
  • Free initial veterinarian’s examination from a participating clinic.

For companion animals that came into the shelter sterilized, this special price includes the following:

  • Rabies vaccination (1 year);
  • For dogs, their first Distemper/Parvo vaccination and Intranasal Bordatella;
  • For cats, their first Rhinotracheitis/Calicivirus/Panleukopenia vaccination and Feline Leukemia test;
  • Microchip with lifetime registration;
  • Free initial veterinarian’s examination from a participating clinic.

Qualified Adopter Requirements

  • Person who is 18 years of age or older with valid photo ID, who has never been convicted of any form of Cruelty under the law and has never been convicted two or more times for any violation of the City of Albuquerque Animal Ordinance (or predecessor ordinance)
  • Fill out adoption application. Many factors contribute to each adoption placement and we will work hard to ensure that your needs and our animal’s needs are met.
  • Never had any animal-related permit revoked or suspended
  • Never failed to reclaim an animal from the Animal Welfare Department
  • Has not owner surrendered an animal within one year of time of adoption
  • Has never been convicted of child or domestic abuse
  • No more than six animals per household are permitted in the city, of which no more than four can be dogs.

Animal Welfare Department’s Right of Refusal

Please understand that this is an adoption, not a “sale.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department reserves the right to refuse any adoption based on the best interest of the animal.

You can apply to adopt a pet from our shelter if you:

  • Are at least 18-years-old
  • Can show a valid government-issued ID with your current address
  • Have knowledge and consent of all adults living in your household
  • Have your landlord’s consent to bring an animal onto the property
  • Understand that we have the right to refuse the adoption of any animal

You can only adopt a pet in person at our shelter. We do not:

  • Take online applications
  • Pre-approve adoptions
  • Put pets on hold

About pets

All animals available for adoption are healthy.

All cats and dogs available for adoption are:

  • Spayed or neutered
  • Vaccinated
  • Microchipped

If it’s not a good match

If the pet you adopt is not a good match for you and your family, you can return them.

  • If you return the pet within 14 days, we will refund the adoption fee.
  • If you return the pet after 14 days, we will not refund the adoption fee.
  • We will work to find new homes for all returned pets.

How to apply

Call us to make an appointment. Complete an application, either in advance or when you come to the shelter.

Adoptable dogs

Dogs are $50 for Minneapolis residents, plus the cost of a City license, and $250 for nonresidents.

How to adopt dogs for free

Adoptable cats

Cats are $50 for Minneapolis residents, plus the cost of a City license, and $100 for nonresidents.

How to adopt dogs for free

Adoptable small animals

Small animals are between $10 and $50 for both residents and nonresidents.

How to adopt dogs for free

Contact us

Minneapolis Animal Care & Control



Shelter hours

Currently by appointment only Monday through Friday. Please call to make an appointment.

No, you can never adopt a dog for free. Now you say: but low-kill shelters offer free-adoptions?

Indeed, events like “clear the shelter,” discounts, and free-adoption fairs make adoption seem free. But is it?

Perhaps the rescue homes let go of the adoption fee. Even at that, they are other expenses you will accrue along the way.

So, sorry to burst the bubbles. But no adoption is free. That said, how much can you expect to dissipate? Or should you purchase one with a breeder?

Let’s find answers to your questions as you keep reading.

How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Dog?

A better way to put the question would be, how much are you willing to spend to acquire cute canines? A few bucks? Or you’re ready to spend the grand?

See what to expect:

Adoption Fee

This expense is the “free” package most homes offer to you. And it does not even always happen like that.

Only city shelters or well-meaning private homes would let out a dog to you for free or on discounts. Even at that, the condition depends on the kind of dog you want to adopt.

For purebred and puppies, for example, you can expect that the fee will be relatively expensive. For seniors of more than ten years, adoption is often free.

Nevertheless, adopting a dog is cheaper than purchasing one. The most you’d spend on the former is $500 (averagely), while you could part with as high as $3500 on the latter.

Local Registration Fee

After adoption, you’ll yet register your dog at a local council. Now the fee depends on if you had de-sexed your pet. De-sex?

Desexing means castration for a male and spaying for a female. In essence, your dog won’t be able to breed.

So, if you’d de-sexed your dog, the one-time local registration charges would be around $58. For a dog you haven’t castrated or spayed, the fee could go as high as $210.

Now, shelters often de-sex their dogs compared to breeders. So, adoption remains the cheaper option.

Medical Bills

After registering your dog at a local council, you still have to pay for fixes and vaccination (against fleas, heart-worms, and ticks).

Also, this is the section you’d get check-ups and microchipping. As such, medical fees can be quite steep.

Fortunately, shelters do fixes and vaccinations for their animals. However, you’d still have to do renewals that cost about $500.

If you’d purchased the dog from a breeder, you would pay the first-time medical bills of up to $840. Then, you’d continue with the $500 renewals.

Again, shelter wins the medical-bill.

Upkeep & Training

Upkeep includes dog supplies such as food, tags, bowls, and other tools you see fit. You can’t separate adopted and purchased dogs in this instance because the spending limit depends on you.

For training, shelters have trained their dogs. All you do is get a well-behaved and obedient dog.

With breeders, you will often be the one to train the dogs, and that could cost up to $210.

Bottom line

Overall, dog adoption is not free. Even at that, it is a cheaper option than purchasing a dog.

Besides, with the former, you’ll be saving a life that could be up for euthanasia at the end of the year.

If you want to rehome your Chihuahua we offer two services.

1.) You can place a free Chihuahua adoption ad on our site to advertise your dog. You must charge a minimum adoption fee of no less than $50.00 and no higher than $400.00. Fill out the Adoption Ad Application form.

2.) We can contact a Chihuahua Foster Care Partner near you that will take you dog and find a new loving home for him. You pay the foster care provider $25.00 and release all rights to the dog. They in turn will care for the dog and do the advertising and interviews to place the dog in a fitting home.

You can also browse through our Chihuahua Wanted Ads to see if there is a suitable home posted in your area that is seeking a Chihuahua like yours.

You can place a free Chihuahua adoption ad on this page: Chihuahua Adoption Ad Form.

If you can volunteer, we are building a Foster Care Network for Chihuahuas

WARNING – As you may or may not be aware, animals given away for free can, and unfortunately often do, meet gruesome fates. They can end up in the hands of animal abusers like Barry Herbeck, a Wisconsin man who was convicted of torturing and killing animals he obtained through “free to good home” ads. He confessed to taking his children with him when responding to the ads so people would be comfortable turning animals over to him. People known as “bunchers,” who obtain animals illegally from random sources to sell to research facilities for profit, often acquire animals by answering “free to good home” ads. Small animals advertised as “free to good home” are sometimes acquired by individuals who intend to use them as bait in training other animals to fight. Gerbils, hamsters, and young kittens are often acquired to be used as snake food.

What requirements are there for listing my Chihuahua dog or puppy?

Happy Trail Chihuahuas does its posters and the animals a great service, while setting a very progressive example of posting this brief warning at the top of our pet adoption page concerning giving animals away for free. (1.) All posters are required to post and collect an adoption fee of no less than $50.00 and no higher than $400.00. (2.) You must agree to a 5 day in home trial period in which the dog can be returned to you for a 100% refund, provided it is returned in as received condition with all records and possessions tendered at time of adoption, if it does not fit in with the new home. (3.) All ads must be for pure breed Chihuahuas only, no mixed breeds. (4.) You must also provide 1 or 2 clear photos and/or video link of your pet. Questions? Contact Us for details.

How to adopt dogs for free

Our shelter has more than 500 available cats and dogs every day, so we’re sure to have the right pet for your family. At Austin Animal Center, you can find all breeds, ages, and personality types.

We’ve changed our adoption process! Here’s how to adopt:

  1. Browse available pets below or come to the shelter in person. AAC is open for walk-ins Monday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. You can also create a profile online to save your favorite pets! A shelter pet’s availability can change at any time, so we recommend choosing a few favorites.
  2. Find a pet you want to meet? In a pet’s profile, click the pink “Adopt Me” button. This will prompt you to complete an adoption questionnaire. This questionnaire does not hold the animal for you.
  3. Once complete, you’ll receive an email with additional information. Check your spam/junk mail!
    • For foster animals, review the email for next steps.
    • For animals onsite at our shelter, come to the shelter with your driver’s license or government-issued photo ID.

** No email? Call 311 for assistance!
** Adoption fees are currently waived.

​​​​​​Browse Available Pets

Not finding the right pet? Try our Home To Home site, a direct-to-adopter tool for pet guardians looking to re-home their animal.

What to Bring for Adoptions

All you need to bring is a valid photo ID when you’re ready to adopt. We accept Driver’s license, US or International passport, Government or other official photo identification, and Mexican Consulate Cards.

AAC accepts cash, checks and all major credit cards. The adoption fee for cats and dogs is $75 and includes the following:

If you haven’t settled on a particular breed you can find all the breeds of puppies and dogs we have for sale or adoption near Illinois in these listings. However, free dogs and puppies are a rarity as shelters usually charge a small adoption fee to cover their expenses. Sometimes, you may find dogs and puppies for free to a good home listed by an owner who may no longer be able to look after them because of personal circumstances. Our Ads are always free!

If you are looking for puppies and dogs for sale or adoption in areas other than Chicago, Joliet, Springfield, Peoria or Illinois please use the search box!

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