Some time back, a young volunteer and I were chatting while cleaning up puppy poop, and she asked “Why do the dogs cost money?” After my split second of shock, I realized it was an excellent question – after all, these are unwanted animals, and the number of dogs and cats exceeds the number of available homes. I told her a little about the costs of running a shelter – the mortgage, the vet bills, etc., but I didn’t want to burden this youngster with too much information.
When I go to a restaurant, and see a $9.95 burger, I consider that I’m not just paying for that burger, but also for the employees’ wages, the plate, the water and soap and electricity to wash the plate, the equipment, the recent repairs on the equipment, the licenses, the furniture, the rent, and on and on.
There’s a lot more than meets the eye to keeping a whole bunch of animals happy and healthy. A shelter, like any other enterprise, has a myriad of costs associated with it. There are the payments on the facility (Frank and Aileen mortgaged their home to purchase the property), plus the huge utility costs. Vet bills and vet supplies can’t be overlooked – you’d probably be shocked if you knew the steep cost of many of the supplies. Frank and Aileen work for free, but the shelter manager and workers have to be paid, as there aren’t too many people who do demanding, physical, grubby labor for free, and the animals need care and attention every day. Then there are the expensive disinfectants and the other cleaning supplies. Throw in food (some dogs and cats are at the shelter for months, some for years), equipment, maintenance, kitty litter, toys, treats, leashes, office supplies… Thank goodness gas isn’t $4.00 per gallon right now.
I guess the conversation with the young volunteer popped in my head again because of the $1,100 van repair bill last week and the $900 electric bill this week. The van in question needs more work, not surprising since it has about 280,000 miles on it.
So yes, maybe that beautiful mixed-breed puppy sounds a little expensive. But you’re not just paying for that puppy – you’re ensuring another puppy can be rescued, and the cycle can continue. You’re helping a sick dog get treatment, and seeing that the un-adoptable shelter dogs are fed, cared for and loved. You’re now part of the rescue effort.
Colorado Springs Pet Adoptions every Saturday from 11 to 5 at the PetSmart across from Chapel Hills Mall – 7680 N. Academy Blvd.
Please visit the San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society’s website, where you can find out more about the organization and see their partial list of adoptable pets.
Please remember to spay and neuter; there aren’t enough homes for them all.