Miniature Schnauzer Rescue of Houston

A Word About Fees


Sometimes, particularly in today’s economy, we get comments about our adoption fees.  “Why are they higher than if I adopt at a shelter?”  “Your fees are as high as buying from a breeder!”  “If you were really concerned about placing dogs, you’d lower your fees!”  These questions and comments are understandable and they are worthy of an informative response.  It’s hard for some to see the inner workings of MSRH.  My name is Rick and, I was the MSRH webmaster from 2008 – just after I adopted a MSRH Schnauzer – until January 2014.  Let me share with you what I observed and learned regarding this topic and this organization.

As background, MSRH is a non-profit, all-volunteer, no-kill rescue organization.  Since 2000, we have been committed to the never-ending, sometimes overwhelming, task of rescuing abandoned or unwanted Miniature Schnauzers who have lost their homes.  We do not operate a shelter or kennel.  Each dog in MSRH’s care is placed in a loving foster home until it is adopted.  Every member of MSRH, from our officers to our foster families to our transportation coordinators to me, as webmaster, is a volunteer who gives unselfishly to save the lives of abandoned Schnauzers.  No one takes at salary at MSRH!  On average, we now rescue and adopt about one dog every day in the Texas / Louisiana area.  365….that’s a lot of dogs!  And it makes us one of the largest, if not the largest, single-breed rescue organizations in the country!

It’s important to remember that our fee includes spay / neuter, all shots, a microchip and, sometimes, a dental cleaning.  In other words, our fee can’t be compared directly to that of a breeder or puppy store or maybe even to other rescue organizations.  In addition, since our dogs reside in a loving foster home, as a general rule, our dogs come to the adopter well-socialized, partially or fully house trained and may also be crate trained, doggie door trained and/or leash trained.  The foster families know each dog’s temperament and personality and they do a great job of matching our dogs into the best possible forever home.  When you buy a puppy from a breeder, there’s a lot of expense in those first few years and you know nothing of the dog’s temperament or personality.  When you do an appropriate comparison, particularly to a breeder or shelter, I think you’ll find our fees to be a bargain.

However, the money we raise via our adoption fees does not come close to covering our actual vet bills.  This is an important point.  Many rescue organizations take in only a limited number of dogs – and only healthy ones at that.  In other words, they may take only the ‘easy’ ones that require no special care and are readily adoptable.  Shelters certainly do this.  If the dogs are sick or injured, they’ll be rejected and likely put down.  MSRH is non-selective in its rescue efforts.  Some of our dogs require expensive heartworm treatment, surgery and an extensive recovery period.  Our dogs are on heartworm preventives and some may be on flea / tick preventatives as well (no surprises!).  Our outstanding, caring veterinarians have done everything from fixing broken limbs to removing gall bladders.  The veterinary needs of our rescues are in excess of $150,000 per year and easily exceed what we can recover through adoption fees.  To that end, we rely heavily on various fundraisers as well as donations from MSRH volunteers, friends, businesses and past adopters to bridge the approximate $50,000 gap!

For some people, nothing can replace the new, just-out-of-the-box feeling of adopting a puppy.  Lowering MSRH adoption fees does not sway these buyers and, in doing so, MSRH would simply find itself deeper in debt.  Yes, you may be able to adopt a healthy dog from a shelter at a lower price because a) they’ve haven’t spent any money on it and b) because shelters are subsidized by your tax dollars.  But the potentially lower fee at a shelter masks the number of dogs that have been put down because they were sick or injured and simply needed a little money and time.  It’s true that the economy has impacted some people’s ability to adopt one of our dogs.  But that same economy has also dramatically impacted our charitable donation and fundraising efforts.  We are in a very difficult position.  We could lower our fees as some have suggested but that then requires us to be very selective in our rescue efforts – like many other shelters and rescue groups – because our costs simply can’t be recovered.  What an unfortunate ending for these wandering, one-time pets.

We know and understand that adopting from MSRH is not for everyone.  The loving people who adopt from MSRH can see a bigger picture.  For them, it is of course about finding a healthy, loving companion.  But it’s also about saving an animal’s life and not contributing to a pet population problem that is already out of control.  Their sense of care and compassion does and will allow MSRH to continue to fulfill its mission – “Every Schnauzer, A Home.  One Adoption At A Time.”  As one of our MSRH friends is fond of saying, “Saving one Schnauzer may not change the world, but it certainly changes the world for that one Schnauzer.”

There are many kind and caring people volunteering at MSRH.  We’re not a for-profit business and our adoption fees are not part of some scam.  I hope you’ll spend some time browsing our website to learn more about our dogs and our organization.  Read the “About MSRH” page to see, in the words of our Founder & President, how we began.  Better yet, come to one of our events and mingle with our dogs and volunteers!  If you don’t adopt from MSRH, there are no hard feelings here.  We honestly and sincerely wish you all the best in making the purchase or adoption decision that’s right for your family.  Who knows – maybe someday you’ll come back and adopt a dog from MSRH!  In the meantime, say a small prayer for our Schnauzers and for the loving volunteers who are working hard to find them a loving home.  They deserve it!