The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Hate Mail and Adoption Fees

Hate Mail and Adoption Fees

Did you know that Gisele gets nasty e-mails on a regular basis from people about her adoption fees? She used to reply to them but doesn’t even bother any more. 

This one arrived today and in a weak moment, she forwarded to me: “Your prices are ridiculously HIGH. Please do not call this an “adoption”, it is a sale! – Melvin

I have a reply for Melvin from Gisele. I’m sure he’ll never read it, but I just feel better for having written it. So, this is for Melvin and all his like-minded e-mail buddies:

Dear Melvin,

Thank you for your input. After a long day of working with the dogs, I can’t begin to tell you how uplifting I found it. I’m sure with your vast experience in rescue, you can relate to this.

Perhaps you can help me more. What is the “right” adoption fee for a dog?
Before you answer, perhaps you should do a little experiment. How about YOU start your own rescue like I did just over a year ago.

Make sure that at least 85% of the dogs you rescue are on death row. And out of state (remember to plan on the
transportation and boarding costs). Since these shelters don’t do heartworm tests, plan on at least 10% being heartworm positive (you’ll have to pay for the treatment, plus they’ll be with you longer because they are harder to place).
Kennel cough ~ you’re going to end up with at least one new dog with it, he’ll pass it to the others, and they’ll all have to be treated. And plan on one developing canine influenza from it and dying in your arms after you’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to save its life. And you may as well plan on at least a couple of others dying in your arms as well ~ parvo, malnutrition, heartworms ~ the percentages just play out.

Of course, you need to feed them, whether they get adopted or not. Shots, heartworm preventive, flea preventive, spay and neuter them all. I’m sorry, the vets are maxed out and cannot cut you a break in the bill. Well, there is one vet who is a little less expensive, but it’s a 40 mile round trip, and they’ll fit you in when they can, they want you to pick up the dog just before closing when fixed, so that’s 80 miles, and pretty much your whole day.

Oh, and don’t count on any donations. The economy is tight, other rescues are established, and you’re just not going to get them.

And sleep? Well, you’re not going to get a lot, After all, you want your dogs to have the best chance of success in their new homes, so if they wake up at night and have to potty, you’ll get up and let them out because you don’t want them pooping in their crate. And, of course, once one wakes up, they all wake up, so this will probably take at least an hour. It will happen at least once during the night. But you’ll get a lot done during the day because they wake up at 5am to help you get an early start.

And you’ll have lots of time because you can’t take any time off ~ the dogs have to be taken care of every day and there is no one who will volunteer to stay in your home and take care of that many dogs.

But don’t worry, when you’ve had a tough day, you can count on getting an uplifting e-mail from someone who wants to compare your efforts to those of a government-subsidized shelter, where the dogs often have to poop in their crates, get minimum human interaction and, after a short period of time, are euthanized. Or maybe to an established rescue that has a large v

olunteer and donation base.

After all, their criticism is just meant to help you. With no regard to the 200+ dogs that you rescued and placed in loving homes in your first year, 200 dogs that would probably be dead if it were not for you.

So, Melvin, give it a shot. Rescue 200+ dogs over the next 365 days. Keep track of your expenses, and then let me know what my adoption fees should be. I look forward to hearing from you this time next year. ~Holly


If you are interested in meeting one of our dogs, please read our Adoption Process page.


14 thoughts on “Hate Mail and Adoption Fees

  1. grrr….these emails just get me…so while I could get on my own soap box, I will just say, "ditto what Holly said" so eloquently…and thank you Giselle and Holly for all that you do for rescue…

  2. Holly,

    I just read the blog website about Melvin and his nasty e-mail. I don't have an account so I couldn't reply to the blog on the website, but I do want you to know how much you and Gisele are appreciated:

    I just adopted Lexie a week ago and am so amazed at her! She is 10 weeks old and is crate trained and potty trained. Why? Because she had constant interaction with humans and other animals. Someone was always there teaching and training her. She is very loving and doesn't have a bad trait in her! I paid a higher adoption fee for her than I would have paid at my local humane society, but I can tell you I don't regret it and know I got my money's worth! So thank you Gisele and Holly for all that you do! One puppy is hard enough work and I couldn't imagine anymore at one time! You are truly amazing people and don't let people like Melvin make you think otherwise!


    Thank you! I can't tell you how much your words mean to me. It really is hard when we get the nasty criticisms. Everyone judges. When I was with Pet Rescue By Judy, we got critized for our fees too, even though they were usually just $150. Such people have no appreciation for the time, money and LOVE that we put into these pets.

    I just sent you an invitation to post comments on our blog. I hope that you will accept it and paste your e-mail into it. If you'd rather not, may I do so?

    Thank you for adopting Lexie. I can't believe how close you came to not getting her. It is just another testimoney to how, when we're patient, the right dog ends up with the right person. And you, my dear, are the right person! When you have a chance,would you send me a new photo of you two together and a testimoney to post on our "Praise" page? We can tell people how great we are all day, but it carries more weight if comes from an adopter!

    I expect to post Maggie's puppies available for deposits this week. If you have anyone who is into little dogs, let them know. They are four weeks old today and already paper trained. Am I good or what? Or maybe it's the poodle in them….

    Thank you again for your kind words. They have made my day!


  3. Posted on Facebook:
    Willie Morelli: Yes, well written! I do apreciate the ignorance of the Melvins out there because it just makes it that much easier to flag the least desirable applicants for adoption. However, most of the dogs on death row are a product of that ignorance.

  4. Dear Gisele,
    As part of my son's school projects, he is required to do volunteer community service. One of the many things I love about his school! He had no problem selecting what he would like to do. Matthew's intense love of animals set him to doing much research in selecting and working with a dog rescue group. After looking at many sites he came upon The Dog Liberator several times. When I asked him why he had chose this particular group he sat me down to show me hundreds of videos pictures and comments. He said, "mom, can't you just see how much they care about these dogs. They don't just put in homes, they love on them and make them better and send them to people who will make sure and love them too!" Oh out of the mouth of a babe! He begged me for 2 weeks to call. Doing as commanded, we set a day to meet. It was love at first sight! On the way up to visit, Matthew was talking to me about Gracie. He asked if there was anything we could do to help. Melvin….my 13 year old son paid $125 from his savings account to pay for Gracie's heartworm treatment. A dog he had never even seen! I can tell you that savings was for some new and great videos game I am sure he wanted, but even at 13 he knew to give back! So Mr. Melvin instead of asking" what can they do for me, ask what you can do for them!: Maybe even you can lean for a child! Also, I would be particularly interested to see your point of view, once you take your head out of you a@#!

  5. Um, I get the frustration. You're doing a great thing by organizing adoptions and the health of these animals.

    But this post is completely unhelpful. Responsible, potential dog owners need to know how much the cost is going to be, that's a legitimate concern. So when I click here looking for that information and read a big long response to some random email (instead of, you know, actual information about adoption costs and what it covers) makes me wonder that maybe you ARE charging too much. Especially if you're going to waste time and space on the blog defending it.

    The internet is a big place with lots of mean people on it. Can we, ya know, move on and just stick to the topic? Consider just stating the fees on this page entitled "Adoption Fees".

  6. Meh, the date of post is July 5, 2010. I think we have all moved on. All of our adoption fees are located on the very first line of our dogs' descriptions on PetFinder and other Pet Adoption sites.

    1. being the owner of 9 dogs and knowing how expensive it is to just have them in my home i personally think your adoption fees are 110% accurate. we had our border collie (agility dog) break his leg by clipping the fence post at full border collie speed, that was othapedic surgery, and over 3000.00. the joy of seeing him run again was worth it. so i understand what you go thru trying to save as many as possible, and dont let the idiots get to you, you are in my book, what i esteem to be, a saint.thank u for all your good work

  7. About your unbelievable high fees… I was in the mall today and over heard the price of a couple of designer mutts for sale at the puppy store. (UGH!) The one was labeled as a Yorkie mix. Mixed with what they did not say. The other was labeled a Puggle. The store had several other mixed breed mutts. I recall one that was labeled as a pure breed. Anyway, the Yorkie mix and the Puggle were priced at over $1000 each. This did not include any vetting other than whatever shots the dogs have at the time of sale. Seems TDL rescue donations are more reasonable… and often for Pure breed dogs too! Only my opinion tho. ;o) I think I will start caring TDL cards to give PPL who think they want a puppy mill baby so they can save $$ AND still get a dog who is better than most!

  8. Our response to the adoption fee was that we gave more than was requested for Adopting Flynn…(aka Sundance) These wonderful people need all the support they can get. Thank you TDL xoxo Susan, Pete & Flynn

  9. Please helping is not asking for people for a sale of a dog’ we need to step up and pay to help ‘please be kind ‘just help &think of the dogs not the cost of the adoption’ sheesh ‘ its a living thing what needs help’ i rescued my golden and paid dearly for her to be healthy’ i never looked back” hope they all get homes you do a grand Job. Pollyb & her golden Reese

  10. Clearly Melvin is a moron, and probably shouldn’t have a pet. Your adoption fee is more than reasonable, and i will add you to my short list of charity donations. it’s obvious you all do this from the heart, as there is no way anyone can be making money given all that is involved. i’m sure you are familiar with the famous Ghandi quote “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Well as a society we have a long way to go, but TDL can take pride in being on the forefront in showing kindness and compassion to animals who cannot stand up for themselves.

  11. Hi Giselle,
    You don’t need to justify your prices…what you do is so much more valuable than what you’re asking for in donation/adoption fees. In reality, if these folks don’t find value in you, your services & these dogs….what kind of home are these rescued dogs getting into? Probably not another healthy environment…
    Pets aren’t cheap! A vet bill for our rescue is $300 an average visit. I don’t squabble the price because my little KT is worth so much more. So if these people say they can’t “afford your adoption fee” say “thank you” ! My dogs can’t afford to be in your custody;)

  12. Giselle, I can’t believe some of the complaints. I just took my dog Prince to have his ears checked because of him shaking his head off and on and it was over $40.00 not counting the medication they want me to use instead of Peroxide, yet they found nothing wrong, just preventive.
    Vet bills are up but so are medical bills for humans. What would they rather you do, let the animal suffer and see if they might get better on their own. Won’t happen. Would they leave a human not to get the shots or preventive medication they need, or would they just wait and see if they stay healthy? We all know the answer.
    Vet bills are high no matter the procedure, and it must be passed along. Puppies in puppy mills only get the shots necessary to sell them at eight weeks of age. And as for mature dogs, even puppies brought into the pound, many are put to sleep if having heart worm, broken legs, kennel cough, etc. because many don’t want to pay the expense of the PROPER CARE by a vet.
    You on the other hand take in animals such as Claire Bear and spend many months of cooking different dishes of food for her trying to find out why she would be able to tolerate food for two days only to find that after 3 days on the new diet she would start vomiting again. People even telling you that they would just put her out of her misery and just put her to sleep of which you did not do, but with patience and back and forth to the vet and trying everything you knew and by not giving up on her, you figured it out and now she is a healthy happy dog romping around.
    God said to take care of the animals. That is what you do.
    Many times the people complaining do not realize or have all the facts as to the proper care of an animal nor their needs, nor do they want to know. The animal is a living, breathing being, wanting the tender care of a loving human that will be beside you no matter what, even giving its life for you, as many have for their owners. Animals as well as humans thrive on love and tender affection.
    So to Giselle and her group, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, even if some of the people don’t realize and understand what you have been through to save an animals life, you and GOD know and it is only to him that you have to answer.

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