Today, I saw someone referring to rescues who charge adoption fees "an animal rental company". Frankly, whoever has this opinion should be ashamed of themselves. Take some time to educate yourself and get involved with animal rescue.
Dog, cat and small animal rescues alike need to charge adoption fees to keep doing what they do. Where do you think the money comes from to provide veterinary care, medications, food, housing and toys? Each parrot costs approximately $75 per month in just food and toys -- this number does not include vet care, and we make all of our own toys to save on cost. There are also electric bills for air conditioning, air filters, radios or television entertainment for the birds, and for full spectrum lighting. Without charging a nominal adoption fee, there would be no rescues in existence. We would not be able to continue our missions, and the animals would die or suffer needlessly without us.
A typical rescue does not receive government funding; like us, we do not receive government funding, and we rarely receive donations. Donations are usually received as adoption fees. We do not charge a fee to take in a bird, because we do not want to make an animal suffer any longer. Folks who relinquish neglected parrots will not pay a relinquishment fee to save the bird that they never necessarily cared about. Many times, these birds do not come with any toys, perches, or proper housing. That expense is on us.
Every cost comes out of our pay checks; that is our contribution, our way of giving back to the world, because someone has to be the voice for these birds. A true rescue will never break even, and we will never make a profit from adoption fees. The fees only help us prepare for the next case that comes through our doors.
Keep in mind, too, about how many shady people in the world there is. If we did not charge adoption fees, even with signing a strict contract and checking up on the home, there is no telling where that parrot would end up in the long run. Payment of an adoption fee shows a person's commitment to their new family member, and it also goes towards helping other parrots needing rescue -- by paying an adoption fee, an adopter not only helps one bird, but multiple birds. Humane Society's and local dog and cat rescues all charge adoption fees to keep their mission of saving lives going, and bird rescues have to do the same.
And trust me, we wish we could be a sanctuary-only and keep every parrot forever (heck, that would save us hours from our day of reviewing potential adopter applications), but not many rescues have the means to do that. It requires a very large building, several outdoor flight aviaries, and ample quarantine rooms-- that is just not feasible for the average rescuer. Yes, there are really that many parrots in need. And if we keep them all, we will fill up quicker than you can imagine, and then we can not be there to help when another poor soul comes to us nearly on their death bed. If we can continue finding homes for the adoptable birds, we can continue helping parrots in need, and with a growing amount of breeders teamed with parrots outliving their owners, this need is not going to end anytime soon -- in fact, it is only going to get worse. Don't you want to be part of the solution to this problem?
“People that say money can’t buy happiness have never paid an adoption fee.”
As my main job unrelated to the rescue world, I am a full time writer for a collector car insurance company. Between this job and the rescue, I enjoy sharing my experiences throughout my journey with parrots. Stay tuned for periodic updates!