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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
1,232 Posts
I recommend you contact rescues and shelters personally and talk to them about what you are looking for. Be sure to contact shelters outside of just your city/county shelter - a shelter 2 counties away may have just what you are looking for.

Explain your circumstances and be honest. A good rescue or shelter can work with you to find a good match.

Also, while a puppy may seem best to you, don't rule out an older dog. They may have an adult dog who was just meant to be your support dog.

While shelters and rescues don't seem to have puppies, it is mostly because they get adopted as soon as they become available. The best way to "get in the front of the line" is to make contact and get them actively working for you.

You can also contact support groups, etc, for your mental health issues and ask them for help. They may know of a program to reduce the adoption fee, or even programs that adopt out support dogs. If you have a mental health physician, you can also ask them for options.

I would steer clear of craigslist, etc. While there may be an "oops litter", in my experience they are extremely rare and 99% of what you find are backyard breeders, puppy mills, and scams. Taking your chance there will likely result in more expense than the "high priced" adoption fee of a rescue/shelter.

Contact your local vets and let them know you are looking. That is the best way to find an "oops litter". Visit your local pet stores and talk to the employees, they may have had someone mention having a litter. And again, talk to your local rescues - many people who have "oops litters" will contact the rescue groups to take the puppies and oftentimes the rescue cannot but will agree to refer potential homes to those people.

As for fees, remember that while a puppy adoption is higher, it does most often include neutering (worth about $100-$400) plus at least the first set of shots ($30-$80). I recommend that you start setting aside your monthly dog expense money starting now. The money you are not putting out in dog food now can help pay for that adoption fee later.

Also, adoption fees vary between jurisdictions, so again look beyond just your city/county shelter. The county next door may have lower fees. And each jurisdiction can vary on the breeds/mixes they get. Lower income jurisdictions tend to have the pits, bullies, shepherds, huskies (the new fad), and chihuahuas and mixes with those breeds. Higher income jurisdictions are more likely to have other breeds. A jurisdiction in a big hunting region will likely have hunting and sporting breeds and mixes, and so on.
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