Cute rescue puppies: Supply, demand and logistics

 Tracy's Dogs, a different, non-profit, organization with the same mission

Depending upon where you live, the puppies you see at your local adoption center may not be local strays...but rather may be imports from elsewhere in the country. There are a few factors that set up the business model that make this a reality:

  • Several states in the South have no leash laws, and no spay or neuter laws (or big fees for licensing a fertile dog).
  • Consequence: a lot of "surprise" pups. Therefore, there is an over-supply.
  • Several states in the Northeast, northern Midwest and West have spay and neuter laws as well as leash laws.
  • In regulated states, fewer puppies are being born...and therefore there is less of a selection at adoption events. Therefore an under-supply or over-demand exists.
  • Non-profit fund raising by animal lovers can help make the business model work for transporting the animals to even out the supply and demand situation.

Entrepreneur drivers like Joy Harklerode make a difference in states where the economic hardship of paying for the spaying an animal outweigh any "greater good for the greatest number" concerns. She, and others like Rusty's Legacy and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue make the economics of animal rescue work by acting as intermediaries in the transporting of unwanted pups to states where there is an undersupply of adoptable dogs. 

This is one example of making a business that aligns with personal values. Wanna see more puppy pictures? Visit

Source: "What Rescue Puppies Teach Us About Supply and Demand," by Peter Balanon-Rosen and Lizzy O'Leary, Marketplace: American Public Media, December 7, 2017.

Follow up:

  • Research and discuss another product that is transported across country for reasons of supply and demand: Used cars.
  • Discuss the economic constraints for those who transport rescue dogs long distance. What factors make this business work? What factors can make the thin-margin business model fail?
  • What business would YOU like to start that aligns with your personal values?