They're not a con at all! We adopted one through Canine Defense League. They have a fantastic programme by which a dog can be permanently fostered by an elderly person. When the animal needs vet care, it's paid by the charity (many pensioners can't afford to keep pets for that reason), as is all the animal's food and such. If the keeper gets too ill to care for the animal, the dog goes back to the charity.
Find a reputable charity, like World Wildlife Fund, SPCA, NCDFL, etc. and you can't go wrong.
yeah well thats the same here when dp was little he used to go on holiday with his parents and use to spend the whold week looking after the donkeys on the beach and used to be gutted his mam wouldnt let him take them home so this has become a joke about his obsession with donkeys so im sure he'll love our new addition to the family!