The safest way to get a free small dog is to adopt the dog from an animal shelter that offers fee-waived adoptions. These programs usually only run for a short time as a promotion, or they may only apply to certain dogs.
You can locate shelters that offer fee-waived small dogs by contacting shelters in your area and asking. Some also have special promotions that match up senior dogs with senior citizens, or they may have special fee waivers for military veterans and other people with special circumstances. Searching pet adoption websites such as Petfinder.com or AdoptaPet.com can help you locate dogs in your area.
Free small dogs can also often be found on classified websites such as Craigslist.com, but this method can be a risky way to find a dog. Many owners are giving away their dogs because of behavioral issues or health problems that the owner is not able to handle. Once you take the dog, you are generally fully responsible for it. Shelters are safer because they test their dogs for temperament and health problems that might present challenges for their new owners. Shelters also often provide free behavioral support to help new owners deal with any problems that may arise, and they are willing to take the dog back if the problems are too cumbersome.