Adopting a Pet: The Adoption Process


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You've taken the time to carefully choose your pet, you asked all the right questions, and now it's time to make it official. Rescue organizations go out of their way to make the adoption process as simple as possible.

The application

All shelters will need to document your adoption, starting with a basic application. An application will ask for information about you and those in your house. This information could range from basic demographic data, to details about your past experience owning pets. It may take a little time, but it's important to respond accurately.

Adoption fees

Adoption fees may be collected as part of your adoption. These fees help offset the cost of caring for your pet during their stay at the shelter. Fees can vary by species, breed, size, or age. Shelters will discount adoption fees from time to time. Payment options also vary. Be sure you arrive with the correct amount and method of payment to avoid any delays.

Home visit

It's not uncommon for a shelter to request a visit to your place of residence. The main reason is to ensure your home is a suitable environment for your pet. A shelter may check for things like properly maintained fencing in the yard or sanitary conditions throughout the house. Often, the dog or cat under consideration will come along to allow the pet to preview their new home. If a home visit is required, make sure your home is clean and presentable. Ideally, everyone who occupies the home should be present to allow for proper introductions and to help answer questions.

Take some time to meet your pet before going home

Can I be turned down?

Unfortunately, yes, it is possible for a shelter to decline an adoption request. The information collected through your application is carefully studied to ensure that you offer an ideal home for your pet. All shelters have specific policies for pet placement. Those policies could stipulate that an adoption cannot be allowed under certain circumstances. The criteria will vary and a shelter will usually make their policies known before the adoption process begins. Pay close attention to this information, or ask about any requirements that might keep you from adopting.

The safety and well being of the pet is the most important thing. Shelters take this responsibility very seriously. As great as it would be to place a homeless pet, going to the wrong home could be worse than staying in the shelter. If a shelter declines your application, be sure to ask why. It might be a simple problem that can be easily remedied. If so, ask the shelter if they can hold your pet temporarily while you make the necessary adjustments to clear the adoption.

Let's go home!

Your application is complete, fees are paid, it's time to go home.

Along with your new pet, you'll receive paperwork and details about your pet to help you both transition to your new life. Keep this information handy. You may need it when we cover our next topic, Bringing Your Pet Home.

Peace, Love, and Paws.

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