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The Complete Dog Adoption Process

So you’re thinking about adopting a dog? This is great news! Adopting a dog is not only an incredibly rewarding experience, but a life saving one as well! Every year, hundreds and thousands of dogs are euthanized because there simply isn’t enough homes for them. If you’ve never adopted a dog before, the process could seem a bit intimidating or confusing, so in this article we’ll outline a clear path so you can ensure that your dog adoption process goes smoothly from A-Z.

In this guide we’ll discuss everything starting from why you should adopt a dog and rescue a pet to how you can find local, reputable adoption shelter online near you. We’ll then talk about the dog adoption process and the variety of steps that are involved with that.

Lets Begin!

Why Adopt a Dog?


It’s a question that many people consider. Why not just find a breeder? Aren’t adopted or rescued dogs dangerous and more of a “luck of the draw?” so to speak? While these seem to be valid questions floating around in everyone’s mind, they’re actually quite far from the truth and here’s why.

Many dogs who end up in shelters aren’t there because they had behavioral issues or some fault of their own. Most of the time it’s because they weren’t a good lifestyle fit for their family. You can find just about any kind of dog in a rescue. If you’re looking for a calm, supportive buddy to be there for you or a nice laid back family dog, you’ll find them. You can also find running buddies and active dogs to keep up with your healthy lifestyle.

So before you write of dogs from a rescue, know that just about any kind of dog that you’re looking for is there. Talk to the people working at the rescue about the specific dog you’re feeling connected to to learn about their temperament, past and history.

Adopting a dog has many advantages for the right person. First and foremost, you’re literally saving a dog’s life! That alone is an invaluable reason as to why adopting is a great choice.

Secondly, by choosing to adopt a dog instead of going through a breeder, you’re likely going to save a significant amount of money. Often times your local adoption center will include the costs of veterinary shots and spay/neutering in the cost of the puppy. Breeders can be extremely expensive, and not only that, finding a true authentic one can be a bit of a challenge at times.

On top of that there are a variety of other benefits:

#1 – You can Adopt a Dog That’s Been Fully Trained

This takes a ton of stress out of buying a dog. Bringing a dog home that already has basic manners makes things much easier. However, if you’re looking for a dog with a clean slate, that is also available at shelters.

#2 – You Pay a lot Less for a Rescue Dog

Adoption fees are very reasonable coming in at around $50-$300. If you’ve ever talked to a breeder you know that dogs can range from $800 to tens of thousands, so if you’re budget conscious, adoption is the way to go.

#3 – You Have a lot of Choices

Little Known Fact! About 30% of dogs you’ll find in shelters are actually purebred. You’ll find just about every breed and mix you can think of in a dog rescue shelter so consider looking at a few that are near you to get an idea of what your available options are.

#4 – You Can Find a Great Match For Your Lifestyle

Shelters always have the dog’s future in mind. If you give them a list of qualities you’re looking for they’ll help you match up with a dog that fits your lifestyle. You’ll also have the advantage of bypassing the baby and adolescent age which can be very difficult to deal with for new dog owners.

#5 – You’re Adopting a Dog That’s Been Screened

Rescue dogs are fully vaccinated and have had examinations by the local vet to ensure they are healthy. This is important for your dog’s long term health and longevity.

#6 – You Can Find Awesome Dog Mixes

You can definitely find one-of-a-kind dogs in rescue shelters. You can even request certain physical features and traits which they’ll help you find or place you on a waiting list for.

#7 – You’re helping Fight Against Puppy Mills.

If you buy a puppy online or from a Pet store there is an extremely high chance they are from a puppy mill. By adopting a rescue you can ensure that you’re not supporting unethical breeding practices.

Now that you’ve learned about some of the benefits to adopting a rescue through an animal shelter, let’s dive into the research process.

Starting The Dog Adoption Research Process


There are few different ways you can start your dog adoption research process. Since we live in the digital age, the easiest way is going to be do do a google search for something like:

  • dog adoption center near me
  • animal shelter near me
  • pet adoption near me
  • local animal shelter

With these kinds of searches you should get a variety of local and organic search results that show you the nearest animal rescue shelters. You can visit their websites, check their reviews and call them to learn about their programs.

Finding a reputable shelter is your number one priority. The reason is because you want to ensure that the shelter you adopt your dog from is treating their animals properly which includes adequate storage, space, food, shelter, medical attention and daily maintenance.

To find a reputable shelter you should consider looking at the shelters reviews on as many different listings as possible including both Yelp and Google. You should also visit the shelter and notice all of the details including ventilation, lighting, size and cleanliness of the cages, cleanliness of the general areas, the mood and temperament of the animals, how they respond to being approach or when they see staff members.

During your interview process for these shelters, you should find out what information they need from you. Here are some questions you should ask them and some that they may ask of you:

  • What their requirements are for adopting
  • What information they need or require from you
  • Do they require a home visit
  • Where will the dog be spending most of their time
  • Who will be attending to or taking care of the dog

You should also ask for some references of people who have bought dogs there recently or in the past for you to be able to get an idea of their past experiences if possible.

Now that you have an idea of the research process, let’s explore some of the the adoption process.

The Adoption Process


As we previously mentioned, shelters and rescue groups will ask a lot of questions, and this isn’t a bad thing! It’s to ensure that rescue dogs are being placed into the proper, long term home and it’s also to facilitate a good match between the dog and the potential family looking to adopt it.

Many shelters may require some kind of application process in addition to various types of contact information.

Here are a brief list of questions in addition to the ones we mentioned above you should be prepared to answer:

  • Your previous activity with pets or animals
  • Your Housing Situation
  • The number and types of pet you own or have owned
  • Name and contact information of your ven if you have one
  • Your activity level, lifestyle and expectations for a new animal
  • The number of children or people in your household

While these serve as a good base of questions, you should know that each shelter has their own set of standard, procedures and questions that they may ask. Keep in mind, that this process is more of an evaluation that is kept as an open conversation rather than a series of yes or no questions with wrong answers. The ultimate goal with this screening process is to ensure a proper fit for animal and owner.

So, now that you have an idea of some of the benefits of adopting a rescue, how to find one and what you should be prepared to look out for it’s time to begin your search!

To help you begin your journey, you’ll find a variety of valuable resource links related to Pet Adoption here. These resources are housed on Adoptapet.com which is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website.

Have you adopted or rescued a dog before? Let us know if the comments below! Tell us about your experience and some the unique challenges you faced along the way. We’d love to know what kind of breed you ended up choosing and how your experience has been thus far! Help us dispel the common myths associated with dog adoption and help more people learn about the wonderful benefits and value that comes with adopting a dog!





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