How does the adoption process work?

homeless dogs in cage. dogs are disabled

1. Use Petvanna’s search to find pets for adoption! is a place where pet shelters & rescues list their pets for adoption.

Enter your location and select the type of breed you are interested in, then click the search button.

You will see photos of matching pets. Click on a pet’s card to see that pet’s information and adoption process.

2. How to adopt a pet you are interested in

If you’ve never adopted a pet before, you may be wondering, how does the process work? How long does it take? How much does it cost? The information below will help give you an overview of how it works to adopt a pet from Shelters and Rescues. Each is different, and it helps to understand what to expect, so you can have a better overall pet adoption experience.

Adopting from a Shelter

Shelters include public shelters like the city and county animal shelters, animal control, police and health departments, dog wardens, and are often called the pound. There are also private shelters that might use the words “humane society” or “SPCA” in their name. They are all separate, independently run organizations or government offices. Just because shelters have similar names does not mean they are connected — just like different banks might have the word “bank” in their name.

Shelters often have a physical facility, with staff, and operating hours. Some have volunteers and do adoption events around town too. If the pet you see on says that pet is at a Shelter and has an address with business hours, the easiest way to adopt that pet may be to go visit. That’s because some shelters are under-staffed and may not answer all phone calls or emails. Especially if the pet listing says ACT QUICKLY you should go to that shelter ASAP to see that pet!

Each shelter’s adoption process is different. Here’s an example of how a shelter adoption might work:

  1. You find a pet you want to adopt on who’s at a shelter.
  2. On the pet’s page, that shelter’s Adoption Process might direct you to visit the shelter facility during their adoption hours, or to email them for an appointment. You go to the shelter and see the pet. He’s adorable! You ask at the shelter desk and they have a staff or volunteer take him out so you can meet with him. You fall in love.
  3. You go to the shelter’s front desk, give them your photo ID, pay the adoption fee (average range is $25 to $200), and get copies of the pet’s vaccination records and sterilization certificate so you can get him licensed.
  4. You take your new pet home!

Adopting from a Rescue

Rescues most often have their pets in foster homes or private boarding facilities, and are run by volunteers. They may have adoption events at pet stores on the weekends. If a pet you see on says that pet is at a Rescue, be sure to read the pet description and the Adoption Process under that, and follow each rescue’s instructions. Some prefer you email them first (click the Ask About Me button on that pet’s page), some prefer you fill out their application before asking about a pet, so they can answer your questions more knowledgeably.

Please be patient when waiting for a response from a rescue, giving them a few days to respond. Rescue volunteers are people just like you and me, often with very full lives in addition to their rescue volunteering.

Each rescue’s adoption process is different. Here’s one example of how a rescue adoption might work:

  1. You find a pet you want to adopt on who’s at a rescue.
  2. You read that pet’s Adoption Process. It says fill out their online application, and there’s a link on that pet’s page to that rescue’s website and application. The next day, one of the rescue’s volunteers calls you and you talk to them more about the pet. It seems like a good match, and agree to come meet the pet at their adoption event in a local pet store that weekend.
  3. You meet the pet and fall in love. An event volunteer calls a home check volunteer, and you all arrange for a home visit. After the home visit, you get a call from a volunteer to let you know you will be the home adopting the pet! They email you copies of his vaccination and sterilization records. You arrange a delivery day for your new pet.
  4. Your new pet is brought by his foster volunteer to your home! You sign their adoption contract and pay their adoption fee (usually ranges from $100 to $300 but sometimes more).

Start your search today

We hope this overview and these examples help you better understand how you can adopt a pet. If you’re ready to start looking for a pet to adopt, click on the “Dogs for adoption” menu above.

Thank you for adopting a pet!

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