Adopting a Rescued Pet

Catherine Forman
March 23, 2006

puppies awaiting adoption at shelterAdopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group isn't as easy as going into the food store and picking out a new flavor of ice cream. Things are a little more complicated than that!


The first step is to make a visit to your shelter of choice. Plan on going just to look. Many shelters will not let you take an animal home the same day. There is often a waiting period while the staff checks vet references and even conducts a home visit to see if you have the appropriate space for a pet.

If there is a particular animal you like, you can have a little one-on-one time with them. For dogs, you'll often go outside to a play yard; for cats, you will probably get to meet them in a private room. Keep in mind that you are BOTH nervous. The dog or cat will be very excited to have the chance to stretch their legs a little, and may ignore you completely at first. They also may leap into your lap and slobber all over your face. I've had both initial reactions from dogs who eventually became members of the family.

If, after you meet the dog or cat, you decide that you would like to add them to the family, you have to fill out an application. Name, address, phone number -- all the basics. You may also be asked for a veterinarian reference, or even personal references! The questionnaire may ask about your daily routine -- who is home when, what hours would the animal be alone, when will it eat, where will it sleep.

When my family adopted our first dog, we waited three days after putting in the application. We were on pins and needles, waiting for a call. Finally, we called the shelter to check on the status of our application. Because it had been so long since we had owned a dog (almost fifteen years!), we had no vet references. The shelter was planning to turn us down, but changed their minds when our hopeful phone call showed them how dedicated we were to giving this dog a good home. My little fur sister came home to us the next day, and has been queen of the house for the last nine years!

Most shelters do ask for an adoption fee. Most shelters will require that you get your new pet spayed or neutered (if they aren't already fixed). And most shelters are overjoyed to see another resident have a second chance at a good home.


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March 23, 20061 found this helpful
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I always check and have adopted from there.

Not only do they have the pets listed at the shelters and rescue groups, they also have classified ads. The classifieds in the newspapers usually have preowned pets as well. Sometimes due to circumstances, like moving or a new baby or other reasons people have to get rid of their pet and have already gotten the beginning shots, neutering, etc.


Sometimes they are just happy to have their pet going to a good home and there is no charge. Also, rescue groups and animal shelters will work with you on pets that will have to be destroyed soon if they are not adopted.

I think the adoption fees are more for you to prove to them that you can provide for the pet and also to help support the shelter or rescue group.

In any case, please don't adopt an animal if you are not able to make the commitment to provide it food, medical care, training and companionship. Many of the shelter animals were once "cute" little puppies that when they chewed on something or when they were no longer little and cute, ate too much, were too much trouble, didn't mind, etc. were disposable to the owners.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
January 4, 2012

I strongly recommend that anyone who is wanting to add a kitten or cat to their life, do so by adopting one from a shelter or rescue organization. I have done this often and have found the following tips helpful when bringing home a cat or kitten from a shelter.

A young tortiseshell kitten playing with a toy.


August 23, 2006

When adopting a pet from the humane society, ask as many questions as possible, the animal's history, where it came from, etc.

Jake with info.


August 5, 2011

2 of our 3 Boston Terriers are rescue dogs. The one on Freecycle was on a short leash and left in a plastic barrel outside. They are the most amazing animals. Our third Boston Terrier came from a female Boston Terrier, who died during birth.

3 black and white Boston Terriers on the lawn


Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 51 Tips
February 27, 2006

When bringing a rescued pet into your home be very aware of the subtle and sometimes not so subtle hints they give you. Our rescued Golden, Maggie was very fearful of loud noises, such as, thunder, firecrackers, shotguns, pans falling out of the cabinet, etc.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 162 Posts
July 27, 2011

While I have adopted great dogs from the animal shelter, many are released to the pound because they have severe behavior problems and are completely untrained. This is fine if you have time to work with a dog with behavior problems...

Picture of Mason.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
February 18, 2010

I see, that once again, I have a foster baby. His name is Elrod. He is is an adorable, incredibly intelligent three month old Pibble. which is short for Pit Bull mix.


November 21, 2004

When considering pet adoption, consider your local animal shelter or a rescue association of some kind. The animals there are truly in need of a home and the adoption rates are much more reasonable than they are to buy through a breeder or pet store.


July 28, 2011

We have adopted three rescued dogs in the last 15 years. The first one taught us a lot. She had been abused and was afraid of everything. She needed lots of patience and tender, loving care.

Small dog standing on lawn.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 19, 2009

I am looking for a small dog to bring into our loving home. Anyone know where I could adopt one?

By Jamie from Allegany, NY


April 19, 20090 found this helpful

Check your local Animal Center. Be sure to take your kids and hubby! I once adopted a dog that didn't like men! So to be safe, ake the whole family and ask ALOT of questions about the dog before you take him home!


ie: housebroken, food anxiety, men, temperment etc. They always act a little different in the shelter as they are scared. I always picked animals that walked up to my kids right away and loved on them! You can tell!


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
April 19, 20090 found this helpful

Never buy from a pet store (they usually buy from puppy mills) buy frrom a breeder or go to a shelter or the humane society. ALSO, Use care when adopting an animal & be sure to choose one that fits your energy level. That means if you like to run, bike & throw Frisbees than you may want a "high energy" dog, whereas if you are a homebody like I am & don't get out much then be sure to pick a dog with an easygoing & very mellow disposition. Don't pick a dog by how cute they are. Look for they way they act & never choose a pet just because you feel sorry for them because you may end up with more problems than you can handle! Also, look for a shelter where you can take the dog on a walk first before you decide, that way you'll have an idea if it's meant for you & your family. If not, you may end up with problems!


Do your research on different dog breeds, some dogs are know for being stubborn & some like to chase or herd things, hounds make strange noises when they get excited & some dogs (like the cavalier king Charles spaniel are bred to be very mellow). If you know the breed you want, you can sometimes find a no-kill shelter devoted especially to that type of dog, be it dachshunds or pit bulls. Lots of tiny dogs have behavior problems, but it's only because they are spoiled (like children) by the owners. Be sure to give your new dog both love & discipline! The dog won't be happy unless you fulfill their needs. Be sure to take it on walks daily. The backyard isn't enough. If you don't want to walk a dog regularly, then you shouldn't get one. Dogs get bored if they sit around (just like people do!) & start tearing the place apart, etc. Anyway, these are some important things to think about!


Also, Most vet's have bulletin boards & there's lots of people these days that have to move into places where their pets can't come. These owners can tell you lots about their dogs & it's temperament, so think about calling around to vets & asking the receptionist to read you any pets for adoption on their bulletin boards. If you get a pet from someone like this you'll also know if they are good with kids or not & the owner can tell you all about them!

April 20, 20090 found this helpful

We have a non-profit group in Erie county, PA ( not that far from where you live) that rescues small animals and finds homes for them. Their website is They have pictures of the animals available for adoption on their website. Good Luck!


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
April 20, 20090 found this helpful

You can see a listing of animals to be adopted on You put in your zip code and it tells what animals are available for adoption. It is great!


April 20, 20090 found this helpful

April 23, 20090 found this helpful

I adopted a beautiful pedigreed long haired dachshund from Dachshund Rescue of North America- . Check out their website and see the many available dogs. If you go to "Dachshunds" then "All Available" then click on "Location" the list will be sorted by state and you can scroll down and see all of the dogs available in your state. Thanks for adopting. They are great to work with!


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April 23, 20090 found this helpful, or is it .org? Anyway, the king of great pet adoption sites.

April 25, 20090 found this helpful

Try your area's craigslist. There you can find dogs and cats for free or a small rehoming fee.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
April 29, 20090 found this helpful has lots of animals on it for free. Local rescue groups are great and humane societies or animals control shelters. I don't usually like to buy from a pet store since it propagates puppy mills and all the cruelty involved with those awful places.

Also rescues are so wonderful for the most part they are smarter and better adjusted since they have been through so much. They are always grateful. I just pulled a cat out of a local shelter to let it have it's kittens in peace, so I can rehome them. It looked like a rag mop. We have a cat room so we let it stay in there and play with us in t here, it is like a sun room with lots of toys and stuff cats like. It turned out to be a Maine coone cat.

What a darling. Have fun adopting, there is nothing like adopting a dog or cat from a shelter or fostering one for that matter. Robyn

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Check out these photos.

April 13, 2005

This is our "Dusty Dawg". We rescued him two years ago the afternoon before he would be to be "put down". He was a sad and skinny dog.


September 26, 2016

This is a page about rescued dog has not warmed up to new owners. Choosing to adopt a rescue dog can have its challenges. These abused and neglected animals need lots of patience to become good household pets.

Scared dog hiding behind wall

June 21, 2016

This is a page about rescued dog is afraid of everything. Rescued pets have often lived in terrible conditions and have suffered neglect or physical cruelty.

Scared Chihuahua against a white background

Pets AdoptingJuly 19, 2011
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