The Adoption Process: What to Expect
Shelters and rescues tend to ask a lot of questions of prospective adopters for two main reasons:
To ensure successful, long-term adoptions
To make certain it's a good fit between human and their potential new furry companion
Our shelter requires you to complete an application. In addition to basic contact information, our application will cover the following:
Your housing situation (renting vs. owning)
The number and ages of any children in your household
The number and type of pets you may already own
The name and contact information of your veterinarian
Your previous experience with pets
Your activity level, lifestyle, and expectations for a new animal
Ideally, we want you to see the Washington County SPCA as a partner in your adoption, not a grand inquisitor. The questions we ask are to help pair you with a furry companion who will be with you for years to come. For example, if you are not an active person and prefer a quieter lifestyle, a young Border Collie might not be a good fit given they are highly intelligent, active dogs that prefer a "job" to keep them happy. If you are a fitness buff looking for a running companion, a Yorkie or Basset Hound wouldn't be a good fit for such an active lifestyle. We want to help you find the perfect companion to fit your lifestyle and provide an enriching life for our shelter animals.
The adoption process is structured more like an open conversation than a series of yes-or-no, right-or-wrong questions. The goal is to balance the interests of two different sets of customers: the animals and the adopters.
Why are you asking me so many questions?
We hope you understand we don't wish our questions to be seen as intrusive. Consider why pets are surrendered in the first place. Among the top five reasons that people give up their pets, three are common to both dogs and cats:
Cost of pet care
For dogs, the other most common reasons include lack of time and inadequate facilities. For cats, it's allergies and having too many cats to care for.
Many animals lose their homes because their owners weren't prepared to invest the necessary money and time to care for a pet. In other cases, families and pets are mismatched. Consider these all-too-common scenarios:
A high-energy dog adopted by a family who doesn't have time for extensive daily exercise
(Result? A bored, frustrated, and destructive dog)
A skittish kitten chosen by rambunctious children whose parents aren't inclined to actively supervise their kids
(Result? A scared kitten who scratches or bites out of fear)
The questions we are are in hopes of preventing such painful situations for both the pets and people involved.
How can I prepare myself to adopt a pet?
You'll have a relationship with your pet for many years to come, so it's worth being patient and taking your time to carefully consider what kind of pet – big or small, energetic or relaxed, older or younger – is right for you. Before you head to the shelter, ask yourself some questions that will help you figure out exactly what kind of critter will best fit your lifestyle and personality. Once you get here, our adoption technicians will gladly answer any questions you may have and take the time necessary to find the best furry for you and your lifestyle!
You are free to visit the animals in the adoption area with our adoption technicians. If you find a feline who catches your eye, we'll gladly get them out of the kennel so you may spend time with it and do a little bonding. If you meet a dog that seems like a good match, you can go for a walk in one of our outdoor dog yards. If you have a dog at home and are considering adopting another dog, we highly recommend you bring your own dog with you and we will facilitate a dog meet between the dogs.
Although not a guarantee on how the dogs may do together once home, this is another helpful step you can do to make the best decision for both 2-legged and 4-legged members of the family. (We ask that you do not bring any feline members of the family in to the shelter for meets. This is counter productive and can be very stressful for your cat.)
What happens once I decide to adopt?
We will ask you to fill out the adoption questionnaire, pay the appropriate fees ($75 for dogs, $50 for cats; $10 city license [if applicable], and go over all the paperwork with our front office staff. Because all animals adopted from the Washington County SPCA are spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter, it may be necessary for you to wait a few days before taking your new friend home, although many of our animals are ready to go with you on the same day.
Detailed information about other benefits, including free 24Pet Watch medical insurance and a complimentary wellness visit to one of our veterinary clinic partners, are included in handout materials that go home with you and your new pet.
The adoption of a companion animal is a commitment for life. We want to be sure the animal you choose is the best possible fit for you as we want this adoption to be perfect for everyone for a happily ever after!
After the adoption
Once you get your new companion home, we're still here for you if you have questions or concerns. Please don't hesitate to call or email us, and we'll be help however we can. Don't forget to send us photos of you and your new furry friend!