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Adoption Process

Step 1: Meet the animal in person!

Contract Signature

Step 2: Complete an adoption application.


Step 3: Finalize your adoption!

  • Come in to the shelter and view our adoptable animals.

    Our adoption floors are open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM, with the exception of Wednesdays when we open at 1 PM.

    Please note: our adoption floors are closed from 12 PM - 1 PM for naptime.

  • Ask one of our adoptions staff or volunteers to allow you to meet with the animal you're interested in outside of his or her kennel.

*We recommend bringing in any dogs and/or children who live in the home for a meet and greet prior to adopting a dog.

Before adopting a companion, it’s important to consider what type of animal – species, energy level, size, etc. – is best for you and best fits your lifestyle. 

Before completing the adoption process, please think about:

  • Working with your pet to adjust to a new home

  • Providing proper food and shelter

  • Annual vaccinations and preventative health care

  • Potential training and behavior issues

  • Time you spend away from home each day

  • Providing adequate exercise

  • Providing care during vacations and extended absences from home

  • Being prepared for medical emergencies – for both the animal and yourself

  • Preventing your companion from roaming free

  • Your lifestyle, energy level, and space situation

  • Caring for your pet, even when you don’t feel like it

  • Adoption Fees

Meet with an Adoption Counselor to discuss your preferences, needs, and lifestyle. Our process includes asking lots of questions – we work hard to make the best match possible for both you and the animal.

A volunteer or Adoption Counselor will bring the animal of interest to an area for you to interact. They will answer questions about the animal’s history, health and disposition to the best of their knowledge. Keep in mind, many animals come to HSWC as strays and we don’t have a lot of information on their backgrounds. 

There are some animals that our Behavior Team will feel it best to meet all members of your family and/or any dogs already living in your household prior to approving your adoption. 

Complete the the Adoption Questionnaire and return to an Adoption Counselor. Please be sure to have a valid driver's license or state-issued ID and proof of residence along with you. 

If you have other existing pets in the home, please speak with your Adoption Counselor about slow and safe introductions. Please understand that it can take a newly adopted animal several weeks to completely adjust to their new home.

Please note that because HSWC exists to serve the best interest of the animals in our care, any Adoption Counselor or Supervisor may deny the adoption of any animal at any time.

If approved, you will review the adoption contract, pay the adoption fee and receive your adoption packet which will include: a complimentary health assessment by a participating Washington County veterinarian, 30-days free pet insurance that must be activated with 24 hours of adoption, medical history, rabies vaccination (if applicable), and microchip information.

If adopting a dog, a collar and leash are required when leaving the shelter. You may bring your own or purchase them in the retail area at HSWC.

Cats must leave the shelter in a carrier. You may bring your own or purchase one from our retail area. Cardboard carriers are also available for $8.

Adoptions end at 5:30 pm daily.

Hold Policy: We understand that you may want additional family members or pets to meet an animal you're interested in adopting, or you need to get your house ready for a new pet - and things like that take time! Upon visiting an available animal and choosing to adopt him/her, you may place a hold on the animal for a $25 non-refundable fee. The $25 fee guarantees that the animal of your choosing will be on “hold” for you until 5:30 pm the following business day (should the hold be placed on a Saturday, the animal will remain held until 5:30 pm Monday). Please note that the fee is a separate service fee which is non-refundable and does not contribute toward the adoption fee, retail merchandise, or any other services that HSWC may provide.

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