We use a multi-step adoption process to ensure that you end up with a dog who will be a terrific fit for you. There are tons of wonderful rescue dogs and tons of wonderful adoptive homes, but not every wonderful dog is a good fit for every wonderful home. Our job is to find that excellent people-dog match to ensure everyone’s happiness.
Because we take the time to get to know you, provide you time to get to know the rescue dog, and arrange meetings between your current pets and our rescue dog, it can take a bit of time from initial application to when you bring your new dog home. The upside is that this gives you ample opportunity to make sure that he/she is the best fit for you before you make a lifetime commitment!
We adopt our dogs only into homes in the central New York region. That means, homes near Ithaca, Elmira, Binghamton, Syracuse, Auburn, and Rochester.
We are excited to help you find the dog who will beautifully fit you and your lifestyle and bring you years and years of laughter and love!
Step One: Fill out and send in the Adoption Application
Please take your time and fill out the adoption application (link found at the bottom of this page) as completely as you can — we only accept completed applications with full contact information.
We know how exciting it is to find a fabulous potential new dog and so we don’t want to keep you waiting once you apply! We aim to respond within 3 days of receiving your completed application, but please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and we are juggling our dog rescue work with our full-time jobs (and personal lives!), so really appreciate your patience! If you haven’t heard back from us in 3 days, please do email us to check on your application. Every once in a while an application goes missing/lost from our inbox and we want to find it right away when that occurs!
Step Two: Initial Phone Chat
After you have submitted your application, we will call you to chat! We want to tell you more about the dog in whom you are interested–what is lovable and wonderful about him/her, as well as any behavioral, emotional, or medical challenges that are present. We are happy to answer any questions you have about her/him and/or about our organization and our process.
We also want to find out more about you– your lifestyle, your current pets, and what you hope for in a new dog family member– so that together we will get a first sense of “Could she/he possibly be a great fit for you and yours?”
We often also chat a bit about training, nutrition, and vet care, and are delighted to pass along helpful information that we’ve gleaned from our many years of working with so many dogs, reading loads of books and periodicals, and talking extensively with vets.
Step Three: Home Visit
If, after the phone chat, we both are feeling “Hey, this could possibly be a fit!” then one of our volunteers will schedule a time to do a quick (usually 30-60 minutes) home visit with you and your family members.
Why do we do home visits?
- To meet all members of your household in person, chat more, answer everyone’s questions, and provide any information that might be helpful to you.
- To see your home and make sure it is a safe environment for a dog.
- To suggest to you any areas of your home that might need to be “doggy proofed” (given the dog you are considering) in order to keep your belongings safe from a curious doggy mouth.
- To look at your fence (if you have one) and point out any areas that need reinforcing so that a new dog can’t find her/his way out.
Step Four: References
If you currently have pets, we will do a veterinarian reference check so please call your veterinarian and give them permission to give us a reference.
Applicants will only be considered if they do annual wellness exams for their current pets.
If you don’t currently have a pet, we realize that you might not have a current veterinarian which of course is just fine, but we do ask that you choose one before you bring your new dog home.
We can give great vet recommendations if you like!
Final Steps: A) Meeting the rescue dog! B) Have your current pets meet him/her too!
A) The humans of your family (not your pets yet!) will visit the dog in his/her foster home– the dog is most comfortable there and thus you will get the most accurate picture of what he/she is like. Applicants usually spend about an hour in the foster home, getting to know the dog playing with him/her, giving and getting love, going for a walk (with the foster parents), and learning all they can from the foster parents about the dog.
B) If you really like the dog now that you’ve met him/her, and you have other pets at home, we will then arrange another visit so that your current pets can meet the dog too! You might bring your pet(s) to the foster home on another day, or maybe the foster parent will bring the dog to your home—it depends on what makes most sense for each situation, so we’ll figure it out with you.
After that, you get to think, discuss the dog with any family members, and decide carefully if this dog is the right one for you. If it’s a big “Yes!”, then we ask that you choose a date to bring your new dog home when you will be around a fair amount for at least the first few days. Most people who work a normal M-F work schedule elect to bring their new dog home on Friday evening or Saturday morning, when they have the weekend to help him/her get settled.
If all goes well, this process ends with you adopting your new best friend! And if for whatever reason he/she is not an ideal match for you, then we will do our best to help you find a dog that is a better fit!