The Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption: The Adoption Process 2023

1 comment Jul 3, 2023by Suzie Cyrenne

The biggest reason why a lot of people all over the country are hesitant to adopt a pet from rescue groups and animal shelters is not having a general overview of the adoption process. A lot of dogs, cats and other pets take a long time to find loving homes because of this setback!

This blog post is another entry in The Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption series series we've put together to set the record straight once and for all. Make sure you read on to find out what the process really is when you decide to adopt (and not purchase) a pet.

Understanding the Pet Adoption Process Better

Woman with her dog

A person looking to adopt dogs or cats from local shelters and rescue groups has to go through a process. You can think of it as a prerequisite when you save a puppy, kitten or some other pet to be your new best friend. This is true even for on-site adoption events organized by ASPCA, Petco Love and PetSmart Charities.

Regardless of the location, adopting a pet from an animal shelter or a rescue usually consists of four (4) main steps:

  • Filling up the adoption questionnaire

  • Having an interview with a shelter or rescue representative

  • Attending the meet and greet

  • Finalizing the adoption

Some organizations like Petco Love may have an additional step or two such as a background check or a two-week home visit. The number and order of steps can also vary.

Filling Out a Questionnaire for Adoptable Pets

Woman kissing her cat

It's not uncommon to fill out a questionnaire when it comes to pet adoptions. Don't let this dampen your search for kittens or puppies to call your new best friend. Local shelters and rescues in your city or location will most likely ask this. It's the first step in ascertaining that you're eligible to adopt a pet.

Providing details like your name, age and address is an on-site requisite when you adopt a pet. It allows shelters and rescue groups like Petco Love and ASPCA to do a background check. Bringing at least two valid IDs is recommended.

Remember that the details you provide can have an impact on an adopted puppy or kitten, like giving them access to the right place to stay or food staples. 

Acing the Interview for Pet Adoptions

man playing with his dogs

The search for adoptable pets involves going through an on-site interview. It's okay to feel jittery during this phase. Think of it as a sign that you're committed to save an animal and make him a new member of your family!

The adoption counselor will determine the type, breed or sex of pet that suits you. It has a "meet and greet" portion so you can freely interact with the animals. Most pet adoption interviews usually revolve around questions that help you match with the ideal furry friend. So relax! Your search for the right pet is not going to be intimidating like some people claim.


The Meet And Greet (a Highlight of Adoption Events)

Woman cuddling her cat

The following are the crucial points to keep in mind during a meet and greet with a potential new furry best friend prior to adoption:

  • Feel free to ask a lot of questions (respectfully, of course!) and take down notes while at it

  • Relax! The main goal here is to make a connection with the dogs, cats and other pets like rabbits that you're looking to adopt.

  • Ask a volunteer or staff to introduce you to the pets and not the other way around. Remember that some dogs and cats may take a bit of time to warm up to you.

  • The search for the best pet is not something that happens instantly. It's alright if you're not fully connecting with the dogs and cats during the meet and greet.


The Background Check

Man with his dog

You won’t let your kid just hop in a car with a stranger, right? The same thing applies to shelters and rescues when you adopt a pet. Some facilities may also ask for character references in your community.


The Home Visit and Ocular Inspection

Woman poking her cat's nose

A number of facilities in your city, such as those affiliated with ASPCA and Petco, require an ocular inspection/home visit to validate the details you provided in your questionnaire. This step is connected with the background check to validate if you can indeed give the dog or cat you’re interested in a good home.

Remember that you're doing more than just making room in your home when you adopt a pet. Adopting a new furry friend is about saving a life—while also giving dogs, cats and other types of pets the quality of life they truly deserve.


Finalizing Your Search for a New Pet

Man with his pets

So you’ve gone through all the steps in your search for the ideal cat or dog. The only thing that’s left is to finalize the adoption so he'll already be an official part of your family. This will involve some paperwork and fees to take care of.

As per most Petco and ASPCA-affiliated pet adoption facilities in your city, the fees may net between $20 to $500. This depends on the kind of animal you're going to adopt, the breed, age, history, etc. Some types of pets like horses may have higher fees compared to others.

Adopting a cat or dog is a gift in itself. Most pets and animals from rescues and shelters come with a clean bill of health. They are up to date with their shots, health checks, microchip-tagged and are already spayed/neutered.

So how do we seal the adoption process for adoptable animals? Simply pay the fees, sign everything which needs to be signed, and set a date to pick up the animal. And that ends your search for the ideal adopted pet!

Being a good pet parent starts with going through the adoption process right. We hope that this installment of The Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption has been helpful to you. We hope to see you around when we share the next part of the series!


About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.

1 comment

  • Marla December 9, 2015 at 3:51 am

    For our rescue, we don’t finalize the adoption until they do a trial run with the animal in their home for a few weeks FIRST. If the pets already in the home are willing to accept the incoming pet, that is the first soul in the home who gets to have first say if they will allow the incoming pet to share their home. Next it’s then up to the new pet….if they want to stay. If this in fact, is truly THEIR forever home. If they can’t or won’t settle in. We do NOT have a adoption that will happen. Hopefully the interview first, the back round check, the call to their vet and references will reveal if we have better than a 50/50 chance of making this work. We have found more often than not….when a trial doesn’t success it’s is 99% of the time because the adopters were not completely honest in the interview process. Either they don’t know what they really want or have time or room for. Or their previous pets are not wanting more pets in the house. Or their children are way too much overload for the pet coming in. Basically……if PEOPLE can learn to stop putting their wishes and wants over what they know they have the capacity for, then the interview process and home check and previous pets and children should work out. Honestly is they key. Being honest with themselves and their family members. Honestly in knowing what works best in their lives. Honestly in admitting their own and their families limitations. If we get that then usually we can make a happy working match in placing a pet into their homes. It’s all the other mishagoss that makes a bad match for any pet. Because pets need what they need and people need to put the pets in their live and that pets needs above their own needs. If they can’t do that, they should not be adopting or buying a pet. That is REALLY the reason for the rescues being SO careful with the application, the interview, the vet check, the home check and the trial run. So that they cover all the bases to make SURE they are doing the right thing for the pet. Because when you deal with PEOPLE, you get a lot of smoke and mirrors a lot of the time. On the other hand, if you get a shelter who doesn’t do much checking or a bad rescue who’s goal is to get a dollar out of the adopters hands and just place a pet into any home asking for a pet, (and understand there are a lot of those out there), who could care less if this is the right pet for YOU, then you also have a problem. Either way it’s usually the pet who pays the price when being put/placed into the wrong home for them.
    In our rescue…the pet in the trial has the final say in if they stay or if they go. If they settle in and are happy and their previous issues have melted away in the trial home, THEN and only then do we finalize a adoption. And AFTER the finalization we still call, stay in close touch for the first six months to a year to make sure nothing is going south after the placement. For if it does, we take the pet back. We do not allow the family to give the pet to someone else. So it’s a on going process and for the good of all involved. Just like adopting a child, their case workers stay in touch and if something goes awry they take the child back and sometimes take the adoptive parent to court. So in every single case, being brutally honest is the best policy. When we get adopters who understand the need for all the care on our side and the pets well being, it’s a beautiful thing that happens. The pet gets a loving home, the rescue gets the satisfaction of knowing all their love and care and usually dollars the raise to take in and care for the pet is all worthwhile and best of all, the pet gets the love and caring it deserves. It’s like a marriage, if only one partner wants it, it’s never going to work. If all parties are on the same page, we have a happy ever after.

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