The Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption: The Meet & Greet Your New Pet 2023

5 comments Jul 6, 2023by Suzie Cyrenne

This is the moment you’ve been waiting and preparing for! Aren’t you excited? We bet you are! And we also bet the adoptable animals in your local shelters and rescue groups are as excited as you are—if only they knew or understood what was going on!

How to Meet a New Dog or Cat (and Other Adoptable Pets)

Woman and her dog in the park

The very first thing that you have to keep in mind as regards your search for dogs and cats that are up for adoption is that they may not understand the purpose of the meet and greet. Here are the key pointers to remember to ace your meet and greet with a furry friend at animal shelters and rescues wherever you are in the country:


Have a List of Questions for Local Shelters and Rescues

It's crucial that you prepare a list of questions to ask the shelter or rescue about the cuddly dogs and cats you’ve set your heart on. This is to pinpoint possible problems down the road, which can significantly affect your adoption experience sooner or later.

Below are some examples (mind you, this is not an exclusive list) to help you during your search for a new furry friend:

  • How long has it been in the shelter or rescue?

  • Was it found or surrendered?

  • How old is it and is it already potty or house-trained?

  • Does it have any special needs like a specific food?

  • Does it have a history of getting into fights or conflicts with other animals in the adoption facility?

  • How healthy is the animal?

We made this questionnaire with the help of input from the pet adoption veterans and gurus Carrie of Phoenix Rising Rescue, Linda of K9BFF Rescue, Dorothea Boughdadly of Hoofs and Woofs Animal Rescue, Suzanne Kleinberg of Team Cat Rescue, Larry of Blue Moon Cat Sanctuary, Keyria Lockheart of Last Hope Cat Kingdom, not to mention the professionals and volunteers in ASPCA, PetSmart charities and Happy Tails who are experienced in the animal and pet adoption scene.



Be Nice To Staff And Volunteers

Veterinarian carrying a dog and cat

Meet and Greets are big adoption events that often take days—if not weeks—of preparation for local shelters, rescues and ASPCA-affiliated groups. With their goal to find loving homes for dogs and cats, the shelter staff and rescue volunteers may be tired or may have answered the same questions you are asking a hundred times or more.

During your search for adoptable animals to save, it helps to be polite and patient during your on-site visit because it's not just going to be you who's going to be there to adopt a pet.


Bring Your Family

When you've decided to adopt a pet, it's highly recommended to include the people whom you spend the most time with in your search for the four-legged companion to foster. Because like you, they'd also be living with and have access to the animal you’ll choose.


Take A Chill Pill

Woman cuddling her dog

Try to not get too excited or hyped up during your on-site visit! It will affect the way you interact with a puppy or kitten or other pets. You just might start picking up dogs and cats too enthusiastically and give off the wrong vibe! It is crucial to remember that adoptions involve more than emotions. You are basically there to save a life and give pets the right place they deserve.


Mind Your Manners!

Dogs, cats and other pets have unique personalities. And it's possible that they won't be that ecstatic when they first meet you. Keep in mind that pets up for adoption may not be properly socialized. Be very conscious with how you approach a dog or cat in a way that they will deem polite and will appreciate.


Take Notes

Dog and cat playing

Don't forget to take notes when you participate in Meet and Greets organized by shelters and rescues, including the ones from ASPCA and similar groups. Besides recording your positive observations about the dogs, kittens and other pets that you're looking to adopt, it's also helpful to list the potential issues that you may have with them, too.

Anne Fifield of Basset Rescue Texas shares: “If you're applying to more than one rescue to adopt a dog or cat, keep concise notes. For example, you may ask us about Fluffy. Our answer is, “We don’t have a Fluffy.” This will really delay your search for a kitten or dog to adopt.


Prepare To Go Home Alone

After all the preparation and meeting lots of pets and animals, it's entirely possible to not meet one which would be a great match for you. This is very normal and a sign that you're really taking pet adoption seriously. By not bringing an animal or pet home that you are not entirely sure about, you're actually leaving the door open for both you and that creature to find your perfect match.


Be Ready To Go Through The Adoption Process

So you’ve found a new addition to the family. Then it is off to the next step which we will discuss in full in the next article so stay tuned for that! We hope that this installment of our Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption Series has been helpful to you!

Please feel free to share this article with everyone who may benefit from it. It would really make our day to read your comments, feedback, or tips on how to ace the meet and greet so just leave a comment down below or join our Facebook page.



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.


  • Zumalka May 19, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Steve, both of you sound like amazing pet parents ! It really depends on the pet… each individual is unique. But the more you see them before the actual adoption, the better it is, for sure ! We hope all goes well for you ! All the best to your new fur baby !

  • Steve May 19, 2023 at 9:48 am

    My wife and I are in the process of adopting a little dog through a local shelter. He is currently in foster. Is there an acceptable number of meet and greets with the dog and foster. He seems comfortable with both my wife and I. But only within view of the foster and no more than about 20 feet away from the foster. We’re just curious. We know once we have him in our home he will adjust.

  • Ivy Baker August 4, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I really want to adopt a Goldendoodle puppy this upcoming year. Thanks for explaining that it would be smart for me to consider being prepared for the process to take a while in case I can’t find a puppy that will match my personality. That is great for me to know because I would get frustrated if I didn’t know that.

  • Sandee Thacker May 18, 2020 at 9:31 am

    I am very interested in adopting a toy poodle or a very small dog in a breed that does not shed.

  • Amorkor April 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your I for your information. I’m in week 2 trying to adopt. Today was a good day. my girl was re ceptive to both of. I am sending one as usual on the the list so I will continue to is it and let them get to know one another

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