Adopting a pet is rewarding in so many ways! To help you understand more about adopting a pet from our Shelter, you may want to read about our adoption process. While it may seem more involved than you'd imagined, please understand there is a reason for this process. And it's not intended to frustrate you. Rather, it's to help you find the right pet for you and the best home possible for our animals.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Our animals are constantly changing. We are constantly receiving new animals and others are being adopted, so even with daily updates our website may not accurate 100% of the time. We encourage you to check back regularly and call or visit the Shelter often.
- Not everyone is adoptable -- yet! You may see animals in our Shelter and on our website that are not yet available for adoption. Normally, these are stray dogs -- either lost or abandoned -- that are being held for five (5) business days to give their owners time to locate them. (See WV Animal Laws for more information.) Some animals may not be available as they are being evaluated for adoptability.
- Cats are available almost immediately. There is no requirement for cats to be held before being put up for adoption so we try to do so as soon as possible. However, if a cat is very stressed or nervous when they arrive, we may wait a day or two before putting on the website and up for adoption.
- Some animals are in foster care. There may be some animals on our website that you won't see in our Shelter at all. These animals are usually in foster care. We try to keep their PetFinder profile current and indicating that they are in foster care so you don't come to the Shelter expecting to see them and find that they aren't here. In consideration of the time of our valued foster parents, we do require that you complete an Adoption Application and be approved before arranging to meet them.
Completing the Adoption Application
The first step is to complete an Adoption Application. This application may be downloaded online or you may fill one out at the Shelter. And yes, there are lots of questions but we're not just being nosy! We can be more helpful in finding the right pet for your lifestyle by knowing about your activity level, interests and experience. For instance, some of our dogs and cats are good with children, other pets, or are appropriate for first-time pet owners. Others may have exercise requirements, special needs, or may be more appropriate for an experienced pet owner.
Also, we want to ensure that if you currently have pets, that your pets are current on vaccinations so that they will not be exposed to anything when you bring home your new pet. Additionally, as huge advocates of spay/neuter and as we deal daily with the repercussions of people not having their pets spayed and neutered, we feel strongly that adopters must have their own pets spayed and neutered before we will approve you for adoption of one of ours. While we know that our pets will be spayed and neutered before going home, it is one way that we can encourage responsible pet ownership and spaying and neutering in our community.
Other things to keep in mind:
- You probably won't leave with a pet today. We want to let you know right up front that as the processing of the application can take a few days, it's not likely that you will be leaving the Shelter today with a pet. Also since all pets must be spayed and neutered this can take a few days to a week to schedule.
- You are welcome to complete an application without choosing an animal. We'll process and hold your application for up to 3 months as you continue to look for just the right animal. Having an application on file can accelerate the process when you do find one.
- Can we hold an animal for you? No, but when you do select an animal, we'll put your name on a sticker on their cage acknowledging your application. This helps us keep track of the applications for each animal. The sticker does not however indicate that the pet is adopted or being held for you.
- We're looking for the BEST home. We generally process the applications as received, but we are looking for the best home and as such the best home may not be the first applicant. So if you are interested in a dog or cat that already has an application(s) on it, please feel free to put your application in on the same animal. Not all applications are approved AND again, we're looking for the BEST home!
Viewing and visiting with our animals
You are always welcome to visit our shelter and see available animals. We encourage it! And you don't have to complete an application to meet animals in our Shelter (ONLY those in foster care), However, we do ask that while you are visiting them, please remember that:
- Washing your hands is a big deal to us! Huge! Especially if you're going to touch or hold our cats or puppies. The spread of disease is an on-going challenge so we ask that you wash your hands before touching each animal.
- Animals available for adoption will have a kennel card describing the animal on the front of their cage or kennel.
- Animals that aren't available will have a notice on the cage or kennel stating that they are not available until a certain date.
- Please ask for assistance from our Staff or a volunteer if you wish to handle, hold or take an animal out of their kennel.
- Dogs that have been fully vaccinated may go outside for walks and in the fenced visitation area. Ask the Staff for assistance in determining if they can go outside.
- Most puppies are too young to go outside and are so susceptible to disease that we don't take them out of their cages or put them on the floor. You can visit with them in their cage.
- Cats and kittens may be handled inside their cage. They are not allowed outside or placed on the floor or near another cat. Please ask the Kennel Attendant or volunteer for assistance in handling the cats and kittens.
Completing your adoption
Once you have found your new best friend and have been approved for adoption you'll be asked to sign an adoption contract and pay an adoption fee. You'll take home with you a copy of that contract which contains your pet's medical and vaccination history while at the Shelter. Good information for you to share with your own veterinarian. We'll also provide you a folder of valuable information about caring for your new pet.
If your new pet is already spayed or neutered you may take them home directly from the Shelter. If not, they will have to be spayed/neutered before they can go home with you. See below.
To prepare for your pet you may check our Dog Adoption Checklist and Cat Adoption Checklist for valuable information.
Spaying and Neutering
We hope you understand that our process is both to ensure that you are happy with your new pet and that the pet is a cherished member of your family forever! It's very stressful and upsetting -- for the animal, for you and for our staff-- when adoptions don't work out and a pet is returned to the Shelter. So thank you for your understanding AND for considering giving a loving home to a homeless animal!