How to Ace the Dog Adoption Application

You did it: you decided to commit to the life-saving work of rescuing a dog. Maybe a pair of puppy-dog eyes longing for a home of their own caught your eye on Facebook. Or maybe you learned that each year, more than 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in overcrowded shelters. Either way, you’ve scoped out local adoption organizations and you are SO ready to welcome a new pal. Next on your to-do list? The dog adoption application. Here are some tips on completing this important pupperwork—er, dog adoption application—so you can bring home that pup!

1. Be Prepared

Before launching into the application, paw-ruse the rescue’s website. Many have FAQ sections that’ll detail their mission and values; this can give you a deeper sense of what they’ll be most interested in learning about you.

2. Be Honest About Yourself

The rescue agency is probably going to ask questions like “Why do you want to adopt a dog?” and “Do you rent or own your home?” Rescues aren’t looking for perfection in your answers. They’re looking for a full picture of what you’ll be like as a dog pawrent. For example, many rescues encourage applicants who have experience (or not), a fenced-in yard (or not), and lots of free time (or not). Think of the application not as a test of your “worthiness,” but as a way for you and the rescue to learn about each other, and maximize the chance of a floof-ful partnership.

A peek at how your pup’ll look at you once you ace that application. | Simona Kidrič 

3. Be Thoughtful

The application may include questions about the potential dog traits and behaviors you are—and more importantly, aren’t—going to be able to manage, so think carefully about your personal doggy dealbreakers (e.g., chewing, excessive barking, feuding with another pet). Most rescues will do their best to match you with a dog who will be a good fit for your household, and it’s okay to describe a couple of preferences in the application.

4. Be Complete

The application is probably going to ask for contact information for references such as a veterinarian or landlord, and it’s essential to include it. They’ll want to know that your landlord is cool having pups on the premises, and that any of your existing animals—canine, feline, or otherwise—are spayed and neutered and up to date on their shots. Give these folks a heads up about your application so that they can be ready to chat about your love for and expertise in caring for pups. 

5. Be Patient With the Adoption Agency

Expect to wait up to one week to hear back about your dog adoption application. Rescue workers have jam-packed schedules; most are run mainly (or entirely) by hardworking volunteers with non-rescue day jobs. Sit tight, and have faith that you’re well on your way to adopting a new-to-you pup. And when you gaze into the grateful eyes of your rescue dog, it’s SO worth the wait.

Did you put these dog adoption application tips to use? Let us know how they worked for ya in the comments (and please tag #SidewalkDog in photos of your pupper).

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