Our Policies and Procedures
- Are you looking for a pet for someone other than yourself?
CLICK HERE before you continue.
- Are you thinking about adopting a kitten? CLICK HERE before you continue.
Please accept our sincere thanks for your willingness to bring a formerly homeless pet into your life. For us, animal rescue is not about warehousing the animals indefinitely, but we will not rush the process simply to place more animals. We do not do same day adoptions. Our ultimate goal is to place every cat and dog into a loving, safe, permanent home. No animal is knowingly placed in an environment to which it is unsuited.
Please take a moment to read through the following information. Our adoption process may seem complicated, and we want to be sure that potential adopters do not find it too confusing or frustrating. We hope that this explanation of our policies and procedures will address most of your questions.
Step 1: You Submit an Adoption Application
The process begins when you make an initial inquiry (by telephone, email, or visiting the Animal Aid shelter). If you determine that you would like to be considered as an adopter, you will be asked to complete the Animal Aid Adoption Application and either fax or mail it to our office. Please fill out the form completely; the more information we have about your household, the more quickly we can evaluate your application.
Please note: Due to our screening preference to view the potential home and interview the prospective guardian, we rarely adopt out of our local Portland metro area.
Step 2: The Adoption Counselor Makes Initial Contact
Once we receive the application, you will be contacted by an Adoption Counselor to let you know that your application is being reviewed, to advise you if the animal you are interested in is still available, and to go over any questions that might arise from information you provided.
We try to make initial contact within a day of receiving the application, but of course we cannot make a guarantee. (Remember that our Adoption Counselors are volunteers with families and jobs, so the application process may not move as quickly as some prospective adopters would like.)
Step 3: Application Information Is Verified
The next step will be "fact-checking" – we confirm ownership of your property (if you are a homeowner) or, for renters, we contact your rental manager to verify that pets are allowed on the premises. We will also contact your veterinarian to ask questions about the veterinary care that you have provided to your current or former pets. Finally, we may contact one or more of the personal references you have provided on the application.
At this point, we occasionally decide (often in concert with you) that your household is not a good match for the particular pet you have in mind. Please don’t take this personally if it happens. It may be that we feel your family is too lively for a shy pet, that the presence of young children or other animals could pose problems, or that an anxious animal would be left alone too many hours a day. It is always hard for our volunteers to reject an eager and potentially loving adopter, but we feel that our first obligation must be to the animal for which we have assumed responsibility.
It is also possible that the Adoption Counselor will suggest you meet a different pet whose personality and energy level they feel more closely matches your household.
Step 4: Everyone Meets
If everything checks out fine, the crucial next phase is that we will ask you (and, if possible, everyone in your household, possibly including other pets!) to come to the Animal Aid shelter to meet with an Adoption Counselor and the animal you hope to adopt. In some cases (especially with dogs) this may be the first opportunity you have to meet the animal face-to-face, and this meeting is often the key element to the final decision (on our part and yours!) to proceed with the adoption. Even this far along, we sometimes have multiple good candidates for a single animal. We have an Adoption Team whose five members work together to determine which prospective adopter is the best match. We try to make our decision based on the household that is the best fit for the pet.
Step 5: The Home Visit
The final step in the process is the home visit, usually made when the animal is delivered to your home. During the home visit, we will inspect the premises to ensure that the cat or dog will be properly confined (to the house for cats, and with a securely fenced yard for supervised outdoor time for dogs). We will also watch for hazards that might pose a threat to the pet’s health. Even at this late stage, the adoption will not be finalized if we cannot be confident that the animal will be housed and maintained appropriately! The home visit also gives the Adoption Counselor a chance to go over any special recommendations we might have for the animal – medical issues, feeding guidelines, socialization recommendations, etc.
You will be asked to sign an Adoption Agreement, a contract outlining your guardian responsibilities. We also, at this point, either collect an adoption fee (for our S.T.A.R. animals) or request a donation to Animal Aid (Why should you donate?). Except for S.T.A.R. animals, the adoption is not contingent on the size of the donation, but it costs a lot for us to provide food, shelter, and medical care to our rescues and we hope that you are willing to offer us monetary assistance in carrying out our mission.