Every year, millions of dogs and cats end up in rescue shelters in the United States. Animal adoption groups usually set high standards for future pet parents to make sure no animal is homeless.
The screening process helps to avoid giving pets to people who may treat the animals harshly. In addition, pet adoption groups want to ensure that all abandoned or rescued animals find a permanent home.
Adopting a dog is a big decision, especially if you have never had a pet before. The addition of a four-legged member to the family requires preparations. However, first-time pet parents tend to be wary when it comes to adopting a dog from an animal shelter or animal rescue.
There are many misconceptions surrounding the process and paperwork of pet adoption.
Dog Adoption Paperwork - The Adoption Process
Often, the new pet parents look for convenience and choose to buy dogs from pet shops, or even irresponsible breeders. However, adopting a dog from an animal shelter is not as daunting as it may seem. Usually, the adoption process involves four steps:
- Filling out the dog adoption paperwork which starts with a questionnaire
- Interview with a representative from the shelter
- Meet and greet with the potential four-legged members
- Finalizing the adoption process and paperwork
Some animal shelters may also include the background check of the would-be pet parent. In addition, some facilities visit the home of the applicant as a part of the adoption process. The order of the steps may vary.
The purpose is to make sure that you are capable of taking care of an animal. Additionally, all these steps help to find the most compatible furry friend for your family.
Dog Adoption Paperwork Process
- Filling Up the Adoption Questionnaire
While you may find filling out the questionnaire intrusive and time-consuming, it actually helps you to find the best canine companion. The adoption form requires the would-be adopters to provide the basic information including their name, address, age, and living situation.
For instance, you may have to answer questions regarding the ownership of your home, as well as other open-ended questions. The shelter homes use these details to check if the applicant has any records of animal cruelty.
- The Interview Stage
The interview stage is overwhelming for both old and new dog owners; they feel some jitters, and that is all right. However, this takes you one-step closer to bringing a new family member home. At this stage, the adoption counselor determines your suitability for the breed you want to adopt.
- Meet and Greet
The meet and greet session is either arranged in an adoption room or open setting. Use this opportunity to know about the breed you want to adopt. Interact with the dogs in a friendly manner and do not get over-excited as it may overwhelm the four-leggy. You may even ask a volunteer to introduce you to the potential member rather than grabbing the dog yourself.
- The Background Check and Home Visit
Some animal shelters want documents that show you have permission to have a dog at your home, particularly when you live in a rented house. They may also ask for character references or recommendations as a part of the protocol. Additionally, some organizations may visit your home to validate that you can give a good life to the new member of the family. You have to make space for the fur baby.
The Final Paperwork
After you have successfully crossed all the stages, the last thing is to finalize the adoption. Yes, hold on the celebrations, and do the paperwork. Adopting a dog is similar to adopting a baby; you have to take complete responsibility for your animal baby and his well-being.
It is a contract that comes with some paperwork and of course fees. On the adoption day, you have to come with some documents. Here are some of the documents that you may require for finalizing the adoption process,
- Your Identification Card
It is better to bring at least two of your government-issued ID cards. For instance, you may bring your driving license with your picture on it. In case you do not have a photo ID, you can bring your utility bill with your name and address.
- Lease from Your Landlord
If you live in a rented home, you have to submit a letter from your landlord stating that you can have pets at your home. It must also have your landlord’s contact information.
- Proof of Homeownership
Some animal shelters may also require to bring documents to prove you own the future house of the pooch you are adopting. You can show your mortgage payment statement or the deed to your home to prove that you are the legal owner of that house.
- Vaccination Record of Your Current Pets
First-time pet owners have no such records, so this requirement is not for them. However, if you already own a pet, you may have to share the vaccination records of your pets, neuter certificates, and municipal license.
- Photos of Enclosure
If the facility has already visited your home for inspection, they may not need any photographs of the enclosure. However, some shelters may ask for a photo of the fenced yard at your home.
It is better to have a list of references with you on the day of adoption. Make sure you have the permission of the people before mentioning them as your reference.
Once you have submitted all the documents and completed the dog adoption paperwork, it is time to pay the fees. The fee may vary depending on the breed, age, and medical history of the dog you are adopting.
The good thing is that most of the pets at a rescue shelter are up-to-date with their health checks, shots, and microchip tagging.
Pay the fees, sign the documents, and choose a date to pick-up the four-leggy. Make sure to welcome the new member with warmth and love. A dog does not only need space in your home, but also in your heart. If you cannot do that, reconsider your decision to become a pet parent.