Adoption Resources

Couple posing with newly adopted dog.

Helpful Information for Dog Adopters

  1. Preparing Your Home for a New Dog

A guide to help adopters prepare before bringing a new dog into the family.

Dog smiling with family being adoptedThank you for choosing to adopt! We understand that adopting a new dog be both exciting and intimidating but don’t worry, we’re here to help

Before bringing your new dog home, prepare carefully to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. There's much to consider, including what rules to set for your new dog, what equipment you'll need, how to prepare you home, and more!

Things to Consider Before Adopting

The first few days or weeks at home can be scary and overwhelming for a new pet. There are a few steps you can take to prepare your home and yourself for your new furry family member to help make the transition as smooth as possible for you both!

  • Where is the crate and bed going to be for your new dog? Where is he going to eat and drink? Consider setting up these areas in advance so that they are ready for his arrival. Consistency is a key component in a smooth transition, so think about your spaces carefully so that they don’t have to be changed during his adjustment period.Dog resting in crate with door open
  • Where will your pet be seen for veterinary care, behavioral issues, or emergencies? There are many low-cost wellness clinics available, and we encourage adopters to take advantage of these services for basic care, however it is still important to establish a relationship with a full-service veterinarian or clinic for your pets general health needs, illnesses, injuries, etc. We encourage all adopters to take their new pet to a full-service clinic within the first few days of adoption to help establish this relationship as well as to have your pet receive a thorough first exam! Many veterinary clinics will offer free and discounted first exams, so we recommend researching beforehand to help find the clinic that works best for you!
  • How will you introduce children (including any child visitors to your home) to your new dog and establish safety rules? Children and dogs can be wonderful, lifelong friends; however, it is important to always remember that it is up to us as their guardians to keep their interactions safe. Please read through our informational sheet Children & Dogs: How to Keep Interactions Safe.
  • What will your dog’s new schedule be? Again, consistency is important during transitions. It’s helpful to plan your dog’s new schedule for feedings, walks, playtime, potty breaks, and training so that you aren’t overwhelmed when you bring him home! Remember that while your pet is learning and adjusting to your new home, it is helpful to offer frequent potty breaks to avoid accidents. These potty breaks can be gradually spread out over time as he learns the ropes! You can learn more about house training your new dog in our information sheet.
  • How will you introduce your new dog to your resident pets and visitors? We recommend giving your new pet time to adjust to you, his new home, and his new routine before introducing him to your resident pets, visitors, or your friends & family member’s dogs. Check out our informational sheets on Introducing Your New Dog to Exisiting Dogs and Introducing Your Dog to New People for more helpful tips when the time comes to begin introductions.
  • Is your home and yard ready? Remember that while your home is a safe haven to you, to your new dog it is a scary new environment full of unknowns. They may look for a way out or exhibit destructive behaviors in an attempt to escape or out of stress, anxiety, or fear when left alone. Make sure all escape routes are blocked, that the fence is secure with no holes, and that the home is “dog-proofed” with no loose wires, shoes, books, etc. in reach in advance!

For concerns, questions, or adoption updates, please email:
 Thank you for choosing to adopt! We hope it results in many happy years with your new family member!

  1. Welcoming Your Shelter Dog into Their New Home
  1. Children and Dogs
  1. Introducing Your New Dog to Your Existing Dog(s)
  1. Dog Body Language

Helpful Information for Cat Adopters


A step-by-step guide to help adopters integrate a new cat to their furry family members.

Thank you for choosing to adopt! We understand that adopting a new cat to your home and your other pets can be intimidating but don’t worry! We’re here to help!

Two cats cuddling togetherRemember that cat relationships, like human relationships, may take time to develop. While some cats may “hit it off” and become fast friends immediately, others will need more time and patience to develop their relationship. Remember that cats are individuals and each relationship will be unique. Some cats will become playmates with other cats, some will enjoy the companionship of other cats, and others may prefer to their personal space from other cats.

Though we know adopters may feel eager to introduce their new pet to the whole family, we recommend providing your new cat with time to adjust to their new environment and decompress from shelter life before introducing them to your other cats. (Adjustment and decompression times will vary for each cat and recommendations may vary from 3 days - 2 weeks.) Remember that new cats may also pose a health risk to your resident cats and adopters should follow any instructions given regarding how long cats should remain separated.

Things to Remember Before Introducing

  • Familiarize yourself with signs of stress in cats beforehand. We offer resources for cat body language cues and there are also many resources available online as well.
  • Keep it positive. Interrupt any undesired behaviors quickly and calmly. Keep voices happy and maintain a light-hearted setting. Offer gentle re-directions of your cat’s attention rather than yanking them apart or reprimanding cats. (Ex: offer soft claps/pats or an audible distraction) 
  • Keep it optional. Don’t force interactions between the cats. Either or both cats may ignore one another at first and that’s ok! Allow them to remain inside their “comfort zone”. They will interact when they are ready. Cats Sniffing Eachothers Noses
  • Be patient. Remember that bringing a new cat home will require adjustments for everyone, especially your current pets. Taking your time and offering plenty of breaks will help ensure a more successful outcome for all! 
  • Never reprimand either pet for communicating. There may be some hissing or swatting which may sound scary however this is simply how cats communicate and as long as no one is pinned down or harassed, do not interfere. If you do find yourself in a situation where you may need to intervene remember to keep thing positive and never punish either cat. Reprimanding them will teach them not to communicate with each other (potentially causing an escalation to an actual fight in the future) and to associate the new pet with negative experiences. Instead, calmly remove them from the situation and allow a break time. Always praise positive interactions and communications! 
  • Make sure there are plenty of hiding spots for your cats. Some like to sit up high, on shelves and on kitty condo perches. Frightened cats, on the other hand, tend to hide under and behind things, so make sure you provide spots at floor level as well. Place food, water, and litter boxes out in the open so your cats don’t feel trapped when they access these resources. Make sure you have a litter box for each cat, plus at least one extra. 

The Introduction ProcessTwo cats on a couch together looking at the camera

Cats are known to be territorial creatures however it is totally possible to have a happy multi-cat home! How two cats are introduced is a very important factor that may determine how your cats interact with each other in the long run.

By planning and taking things slowly, your chances of success when introducing cats are much greater. If you rush into things and attempt to “force” a relationship, you might inadvertently sabotage a relationship that could have otherwise worked.

  • Step One – Separate First: It is best to separate your resident cat from your new cat when you first bring them home so that you can have more control in their initial meeting. The two cats should be able to smell and hear—but not see or touch—each other. Each cat should have her own food and water bowl, litter box, scratching post, bed, etc. Feed the cats near the door that separates them, so they learn that coming together (even though they can’t see each other) results in a pleasant experience. In addition to regular cat food, feed the cats extra-special treats near the door as well, like tiny pieces of tuna, salmon, cheese, chicken, or liver.
  • Step Two –Scent Swapping: After three to four days, switch the cats’ locations so they can investigate each other’s smell. This may sound odd to us humans, but cats can learn a lot about each other solely through smell! The resident cat should now be confined in the room, while the new cat is allowed to roam the house. Some behaviorists suggest rubbing the cats separately with the same towel to intermix their scents. First, gently rub one cat with the towel and then rub the other cat. After the towel carries both cats’ scents, bring the towel back to the first cat and rub her with it again. o Tip: Encourage play between your resident cat and the new cat even if it is through a closed door. Encourage them to paw at toys under the door. Eventually the cats may play “paws” under the door with each other.
  • Step Three – Let Them Make Visual Contact: If everything seems to be going well, and everyone is acting, eating, and using the litter box normally, you’re doing great! The next step is to open the separating door but keep a gate of some sort across it so they can see, smell, and have contact with each other. The gate should prevent complete access. (A baby gate is perfect, but usually not high enough for cats, so you may need to stack two on top of each other.) Continue feeding both cats on their respective sides of the door and continue switching them back and forth.
  • Step Four –Allow Them to Meet: At this stage you are ready to permit the cats to spend time together without a barrier between them. Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully. Keep meeting brief initially and as the cats become more familiar with each other, allow them longer and longer periods of time together.

For concerns, questions, or adoption updates, please email:
 Thank you for choosing to adopt! We hope it results in many happy years with your new family member!

  1. Cat Body Language