1. Use our website’s search to find pets for adoption!

Adopt a Pet is a website where shelters, rescues, and private owners list their pets for adoption. We don’t have the pets ourselves!

Click a link below to….

Type in your zip code and select the type of pet you want, then click the search button.

You will see photos of matching pets. Click on a pet’s photo to see that pet’s information and Adoption Process.

2. How to adopt a pet

If you’ve never adopted a pet before, you may be wondering, how does the process work? How long does it take? How much does it cost? The information below will help give you an overview of how it works to adopt a pet from Shelters, Rescues, or Rehome: Cared for by Private Owner pet listings. Each is different. It helps to understand what to expect, so you can have a better overall pet adoption experience.


Adopting from a Shelter

Shelters include public shelters like the city and county animal shelters, animal control, police and health departments, dog wardens, and are often called the pound. There are also private shelters that might use the words “humane society” or “SPCA” in their name. They are all separate, independently run organizations or government offices. Just because shelters have similar names does not mean they are connected — just like different banks might have the word “bank” in their name.

Shelters often have a physical facility, with staff, and operating hours. Some have volunteers and do adoption events around town too. If the pet you see on Adopt-a-Pet.com says that pet is at a Shelter and has an address with business hours, the easiest way to adopt that pet may be to go visit. That’s because some shelters are under-staffed and may not answer all phone calls or emails. Especially if the pet listing says ACT QUICKLY you should go to that shelter ASAP to see that pet!

Each shelter’s adoption process is different. Here’s an example of how a shelter adoption might work:

  1. You find a pet you want to adopt on Adopt-a-Pet.com who’s at a shelter.
  2. On the pet’s page, that shelter’s Adoption Process might direct you to visit the shelter facility during their adoption hours, or to email them for an appointment. You go to the shelter and see the pet. He’s adorable! You ask at the shelter desk and they have a staff or volunteer take him out so you can meet with him. You fall in love.
  3. You go to the shelter’s front desk, give them your photo ID, pay the adoption fee (average range is $25 to $200), and get copies of the pet’s vaccination records and sterilization certificate so you can get him licensed.
  4. You take your new pet home!

Adopting from a Rescue

Rescues most often have their pets in foster homes or private boarding facilities, and are run by volunteers. They may have adoption events at pet stores on the weekends. If a pet you see on Adopt-a-Pet.com says that pet is at a Rescue, be sure to read the pet description and the Adoption Process under that, and follow each rescue’s instructions. Some prefer you email them first (click the Ask About Me button on that pet’s page), some prefer you fill out their application before asking about a pet, so they can answer your questions more knowledgeably.

Please be patient when waiting for a response from a rescue, giving them a few days to respond. Rescue volunteers are people just like you and me, often with very full lives in addition to their rescue volunteering.

Each rescue’s adoption process is different. Here’s one example of how a rescue adoption might work:

  1. You find a pet you want to adopt on Adopt-a-Pet.com who’s at a rescue.
  2. You read that pet’s Adoption Process. It says fill out their online application, and there’s a link on that pet’s page to that rescue’s website and application. The next day, one of the rescue’s volunteers calls you and you talk to them more about the pet. It seems like a good match, and agree to come meet the pet at their adoption event in a local pet store that weekend.
  3. You meet the pet and fall in love. An event volunteer calls a home check volunteer, and you all arrange for a home visit. After the home visit, you get a call from a volunteer to let you know you will be the home adopting the pet! They email you copies of his vaccination and sterilization records. You arrange a delivery day for your new pet.
  4. Your new pet is brought by his foster volunteer to your home! You sign their adoption contract and pay their adoption fee (usually ranges from $100 to $300 but sometimes more).


Adopting from a Rehome Private Owner

If you see “I’m Being Cared for by Private Owner” on the top of a pet’s page, it means that they were listed by their owner through Adopt-a-Pet.com’s Rehome program, so you will be adopting the pet directly from the pet’s private owner. Read all about the pet. If you’re interested in speaking to the owner and meeting the pet, click “Apply To Adopt” and apply. The owner will be notified of your application, so they can review it and call you if they’re interested.

Rehome asks private owners to reply to you promptly, and most do within a few days. However some owners are in difficult situations, so please allow up to 14 days for an owner to respond to you. Rehome is only the listing website. It is up to the owner to choose who to contact and who will adopt their pet. It is up to you the adopter to ask lots of questions about the pet on the phone with the owner, then meet the pet in person before paying safely through the Rehome website to adopt a private owner pet.

Read more about how Rehome works in the Rehome help center for adopters here.


Shelter vs Rescue vs Private Owner

Some of the advantages of adopting from a shelter are you might be able to see many pets for adoption all at once at their facility. Many shelters have a very easy or no screening process, and will let you take home whatever pet you want the same day. Adoption fees are often lower than a rescue’s, but you may need to pay for additional vet care after adopting.

Some of the advantages of adopting from a rescue are they often know a lot about each of the pets in their care, since the pets may be in foster homes. A rescue might have a more involved screening process, which can take more time, but can help you adopt a pet that is more likely to be an easier match for your home. Adoption fees are often higher than a shelter, but often include vet care that would cost more if you paid the vet yourself.

Some of the advantages of adopting directly from a Rehome private owner is the owner may know a lot about their pet’s behavior and health. The pet will be going straight from a home to your home, which can be less stressful than being in a shelter. Private owners are not as experienced as shelters and rescues at doing adoptions and each private owner will be very different in how they handle communicating with applicants, and very different in what vet care they’ve been able to provide for their pet.


We hope this overview and these examples help you better understand how you can adopt a pet. If you’re ready to start looking for a pet to adopt, click on the “Find A Pet” menu above to search for dogs for adoption, cats for adoption, or other pets for adoption like rabbits, horses, and more.

Thank you for adopting a pet!

If you are a SHELTER or RESCUE, sign up here.

Individuals looking to find a pet a new home, click here.