|Adoptions: To make certain that we match each pet with the right family, our adoption process is quite thorough. If you are interested in adopting one of our foster pets, be prepared to answer detailed personal questions about your home, family, and any pets you have had. Photos of pets, family, and home are helpful too. You will need to provide several references and be prepared to give a complete tour of your home and property. Here are the basic steps in the process:
1) Inquire if pet is available. Provide the name of the pet you are interested in or tell us what type of pet you are looking for. Give us your location and a few facts about yourself and your family. Tell us what you are looking for in a pet: do you want a lapwarmer, traveling companion, hiking partner, or sports competitor? Our goal is always to ideally match pets and families, so we will tell you honestly whether the dog may suit your needs or if another dog or different breed might be better for you. In most cases we do not ship pets, so you will have to visit Columbia, SC by either car or air to pick up the pet if approved. Most of our pets are small enough to ride with you in the cabin of the airplane.
2) Submit application. If you prefer, you can do this first. Our pet list is updated daily, so pets listed as adoptable are almost always available.
3) Follow-up discussion on topics regarding the pet's temperament and behavior, your home, family, lifestyle, or pet history. We also provide nutrition information in most cases.
4) Home screening. This procedure varies according to your location and situation. Local families usually have the home screening done after they meet the pet. For those who live outside of the Columbia area, we make every effort to thoroughly screen and approve families before the first meeting so that only one trip is necessary.
5) Arrange meeting time and place for adoption. This is usually at the pet's foster home, since the pet is most comfortable and confident there. Usually it's best if we provide directions. Let us know if you have specific time constraints so we can plan accordingly.
6) Preparing for the trip. If you already have a dog, it's usually a good idea to bring him/her along so that the first meeting takes place on the new pet's turf. This lessens the chance that your dog-in-residence will become territorial and have conflict with the new pet. Bring the adoption fee in cash unless you have already arranged otherwise. Your receipt will be a copy of the adoption agreement with the payment amount stated. Bring a collar and leash whether you are adopting a cat or a dog. A carrier is a good idea for cats. If possible, have the dog near you in the car so that you can get to know each other on the way home. A safety harness or dog car seat is often a safe way to do this. A carrier is sometimes the safest way for a dog to travel, especially if you are traveling alone, but some dogs become carsick if they are inside a carrier. We always are in need of supplies, so if possible bring along some items you no longer need such as old towels, bedding, collars, leashes, carriers and crates. Donations of paper towels are always very much appreciated.
7) Meeting and adoption. You will meet the dog and we will answer any further questions you may have about the dog's condition, care, and training. We will ask you to sign the adoption agreement, which can be emailed to you in advance for your perusal. We will provide the pet's medical records, microchip registration form, and the rabies and microchip tags. We do not provide collars or leashes, but there are large pet supply stores within 5 miles. If you do not yet have any of the pet's current food, we can provide a starter supply. We do not feed a pet before it is going to travel, and we suggest that you delay feeding until you arrrive home that day.
7) Homecoming. In most cases, we recommend that at first you keep the pet in a crate or confined area when you are not supervising. When you are with the pet, you can leave the door to the crate open so that he can go in and out at will. This helps the dog feel safer. After a few days, when the pet is more relaxed you can begin expanding the pet's area. If housetraining is an issue, be certain that the pet is reliable and confident of the routine before expanding its range. While we try to tell you all we know about the pet, we do not guarantee training, and it is up to you to protect your home from damage. We do not recommend leaving a dog or cat unsupervised with the run of the house or yard at any time, even if the pet is well trained. There are too many accidents that can happen and often do, such as loss of the pet, electrocution, poisoning, drowning, and destruction of household goods.
8. Trial adoption period. If you have problems, questions, or concerns, please call or email. We can often advise adoptors to help them find answers to health or behavior problems. If you decide the pet is not right for you and your home, you are welcome to bring him back unharmed within 30 days of the adoption for a full refund of the adoption fee. If the pet requires vet care due to injury, we will simply adjust the refund accordingly. We are not responsible for any expenses, damages, or injuries incurred in association with the pet. After the 30 days, we may be willing to offer a full or partial refund. If at any time during the pet's lifetime, you decide that you can no longer keep him, he must return to us so that we can find him a suitable new home. If you would like to give the pet to a trusted friend or relative, please contact us so that we can find out more about the new home and discuss with you whether this would be best for the pet.
The application process and adoption can take from two days to two weeks, depending on how quickly we are able to get information and whether or not the pet is ready for immediate adoption. In most cases, a pet can be ready within a few days at most. We went through this process ourselves when we adopted from another rescue organization, and we were impressed with the diligence taken to protect the pet and place her in an ideal home. We strive to exercise the same care in placing each pet that comes to us. While we always appreciate applications for our pets, we reserve the right to decline any application for any reason. 100% of our adoption fees are used for veterinary care for our foster pets. All adoption fees are accepted in cash only. Pets must be picked up at time and place agreed upon or pet may be adopted by another applicant. To apply to adopt a pet, find the adoption application on our page of adoptable pets.
Our adoption fees usually range from $200-$400. Recently someone asked, "Why would you charge $350 for a rescue pet? Why not just place it in a good home?" The answer is that veterinary care is expensive, and we rarely get discounts on vet services and pet supplies. In fact, our average cost to rescue and care for a dog is $300-$500. A young, healthy dog might cost less for vet care, and many people will want to adopt it. A neglected older dog with health issues can easily cost much more, and it may require months of foster care for rehabilitation; yet we can only ask a minimal adoption fee, and it may be a long time until anyone comes forward to adopt it. Each month of care requires expenditure for heartworm prevention, flea/tick prevention, shampoo, premium quality food, and perhaps other supplies and vet care. Fees from the younger, more adoptable dogs help fund the cost of caring for the others. The older dogs and those who need physical or emotional rehabilitation often require additional vet care training and may stay with us for several months. Most of our dogs have a sad story to tell, and some have suffered through years of neglect or abuse. We need adoptors who are willing to support all rescue pets, not just the dog they adopt. We hope that you too are willing to give an opportunity for a better life to all of our dogs by supporting them through adoption fees and donations. Without these funds, our rescue efforts would not be possible. Adoption fees are fully refundable if the dog is returned unharmed within 30 days of adoption. We offer and honor this option because our goal is for every one of our dogs to be in a forever home where it is loved and wanted. It can take time to find out if a dog fits in well with the adopting family.