Applying to Adopt
Thank you for considering adoption from City Dogs Rescue! If you would like to meet a dog that you are considering adopting, we REQUIRE you to first fill out an application. We adopt to the Washington, DC metro area to include Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. You only need to fill out one application and it will apply to any of our dogs.
If you haven't selected a dog yet but would like to get pre-approved, please write "pre-approval" under "dog's name" on the application.
City Dogs Rescue has a thorough adoption process in order to find the best possible fit for each of our dogs. We do not operate under a first-come, first-served model. As a volunteer organization, it may take a few weeks before everything is finalized should we find an appropriate match. Please know we do our best to process adoption applications as quickly as possible. This requires checking references, arranging home visits, and coordinating visits with potential dogs. We appreciate your patience in the process!
City Dogs Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is not a "shelter." We are a network of volunteers (most will full-time jobs) who foster dogs with volunteer families and donated boarding facilities. Please remember that most of our dogs are living in the homes of our volunteers and therefore cannot be visited without an adoption application and appointment with the foster family.
Unless otherwise noted, CDR charges an adoption fee of $350 for dogs (including puppies). The adoption fee for senior dogs is reduced to $175. This fee typically includes health care provided before adoption: Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella vaccinations (age appropriate), flea and heartworm prevention prior to adoption, spay/neuter procedure (depending upon the age of the dog — not included for puppies), SNAP test for parasites, initial health check vet visit when going from the municipal shelter to City Dogs Rescue. We expect all adopters to make their own vet appointment within 3 weeks of adoption.
How to adopt a City Dogs Rescue dog
Where can I see the dogs that CDR has available for adoption?
All available dogs can be viewed on our Available Dogs page on our website. If individuals would like an appointment to see any dogs, the first step is to fill out our online adoption application. Except at CDR Adoption Events, we do not show dogs to applicants until their adoption application is approved. Most of our dogs are in foster homes throughout the DC area, so please do not stop by our administrative offices or by City Dogs Daycare to see available dogs.
Does CDR adopt to anyone who applies?
No. CDR carefully screens its applicants by calling references, veterinarians and landlords. CDR also conducts home visits of potential adoption homes. CDR has no obligation to adopt to any particular applicant and will refuse adoption if it believes that a particular applicant or their home would not be a suitable environment for a CDR dog. Anyone with any history of abuse, neglect, abandonment or surrendering of pets is disqualified from adopting from CDR. Our goal is to avoid the return of pets to shelters by finding forever homes for them with adopters who are capable of providing the level of care necessary to support the dogs through their entire natural lives. We typically have multiple applications on each dog and must determine the best choice for each individual dog. Unfortunately, there may be multiple suitable adopters for a dog, and some will be declined if another applicant had a stronger application and background with dogs.
What if I want to apply for a different dog than I originally applied for?
Please let your assigned Adoption Counselor know about your preference. You do not have to fill out another application.
How much does it cost to adopt a dog?
CDR charges an adoption fee of $350. This fee typically includes health care provided before adoption: all age-appropriate rabies, distemper, and bordetella vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention prior to adoption, spay/neuter procedure, microchip when available, SNAP test for parasites, initial health check vet visit when going from the municipal shelter to City Dogs Rescue, and pre-adoption heah care for dogs over the age of 1 year as needed. We expect all adopters to make their own vet appointment within 30 days of adoption. For puppies: The fee is the same, but does not include the cost of spaying and neutering. All adopters of puppies are required by contract to have their adopted dog spayed or neutered when age appropriate (typically at 5 months of age). Because of their weak immune systems, puppies must be vetted for a longer period of time and kept away from other animals to ensure that they are healthy. Puppies require vaccines starting at approximately 8-9 weeks of age and must continue with boosters no less than 2 weeks apart but not more than every 4 weeks apart until the puppy is 16 weeks of age. This adoption fee covers pre-adoption vaccinations and an initial vet checkup, however, the adopter is required to schedule a vet appointment within 3 weeks of adoption.
The adoption fee seems high. Why is it so expensive?
In order to make dogs available, CDR needs to pay shelter fees, transport fees, vet fees, spay/neuter fees, microchip fees (when available at local vet facilities), costs of medicine, heartworm and flea preventative treatments, and food costs. We typically spend much more per dog than the amount we charge as our adoption fee. Many of our rescued dogs were not cared for adequately in their previous lives and are in need of significant vet care when they first arrive at CDR. CDR is a volunteer-led organization that relies on donations and adoption fees to cover all operating expenses.
What happens if I adopt a dog from CDR but can no longer care for it?
Through a careful screening process, CDR strives to find permanent homes for each CDR dog. In the hopefully unlikely event that an adopter is no longer able to care for his/her pet, CDR requires by contract that the dog be returned to CDR.
Do you adopt to applicants who live out of the DC/MD/VA area?
Due to volunteer resources, we typically adopt only to families in the Metro DC area. In rare circumstances (e.g., a special needs dog), we may adopt to families outside of the Metro DC area.
Where do the dogs come from? Why were they in the shelter?
CDR dogs typically come from overcrowded and/or high-kill shelters. Sadly, many of them would have been euthanized due to lack of space. CDR has established relationships with various shelters and rescues, and primarily rescues dogs from rural communities in VA, NC, SC, and WV. Most dogs are in the shelter through no fault of their own. Many are stray dogs with no identification. Others are the result of amateur breeders who can’t sell all the puppies. Often times, the former dog owners couldn’t afford to keep their dog, had a change in their living situation or had other pets that were not compatible with this dog.
Can I request a specific type of dog?
All of our available dogs are posted on our website. If a potential adopter would like a specific type of dog that is not listed on our website, he or she should complete an adoption application and note that on his/her application. We may know of an available dog that might be of interest. We are not able to accommodate all requests. You can apply for "Pre-Approval" if you have not selected a dog yet.
I work a lot so how would I care for a new dog?
Many of our adopters have full-time jobs but typically provide for a mid-day dog walk through a dog walking service or enroll the dog in doggie daycare.
I have cats or dogs at home already. Can I find out of this dog will get along with them?
We sometimes know about a dog’s tolerance for cats before we receive them based upon shelter records. If we do not know, we can sometimes "cat test" the dog to see how he or she interacts with cats in a household. Many of our dogs are comfortable with other dogs and, in fact, some are fostered in a cageless daycare environment with many other dogs around them. If we find out that a dog does not interact well with other dogs, we will notify potential adopters and look for a home without other pets.
Is the dog house-trained?
Adopters should expect that any new dog will need training with respect to housebreaking. Some of our dogs may never have had any formal house training, while others may arrive trained. Even though some of our dogs may be housebroken, these dogs will often have accidents in a new environment. All new adopters should be prepared to be patient with respect to any housebreaking issues that may arise.
Does the dog have heartworm (or other common illness)?
Heartworm can be a serious disease for dogs, but can easily be prevented through monthly preventative tablets. CDR dogs are usually tested for heartworm, and we will disclose to adopters if they are heartworm positive. If they are positive, they will need to be on a treatment protocol.