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Save A Dog, Inc - How to Adopt a Dog from Us
 How to Adopt a Dog From Us
Adoption Process
  1. The first step in the process is to read our guidelines for adopting a dog from Save A Dog. See guidelines below. It is also important to us that you download and read our Important Reading Material for Dog Adopters packet. Additionally, you should read our Holistic Dog Web page as we want our rescued dogs to have a healthy lifestyle, free from chemicals and pesticides. Following a holistic protocol will also save you from costly vet bills in the future.

  2. Fill out the Adoption Application form on this Web site. We require an application first before allowing you to visit the dogs and the application process is at no charge to you. Knowing a little bit about you before you come down to meet the dogs saves both you and our adoption counselors considerable time and it benefits our rescued dogs as it gives us the extra time to take care of all their needs while finding them the best homes to live out their years.

  3. Once you have filled out the application, please give us a day or so to email the confirmation that your application was received. We are not a drop-in shelter where you walk through kennels. We have shelter visiting hours, usually on the weekends, but occasionally on week day afternoons. We have a limited amount of private appointments during the week, usually in the day time. Please understand that we are not a "first come, first serve" shelter, but that we try to make the right match for both the dog and the adopter. If you work full time, for example, we may steer you towards an adult dog who can stay at home during the day or who can get along just along just fine with a dog walker.

  4. When you come to our shelter visiting hours, we can look up your application and bring you out to meet the dogs you are interested in. We have several play yards where we bring the dogs outside off-leash to meet prospective adopters. As well, we have a Meet-and-Greet room with comfy sofas in the house where you can meet a dog in a home setting. As some of our dogs are in foster homes, receiving an application ahead of time will allow us to notify the foster provider to bring the dog to the shelter for you to meet. If you just drop in, there's a good chance the dog you want to meet might not be here, so it's best to let us know of your planned visit.

    We ask that all decision-makers be present when you come to meet the dogs. If you have a resident dog that you'd like to bring to meet one of our rescued dogs, we just ask that you let us know ahead of time. As weekends tend to be busy, this might not always be possible during our peak hours, so please talk to us first and we can advise the best time to bring your dog out for a meeting. If you live close by, then it might be best to meet the dog first, make sure that both you and we feel it's a match, and then we would have you go get your dog to be the final decision-maker.

  5. Once you have met the dog and both parties agree it is a good match, then you may leave a $100 deposit to hold the dog for 24 hours while we check your references and/or conduct a home visit. The deposit is nonrefundable. If you change your mind, it is used as a donation towards the shelter. If you continue with the adoption, the fee is deducted from your total adoption fee.
Adoption Guidelines
Adoption Fees: Our adoption fees vary. For senior dogs (9 years and older), the adoption donation is $300. For adult dogs (older than 1 year) it is $425. Adolescent dogs (7 - 11 months) are $450, and it is $550 for puppies 6 months and under ($50 is rebated after you send us the spay/neuter certificate). We are a grass roots 501c3 organization privately funded by donations and the adoption fees. We are always very grateful if you can add a little extra donation to help us continue our rescue work. Many of the dogs we take in have special needs and theirs costs exceed the adoption donation, so your donations help us to support those special dogs.

If We Request a Home Visit: During the adoption screening, we will determine if a home visit is needed. If we request a home visit, we will schedule a time to come out to do a safety inspection of the home. The reason for the home visit is to make sure that you can provide a safe environment for the dog and to make sure the dog you want is the right match for your family. We also ask that other family members or people who live in the household be present so that we can meet them and answer any questions about dog ownership. After the home visit, the person conducting the home visit will provide the report to a board member, who will approve the adoption. Once the home visit is completed and approved, we will contact you to pick up the dog within 24 hours. We are not set up to hold dogs beyond that point.

Geographical Areas We Serve: While we have adopted dogs all over the New England region including the New York border, if we have multiple applicants for a particular puppy or dog, we give first preference to applicants who are in neighboring towns. For puppies especially, we like to adopt to local families as we offer Puppy Kingergarten classes at a discount to our adopters, where all the puppies from the same litter, for example, can attend a class together and play with their siblings. It is an easier transition for the litter mates if they can play together with pups familiar to them and similar in size and age. If you are located out of our service area, say over 25 miles away, and you are open to a variety of dogs, we welcome you to apply. If you see a dog on our web site who has been at the shelter for a while, please know that we are willing to "go the extra mile" and will receive applications from afar. Please understand that "same day adoptions" are not our practice so you will need to be prepared to come back the following day to adopt any dog or pup that you put a deposit on.

Guidelines for Adopting Puppies
Young puppies need lots of socialization. The rule of thumb is that the pup should not be left alone for more than one hour for every month of age. So a two month old puppy should not be left for more than two hours, a three month old for three hours, and so on. Obviously, you cannot leave an 8 month for 8 hours as you that's too long to spend in a crate and the dog will need to be walked mid-day.

Crate Training: We require crate training for puppies. No exceptions! For information on crate training basics, go to

Working people: Please bear in mind that puppies need lots of socialization so we cannot place them in homes where they will sit alone all day. Even coming home for lunch is not enough for a young puppy. Animal shelters are loaded with dogs who did not get the proper puppy socialization and we do not want to add to the problem. Puppies need time and attention. We like to have your dog walker and/or doggy daycare information on the application or at some point before we call your references. People who can spend the most time with a puppy will be given preference and we will consider those with dogs already in the household as companionship for an older puppy or young dog.

Our Fencing Requirements

We require a fully fenced in back yard if you have children under 12 years of age. You don't have to break your piggy bank in order to purchase a fence. In fact, there's a fence that we prefer that is very afforadable. It looks like the fencing here: Home Depot - YARDGARD Green Vinyl Coated Welded Wire Fence. You can buy this at Home Depot for just over $1 a foot and put it up in an afternoon. We like it because it goes flush to the ground so that dogs can't squeeze under, as they would with a stockade fence, and they can't climb it, as they can with a chain link fence. They can't see over it, so they don't tend to jump over it. 4-5' high is adequate for the majority of our dogs.

Invisible Fences: Invisible fences are okay in some situations, but they are not our favorite choice of fencing. It depends on the dog and on your location. You cannot put a puppy on invisible fence! We are not keen on the invisible fence if you live in a neighborhood where lots of people walk by as it frustrates any dog who wants to go and greet them. Border Collies and other herding or prey-driven breeds in particular do not do well on invisible fence. The fencing companies don't tell you about power outages and the number of people who have run over their own dog in the driveway on invisible fence. We suggest doing a lot of research before purchasing invisible fence. They are fine for some dogs and some locations, but disastrous for others.

Additional requirements if you live on a busy road: If you have live on a busy road, we require a front entry way or breezeway at minimum. This is for the dog's safety so that the dog doesn't dart out into the street.

Our Obedience Training Requirements

We require obedience training for all dogs under 3 years of age. Puppies need Puppy Kindergarten for socialization and for a jump start on obedience training. Then at adolescence and beyond, they need basic obedience. We offer 3 Puppy K classes for our adopted puppies. We offer the class with your puppy's littermates and/or other pups that were fostered with your puppy so that they can socialize with dogs they already know and who will not overpower them. These classes are taught in Sudbury by our volunteer trainers. We want to thank Especially For Pets, for letting us use their training ring. You will receive an email invitation to this class shortly after adopting your puppy. We teach using positive-reinforcement, reward-based methods.

Note to families with children under 5: It is a NOT a good idea to get a puppy or young dog if you have very young children, unless you are very dog experienced. (Here is an article you should read before adopting: Postpone Family Dog Until Kids Are School-Age: Experts)

If you are a "pack rat" or love clutter, you should consider adopting a senior dog who is past the stage of chewing and getting into things.

This may sound like a lot of scrutiny, but we want the safest situation for our rescued friends. We have learned a great deal about which placements work best through trial and error over the past few years. We have placed over 3000 dogs since our incorporation and have learned a great deal from experience.

Our CAT Adoption Application
Our DOG Adoption Application
There are several formats you can use to fill out the application:

  1. Web-based. Our Web Application is easy to fill out, but some servers will not let you send it because of fire wall issues. If that happens, then please print it out and fax it to our toll free fax number 877-349-9254.

  2. MS Word version of DOG application. You can download this file, fill it out, and email it to or fax it back to us at our toll-free fax number 877-349-9254.

  3. Text-based version of the application that you can cut and paste into your email message to us.
You can also print out your application and mail it to the address listed on this Web site, but please realize that the dog may already be adopted by the time we receive your mailed application. Also, we prefer electronic copies of applications as they are easier to locate and we can sort them on our computer. If you're not computer-experienced or have trouble with the application form, then just send us an email and we can email you an application.
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