How to Adopt


Gus-101615-04_596x850If you are interested in adopting, please come meet us and our dogs at one of our adoption events.  Check our Available Dogs page, and please contact us and let us know in advance if you want to meet a particular dog.

We may ask you to fill out an adoption questionnaire. We do a home visit, and we have extra requirements for puppy adoptions. Details are below; feel free to ask questions.

The dogs are our clients, and we act in their interests. We do our best to match each dog to a suitable home where the dog will be happy and fulfilled, and the dog must approve of the match as well. We don’t adopt dogs over the Internet, as gifts, or sight unseen.

Many of our adoption policies were developed in the course of volunteering with an assortment of rescue groups, notably with our friends at Greater California German Shepherd Rescue. These policies have stood the test of time and countless adoptions.

Adoption Fees

Our fees are $350 for Puppies (2-6 months), $300 for Adult Dogs, and $100 for Senior Dogs (9 years and up) and Special Needs Dogs who have ongoing health issues that require treatment. All of our dogs are spayed/neutered (in accordance with California law), vaccinated, heartworm and fecal tested clear, and most are microchipped. Adopters receive a copy of the most recent vaccination records and rabies certificate.

The adoption fees don’t quite cover our costs. The average cost of caring for our dogs, including shelter fees, spaying/neutering, veterinary care, boarding and feeding exceeds $400 per dog. We appreciate any additional contribution you make to help us save more dogs!

Home Visit

We require a home visit by one of our own volunteers because we match the home to a specific dog, and we want to meet all members of the household and all other pets at that time, and make sure that environment will work for that dog. The home must be safe and suitable for our dog. We won’t adopt to a home with out-of-control children or out-of-control resident dogs.

Jersey-head-030113-01Outside Dogs

We rarely place dogs in outside only homes. All of our dogs come out of shelters and into volunteer foster homes where they live in the house with the people. We haven’t had much success re-homing them to an outside-only home after that. We believe that dogs are happier living and sleeping inside with their family pack, which has been borne out from many years of bringing dogs into rescue.

Areas of Service

We operate within a reasonable driving distance from the San Francisco Bay Area, especially North Bay and East Bay. A reasonable driving distance is determined by where one of our volunteers is willing to drive within our areas of service. If you aren’t sure whether you’re in our area, please check with us. We don’t adopt to Southern or Central California or out of state.

Adoption Requirements

Our Adoption Agreement and Contract is a legal document. We will only adopt to adults, and all the adults in the household must agree to getting the dog. The home must be safe and secure, legally allowed to have a dog of the type being adopted, and within the allowable number of dogs. We require landlord consent for renters. The entire household must be a good match for the dog; we won’t place a higher Level dog in a lower Level household. Please see our Dog Rating Levels.

Adoption Events

If there are several parties interested in the same dog at an adoption event, we will make sure everyone who arrives on time has a chance to meet the dog; then our volunteers will help make the best match for that dog. Not everyone is the right match for every dog. We do what is in the dog’s best interests.


We have special requirements for puppies; please be sure you meet the requirements before sending in an application. Since we see so many dogs that have come out of an unsuitable environment, we want to make sure our puppies have the very best start in life. We won’t adopt a puppy into an outside-only home or where the puppy will be alone the majority of the time, as we don’t feel that’s an optimum environment to raise a happy and well-socialized dog.

Adoption Restrictions

If there is a vacation or major change imminent, such as moving, having another adult move in, or having a baby, we won’t place a dog in the home at that time. Those events are extremely stressful and it wouldn’t be fair to expect a new dog to adjust well to them.

We reserve the right to refuse to adopt to anyone who we feel isn’t a good match for a dog, in particular or in general, as not every household is suitable for a rescued dog, especially our larger herding and working breeds. We will not adopt to anyone who is hostile, belligerent, deceitful, or disrespectful to our volunteers, our dogs, or our organization or who refuses to follow our policies or accept our guidelines.

Adopter Preferences

Luna-021514-03mYes, we do have preferences for adopters and they would get first choice on any of our dogs above the general public, provided it is an appropriate home for the dog (rating level, energy, children, other pets, etc.). Yes, our volunteers pay the same adoption fee as everyone else. No, we don’t give dogs away for free, not even to our volunteers.

Our order of preference is:

  1. The Foster Home. They always have the first option of keeping their foster dog.
  2. Active Volunteers. It’s the only perk we get for all the hard work we do. These are the folks who are always there to evaluate and transport dogs, work at adoption days and events, keep up the background work, etc.
  3. Previous Successful Adopters. They have proven they know how to take care of a dog, and we love repeat customers! These are the folks who have kept a dog safe and happy through sickness and health until the end of the dog’s life.
  4. Highly Qualified Owners (Level 3 or above). These adopters are generally personally known and recommended by one of our volunteers who will vouch for the home and handling ability.
  5. General Public. At adoption days, it’s not exactly first come/first served, it’s whoever is the best match for the dog, provided everyone is there at the start to meet the dogs.

Thank you for your interest in adopting one of our dogs!