How to Adopt a Pet

Here’s how adopting an animal works:

If you RENT – you are required to have a copy of the Landlord Rental Permission Contract filled out and signed by your landlord.

If you RENT you must have this form completed prior to starting the adoption process OR provide a LEASING/RENTAL agreement on company/management letterhead that states in your lease that pets are allowed.

IF YOU OWN YOUR HOME – please provide proof of home ownership (water/sewer bill or mortgage statement or deed are all acceptable forms of proof of ownership) – if you have questions on what constitutes proof of ownership please contact us at staff@sterlingshelter.org or call 978-422-8585. We’ll be happy to walk you through it.

The adoption process starts with a promise. A promise to yourself and a promise to your future pet that you are willing and able to give the best care you can. For some of the animals in our shelter, this is a promise that has been broken.

We want you to build a relationship with your new pet, based on trust and commitment, just as much as your potential pet does. The animal deserves it, you have promised it, and our shelter expects it. Sound firm? We think so…but our mission is not only to find simple homes for our pets; our mission is to find loving homes for them. And we take our mission very seriously.

We want you to be as comfortable as possible while you are here, so when you enter our adoption lobby there won’t be any forms pushed on you or long applications. Our adoption process is a streamlined process because we really want to get to know YOU…that’s why we have adoption counselors rather than just clerks.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted a puppy, but after an honest look at your current lifestyle, you realize your work schedule of 8 – 10 hours each day wouldn’t promote successful pet ownership. Maybe an older dog or cat is right for you instead.

Perhaps that St. Bernard you’re considering, which is about as big as you are, is a little too large for your apartment. In the next kennel, a small spaniel is poking its nose through the cage…should you consider him instead?

It’s all about making a match, and by narrowing down the seemingly endless possibilities, we can ensure that the match is a perfect fit. Picking your pet is the most personal part of the adoption process. It’s all about making a connection. That is WHY we don’t allow people to adopt animals for other family members or friends.

The connection is hard to explain: it’s that special something that happens between you and an animal that you can’t get from any other. There seems to be an immediate bond that lets both of you know you’re right for each other. This sometimes happens with the least likely animal…and when it does happen, it’s magic.

That’s why we encourage you to spend as much time as possible with your potential pet before taking him or her home. Get to know its personality and demeanor. See how it reacts to grooming and petting, other animals, and children. We even let you bring your own dogs to our shelter to detect any initial conflict. We want you to have the most compatible match possible.

When you find the right pet, or should we say, when the right pet finds you, you’ll complete the adoption process by completing the adoption contract. Our adoption counselors will go over all the information you need to know concerning the final adoption stages, and then it’s time to go home! Congratulations!

Now that You’ve taken the first step to adopting your new best friend our staff will help you through the process. Visit the adoption page for Dogs and Cat Page to see the animals available for adoption. Need help? We’ve got valuable tips to help you select the animal that’s best for you and your family. When you’re ready to adopt, click here to receive driving directions from your home to our home.

 

What do I need to bring with me to the shelter?

The entire family! Its hard to pick a family pet when the whole family isn’t there. Some pets react differently to children, to men, to women, to older people than they do anyone else. Some animals (even puppies/kittens) gravitate to children or men or women…others may shy away! What would happen if you brought a pet home and the pet hid under the kitchen table and growled at your kids and hissed at your husband? Its not fair to bring that pet back…but if you had your whole family here…we could see that WHEN YOU WERE HERE and realize that’s not the appropriate home for the pet.

Please understand this is a big decision and the whole family (including your other dog/s should you have them) should be allowed to make this decision together. (This is also the reason our shelter doesn’t allow gift adoptions) Families with children MUST have ALL children present for a meet and greet . This is for YOUR safety as well as the safety of OUR PETS!

Have another dog/s?  Great! We need you to bring along your resident dog/s too! Let your family pooch pick his/her new best friend. That way you are guaranteed a more successful chance at a match! Our shelter has a couple of outdoor, large, enclosed meet and greet areas where your family dog/s can frolick with a potential new furry friend.

Please note – our staff have a relatively good understanding of which of our pets would or wouldn’t do best with/without other pets. We ask that you bring your resident dog/s to the shelter to do an introduction. Though YOUR dog may be great and get along with other dogs, there is always a chance that a specific pet in our shelter may NOT be the best fit with other animals. Having a potential adopter bring their family dog/s is for the safety of your OWN pet/s, our pet/s, and really the safety of YOUR entire family. If a pet isn’t going to get along with another, it is usually evident right from the start of an introduction.

Our adoption requirements are fairly lenient but when it comes to the safety of our pets (and yours) there may be certain pets that we are more concerned with and WE MAY already KNOW specifically that one of our pets may OR may not play well with others.

They simply weren’t a good match for the existing pets in the household. A failed match is just as devastating to OUR staff as to the adopters. There are a variety of reasons pets are returned. It breaks our hearts when it happens, but that is why we always sit down with our adopters to be sure they know what a commitment that a pet is before the pet is adopted. We urge potential adopters to talk with our staff, who help care for the animals. We know these animals…We therefore ask you to understand – we are trying to make the best match for YOUR FAMILY AND our pets. It is just as disappointing and frustrating for US as well as the adopting family, when an adoption match doesn’t work out. We hope our potential adopters will try to understand it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure a good pet personality match is so important, and this is also why bringing your current family dog/s should always be a requirement and why we have these policies. We WANT the best fit for YOU, for our furry friends and for your own family pet/s. At the end of the day, we’d rather have a pet stay with us a few extra days/weeks – than have a pet adopted and returned to us, it’s stressful for that animal to be here, to go to a new home, be in a new environment for a day or two, then be returned to the shelter because “they just weren’t able to get along”… Essentially, that’s disrupting that poor pet’s life, wasting your OWN time bonding to a pet (only to see that pet just isn’t a great fit and is causing chaos and stress on the entire household)…and it could have been easily seen when the pets have had an initial introduction – Something that could’ve been determined in a matter of minutes when doing an introduction and/or you’ve received input from our shelter staff that work with these animals day in and day out.

Please also note, we DO NOT HOLD animals for any reason….if we have the opportunity to find a pet a loving new home, we want to make that match. The faster one of our pets gets the opportunity to be adopted and out of the kennel, the faster that kennel opens and allows us to help others.

If you own your home: Proof of homeownership (mortgage statement or water/sewer bill)

If you rent from a management company or leasing company
: you will need to provide a copy of a leasing agreement stating that pets are allowed on company or management letterhead. Handwritten letters will NOT be accepted!!!!

Please make sure that you have a PHOTO ID with you as well

OR

If you Rent – You are required to get a copy of our Rental Contract signed by your Landlord. This agreement will soon be on our website but for now you can get a copy EMAILED to you by clicking here. In the subject header please ask for the Rental Contract. Please bring a drivers license as well!

The shelter does NOT accept checks. We DO ACCEPT Visa, MC, Discover, or cash or ATM cards with the Visa/MC logo. There is a 3% service charge to use the credit card for any transactions.

Adoption costs click here

How much time should I plan to spend at the shelter?
When you first arrive at the shelter, you should plan to spend some time with the animals you may be interested in adopting. After meeting with the pets, you will be required to READ and complete an adoption contract. An adoption coordinator will then review all vaccination records, post-operative procedures and any additional questions you may have. For dog adoptions, expect the complete process to take at least one hour. Cat adoptions will be less extensive. Please plan your visit accordingly.

Adoption Contract/ Application LINK TO CONTRACT

Please read this contract VERY carefully as you will be expected to initial each line and sign the document at the shelter. We take our adoptions seriously, as we expect you will. Because your commitment is expected to be for a lifetime, there is NO TRIAL PERIOD and NO REFUND for any reason other than terminal illness or severe aggression confirmed by a certified dog trainer or behaviorist.