The shelter technically opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday – Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday/Sunday However, if we have pets going up for adoption and expect to be busy which is the case most weeks we try to open a bit earlier as the line can be quite long and as a safety and courtesy to the neighborhood- school buses and people going to work we do try to open as early as possible (normally between 9:30-10:30 depending on the day and number of animals – but it completely depends on how long it takes our team to feed / clean and ?our vet clinic (if needed) do one last exam to make sure the pets are healthy and able to be adopted).
When we say adoption days can be extremely busy you can see for yourself – Click on the link or on the video below
Please know there is often a line starting as early as 3-4 a.m. YES BETWEEN 3-4 A.M.! with potential adopters waiting to meet and hopefully adopt a specific pet...Our staff asks that you please take this into account and plan accordingly.
Some days there may no line at the gate,but we never know for sure...we can only help you with OUR recommendations based on years of experience on adoption days.
Chances are if you are just arriving at the shelter at 11 a.m. There is very little chance you will be adopting the pet you might’ve specifically wanted so it’s always a good idea to have several pets as options?…
For potential adopters who might be upset if we opened early… and you arrive at or just before 10 a.m. on weekends or 11 a.m. during the week (our normal hours) we can only say regardless of what time we opened – if you are arriving at 11 a.m. there are generally MULTIPLE cars that have been in line for hours prior to 11 a.m. and you generally wouldn’t have an option to adopt that pet you might’ve had your eye on. Again – we can only recommend you are here early if there IS a specific pet you are coming to meet.
We often get potential adopters asking us HOW EARLY SHOULD WE BE THERE? Even based on the years of experience with adoption days and lines we often have we can never give you a specific time.. we can only tell you that there are many people waiting in line for several HOURS prior to us opening. What you consider early – and what WE consider early is definitely a personal decision we can’t help you with.
Just know – There are many families that miss out on a specific pet because they did not plan accordingly. But please also know It’s not unusual for them to come back 2-3-even 4 times before they find the right fit.
We can only help that this info will help your family to decide what is the right time to arrive chances are if you fell in love with a specific pets photo theres most likely a dozen or more other families who also fell in love with that same photo/pet.
Thank you for your understanding and your understanding that we do the best we can based on being short staffed when we have a line with 25-30 cars all waiting to adopt.
To address the lines,
we pass out a laminated and numbered card with a lot of good info to read (on both sides) before opening should we have a long line?cards are handed out numerically PLEASE DON’T THROW THEM AWAY? just return to staff when your number is called.
we only accept 3-5 families into the kennel or cat room at one time
Thought it might seem annoying that you have to wait we want all adopters (including YOUR family) to have time not feel rushed to meet the pets and ask any questions and have the staffs full attention- you wouldn’t want to feel rushed and we wouldn’t either.
We hope this helps you when and if you choose to adopt a pet from our shelter. Luckily we have multiple programs rescuing pets almost weekly our website is updated hourly. If you see a pet that is no longer on the site that means the pet has been adopted.
Please make sure you have all you need to adopt before arriving... it would be disappointing to everyone if you sit in a line only to realize you don’t have the minimal paperwork we require.
If you have kids – we do require the kids be present for adoption – each pet has a different personality and some pets simply are NOT a match for younger kids (especially SMALLER puppies) and we would not put a specific pet into a family with young kids., but this also greatly varies on how your child/ren is with the pet/s.
Please know, Our adoption counselors and staff have all been here many years and can definitely help you find the right match. NEVER select a pet based on the color, marking, sex – pick a pet based on the PERSONALITY. That way you’ll get a great fit! Our first job is to protect the animals in our care and if our staff feels the pet/s is NOT the right fit for a home, its because we see something in the actions of the pet or family or dog/s and their posturing.
ALSO if you have another dog/s please bring them. this is the single easiest thing you could do to make sure you make a match.
If you rent a house/apartment/condo we DO REQUIRE this form to be filled out by your landlord PRIOR to allowing an adoption be completed. So if you are going to be coming to the shelter you might want to give your landlord a heads up that someone at the shelter might be calling them.
Adoption days are the busiest days at the shelter not only do we have a long line of potential adopters but the phone is generally also ringing off the hook.
In order to save YOU time please refer to our website www.sterlingshelter.org vs. calling the shelter. Many times the shelter phone line will be busy with people calling us for info that can all be found on our website.
Most any information you could ask or need to know can be answered on our website – and the commonly asked questions and the links are below:
what you need to adopt
Our pets for adoption page is updated HOURLY so If a pet is NO LONGER posted s/he has been lucky enough to be adopted.
adoption fees and what is included when you adopt a pet
Link to rental agreement for your landlord to sign if you rent
Where our pets are rescued from – primarily we transport from shelters/rescues in Puerto Rico – Texas – Southern states that have high kill shelters. Our kittens are mainly rescued from NJ.- which is lucky enough NOT to euthanize but benefits from sending kittens to our shelter to have more space open to help more felines
REMEMBER – all info is posted on our website –
But most importantly always remember The Adoption and Rescue Prayer what we want for all our pets as our staff and volunteers all love the shelter pets as if they’re our own oxox