Adoption Process Explained
Paws Across Pittsburgh’s goal is to place homeless dogs and cats into loving homes and families. We take special care to match the right home with the right dog, ensuring a lifetime of love for both the pet and the adopter. To ensure the best matches are made, we have a process that has been proven effective in determining the best homes for our animals. Our adoption process may seem time consuming or unnecessarily complicated, but please understand that we have our animals’ best interests at heart. We strive to find the best homes possible for our dogs, as well as find the right dog for you and your lifestyle.
Please understand that our organization is completely run by unpaid volunteers, who dedicate their free time to help the dogs. If your references are unavailable, it will delay the process, since those must be checked before moving forward. The entire adoption process takes time; we are unwilling to sacrifice being thorough when the dog’s future is at stake. We thank you for your time and patience throughout our adoption process.
DO NOT FILL OUT AN APPLICATION UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO ADOPT. We can not "hold" pets until you are ready.
Step 1 – Fill out a Application
The first step is to have you fill out an adoption application. This application will tell us about you, your family, your home and your experience with animals.
Step 2 – Application Preliminary Review
Our application review volunteers will initially screen your application to determine if all necessary information was provided. If not you will be contacted to provide additional information.
Step 3 – Landlord Approval Verified
If you rent your home, we will contact your landlord to make sure you have approval to have a dog or cat in your home and to inquire about any breed or size limitations.
Step 4 – Veterinary References
We will contact the veterinary reference(s) you provided to determine if all your current pets are spayed/neutered and up to date on vaccinations. If you don’t have any current pets, we will ask about the veterinary care that your previous pets received. If you have never owned a pet, this step is skipped.
If your veterinary reference(s) cannot verify the spay/neuter and vaccination status of current or previous pets, processing of your application will be stopped until you can provide this information.
Step 5 – Personal References Contacted
We will contact your three personal references and ask them questions in regards to whether they consider you to be a responsible pet owner.
This is the portion of the process that can take the most amount of time. It is helpful if you contact your references and ask them to return our calls in a timely manner.
If we have any major concerns about adopting a dog to you, based on communication with your references, your application may be denied at this point in the process.
Step 6 – Home Visit and Applicant Interview
Our organization requires home visits to determine that the dog will be living in a safe environment. This is an informal chance for us to get to know you, your lifestyle, home environment and determine if the animal you have chosen will be a good fit. The home visit volunteer will do a short walk-through of your home and yard to ensure its safety and to advise on any areas of concern.
If our home visit volunteers have any major concerns about your home environment, or if you refuse a home visit, your application will be denied at this point in the process.
This may be done at the same time as the Meet and Greet, depending on the circumstances and volunteer conducting the home visit.
Step 7 – Meeting between Approved Applicant & Available Dogs
Once you have been approved, a volunteer (usually the foster) will contact you about scheduling a time for you to meet the dog you are interested in. This meeting may occur at the foster’s residence or your home.
Just because you are determined to be an approved adopter, you are NOT guaranteed a particular dog. For some dogs we receive many applications so we may allow multiple applicants to have a meeting with the dog before we choose the home that we feel will be the best fit for the dog. Also, if the volunteer involved in the meeting with you and the dog does not feel you are a good fit for the dog, you may be denied adoption of that particular dog but you may be allowed to adopt another dog.
Step 8 – Adoption
If you have decided upon a dog that you would like to adopt you are required to sign an adoption contract and to provide payment of the adoption donation fee. At that time you become the owner of the dog.
If at any time you are having issues with the dog, please call 724-594-5175 or email your contact person and inform us. A volunteer will be in touch with you asap.
Step 9 – Optional Post Adoption Follow-up Visit
Our adoption contract contains a clause that allows one of our volunteers or a representative the ability to perform a follow-up visit. We may require such a visit if we feel that the terms of the adoption contract are not being met. Paws Across Pittsburgh is committed to the life, health and well being of every dog we place for the remainder of that dog’s life. Should the adoption not work out or you need to rehome the dog, we require, by contract, that the dog be returned to us. Please notify us asap by calling our hotline 724-594-5175.
If you have any questions, please call 724-594-5175 or email