Here's a little information about our adoption process and what you need in order to adopt a dog or cat from our rescue.
1. WHAT IS THE ADOPTION PROCESS?
Once you've decided you want to adopt a furry friend from us, the next step is to let us know. You can do this one of several ways. You can email us at requesting an adoption application and contract. You can come to one of our adoption events and fill out an application and adoption contract there, or you can go here and download the adoption contract and application.
Once you get the application, fill it out completely, scan and email it back to us or drop it off at one of our adoption or fund raising events, along with a copy of your state ID. You will also be required to pay the adoption fee at this time by cash, check or Paypal. Cash or check funds will not be processed unless the adoption is approved, and Paypal funds will be refunded within three days should the adoption not be approved. If you choose to pay by check, please make the check out to Foxnest Veterinary Hospital so that we may use it to pay on our veterinary account.
Then we will check your references, call your veterinarian, do a criminal background check and once your application is approved we will call you to schedule a time to deliver your pet and do a home visit. If you are adopting from out of state, the home visit will be conducted by a rescue or foster local to you. Once you are approved, we will work together with the adopter to coordinate transport of your pet.
2. WHY DO YOU DO A HOME VISIT?
When we do a home visit we are not there to judge your housekeeping or lifestyle. All we care about is that our cats and dogs are going into the very best situation they can possibly live in. We also want to know where the animal will be living. Since our cats are indoor-only adoptions, for instance, we would not want you to have a cat door that opened up onto an open yard area (fenced courtyards, etc. are okay as long as the boundaries are reasonably cat-proof). We can also make suggestions that will help you
and your pet interact with less problems, and point out potential hazards to both you and your pets.
3. WHAT REFERENCES DO YOU CHECK?
If you rent, we will check with the landlord and make sure that you are allowed to have pets. We call your veterinarian and verify that they are indeed your vet and that your animals are kept up to date on inoculations and are spayed or neutered. We may check with or verify other information given on your application on a case-by-case basis. We also do a criminal background check and check with the National Do Not Adopt registry.
4. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ADOPTION DOESN'T WORK OUT?
If you contact us and arrange return of the pet within 72 hours of adoption, all adoption fees will be refunded with the exception of any paid transportation fees. (Out of area adoptions only). If it has been longer than 72 hours, we will always accept any animal back that has been adopted from us, but there are no refunds after 72 hours. Our rescue has expenses to meet and we don't have the ability to sit on critical funds longer than that. Understand that if you have adopted out of our area, it may take a few days or even weeks to find a local foster that can care for your pet until we can arrange transport back to us. We ask for your patience as we work hard to do the best for both you and your adoptive pet in getting them back to us.
5. WHAT HAPPENS IF I MOVE/GET SICK/DIE AND CAN'T CARE FOR MY ADOPTIVE PET ANYMORE?
Please, if you adopt a pet from us please amend your will with instructions to return the pet to us upon your death unless a family member has expressed wishes to adopt the pet. In that case please ask them to contact us and let us know so that we can update our records. If you get sick or move and can no longer keep your pet, we will always take them back no matter how long it has been since they were adopted. Provisions have been made so that our phone number and email address will be monitored for as long as pets we have cared for are still alive.
5. DO YOU NEED FOSTERS?
Yes! Yes! Yes! If you can foster a healthy cat or dog, you would really be helping us out a lot. We will cover all costs including litter, litter pan, food, food dishes (if needed), dog or cat bed, and all vetting. If you can foster one of our special needs cats, that would really be wonderful! You would need to fill out our foster application and contract located here, then either scan and return to us via email along with a picture or scan of your picture ID, or drop off at one of our adoption or fund raising events.
7. CAN I FOSTER TO ADOPT?
Yes. If you foster an animal for our rescue, then after three months you decide that you would like to adopt the animal forever, there is no adoption fee. The only requirement will be that you sign the adoption contract. If you decide to adopt before the three months are up, you will be required to pay the adoption fee in addition to signing the adoption contract.
8. WHAT IF I AM MILITARY AND AM DEPLOYED?
We love our military heroes and when one of them adopts a pet from us we consider it a privilege. If you are deployed overseas and need someone to care for your pet while you are gone, we will be more than happy to board them for you at no charge. We cannot extend this to any pet, unfortunately, but those who have been adopted from us are welcome to come stay with us again while you are away serving your country.
9. EUTHANASIA (PUTTING A CAT OR DOG TO SLEEP)
There may come a time when your pet becomes ill or injured and a decision needs to be made - to treat the animal or to have them "put to sleep". This is a very difficult decision and we know that no one would do that to a beloved pet unless it was absolutely necessary. However, what one vet says is hopeless, another vet may know a treatment for and believe that your pet can make a full recovery. Or, it may be that the treatment your pet needs will be very expensive and you don't believe that you can afford the expense, and feel that you have no choice but to allow the pet to be euthanized.
Because of this we have a clause in our adoption contract that says that if euthanasia is being considered for a companion animal adopted from us, you must notify us as soon as possible and allow us the option of getting a second opinion at our cost, and/or claiming the pet back and taking over care. We will never knowingly cause an animal undue suffering, but if we or our vet believes that with treatment the pet can continue to live with a good quality of life, then we will do everything we can to prevent the death of that animal. Once an animal has been returned to reasonable health if that is possible, we will be happy to discuss returning the pet to you. Understand this though – we will NEVER extend suffering if it is obvious that the animal is at the end of their life and it is their time. We love every animal that comes through our rescue, and would appreciate the opportunity to grieve for them with you. If it is possible for us to attend the end and you are agreeable, we would like to say our goodbyes as well.
Of course, this does not apply to emergency situations, we understand that there may be cases where to alleviate the suffering of a pet with a severe injury or sudden illness, it is necessary to euthanize them right away. We still ask that you notify us as soon as possible so that we may update our records.
10. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Read your application and contract. Those words are not there just to cover our butt, we mean them. If we find out that you have broken any of the terms of our contract (and you'd be surprised just how often we DO find out), you will get a warning letter from us asking that you correct the offense within 30 days. After 30 days, if the offense has not been corrected, at that point we will proceed to take all legal steps to get the dog or cat back. Our adoption contract, spay/neuter contract (if applicable) and application have been reviewed by attorneys in both South Carolina and Virginia and are legal and binding in any state in our nation. We would never want to do any of this, but we have had to in the past, and to protect the welfare of these animals that we have cared for, we will do it again.
Also, don't expect the perfect pet to come home with you. Many of our rescue animals have either been abandoned or abused or both. Some have had horrible illnesses. Our dogs haven't had the best training -- we are not a true dog rescue and up until August of 2013 we had never had dogs. We aren't trainers and while we've tried to get them used to leashes, etc. they need much more training than we can give them. Just like people, they have unique personalities. They have things that annoy them. They have good days and bad days. They wrestle and fight with each other one minute, then they're laying together asleep the next. Give your adopted pet time to get to know you, to get to know your routine, to learn what you expect from him or her. Don't give up too soon. Cats will head under the bed and might not come out for two weeks. Many of our cats have been with us for years, and going to a new place with new people, maybe other new pets, new smells will stress them. Understand that and give them some space, and soon they will learn to trust you and want to be a part of your life. Before making the decision to return a pet, please allow us to help you in any way that we can to get them adjusted to their new life.
And last, but certainly not least -- DECLAWING OF ANY CAT THAT HAS BEEN ADOPTED FROM OUR GROUP WILL VIOLATE YOUR CONTRACT AND THE CAT WILL BE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE FORFEITURE. When your cat is declawed, it is a very traumatic procedure. The first joint of each of the cat's digits is removed – not just the claw. It would be the same as if someone cut the first digit off of all of your fingers and toes, then told you to get up and go about your normal day afterward. Declawing in many cases causes cats to become MORE aggressive and can result in biting issues. Declawing is also inhumane and we will never knowingly allow any of our cats to be subjected to that. There are inexpensive methods such as Soft Paws which can be attached to the claws and keep your cat from clawing you or your furniture. Ask your vet or groomer about them.
NOTE: We have been informed by our veterinarian that there are medical reasons to declaw a cat. Should it be recommended by your veterinarian that your cat be declawed, you must contact DPAH immediately to inform us and allow us to consult with your veterinarian. These medical reasons are RARE and declawing a cat should be the last resort.