So You Want To Adopt?


To Know

Please take a look through our FAQs before applying. If you do not see your question, please email
  • How do I apply for a dog? Submit an application here. Once we receive your application, a volunteer will be in touch to start the process!
  • Where are you and the dogs located? Can I come to your shelter? We are 100 percent foster-based and do not have a shelter. You can meet our dogs at our adoption events held in the Washington D.C. region. We accept applications for adopters in the general DMV area (D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland) and may consider adopters from out of state as applicable.
  • Where can I meet a dog or how do I meet a dog outside of adoption events? You can always meet our dogs at our adoption events, which are listed on our adoption events page. To meet a dog outside of an event, please apply and indicate which dog you are interested in on the application. The applications are non-binding and allow us to respect our fosters' time. Once an application is approved, a private meet-and-greet can be arranged.
  • How long does the process take? We are all volunteers, so the process can take as little as a few days, or up to two weeks, depending on the number of applications we are processing and the number of volunteers available to help.
  • Can I apply for a specific dog? Yes! Please indicated on your application which dog you are applying to adopt.
  • What if I don't know what dog I want? Can I still apply? Yes! You can apply for pre-approval. This means you go through the process as if you have applied for a specific dog, and then wait for your best friend to arrive.
  • Are dogs up-to-date on all their vaccinations? Each dog adopted from Rural Dog Rescue is spayed or neutered, up-to-date on all core shots (including DHPP, distemper, rabies, and canine influenza), microchipped, and current on heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives.
  • How do you decide who gets a dog? Is it first-come, first-served? It is not first-come, first-served. We aim to find the best fit for the dog and the applicant.
  • Can I do a trial with the dog or foster first? We are always looking for more fosters! We love getting our dogs into home environments. That said, not every dog is eligible for a trial period or in need of a foster. If you have a specific dog in mind, please fill out an adoption application and work with our adoption coordinator.
  • Is a dog house-trained, crate-trained, or good with cats? What we know about the dog depends on how long the dog has been with a foster. Our fosters work hard to get the dog started on the right foot. However, you can expect to do some house training, as accidents may happen when moving into a new home. Not all dogs can be tested with cats or children, so we may not always know how a dog will do in a home with different variables. We will try to get as many questions answered as possible as an applicant moves through the process and can work with you to make sure you find the right fit for your home.
  • Am I approved to adopt as a foster? Yes! There are no additional forms to fill out. If you decide you are interested in adopting, please contact your foster coordinator. If you decide you want to adopt your foster dog, fosters will be considered alongside all other applications to determine the best fit. We cannot guarantee you will get to adopt a dog you are fostering.
  • Do you offer any adoption discounts? Unfortunately, we are unable to offer discounts on a dog's adoption fee. Adoption fees help offset some of the costs we incur when rescuing dogs, with the total cost per dog usually starting at $550 and can exceed $1700. We are an all-volunteer organization and 100 percent of our adoption fees going towards the care of the dogs. Your adoption fee is also considered a donation and is tax deductible.
  • What happens if I adopt a dog and can no longer keep it? Returns are determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us so that we can discuss the available options. Please note that our adoption contract states that adopters will try to work through issues with a trainer or seek other solutions before giving their dog up.
  • What if I have other questions? You can always email us! Email to learn more.
Get A

dog For Life

Sure, it's a long list of questions. But a quick stroll through an dog shelter will help you understand why answering them before you adopt is so important.

Many of a shelter's homeless dogs are puppies, victims of irresponsible people who allowed their pets to breed. But there are at least as many dogs at the shelter who are more than a year old-dogs who were obtained by people who didn't think through the responsibilities of pet ownership before they got the dog.

Please, don't make the same mistake. Think before you adopt. Sharing your life with a companion dog can bring incredible rewards, but only if you're willing to make the necessary commitments of time, money, responsibility, and love-for the life of the pet.

If you're ready to adopt a companion for life, please click the links above at the top of the page to see a sample of our many wonderful dogs available for adoption at the Rural Dog Rescue.

If someone tugs at your heart and you would like to meet him or her, please fill out an Adoption Application.

Ready to Adopt?

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