What is the adoption process?
We take in the dog, cat or rabbit and take care of their medical needs whilst we assess them. This can range from a few weeks to a few months depending on the needs of the animal. Whilst an animal says being assessed on their rehoming status we will not actively look for a home for them.
Dogs from Spain must stay with us for 48 hours for DEFRA checks before we can assess them, they cannot leave our assessment home unless in a life threatening emergency, we act as quarantine during those 2 days to prevent them having to go to kennels. They are then vet checked and assessed like UK animals are.
Once assessments are complete, we will look at the applications we’ve received to see who is a match, we will contact homes we believe would be a match and arrange to homecheck you. Please be honest on your application forms and only apply when you are ready to adopt or foster. There’s nothing more heart breaking during homechecking, than to go into a home hoping it will be as perfect as it is on paper, to find that the garden isn’t secure or that you’ve forgotten to mention other animals in the home. We can’t pass a homecheck unless it is 100% safe for the animal you're hoping to adopt. Unsecure fences for example, we can’t delay rehoming a dog whilst we wait for you to fix your fence in 6 weeks time, it’s not fair on the dog and it’s not fair on the animals who can’t come to us as we have one less space available to save their life. We are regularly told if we can’t take a dog or cat they will be put to sleep, which we will try to prevent as fast as we can.
After you’ve passed your homecheck, we will arrange a meet up with your matched dog, cat or rabbit.
For dogs the first meet up will be at the local park or on the field at Walton once we’ve signed the tenancy, this is to help ease nervous dogs into meeting someone new. We would ask you to bring any other dogs that are vital to the adoption going well. If all goes well, meet up number 2 is when the children in the home can come – we leave children until last to make sure everything is ok first, not all children understand that we must do what is best for the animals. Some dogs can be ready to go into homes after the first meet up, very young puppies for example, but some need at least 3 at the park before we can do the inhouse visit. The inhouse visit is where we bring the dog to your home to see how everyone feels once inside, this gives you and the dog chance to bond before the trial begins, it’s much less stressful for the dog. If after all the meet ups everyone is happy to proceed we arrange a trial.
For cats, the first meet up is in the foster home. The second is at your home. Some cats can be nervous of strangers, but as long as we see positives and believe it is just nerves, we can arrange a trial.
For rabbits, you can meet your matched rabbit in their foster home where safe to do so (most rabbits are at one foster home with unvaccinated infant rabbits so we cannot risk any diseases being brought in by visitors). If you cannot visit your matched rabbit, we will bring them to you to begin a trial.
The trial lasts 1 to 4 weeks to give everyone time to settle in and find their paws. It doesn’t happen often, but if at any point you or we think they aren’t the right match, we will collect them and we can see what went wrong to help us match them/you to another dog. For example, a resident dog was perfect at all the meet ups but on day 2 of the trial, decided they wanted to be an only dog and made themselves and the new arrival very stressed and unhappy.
After the trial period, if everything is still as brilliant as we hope it will be, you can adopt your new best friend. We are here to support you 24 hours a day for the life of your adopted animal and beyond for as long as you need us.