Adoption Process Explained

Our goal is to place homeless dogs 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 dogs’ best interests at heart. Not only do we strive to find the best homes possible for our dogs, but we want to find the right dog for the applicant and their lifestyle.

Step 1 – Application Filled Out

The first step is to fill out an adoption application. The application tells us about the applicant and their lifestyle, training beliefs, and background with animals.

Step 2 – Application Reviewed

An Applications volunteer screens the application to determine whether all necessary information has been provided. If it has not, the Applications volunteer advises the applicant to either fill out another application or provide additional information.

Step 3 – Landlord Approval Verified

If the applicant rents their home, a volunteer contacts the property’s landlord to make sure the applicant has approval to have a dog in the home. We also ask about any breed or size limitations.


If the landlord does not allow for a dog in the home, the application is denied at this point.

Step 4 – Veterinary References Contacted

A Reference Check volunteer contacts the applicant’s veterinary clinic to ensure their current pets are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations. If the applicant doesn’t have any current pets, the volunteer asks about the care that the applicant has provided to previous pets. If the applicant has never owned a pet, this step is skipped.


If the veterinary clinic cannot verify the spay/neuter and vaccination status of current or previous pets, processing of the application is stopped until the applicant can provide this information.

Step 5 – Personal References Contacted

A Reference Check volunteer contacts the three personal references provided in the application. They ask questions to determine whether each reference believes the applicant will be a responsible pet owner.


Reference checks are often the longest part of process. We highly recommend that the applicant gives their references notice that they have been listed and asks them to return our calls quickly. Although our entire team is made up of volunteers, we make calling references a priority so that the wait time is minimized.


If the Reference Check volunteer has any major concerns about adopting a dog to an applicant based on their conversation with a reference, the application is denied at this point.

Step 6 – Home Visit and Applicant Interview

Our organization requires home visits to determine whether the dog will be living in a safe and compatible environment. This is an informal chance for us to get to know the applicant’s family, lifestyle, and home environment.  This is also an opportunity to determine which dog(s) in our program might be the best fit. The Home Visit volunteer will do a short walk-through of the applicant’s home and yard to ensure its safety and to advise on any areas of concern. All household members must be present for the home visit.


If the Home Visit volunteer has any major concerns about the home environment, or if the applicant refuses to allow a home visit, the application is denied at this point.


Distance can be a factor in whether or not the required home visit can be completed. We are a 100% volunteer-run organization and it’s not always possible to find a volunteer to travel for an in-person visit.  We do alternatively have virtual visits available specifically for visits outside our immediate area. Virtual visits may not always be appropriate and are used at our discretion. We will let you know ASAP if your application needs to be denied due to concerns around completing a home visit.

Step 7 – Applicant is Approved and Meets Available Dogs

Our dogs are placed in foster homes as soon as possible when they come into our care, and ideally, each one stays with their foster until they find a forever home. We don’t have a centralized building where someone can meet all of the available dogs all at once.  For this reason, we don’t arrange one-on-one meetings with potential adopters until their application has been approved.


Once an applicant has been approved, a volunteer (usually the foster) will contact them about scheduling a time to meet the dog(s) they are interested in. This meeting may occur at the applicant’s home, the foster’s residence, or another agreed upon location at the discretion of the foster.


Approved adopters are NOT guaranteed a particular dog. Our main goal is to find a home that will be a good fit for each dog. Our Adoption Coordinator works closely with our fosters to determine if an approved applicant can meet the specific needs of the dog in which they are interested. Since each foster usually cares for the dog during their entire time with the rescue, they know them better than anyone else on the team; as such, they are able to give good feedback about whether an applicant will be a good fit.


If the volunteer involved in the meeting with the applicant and the dog does not feel the home is a good fit, that applicant may be denied adoption of that particular dog but may still be allowed to adopt another dog.


Some dogs receive multiple applications, and we will not hold dogs or allow extended time frames for the potential adopters to decide whether they want to move forward with an adoption. We can set up multiple meets or discuss options, but we will want to avoid any delays for the best interest of the dog and for other potential adopters. The first approved applicant who is appropriate for the dog’s needs will have the first opportunity to meet the dog. If they are not a good fit, either by the applicant or volunteer’s decision, the next approved applicant will get to meet the dog.

Step 8 – Adoption

If the applicant decides on a dog to adopt, the applicant is required to sign an adoption contract and pays the adoption donation fee plus spay/neuter deposit, if necessary. At this time, the adopter becomes the owner of the dog. If needed, our organization can provide a kennel/crate, food/water bowls, leash and collar to use for two weeks. We may also provide a small supply of dog food that will allow the adopter to transition the dog’s diet to another food.


We have a two-week refund period. If the applicant decides the dog is not a good fit for their family, they can return him/her within the two-week refund period, and the adoption donation fee will be returned to them. The adoption donation fee is deposited upon receipt and will be refunded only if the adopted dog is returned within the two-week refund period (or any prior agreed upon extension of the refund period.)


If at any time you are having issues with the dog, please call our hotline 701-205-0190 or email your contact person and inform us. A volunteer will be in touch with you ASAP.

Step 9 – Notification of Spay/Neuter & Return of Deposit

If the dog was not already spayed/neutered at the time of adoption, the adopter provides a deposit fee and signs an agreement which states they will spay/neuter the dog. Our contract requires all dogs to be spayed/neutered within one month of adoption or when age appropriate.


When the surgery is scheduled, the adopter should provide us with the date and vet clinic. A volunteer will confirm that the dog has been spayed/neutered, and the deposit will be returned to the adopter. If the dog fails to get spayed/neutered, as outlined in the adoption contract signed, our organization will take appropriate measures to take back the dog.

Step 10 – Optional Post-Adoption Follow-up Visit

Our adoption contract contains a clause that allows one of our volunteers or a Rescue representative the ability to perform a follow-up visit. We may require this visit if we feel that the terms of the adoption contract are not being met. 4 Luv of Dog Rescue 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 if the dog needs to be rehomed, we require, by contract, that the dog be returned to us. Adopters should contact us ASAP by calling our hotline 701-205-0190.

Please understand that our organization is completely run by unpaid volunteers who dedicate their free time to helping dogs in need. If an applicant’s 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.