Rescue dogs are imperfect. If you are looking for a dog that will never soil your carpet, chew your favorite pair of shoes, chase your cat or growl at your child when they take a toy from it, then a rescue is probably not for you. Remember that many (not all) of our rescues have some issue, whether health or behavioral, that has caused them to be surrendered to rescue. However, some issues are a result of neglect, abandonment or simply a poor home environment. While we will always disclose any information we have about specific health or behavior problems a rescue may have that may impact your ability to care for that dog, we do ask that you enter into this process with the understanding that owning a rescue is a wonderful and sometimes challenging experience.
Adopting a dog requires a commitment from you. A commitment to work with your adopted dog to help them learn to trust you and to blend into your family. They can’t do this overnight, and they can’t do this by themselves. Every dog adopted from Mutts Matter Rescue will have gone through at least two homes by the time they are adopted – their original home (or a puppymill or shelter) and their foster home – so it is important that their adoption from Mutts Matter Rescue be a forever home. It takes a minimum of six to eight (6-8) weeks for most dogs to acclimate to their new home. If you aren’t willing to work with the dog (and perhaps your resident pets) to address any issues that develop during and after this period, please do not complete the application. While we will always take a dog back into care if an adoption should fail, know that we will expect you to do everything in your power to address the problem first. We will provide you with support and resources to be successful, but your commitment is crucial to success.
If you want your resident pets to meet the prospective dog prior to adoption, it will be your responsibility to travel to where the dog is being fostered. In some situations, the person fostering the dog may be able to meet you part way, but we cannot guarantee this. Please also understand that it is impossible to ensure that an adopted dog will get along perfectly with your resident pets even if they have met in advance. Conflicts often arise several weeks into the adoption as a new pack order is established. This is where your commitment will be required to help everyone learn to live harmoniously.
Once a match is made, it is ultimately your responsibility to travel to pick up your dog. We may or may not be able to arrange for transport assistance, depending on our available resources. Keep in mind that we do not ever ship dogs. If you have seen a dog on our website that you are interested in, please understand that you may not be considered for that particular dog.
If you are very specific about the type of dog you are willing to adopt, please be prepared to wait. For example, if you want only a puppy that isn’t over 15 lbs. and is housetrained, you may have to wait many months. Since we accept dogs regardless of age or infirmity, we have no control over the variety or characteristics each dog has. We try to accommodate preferences when possible but the more flexible you are, the more quickly we can work together to make a match that is suitable for your home. Also know that Mutts Matter Rescue adopts in the DC, VA, and MD areas, with a few exception out of the tri-state area depending on the dog and situation. We know there are wonderful families outside of our adoption area, but we stay within the areas of our foster homes.
If you are not ready to take a dog into your home within the next thirty days or if everyone in your home is not 100% in support of your decision to adopt, please wait to complete the application until everyone is ready. While it often takes longer to make an appropriate match, sometimes the process moves very quickly. As we have no paid staff, every member of our team has many other obligations (work, family) so we try to be as efficient as possible. We ask for your cooperation. If at any point you are no longer able to adopt a dog, please let us know so we can make the best use of our volunteer hours. Remember that each dog takes literally countless hours to assess, address his/her medical and behavioral needs, and screen for the perfect home. Similarly, each application takes a minimum of 4-5 hours to process fully. We take our responsibility seriously and hope that you appreciate our need to use our resources wisely so we can serve all the dogs and applicants who come into Mutts Matter Rescue.
Not everyone who completes an application will be contacted to continue the adoption approval process. We receive several thousand applications annually and we do review each and every complete application we receive. However, we do not have the resources to contact applicants to get more complete answers to the questions on the application. Also understand that the dog you applied for, may be adopted by the time you complete our adoption process. Our application is designed to give us basic information by which to determine your eligibility to adopt from us. It is your responsibility to complete the application honestly, accurately, and completely so that we have as much information as possible. Be aware that the information provided on the application will be verified during the interview, reference check and home visit process. We welcome a variety of family types and home environments – there is no ideal home. Our adoptive families are as diverse as the dogs they choose to adopt.
When we contact you, please reply within two (2) days. If we contact you and we do not get a reply, the processing of your application may be significantly delayed or discontinued. Please provide us with contact information where we can reliably reach you by email and phone. Inform your personal references that you have listed them on your application and ask them to be responsive when we contact them. If we cannot reach one of your references, this will significantly delay the process.
In our adoption agreement, we require that every animal be spayed/neutered. This is not negotiable. This is VERY important as the overpopulation of dogs and cats in our country is a sad result of too many unplanned litters! If for any reason the match is not as perfect as we all had hoped, the dog must be returned to Mutts Matter Rescue, and not given away or turned in to a shelter. So be clear about what you are signing and be prepared to abide by the contract. It is legally binding and we take it very seriously.
Mutts Matter Rescue requires adopters to be at least 21 years of age. We will require proof of age to finalize any adoption.
Mutts Matter Rescue does not adopt to families with electric fences. We do not require that you have a fenced in yard - we understand that lots of wonderful families do have have the ability to have a fence. However, we don't approve of electric fencing as a form of containment or training.
Mutts Matter Rescue's adoption fees range depending on the age, originating shelter, and the vetting the animal has received. Our adoption fees are set to allow us to cover our expenses, as well as to help other animals in our program that require additional care. Our fees cover vetting costs, microchipping, shelter fees, fuel for transport, copying and printing of contracts and paperwork, our website presence, food, boarding, behavioral training if needed, and additional medical care. It is important to note that while the animal you adopt may not require all of these things, many other animals in our system do. Thus, any "extra" money from adoption fees goes to help those animals who may require additional care. By adopting from Mutts Matter Rescue, you are not saving just one life, you are helping to save others as well.
The dog you apply for is not guaranteed – We do our best to work with adopters and meet your needs. However, Mutts Matter Rescue does not adopt dogs on a first-come, first-serve basis. All applications will be screened to determine the most suitable match for the dog, and the adopter. We are an all-volunteer rescue, and every one of our dogs is fostered by a member of our team, and lives in their home as part of a family. This allows us to get to know the dog, what they need, their level of socialization, and the type of home that will best suit them. Once you have been approved with us as an adopter and completed our process, we will update you on the status of the dog you originally applied for. If he/she is not already in the process of being adopted, we will determine whether or not that dog is a good match for your home. If the dog is still available and a good match, we will connect you with the dog's foster family so you can meet them. If not, we will discuss other dogs in the rescue who may be a good fit.
We understand that it’s easy to become attached to a dog you’ve found online, but sometimes the dog you applied for may have already been adopted, or is in the process of meeting adopters, or it may just not be the best fit for your home for behavioral reasons. Please remember that there is no shortage in the number of dogs who need to be saved. Sadly, there are far more dogs waiting to be adopted, than there are people who are willing to adopt them. We hope you can can keep an open mind and stay flexible.
Please be patient with us. We are staffed completely by volunteers who love animals and who love having the opportunity to help these amazing dogs find wonderful families. We strive to respond to you in a timely fashion, and to be honest, respectful, and courteous in all our interactions. Please understand that our primary obligation is to the dogs entrusted to our care. While we realize that our screening process may seem extensive and may occasionally (and unfortunately) eliminate some good homes, it is a process that has been developed through years of experience and we stand firmly behind it. However, if at any time you have questions or wish to discuss any part of our process, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you. If, by this point, you are thinking we are as friendly as the IRS, please know that we truly are warm, wonderful people who love what we do and truly love working with families to find the right dog. We have found that the best way to ensure success is to make sure that everyone enters into the process with appropriate expectations. The items outlined above should help you to carefully consider if a rescue dog is right for you, and to understand how our process works.
Please read our FAQ's page below before completing an application. Adopting a rescue dog is not for everyone. Please review the information below to see if rescuing a dog is truly the right decision for you. Remember, this is a commitment for life.