Adopt a dog and Save a Life!

How to adopt

In order to help the dogs we do have find the right home, and to help you find the right dog, we ask that you follow the steps below to begin the adoption process.

  • Review our site and our frequently asked questions (below) to ensure that you understand what we are about, and how adopting a new pet will impact your life.
  • Fill out our online adoption request. Please take your time and fill out the request as completely as you can.
  • We will review your application as quickly as we can, but please allow at least a week for this process. If we do not contact you it may mean that we do not feel that we will be able to find the appropriate dog for you. We do make every effort to contact all of our applicants, but this is not always possible.
  • Once we contact you, we will work out a time for you to come visit the animal(s) you are most interested in.
  • We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Avoid Common Problems and Create a Successful Transition for Your New Dog

Your new dog was crate trained and socialized at Saving Grace. But that does not guarantee a seamless transition into your life, your house, and your routine. Your dog needs your time and effort to generalize his manners to your life. Set your dog up to succeed by planning ahead of time and sticking to your routine right off the bat.

With this in mind, you should assume that your new dog:

  • Is not housetrained and needs to be taught this in your home, by you.
  • Needs your help to feel at ease when confined, both when you are at home and when you are away.
  • If not properly exercised, confined, supervised and given outlets for normal dog behavior, will chew on your things, counter surf, get into the trash, bark out the window, or be a nuisance in the yard. It is your job to prevent these annoying behaviors so that your dog will rehearse only behaviors that you like.

How Can I Prevent Bad Behavior and Ensure Good Behavior?

Do not wait more than three days to get help with a problem behavior; bad habits form quickly and can be hard to undo. See the Links page for recommended trainers.

Daily essentials for a well-behaved dog:

  • Provide daily aerobic exercise (use an EZ Walk harness to prevent pulling on leash).
  • Teach "sit" and use it before feeding, putting the leash on, and leaving the house and car.
  • Feed on schedule and take uneaten food away after 15 minutes.
  • Use the crate or a dog-proofed, baby-gated room every time you need to take your eyes off your dog.
  • Always use the enclosed crate training tips so that your dog will be mellow and quiet when confined.
  • Be generous in providing edible chew toys to keep your dog's mouth and brain busy. Hollow toys like Kong or the Busy Buddy line of toys are great way to keep your dog occupied and happy, but will hold his interest only if they are filled with his meal or special goodies.

Your adoption packet will contain the details on how to create a smooth transition so you and your dog will enjoy each other right from the beginning. Thank you for your interest in adopting your dog from Saving Grace!

Brought to you by © 2008 Top Notch Dog, LLC

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is the adoption fee so much? Why do you charge an adoption fee rather than give the animals away for free?
    • The average medical expenses of an animal at Saving Grace costs approximately $400. We want to make sure we are adopting out healthy animals and provide all necessary vet care. Each animal is given a routine physical, spayed/neutered and all vaccines and deworming. They are also microchipped and tested for heartworms and treated if necessary.
    • You'll find that if you call any veterinarian's office and get a quote for these services, you'll discover that the vet fees would far surpass the adoption fees.
  • Why does my pet need to be spayed/neutered? Can I adopt an intact animal?
    • Spaying and neutering helps stem the tide of overpopulation. It does not make animals fat and lazy, harm their health, or hurt their personalities, as some people mistakenly believe. Spaying not only reduces the stress and discomfort females endure during heat periods, but also eliminates the risk of uterine cancer and reduces the chance of mammary cancer. Neutering makes males far less likely to roam or fight, and helps prevent testicular cancer.
    • You are helping to alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problem. Each year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized at shelters across the country. Although pet behavioral problems are the main reasons animals are given to shelters, many orphans are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming, unaltered pets. The more pets spayed or neutered, the fewer dogs and cats will have to be destroyed.
    • All animals adopted through Saving Grace are already altered before adoption. There are millions of unwanted dogs, puppies, kittens and cats euthanized in shelters each year and Saving Grace is committed to reducing the population of unwanted animals.
  • Is there a trial period to take the pet home and see if it 'fits' with the family?
    • Saving Grace makes all efforts to make sure that a good match is made between adopters and dogs before adoption. Most of the dogs at Saving Grace have been in transit from being stray, to a shelter, to Saving Grace and are eager for a permanent home that will provide them with consistency. When they are returned, they have to once again acclimate to Saving Grace and then another home. Due to this, we do not offer a trial period.
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  • Can I adopt a pet for someone else?
    • No. Only the person who will be caring for the pet is allowed to adopt. This is in the best interest of both the pet and the adopter. If you really want to make the adoption a "gift," we recommend a gift certificate. Selecting a pet is a very personal decision and the recipient will appreciate being able to make his or her own choice.
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  • Do I need any experience to be a volunteer?
    • No. Saving Grace is always looking for volunteers with any level of experience as long as they love animals! We are willing to teach dog care and training to anyone willing to learn. There are also lots of volunteer opportunities that greatly benefit the dogs but don't involve contact with the dogs. Please see our home page for more information about volunteering.
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  • What plants are harmful to pets?
    • Plants affecting the gastrointestinal tract - azalea (azalea, rhododendron), bulbs (amaryllis, tulip, daffodils, castor bean, english ivy, mushrooms (fly agaric and death cap), precatory beans, solanaceae (potatoes, tomatoes, ground cherries, woody nightshade, black nightshade, christmas cherry), english walnut
    • Plants causing stomatitis and glossitis - ornamentals (dieffenbachia or dumb cane, philodendron), wild flowers (jack-in-the-pulpit)
    • Plants affecting the nervous system - nettle (catnip), nicotiana (tobacco), taxus spp (japanese yew), marijuana, parasympatholytic (jimson weed, thornapple, trumpet vine), hallucinogens (morning glory)
    • Plants affecting the blood and cardiovascular systems - oleander, cyanogenic plants (apples, cherries, plums)
    • Plants affecting the dermis - cactus, burrs, poison ivy
  • What foods are harmful to pets?
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Avocado
    • Chocolate (all forms)
    • Coffee (all forms), or other caffinated products
    • Fatty foods
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Moldy or spoiled foods
    • Onions, onion powder
    • Raisins and grapes
    • Salt
    • Yeast dough
    • Garlic, garlic powder
    • Products sweetened with xylitol
  • How to make heads or tails out of flea preventatives:
    • Flea infestations are very common in this area and pose a real health risk to your pet. Once on your pet and in your home, fleas can be extremely difficult to eradicate. So how can you avoid all of these problems? Prevention is key, and year round treatment is a necessity. There are a multitude of products, from over the counter medications (not recommended as they are not as safe or effective) to those sold by your veterinarian. This overview will help you learn what to look for in a flea preventative based on your pet's lifestyle.
    • Topical products (those that you place directly onto your pet's skin) revolutionized the treatment of fleas. These products work by inhibiting nerve transmissions in insects, causing paralysis and death of the flea. Some products contain additional ingredients called insect growth regulators that target other flea life stages to increase efficacy. The most common products are Frontline, Advantage, K9 Advantix and Revolution. Frontline and K9 Advantix are the only products that also kill ticks. K9 Advantix has additional tick repellant activity that is helpful if you plan on taking your dog into wooded areas with high tick burdens. Caution: this product is toxic to cats and should be used with caution if your cat and dog have contact with each other. Frontline Plus (not Frontline Top Spot) has an additional ingredient to kill the larval and egg stages of the flea in addition to killing the adults. Revolution is the only topical that also will protect dogs from heartworm disease in addition to some intestinal de-worming action, although it has almost no activity against ticks. All the topical products work even if your pet swims, however bathing can severely decrease their efficacy. These products are all absorbed into the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the skin, so if you bathe your pet with a soap based shampoo, it will strip the product away. Your veterinarian can advise you on a safe shampoo to use with a topical product.
    • There are also several oral flea preventatives on the market. One benefit of these products is that they avoid the messiness associated with the topicals. The other benefit is that some of these products produce a very fast kill of adult fleas. The downside to these products is that they have no activity against ticks. These products include Program, Sentinel, Capstar and Comfortis. Program was the first oral preventative on the market and can be purchased over the counter. It works by inhibiting the development of flea eggs. It does not have any activity against adult fleas, which is problematic for dogs with flea allergies. The active drug in Program (lufenuron) is now found in Sentinel, a monthly heartworm and flea preventative. This drug is ideal for small breed dogs that do not have high exposure to ticks. Capstar was the first oral medication to have a very fast flea kill (within 30 minutes of ingestion). It is very safe and can be used in animals as young as 4 weeks. The downside is that it only works for 24 hours, making it cost prohibitive as a first line preventative, although it is a good adjunct product when trying to get a flea infestation under control. Comfortis is the newest drug on the market, debuting in 2007. It starts killing fleas within 30 minutes with all adult fleas dead within 4 hours. It lasts for one month and can be used either alone as a preventative or in conjunction with topical products if needed for severe infestations. It is very effective, but cannot be used in animals under 14 weeks of age.
    • So how do you know what to choose? Is your dog large or small? Do they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors? Are they in the city or the country? Do you walk on sidewalks or go hiking? Do you already have fleas in your environment? All of these are important factors that you can discuss with your veterinarian when considering the preventative strategy that's best for your dog.
    • By Alison Klaitman, DVM
    • Colony Park Animal Hospital
  • Where can I find more information on caring for my new pet?
  • I live out of town, does Saving Grace ship dogs?
    • We send many lucky dogs home with happy adopters who have come to visit from out of state. But unlike puppy mills or many questionable breeders and rescue organizations, we never ship dogs. This protects you and it protects the dog. Here's how:
    • In your internet search for your new companion, it can be easy to be duped by slick websites, promises, and adorable photos. But buyer beware! Many of the very dogs we rescue come from businesses and so-called rescues who keep the dogs in cruel conditions. They make their money shipping to you, sight unseen. Then the dog endures a potentially traumatizing journey. Once the puppy or dog arrives with health trouble or temperament problems like aggression, fearfulness or separation anxiety, you might feel obligated to keep him or her. You have just supported a cruel and possibly illegal practice and helped keep them in business. And you've got a sick or unstable dog on your hands to boot. (For more information on why to avoid internet pet sales and shipping, please read Consumer Scam: Internet Pet Sales.)
    • Our out-of-state adopters come to meet their new dog and us. That allows Saving Grace to invest time and care to make a good match for the dog, and you should invest the same time and care in making a good match for your family. What's a road trip between friends, when you will share up to fifteen years of your lives together?
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