Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Message from Molly

In most cases, Saving Grace dogs come from the most rural, underserved, and impoverished areas, across North Carolina. Nearly all of our dogs come to us from animal control facilities without health or behavior history information. There is often exposure to infectious diseases in these facilities. Few have received prior veterinary care or monthly parasite preventatives prior to entering the Saving Grace program. Our care includes vaccinations,, spay/neuter, parasite prevention/treatment and more. We do our best to identify any abnormalities or behavior concerns and address and treat those concerns prior to adoption to help ensure that dogs adopted from Saving Grace have the potential to become great family companions. Despite rigorous screening, we are unable to guarantee that an individual dog is completely healthy or has no behavioral concerns at the time of adoption.  Unfortunately, some conditions or behaviors may not be evident prior to adoption, or may be easier to identify when in a home setting with a routine caretaker rather than in a shelter environment with multiple volunteers caring for different animals.

The adoption fee pays for a portion of treatment and screening but it’s important to understand that veterinary care beyond wellness visits may be required after the adoption takes place.  All veterinary care, training, or behavioral  following adoption is the responsibility of the adopter/owner.   Because of their background, it is possible for adopted dogs to be diagnosed with infectious diseases including parasites, or less commonly with more severe underlying medical conditions, congenital/developmental puppy problems, or behavioral concerns after adoption. , It is the decision of the adopter/owner if they want to take on the time and expense required to provide follow-up veterinary care or behavior modification.  If an adopter/owner is unable or unwilling to provide this care, they may  return the dog to Saving Grace.  We will do our best to provide care and training for returned dogs with the resources we have available.  

All dogs should be taken in to a local veterinarian within 72 hours of adoption for a wellness exam and to establish a relationship with a veterinarian. If the adopter does not feel satisfied with the health of the dog, Saving Grace will take that animal back. We want our adopters to be happy with their new companion and this includes their ability to provide care for the needs of the animal.

Saving Grace is committed to bringing dogs from underserved communities together with families willing to help  these puppies and adult dogs  to reach their full potential to enjoy healthy, happy lives and provide loving companionship.

Thank you for helping us to continue to serve dogs in need.

Planning Your Visit to Saving Grace

Want to visit Saving Grace? Here are a few answers to questions you may have like where are we located and so much more… follow this link!

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.

Find out more> 

I just made a donation. Can I get a copy of your IRS Letter?

Pre Adoption FAQs

Why do you charge an adoption fee rather than give the animals away for free?

The average expenses for an animal at Saving Grace are approximately $600 – 1000. We want to make sure we are adopting out healthy animals and providing all vet care. Each animal is given a routine physical, spayed/neutered, microchipped, dewormed and given needed vaccines. They are tested for heartworms and treated if necessary.

You’ll find that if you call any veterinarian’s office, typical vet fees for similar services would far surpass the adoption fees. Once you learn more about Saving Grace Animals for Adoption – you’ll not only understand why … you may even choose to get involved!

Every wonder how much it costs to care for a dog?

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

Are you adding a dog to a home with existing pets?

Saving Grace offers the option for owners to bring their current family dog(s) to their appointment to view the interaction between potential new additions. Saving Grace does not have an off-leash meeting area, so all interactions are done safely on leash. If your current dog has a preference in their type of friend this is always helpful to our team. There will always be a transition period for both the current dog and new addition once an adoption has taken place. For tips on helping dogs become acclimated to others click here.


Saving Grace also has a permanent resident cat that assists us in helping determine if a dog may be a potential match with an adopter’s current cat. This is a large indoor house cat that is very dog savvy, used to meeting a large number of dogs, and has learned to not run making itself a target of chase. This helps our team to rule out dogs with a high prey drive or those that are overly cat aggressive. We ask adopters to remain aware that every cat is different, a dog’s behavior and activity level can change when better established and comfortable, and that it is always ultimately an owners responsibility to monitor all interactions not only initially but throughout their animals coexistence. 


SG does not guarantee compatibility with small animals of any kind or fowl as dogs have a natural and instinctual pretty drive. It is always important to keep dogs separate at all times if small animals or birds are present. 


Why are some dogs prepared for adoption more quickly than others?

Saving Grace works with a variety of different Veterinary practices based on the care needed for each particular animal in our program. Saving Grace works to plan in advance the care that will be needed at any particular time. Each of the practices we work with specialize in a certain type of care and assistance with various needs. In most cases Saving Grace has an adequate number of standard appointments, which will cover the majority of dogs and puppies to prepare them for adoption (pediatric and standard spay/neuter). This is affected at times by holidays, each practices regular public appointments, and the number of dogs awaiting surgeries at a given time. Saving Grace strives to offer many dogs with more specialized needs an opportunity at adoption as well. Those dogs needing specialized surgeries require more coordinating and intensive care. 

What are my options if I select a Heartworm positive dog?

Saving Grace offers adopters several options if they meet and select a dog afflicted with Heartworms. Saving Grace strives to offer these very special dogs the same opportunities for adoption with the limited resources we have available for this program.


Saving Grace uses a Melarsomine injection protocol. This is a series of injections provided over a several week period. This protocol has proven in most cases safe and effective for those in need of treatment. Click here  for more information on the options Saving Grace offers. As with any major treatment it does come with associated risks and aftercare protocols for more information on caring for a Heartworm positive dog click  Post Heartworm Treatment Care for your New Dog.


Saving Grace understands that this is a more involved adoption process and that there are always risks involved with major treatments of any kind and as a result this type of adoption may not be for everyone. We are thankful to the group of sponsors that make this special program possible for the many Heartworm positive dogs we see through our program — you can make a donation to help us treat more heartworm positive dogs..

Beyond Heartworm Positive dogs – What other types of cases does Saving Grace help with?

The Saving Grace program strives to assist any animal with a wonderful temperament find a forever home despite possible medical barriers. Of course, we cannot help in every instance which is heartbreaking but if a dog can be saved, we work to find a way. We help to see dogs through specialized orthopedic surgeries and if repair is not possible – amputations, eye surgeries and if repair is not possible – enucleation (eye removal), mass removals, hernia repairs, and other specialized surgeries based on a dogs’ particular need or injury. We are thankful to our community of donors and fundraisers that make these surgeries and repairs possible so that deserving dogs receive the care needed to make adoption possible. You can help by making a donation!

Can I adopt more than 1 dog at my visit?

Adopters may adopt more than 1 dog at their visit, although in most cases it is not recommended. Saving Grace at times will have bonded animals that would be happiest to go to the same home. A heavy transition period is always to be expected when a dog enters their new home and environment. This will be a learning period between the new dog and their family as you get to know and understand one another. Every dog’s transition period is different, and it is for this reason Saving Grace recommends adopting one dog at a time to aid with this transition. You can ALWAYS come back for another once your newest friend is settled – they may even help you get that 2nd pet better settled too!


Saving Grace does not permit the adoption of siblings. Click here for more information on Littermate Syndrome

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.

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.

Are you searching for an ESA or Therapy Dog?

Saving Grace appreciates your desire to adopt, however, Saving Grace is not able to provide this service. If you are in need of a service animal or support animal of any kind, please contact a trainer or group that offers appropriate and professional assistance in order to best help you select and work with a dog that can best meet both of your needs.

Does Saving Grace keep a wait list for specific types of animals?

Our Saving Grace team is a small group of volunteers dedicated to helping our current group of available animals find their forever home. Our team does not have the manpower, beyond caring for this current group, to keep a running list of adopters’ specific requests. We do our best to keep our website as up to date as possible so interested adopters may view what types of dogs and other animals are currently available at any time. If you are looking for low shed or extremely popular mixes, please understand that there are many others searching for this as well, and our team does the best that we are able with high demand for these dogs and puppies.

I live out of town, does Saving Grace ship dogs?
  • Thank you for your considering adoption through Saving Grace where we always have great dogs waiting for homes. We are happy to help out of state adopters and want to provide appropriate expectations for long distance adoption. We do not ship or offer transport for adopted dogs. Each adopter must visit with an animal in person and commit to following through with adoption. In order to give the most dogs an opportunity for a forever family, dogs are not placed on hold. This means a dog you are considering may be adopted before your visit. It is best to visit with an open mind and choose a dog in person that best fits what you are looking for rather than be set on adopting a specific dog on the website. If a dog has not completed their veterinary care, an additional trip may be necessary at a later date to complete the adoption and pick up the dog. This process will vary with each animal and their medical needs. It is best to check with your veterinarian in your state of residence regarding health certificates/licensing required when bringing a new animal into your state.

Post Adoption FAQs

Post Surgical or Other Treatment Care

If your recently adopted dog has recently had surgery or other treatments prior to adoption, it is imperative that you follow post treatment guidelines for your dog’s safety and wellbeing. Please click on the links below for post care guidelines and more information.

Spay and Neuter Post‐Operative Care Instructions

Post Heartworm Treatment Care for your New Dog


3 Days / 3 Weeks / 3 Months

Your new dog will be experiencing a big change joining your family – A GREAT one – but BIG. Our 3, 3, 3 timeline will give you a better idea of some of the things your new dog is experiencing. Click here to view our 3-3-3 Rule.


Please remember your adopted dog has recently been through a lot of changes prior to becoming a part of Saving Grace and now your home. They have been in an animal control facility, some have lost their families, and many may have never known family life. Set your dog and yourself up for a successful experience by being prepared and pay attention to their signals, behaviors and needs: 


  • Dogs who have not had positive experiences in public places and may be overwhelmed, while others thrive on a lot of attention and will enjoy busy outings. 
  • Some dogs enjoy a lot of physical contact, while others have not had positive human/physical contact and need space to decompress and gain confidence in the kindness of humans. 
  • Some may need lots of exercise to burn off excess energy, while others need uninterrupted sleep and rest when first leaving the shelter environment. 


Each dog is different since he/she has been exposed to different things and will react in different ways. Always put them in comfortable situations. Even though you have a loving home to offer them, you are still a stranger and your home is new and your expectations are unknown to them.

Crate and House Training

The Saving Grace team works to lay the groundwork for your new dog’s crate training. The dogs are housed in a group building and crated for periods throughout the day each day and overnight. Crating in your home will be different as there is not a group of other crated dogs for companionship. House training will be the responsibility of each dog’s new family. Every home environment, schedule, setup and routine is unique. This is something you will have to work on together. Follow these links for tips on crate training and house training.

Key Ingredients for Success
  • Ensure your dog has a consistent and adequate daily exercise routine – This will be different for every dog based on age and possible breed mix. Different dogs require different levels of exercise and activities. Dogs that are not properly stimulated will display a variety of bad habits out of frustration. Working breed mixes will require the most vigorous training and exercise regimens.
  • Seek out a professional training schedule – Whether you have raised 1 dog or 10 (or NONE) – it is always beneficial to work with a professional. This keeps learning consistent (especially for families) and helps to keep families more involved and motivated and committed to the training investment. Dogs enrolled in classes tend to be more engaged and compelled to learn when working outside of the home. Training is essential to bonding as well as the continued success and understanding of expectations and boundaries. Dogs and owners gained added confidences from 
  • Invest in your dog’s health and wellness – Get to know your veterinary professional. Ask questions and research available options for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Discuss with a professional, the best approach to your new pet’s diet, medications and continuing health routine. A veterinarian you can count on to stay up to date with animal health, and trust with your personal pet’s needs is peace of mind to any pet owner. 


Investing heavily in training and diet/health are the two best investments you can make for your new companion. Dogs are not impressed by fancy bowls, collars beds etc. – spend your savings where it counts! For Saving Grace’s recommendation sheet for all of your pets needs click here

Things That May Be New to Your Dog

Dogs that have not been largely indoor members of a family home prior to joining Saving Grace may not have experienced some of what most pet owners consider “normal” everyday activities. Examples include:


  • Walking on lead – especially in more urban areas 
  • Basic manners and commands
  • Bathing and other routine grooming
  • Riding in the car
  • Stairs and slippery flooring
  • Televisions, vacuums and other appliances 
  • Visiting public places – pet stores, parks, outdoor restaurants
  • Toys, playing fetch or other games
  • Eating meals on a consistent schedule


Even dogs that have experienced these, are in a new place with new people which makes things a little different than what they were used to prior.

Common Concerns with Newly Adopted Dogs
  • Decreased appetite or nervousness being observed eating (you may try feeding in the crate to assist with this)
  • Loose or lack of stools and or frequent or infrequent urination (your veterinary professional will rule out medical reasons for this at your wellness exam)
  • Restlessness or panting
  • Decreased energy
  • Cowering or hiding – especially from loud noises


Although your dog may experience some of these concerns to some degree please contact a veterinary professional if your dog’s behavior or health appears concerning.

Helping Dogs Integrate with Current Family Pets

Dogs are pack animals, and in most cases, enjoy the company of others of their species. There are a number of dogs that are as well able to cohabitate with other types of animals. It is important when helping pets establish a relationship that someone is always present to monitor interactions. 


Tips for helping dogs get started with other dogs:


  • Take lots of “pack walks”. This is especially important on initial introduction when you are bringing your new dog home. Meetings and activities early on in neutral areas are helpful for first meetings and welcoming. Physical and structured exercise is a key activity in establishing a healthy routine for your dog. This is crucial to a dog both physically and mentally. Walking as a group can help further the bond between dogs as well as the humans that provide this activity. 


  • Always keep food (and bones) separate – Dogs have an instinctual habit to guard their most basic resource from other animals – food. It is always imperative to respect your animal’s need for this. All animals’ food in your home should be separate so that your dog understands there is no need to protect or guard their meals from other animals. Although it is less common for dogs to protect resources from humans it is always beneficial to teach children as well as for adults alike to respect an animals’ needs and space while eating.


  • Toys, and beds can be resources too – Although it is less common, some dogs may have a need to be possessive of toys or certain other belongings in the home. It is most common that the established dog would claim these as their own toward the new addition to the family. If you experience guarding of any items in the home it is best to remove the items until a later time that the dogs have built a more solid relationship, routine and foundation. If you are unsure, it is always best to remove these items initially.


  • Provide separate spaces and outlets – Your newest addition needs a space to retreat and decompress from the wide variety of changes and activities they are undergoing. Your current dog will likely need this time as well, as they adjust to a new member of the home and change of dynamic. Providing separate crate and down time in addition to separate training and outing time is just as important as bonding time. Your newest friend will likely need a good deal of attention and training to get settled but make sure your current dog receives ample special attention too to prevent frustration and jealousy. 


  • Do not leave your new dog unattended – A dog new to an environment adjusting to a multi-pet or family member home should never be left unattended without the supervision of an adult. Your new dog lacks understanding of their new routine, rules and boundaries. Crate training is always a helpful technique if your new dog must be left alone. Do not leave a dog that is not bonded with the other pets in your home for any amount of time.



  • Be present – When integrating dogs in a new environment with others, an adult should always be present. A dog new to any situation should never be left unattended with another dog, a child or in an unfamiliar area. Being present requires that this adult remain aware and attentive (phone down, computer/tv off etc.). 


Tips for helping dogs get started with a cat:


  • Meet on leashIt is always helpful if you are unsure how your new dog and cat will react to one other if you manage the first meeting on leash. This will give you peace of mind that you have control of the initial meeting, and your dog an understanding that they cannot and should not chase. Your cat is then free to react and leave the area if they feel necessary.


  • Provide your cat their own “safe” space – Your cat should have their own space where they do not have to interact with a dog when desired. This space should contain their food (which is in most cases unhealthy for a dog’s consumption), their litter setup, and a space to sleep and rest apart from their canine housemates. Setting your new dog and cat up for success with the use of baby gates, cat doors, and other forms of barriers from this allotted cat space are some of the most efficient options.


  • Do not leave your new dog unattended – A dog new to an environment adjusting to a multi-pet or family member home should never be left unattended without the supervision of an adult. Your new dog lacks understanding of their new routine, rules and boundaries. Crate training is always a helpful technique if your new dog must be left alone. Do not leave a dog that is not bonded with the other pets in your home for any amount of time.


Other small animals: 


  • As a result of a dog’s natural prey and chase drive – all other small animals of any kind should remain diligently separate. This includes birds and other fowl, rabbits. guinea pigs, other small rodents, and reptiles. If your family possesses small animals of this kind it is important to have a proper setup and family plan in place to ensure the safety of these current pets.

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