What are your adoption requirements? 

To ensure the safety of our dogs, we do ask that potential adopters follow a few steps. 

First, we ask that you complete an “Adoption Application.” This contains basic information about you, your home, and your family. Once the application has been submitted, we can select a dog to fit your home and lifestyle or schedule a meet and greet/home visit with your selected pet. We do require home visits for anyone wishing to foster or adopt to ensure our pets’ safety. 

If the meet and greet goes well, the dog will stay with you for a two-week foster with intent to adopt (FWITA) trial period. You’ll sign the FWITA contract at this time and pay the pet’s adoption fee. At the end of a successful two-week trial period, we’ll finalize the adoption. However, if within those two weeks, you learn the dog will not be a good fit in your home, you can return the dog to the rescue (please review our FWITA contract for additional terms and conditions).

All dogs are fully vaccinated and altered prior to the adoption being finalized. Most are micro-chipped. Upon adoption, the adopter shall become solely responsible for any veterinary and basic needs costs of their new pet.

By completing an adoption application and signing our FWITA contract, you agree to all of the rules and requirements for adopting, which include: 

  • All dogs must be walked on a leash at all times, unless in the secure backyard of the foster or adopter’s home or in an enclosed dog park. 
  • All dogs must be INDOOR DOGS and live primarily inside the home with you. We do not allow any dogs to be kept as “backyard dogs” even if you have an outdoor dog house, run, or kennel or it is well-shaded. It is far too common for these dogs to escape their yards, pick up destructive habits, and/or become lost or injured. In addition, heatstroke is a common occurrence in dogs left outside, even with adequate shade and water, and some breeds are much more susceptible than others.

While rare, do note that Underdog Rescue of Arizona may remove a pet from an adoptive home for any reason deemed necessary to protect the safety of our pets. 

Can I adopt if I live in a condo/townhome/apartment?

To start, please verify that your complex allows pet ownership and note any weight or breed restrictions.

Although it’s typically not best to adopt in these environments, we do make exceptions. For example, we will try to select a dog (small, senior, low energy, medical need) that would best fit this type of setup. You will also have to commit to give the pet more appropriate physical and mental stimulation to better match what is typically available in a home with a yard setting. This may include substantial walk time(s) and possibly dog park exercise. For some, though, a small home can be the perfect fit for our couch potato senior pets or smaller pets! 

If I don’t own my current home, can I still adopt? Yes! We do require written approval from your landlord, but we have many pets with families who do not own their home.

What if I have children?

Adopting is a WONDERFUL family experience, especially for children. It can build a foundation of philanthropy in your children and promotes education on responsible pet ownership. It is a fabulous learning experience for children that will grow up to be future animal lovers.

If you do choose to  adopt, it will be important to select a pet that is “age appropriate” for your children. As a general rule, we do not allow larger or high energy dogs with children under three years of age. We also do not recommend children under the age of 12 be left alone or unsupervised with any dog. You must also be diligent about providing guidance, instruction, and rules to your children about caring for a dog.

Can I still adopt without a yard?

Yes! A yard is great to have for early morning and late night potty breaks and for a game of fetch, but it is not a requirement. More importantly, Underdog Rescue does not allow any of our adopted dogs to be solely “outside” or “backyard” dogs.

The reality is that dogs do not exercise themselves when left outside. Many of our dogs were “yard dogs” before coming to us, and this is the very reason they may have developed behavior issues, such as running, barking, or digging after having been left alone. Dogs need focused physical activity, mental stimulation, and socialization. The best way to do this is by running or walking your dog on a leash. Even better, if your dog is friendly, a dog park is an excellent place to provide socialization and exercise. If you do not have a yard or your yard is not fenced, we will ask that you commit to diligently and properly exercising the dog multiple times each day.

If I have my own pets, can I adopt?

Yes! As animal lovers, the majority of our adopters already have their own pets.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that there is always a small risk of personality clashes, which is why a meet and greet is a first necessary step for any adoption. We also do have some pets that are not good fits for houses with other pets–these pets have this clearly listed on their bios. 

In addition, as many of our pet are obtained from shelter environments, we cannot guarantee the health of the dog. There is always a small risk of placing an adopted dog that may have a health issue (fleas, ticks, worms, kennel cough, etc). These problems are usually easily treatable, though. As long as your own pets have been vaccinated and are in good health, the adopted dog is not typically a threat to your household.

Do I have to crate or kennel train my dog?

While we do not require that any dog be kennel trained, we strongly encourage all adopters do so, especially in multiple animal homes, at least initially. Since we often do not know the background of our dogs coming into rescue, it is reckless to assume that new dogs in such an environment will be “fine” when left alone. 

Crate training is one of the most effective and efficient ways to housebreak and train a dog. While there are some that see kennel training as “mean” or “cruel,” we have learned from our trainers over the years that it is the best method of creating a happy, well-adjusted dog. In fact, once crate trained, the dog will see their kennel as a safe haven to lounge, sleep, or chew on their toys. 

Placing a dog in their kennel when you are gone will also give you peace of mind knowing that they are in a safe place, away from harm, and not doing any damage to your belongings or themselves. A crate should never be used as a place of punishment. This is how dogs come to associate it with a negative and undesirable place. Our volunteers have extensive experience with crate training and can direct you on how to use this method to train your dog. Please do not hesitate to ask us for help!

Can I return my adopted dog?

If you have adopted a pet from Underdog Rescue and circumstances prevent you from keeping the dog, we ask that you provide as much notice as possible (minimum two to four weeks) so that we may locate an alternative home or foster. If possible, we truly ask that you continue to “foster” the dog until a new foster or adopter can be found. This can often take several weeks to months, depending on the breed, age, and behavior traits of the dog. Not doing so risks other homeless pets getting placements.

Note also that our adoption contract states that Underdog Rescue of Arizona shall continue to co-own the pet for the duration of its life. If you are unable to continue ownership of the pet, the pet must be returned to the rescue. It cannot be re-homed by the adopter, taken to a shelter, or euthanized without our consent.