Adoption Procedures

Adoption Procedures:

You can view our currently adoptable pets on our website, under the services tab. If you are interested in visiting with any of our available pets, you can schedule a visitation appointment through the links on our website. Visitation appointments are scheduled in one hour time blocks. Same day appointments may be made ONLY IF AN APPOINTMENT IS AVAILABLE. If a same day appointment is made, you may visit with animals, but may not adopt on that day. Once we receive your appointment request, we will contact you to confirm the upcoming appointment, and ask any questions we may have about your interest in adopting.

At your appointment, GRR staff will guide you through the animal visitation process and set you up with animal introductions for pets that would fit well in your home. If you would like to adopt one of the pets you meet, GRR staff will guide you through the rest of the application process, which includes completing an adoption application. GRR staff will then review your adoption application and approve or deny it. If your application is approved, you are eligible to bring home the pet you applied for the same day. Read below for detailed information about our adoption and foster-to-adopt processes.

  • All adoption and foster-to-adopt processes require you to provide us with a copy of a valid state issued photo ID, with current information.
  • If the pet you choose to adopt is already spayed or neutered, you will pay their adoption fee and sign an adoption contract to complete the adoption that same day.
  • If the pet you choose to adopt has not already been spayed or neutered, you will sign a foster contract, and take the animal home to foster until their scheduled spay/neuter surgery. You will return the pet the day before their scheduled spay/neuter appointment, and will officially adopt and pay for the animal after their spay/neuter surgery.
  • If the pet you choose to adopt has not already been spayed or neutered, you may instead choose to sign a spay/neuter agreement, pay the adoption fee up front with a $50 deposit, and have the pet altered at your own vet, at your own cost. We require you to let as know as soon as possible once the animal has a spay/neuter surgery scheduled, and to provide us proof of the surgery once it has occurred. Once we receive proof of surgery and a signed adoption contract, we will issue back your $50 deposit, and the adoption will be complete. You must provide us proof of the spay/neuter surgery within 30 days of the surgery date, or your $50 deposit will be converted to a donation to our shelter.
  • If you live more than 30 miles from our shelter, you must sign a spay/neuter agreement and pay the adoption fee in full, plus the $50 deposit. At this point, you have the choice to either get the animal fixed at your own vet at your own cost, or bring the animal back to the shelter for their surgery, which GRR would then cover. Once the animal has been altered, the deposit is refunded to you, after you provide GRR proof from your vet that the pet has been spayed/neutered, or GRR has altered them.
  • All adopted dogs must leave the shelter on a leash and collar. All adopted cats must leave the shelter in a carrier. We sell all of these items at our shelter store.

Holding Animals:

Great River Rescue does not, under any circumstances, hold animals waiting to be adopted. Any potential adopter who waits beyond the date of their approved application to pick-up the animal does so at his/her own risk. We will not guarantee that the animal will still be available for adoption if an adopter waits. Any animal you have scheduled a visit for may be adopted before your scheduled appointment. Requesting an appointment for an animal does NOT hold them for you in any way.


Trial Period:

We understand that not all adoptions will work out. Therefore, we allow all adopters a period of time in which they may bring the animal back to Great River Rescue and receive a voucher good for another adoption within a year. Adopters are expected to remain in contact with Great River Rescue if they are concerned about their new animal adoption. Adopters who suddenly attempt to return an animal without communicating with us previously may be turned away.


Fostering Animals:

  • Foster-to-Adopt: Great River Rescue maintains a 100% spay/neuter policy. Animals are spayed/neutered when appropriate, as certified by our partner veterinarians. Sometimes animals can not get into the vet clinic due to scheduling conflicts for several weeks or longer. Therefore, if someone wishes to adopt an animal that has not been spayed/neutered yet, they are required to foster the animal until it is spayed/neutered. After the surgery, the foster parent has the first choice to officially adopt the animal. Animals in our foster-to-adopt program belong to Great River Rescue and are placed in the care of a foster parent. Animals that have not been spayed/neutered yet may not go to foster homes greater than 30 miles from our Rescue unless the adopter agrees to spay/neuter the pet at their own vet and at their own expense.
    Out of Area Guidelines
    View the Spay/Neuter Agreement | Spay Neuter Agreement
  • Fostering animals with medical or behavior issues – Sometimes animals become sick or injured and would recover better in a home setting.  Other times animals have behavior issues and might benefit from being in a home with someone who can work directly with the animal on those issues.  Still other times the Humane Society has pregnant or nursing animals that need to be in a home where they can be attended to as necessary.  For all of these occasions Great River Rescue may seek foster parents to temporarily provide care for animals.  These parents do not generally intend to adopt the animal(s), but may still choose to do so after the temporary foster period is over.
  • Pet Safe Housing Program – Great River Rescue has teamed up with Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter to provide temporary foster care for their clients.  More information can be found on the Pet Safe Housing Page. 
    Pet Safe Housing Program

Policy Documents:

Adoption Policy | Adoption Policy

Foster Policy | Foster Policy

General Policies | General Policies

Euthanasia Policy | Euthanasia Policy





Great River Rescue