Thank you for thinking adoption!
We are excited to help you find your new friend for life! All animals are spayed/neutered, given age-appropriate vaccines, microchipped, and examined by a veterinarian prior to adoption.
[ The process below is on hold until further notice ]
- Step 1: Find out what you’re looking for! Browse our Cats & Dogs to see which pets are available for adoption and where they are located.
- Step 2: Visit our animal care and adoption centers in Wilmington or Rehoboth, or at their indicated satellite location, to spend some time with the pet(s) you’re interested in adopting.
- Step 3: Discuss what you are looking for and who might be a match for you.
- Step 4: Submit an Adoption Assistance Form in person.
- Step 5: Delaware residents must purchase a dog license if interested in adopting a dog. Learn more here. Out-of-state adopters will need to purchase a license separately, if required.
- Step 6: Bring your new pet home! (Please note: A collar and leash (or carrier for small dogs) are required to bring your new dog or puppy home. An appropriate carrier is required to take your new cat or kitten home.)
The first step in the adoption process is to spend time interacting with the animal(s) that you are interested in adopting. You can view our adoptable Cats & Dogs online, or you are welcome to visit our adoption center(s) during normal visitation hours. Adoptions can be processed the same day when all requirements are met.
Staff members are available to help you find the cat or dog that will be the best match for you and your family. Out-of-state adopters are welcome, but you must come meet the animal you are interested in adopting. If you decide you would like to adopt from DHA, the next step is to fill out an Adoption Assistance Form. Delaware residents must purchase a dog license if interested in adopting a dog. Learn more here.
Note: Our animals have been finding homes quicker than ever, so if you are traveling from afar or are limited on time, you are welcome to call either location and inquire on the status of an animal you are interested in prior to visiting. We also limit transporting animals to/from our other locations. Thank you for your understanding!
Delaware State Law requires that all resident animals are up-to-date with their rabies vaccination. DHA also advocates that all resident animals are spayed or neutered.
Who will this pet be living with? Primary caretakers in the household should meet the animal you are applying for either before or at the adoption session. DHA strongly recommends that ALL members of the household meet the animal you are considering for adoption and all agree it’s the best choice.
Adding another canine to your pack? If you are adopting a dog and you have one or more resident dogs, all dogs must meet unless otherwise discussed. Proof of an up-to-date rabies vaccination will also be required at this time. Note: If you do not have your certificate on hand, we are able to call your veterinarian but are not able to track down vaccinations given at vet clinics. Please also keep in mind we are not able to hold dogs, unless a 24hr hold fee is paid, if your pet is not up-to-date or we cannot contact your veterinarian. Dog meetings typically take place at the beginning of the counseling session. If the dogs do not get along at the meeting, we will be unable to send the dog home.
Adding a canine to your feline-friendly home? If you are adopting a dog and have one or more resident cats, we will conduct a test with one of our on-site cats prior to your counseling session to see how the dog responds. If the dog does not pass this test, we will be unable to send that dog home with you.
Multi-animal homes, keep in mind: Please also note dog meets and cat tests are seen as a “snapshot” taken in a stressful environment which can never guarantee behavior in a real world setting. Proper, slow introductions are always highly recommended for the safety of all parties. Regardless of information gathered, we cannot guarantee how a pet will act in your home.
Submitting an Application
Adoption applications are required to be animal specific. You must have a particular animal in mind and must have spent time with that animal prior to submitting an application. We welcome adopters who rent or live in apartments/condos, however it is advised to review pet policies prior to adopting. You can also download the Adoption Assistance Form and fill it out in advance. Faxed or emailed applications do not guarantee you any animal and will not be processed until you come in and spend time with the animal.
Once submitted and processed, your application will be reviewed to ensure that both the animal and the adopter are the best match for each other. We will discuss the individual pet’s personality and needs, your lifestyle and home environment, and your plan to acclimate the new pet to your home. If we find the pet you’ve chosen is not the right match, we will do our best to find you a better match.
Since applications are not guaranteed to result in adoption, we encourage you to apply for an animal you are interested in even if he/she has already received one or more applications. If the animal you applied for is adopted by someone else, you will be advised.
If all above qualifications are met and all parties are in agreement of adopting the selected new pet, we can move on to completing the adoption and purchase of the dog license (if applicable)! If you cannot take the animal at the time you submit your application, please understand we have the ability to move forward with other potential adopters should they apply (unless a hold fee is paid). Payment is due at the time of adoption unless the pet is waived. We absolutely appreciate additional donations to continue our lifesaving work!
Stay in Touch!
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any remaining questions or concerns, or if you experience any post-adoption issues. We also encourage you to submit your adoption Success Stories, tag us on social media when you post photos of your DHA alumni, or attend one of our many pet-friendly events. We love to know how our alumni are doing in their new homes!
Here are a few things you should know about adopting a cat or dog from our animal shelter and adoption:
A Little FYI
- DHA is a no kill animal care and adoption center. We do not euthanize to make room for more animals. Our intake policy is based on a behavioral and health evaluation of each animal, which must be scheduled in advance for owner-surrendered pets.
- DHA has approximately 40 dogs and 100 cats available for adoption at any given time. You can view our Cats & Dogs here or visit them in person at our A Street campus in the Riverfront area of Wilmington, DE.
- We also place one or more adoptable animals at local area satellite adoption centers and have frequent off-site adoption events.
- All pets available for adoption are spayed and neutered, tested for FIV/FeLV (cats) or heartworms (dogs), given age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipped, examined by a veterinarian, socialized/exercised daily, and loved!
- Our trained staff will be happy to help you find the best pet match for your family.
- We encourage you to review our adoption process and print an adoption application online to fill out in advance of your visit.
- Adoption fees vary based on type of pet and age. Discounts are available for senior citizens, veterans and military service members, and adopters of special needs animals.
- Out-of-state adopters are welcome, but you must come meet the animal you are interested in adopting.
- We offer positive reinforcement dog training classes to help set you and your pet up for success.
- DHA’s adoption counselors are available to you by phone, free of charge, for the life of your adopted pet. We also have an extensive Adopter Resource Library online with great information for new pet owners.
- We’re proud of our adoption success stories!