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.

  • 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: Since we are operating by appointment only, you will need to submit an animal-specific adoption application before we can schedule you for a meet.
  • Step 3: If you are a match, we will reach out to you so we can make arrangements to meet and take home from there (typically in the same day)!
  • Step 5: Delaware residents must purchase a dog license if interested in adopting a dog. Learn more hereOut-of-state adopters will need to purchase a license separately, if required.
  • Step 6: Complete your adoption and bring your new pet home! Please note: A collar and leash are required to bring your new dog or puppy home (a harness/carrier may also be requested for specific dogs; retractable leashes are not permitted). An appropriate carrier is required to take your new cat or kitten home.


To keep our community safe and healthy, we are proceeding with adoptions by appointment only. We will function more like a foster-based rescue in that most of our activities will occur by email or phone. Meets will be limited to approved applicants only. We understand many of you are eager to adopt, however please allow us time to process your application and reach out when we are able. Note we are receiving multiple inquiries on animals and are doing our best to respond in a timely fashion. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. Stay safe and well!

Getting Started

The first step in the adoption process, at this time, is to submit an application online for the animal(s) that you are interested in adopting. You can view our adoptable Cats & Dogs online.

Delaware residents must purchase a dog license if adopting a dog. Learn more here.

Note: Our animals have been finding homes quicker than ever, so it is advised you read our Adoption Prerequisites below prior to submitting an application. Thank you for your understanding!

Adoption Prerequisites

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 if they are open but are not able to track down vaccinations given at vet clinics. Please also keep in mind we are not able to hold dogs if your pet is not up-to-date or we cannot contact your veterinarian. Dog meetings typically take place at the beginning of the adoption appointment. 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 or marked as Find a Friend. We welcome adopters who rent or live in apartments/condos, however it is advised to review pet policies prior to adopting. Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted at this time. To be considered, all applications must be submitted online.

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 help you find 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 home 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 has a noted reduced or waived fee. 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 virtual 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.
  • Though these options are currently on hold, we also typically 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, 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 submit an application as soon as you are ready to adopt to have your best chance at consideration.
  • 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.
  • Though currently on hold, we encourage positive reinforcement dog training classes to help set you and your pet up for success.
  • We have an extensive Adopter Resource Library online with great information for new pet owners.
  • We’re proud of our adoption Success Stories!

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Delaware Humane Association