Thank you for thinking adoption!
We are excited to announce our updated adoption process as of May 24th, 2021.
- STEP 1: FIND YOUR FRIEND FOR LIFE! Our animals listings are updated in real time on our Available Cats & Available Dogs pages. Animals have photos, pet profiles, current location and statuses updated regularly.
- STEP 2: SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE ONLINE! Adoption Questionnaires submitted online are reviewed within 48hrs or immediately upon submission in-person.
- STEP 3: COME IN TO VISIT! No appointment needed adoptions can occur on open visitation days Tuesday through Sunday. While we recommend submitting your questionnaire online before visiting on these designated days, we will have questionnaires available to submit in-person.
- STEP 4: MEET YOUR MATCH! Our Friend Makers will then introduce you to possible matches where you can spend time with them and ask any questions you have.
- STEP 5: TAKE YOUR NEW PET HOME! Our Client Services staff will then go over necessary information and paperwork to complete your adoption!
Timeline for Adoption
Adoption Questionnaires submitted online are reviewed within 48hrs or immediately upon submission in-person. Our goal is to ensure that both the animal and the adopter are the best match for each other. Our adoption process is on a first come, best match basis and we are not able to hold animals. Adding an animal’s name to your questionnaire does not guarantee you to meet/adopt any specific animal. If the animal you are looking to meet has been adopted before your visit, we will work with you to find another match. If a match is made, you will take your new friend for life home that day!
If you cannot take the animal home at the time of meeting, please understand we have the ability to move forward with other potential adopters. Payment is due at the time of adoption and we absolutely appreciate additional donations to continue our lifesaving work!
- 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.
When You Arrive
When you arrive at our Wilmington location (701 A Street) or Rehoboth location (18675 Coastal Highway, Suite 8) our front entrance will be OPEN! From there, one of our staff members will greet you and ask if you have submitted your online questionnaire already. If you have, you will be escorted to our meet and greet areas to spend time with possible matches. If you have not, we will ask you to do so before being able to meet possible adoption candidates.
Thinking of adopting? Here are some helpful reminders!
You must be at least 18-years-old to adopt. 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.
Where will this pet be living? We welcome adopters who rent or live in apartments/condos, however it is advised to review pet policies prior to adopting. Please be sure to consider size, breed, and energy level.
Who will this pet be living with? Primary caretakers in the household should meet the animal you are applying for at the time of your 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 adoption 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 that dog meets and cat tests are seen as “snapshots” 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. We are big advocates for the use of baby gates and cat trees. Regardless of information gathered, we cannot guarantee how a pet will act in your home.
Introducing your new pet to your home: Please note that we HIGHLY encourage you to prepare your home by pet-proofing and obtaining supplies prior to adopting. For safety reasons for you, your new pet, and others, we also strongly urge new adopters to go directly home after adopting, as well as not having visitors over right away.
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!
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!