FAQs

Adoption

  1. I am interested in adopting an animal I have seen on your website. I have some questions I would like answered. Also, can I arrange a time to meet the animal? Where is your facility located, and what are your hours of operation?
    Some of the animals you see on the website are housed in other locations.  Many of the animals are in foster home (on in the case of cats, at our feline holding facility and/or the Lynchburg PetSmart store).Your first step in determining if this is the right pet to add to your family would be to submit an on-line adoption application. We realize that this might seem a bit backwards, since you are not sure if you definitely want to adopt this pet. We don’t ask this to be difficult, but since we are staffed by volunteers who are doing this on top of their daily responsibilities, we have consolidated our process to be the least time-consuming as possible. If you submit an on-line adoption application for the animal in which you are interested, our adoption counselors can begin the process of determining whether this pet is a good match for your family, answering your questions, checking your references, etc. (There is a place at the bottom of the adoption application where you can ask any questions you may have about this animal.) If you are approved for adoption, we would then arrange for you to meet the animal.If you wish to submit an on-line adoption application, please click on ADOPT in the blue  navigation bar. Carefully read the Rules/Regulations as well as the Risks/Responsibilities in adopting an animal from us.

  2. I applied to adopt an animal the day before yesterday.   I have also called and left messages on your telephone answering machine.  Why is your response so slow?
    We are staffed by volunteers many of whom are holding down full-time jobs in addition to the many, many hours they devote to helping the homeless animals in our area. Our telephone is located in an un-staffed office — although the telephone messages are checked every day, for the quickest response, please e-mail us. We realize that this process can be frustratingly slow for potential adopters… but we have found that the more care we give to finding the very best match for a dog or cat, the better the long-term results for everyone involved.  Each adoption application is carefully screened — if the adopter and animal seem like a good match, then the references are called… if an animal is in foster care, we may also ask for the input of the foster family since they best know the animal’s behavior and temperament.  This process can take several days… sometimes up to a week depending on how many open applications there are and also on the schedules of our adoption counselors and foster families.Be assured that every applicant will receive a response one way or the other as soon as can be managed!

  3. How do you determine whether a pet is a good match for our family?
    We try to find the best placement for the pet, to make the transition easier from being homeless to being loved. We pride ourselves on being matchmakers — finding the dog that matches up to the family. Not all animals have special needs but sometimes they do — our goal is to prevent problems rather than deal with them after they occur. We have had very few animals come back to us once we initiated the policy of matchmaking. This is healthier for both the pets and families. We try to match up people and their lifestyles with the breeds, personalities and adult size of our animals. We want to help your family find the perfect match! We would be happy to make recommendations based on the temperament and personality of the animals.

  4. How much do one of your dogs or cats cost?
    Please see our adoption fees page

  5. I live outside your local area. Can I adopt a puppy (or kitten) from you?
    Since every dog or cat must be spay/neutered before adoption, we can certainly adopt to you. Keep in mind that if you are approved to adopt you must be willing to drive here to central Virginia to pick up your new pet (we do not ship animals). Sometime we can make arrangements to transport animals closer for some adopters, depending on where they live.

  6. My child is begging me for a puppy or kitten. The pet will belong to our child who possesses and capability to love and care for a pet.  Should I give in?
    Although I can understand how persistent children can be when wanting a pet, we expect that adults will ultimately be responsible for the care of the animals we adopt.  We will not adopt a dog or cat to a family who plans to have a child under the age of 18 as the primary caretaker. A parent or guardian must sign the contract and be heavily involved in day-to-day care. Ideally, we wish for our animals to be adopted as “family” pets, not for the children only.  Let’s face it, mom and dad — you will probably wind up providing most (or all) of the care for the family pet as well as all of the financial responsibility for this animal (see Risks and Responsibilities). If you are not 100 percent committed to this idea, that will be bad news for your pet.

  7. Can you explain to me why you won’t adopt some dogs to families with young children?
    We have a policy of not adopting small breed dogs or puppies to families with children under five or six years of age (depending on the dog/puppy).  We adopted this general rule because it is difficult for some young children to understand that a small dog or puppy can be easily injured if mishandled or dropped. We are pretty careful about puppy placement because puppies bite and nibble at the children’s toes and fingers or jump up on or chase the child, and then the puppies come back to us.Of course, we realize that this is a generalization. Some younger children might be excellent with a small dog… and some older children should probably never have a pet. But we find that most children over five or six can at the very least understand rules about handling a pet… and have the strength and coordination necessary to safely hold a small dog or squirmy puppy. Since we can’t know each individual child, we need to use a general rule. We often recommend fostered adult dogs or puppies over three months old to folks with young children because they have been temperament tested, housetrained, and we know how they will act around children.

  8. Why are you choosing to adopt the pet I want to someone else? I am quite upset as I believe I am a qualified applicant who would provide her years of love and companionship.
    I know it’s disappointing for folks when we choose to adopt an animal they want to another family.  Screening adoption applications is a complicated process and one which requires hours of contemplation, phone calls and assessments.  For animals that are in high demand, we can have ten to twenty adoption applications. It’s not that we don’t think you would make a good home for one of our animals — it’s just that one of the other applications made a better match or we had an application in the final stages of approval for that animal.  For instance, if someone offers a home for an active dog and have a large fenced in yard… or they live in our local area, and we know we can see that dog anytime we want as a follow-up… with all other things being equal that is the home we will choose. It is important for people to realize that by instituting a match-making policy, very few pets are returned to us because of behavior problems or other issues. That is better for the pets AND for the people. Don’t give up! Unless we have marked your application as ‘denied’, you can reapply for another animal you see on our website.  Please do give a homeless animal a second chance at life — they make the best pets!

  9. Why are you choosing to adopt the pet I want to someone located in your local area? You shouldn’t be linked to a national internet adoption website if you will only let locals adopt from you.
    We do adopt to folks who live in other parts of Virginia and other states as well if the match is right and those folks are willing to comply with our rules and regulations and drive here to pick the animal up. That is why we list our animals on national internet websites — we want to give as many dogs and cats the best possible chance at finding a forever home. A great example of an out-of-area adoption is  Belle, an abused dog I fostered recently… a young couple from Pennsylvania saw her on the website and fell in love with her.  They submitted an on-line application, and after an exchange of e-mails and telephone calls, they drove here to Virginia to meet her. Everyone felt like it was a wonderful match, and now Belle is getting all the love she deserves in her new home. Before this couple applied to adopt Belle, we had one local person apply to adopt her (this family found out that their daughter had allergies and decided they wished to search for a non-shedding dog)… and we also had another family from Virginia apply for her (this family was denied because of the dicipline methods they planned to use to train a dog). Believe me, when we have four or five (or twelve!) good applicants for one animal, even our local citizens are turned down.

  10. Do you require all the dogs you have available for adoption be indoor pets? My house is very small, and I was wondering what your rules are for an outside dog? Do you have to tie them up? I would hate to have an animal that is always tied up since I feel that it’s cruel for the animal.
    We do require that the animals we offer for adoption become indoor companion pets.  Dogs are pack animals and are very social creatures. They do best when they are made part of the family.  Dogs want to be true companions.  They want to be in the house — in the room where their master or boy is watching TV, playing video games, or napping. They crave the companionship of people. Dogs relegated to the backyard or garage often become the lost souls of the family — played with occasionally, but more often forgotten.  This is not what we want for the dogs we adopt through our Humane Society. I agree with you, it is cruel to keep a dog tied up or isolated in a yard pen. While I am sure that you would take excellent care of your pets, we are looking for homes where our dogs be kept as indoor companion animals and will be integrated as part of the family unit. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule — we do receive adult dogs and cats do not care for the inside if they have always been out. 

  11. I want to adopt an animal as a gift to my mother.  Is that allowed?
    We will not adopt animals as gifts. The primary caretaker must be involved in the adoption process. Instead of buying a puppy or kitten as a gift, you could give a loved one a “gift certificate” from our humane society, or a snapshot of a shelter pet, or even a stuffed animal representing a shelter pet — all which can be used as “passports” to adopt an animal later. You could also wrap up some useful pet supplies — a dog bowl, a leash, a scratching post, or a bag of food and give those as “passports” as well.  You could offer to pay the adoption fee for the animal of your mother’s choosing. At the time of adoption, your mother must be the person to submit the adoption application and sign the adoption contract.

  12. I don’t understand how the state of our un-neutered cat impacts providing a good, loving home for a neutered dog. I would appreciate an explanation of the logic behind this point.
    Neutering all of your pets and keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations tells us something about how committed and responsible a potential adopter will be with a new pet.  Spaying/neutering every pet in your household demonstrates that you are knowledgeable and concerned about the health issues which often occur from un-neutered animals (such as testicular cancer, mammary cancer, etc.) not to mention pet overpopulation. Timely spay/neutering is an essential part of preventative care for current pets, as well as for those who will be adopted. Should you have any questions or want further information regarding spay/neutering and how it can prevent health problems later in life, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  13. My current pet is not spay or neutered because she is a pure-bred dog with papers, and I may want to breed her.  I hear it will settle her down if she has a litter, is that true?
    Your pet must be quite lovely. Are you aware that spaying her would settle her down even better than breeding her? Did you realize that for every heat cycle your female dog goes through her chances increase for having mammary cancer or uterine cancer? Should you breed your pet, you might always wonder what will happen to your puppies. Many people don’t bother with any vet care, vaccinations, rabies shots, or heartworm testing. Many end up chaining their dogs outside because the puppies play-bite or jump on the kids. In one week at our animal care facility, we took in five purebred dogs. One was a four-month old puppy who had been abandoned in a mobile home. That puppy’s leg had been broken and was healing. The vet felt it was due to “trauma”–a swift kick out of the way, perhaps? Another one was a three-year-old who had never been to a vet for anything. Another one chased horses and was not wanted by the family any longer. We always suggest that people considering breeding their pet should to come and spend 40 hours helping us at our pound — then if they still feel they want to breed, they have earned the right. When you see how “regular” people in the area care for their pets (or perhaps we should say fail to care for their pets), I think you might reconsider the breeding angle. In our small, rural county in central Virginia, the animal control facility takes in about 3,000 abandoned, stray or unwanted dogs and cats a year… every year. Add to that that every county and city in our area has an animal control facility and the same numbers coming in (making that at least 15,000 unwanted animals a year in our local area alone). It’s something most people don’t like to think about. If you saw even just a tiny portion of what we see every day, I am positive your viewpoint on the great importance of spay/neutering family pets would more closely match ours. Every dog or cat added to the animal population takes away one more place for a homeless animal… there are only a limited number of homes for animals. We will not adopt to homes where more animals are being generated. Our views are based on our daily exposure to the horrors of the pet overpopulation that exist in our country. I am sure you would never deliberately put an animal in harms’ way… but this is what actually happens to one animal somewhere when another one is added to the population.  Food for thought.

Surrendering Animals

  1. I have a found a stray dog or cat. (Or I can no longer keep my pet.) I hear that your group does very well at finding homes for animals. I considered calling Animal Control or bringing this animal to the Animal Control facility, but I fear that if this animal is not adopted then they may be put to sleep. I don’t want that to happen. Can you take him and find him a great home?
    The animals we are working to save come from the Campbell County Animal Control Facility (i.e. pound) among other places. This facility receives 3,000 unwanted, abandoned and stray dogs and cats a year (as does every other animal control facility in each of the surrounding counties as well as the city of Lynchburg). Through some very hard work on our part, we manage to save a lot of them. The Animal Control facility will only accept animals from Campbell County citizens. Regarding the stray animal you have found (or the pet you wish to surrender), calling the Animal Control officers or bringing the animal to the Animal Control facility in the area you live is the best option open to you (unless you are willing to hold him for the hold period, notify the correct Animal Control and find him a good home on your own — and if you do that, it is possible that his new owners won’t have him fixed, and more  puppies or kittens will be produced adding to our pet overpopulation problem). If you go the Animal Control route, at least the animal will have the possibility that a Humane Society such as ours will be able to help him find a home, and also make sure that he is fixed so he never adds to the problem. We know we haven’t given you an easy solution to your stray — I hope you know that is because there is no easy solution for anyone who really cares about the welfare of animals given the current horrific problem of pet overpopulation.

  2. I saw an animal on your website recently. She is so cute, but I can’t adopt another animal at this time. I have been checking the website regularly to see if she has found a good home. I notice she is no longer listed so I am praying that she found one. Can you tell me?
    Feel free to call or email us with questions. Given that we only euthanize for reasons of health (typically about 1% a year) or temperment (less than 1 animal a year average), it is quite probable that the animal you saw is now enjoying life with a loving family.

Misc.

  1. Can you tell me more about crate training for my new dog?
    Crate training is a most valuable tool not only for housetraining, but for helping the dog learn good manners. Dogs who are insecure often feel more secure once a crate is given to them, because it becomes their den or “safe place” in which to retreat while still being a part of the household. Rather than having four bathroom walls closing in on him while you are away, the dog can comfortably be installed in a safe place and still see what is going on around him. Instead of being cruel and breaking their spirit, it helps them become more confident. Many times crate training means the difference between a dog returning to us, and a dog making a happy adjustment to his new life.

  2. Can you tell me more about positive reinforcement (“clicker”) training for my new dog?
    The Humane Society promotes clicker training and positive reinforcement methods of training which do not include jerking or pushing dogs into place, or using choker or “training” collars for dogs. Training has come a long way in the past 20 or 30 years, and we have discovered the benefits to rescue dogs of using lure (treat) training to promote a positive bond between rescue dogs and their new forever families. We ask our adopters to research these methods and give them a try over the old traditional methods of training.

    Karen Pryor is just one of the many well-known trainers who employ this method.  Her website is a wonderful resourse with great information about positive reinforcement (‘clicker’) training:   http://www.clickertraining.com/home/

    Here in our local area, PetSmart offers clicker training/positive reinforcement classes, and Happy Tails Dog Training are dog behaviorists as well as clicker trainers.