If you are looking to adopt a rescue dog or cat and are unsure about the ins and outs, we are here to help! Adopting in New England can be a wonderful and rewarding experience – and gratefully, it is a fantastic experience for thousands of people each year who open their homes and hearts to a rescue animal in need – but it also can be tough to navigate and overwhelming. Whether you are looking at an animal that is already in our area or one that will be transported once you choose to adopt them, we are happy to answer questions or help in any way.
A great place to start is the current list of licensed rescues in New Hampshire. The state of NH does not publish this information but it is available upon request from the Division of Animal Industry (603-271-2404).
Things to know about adopting a rescue in New Hampshire:
- No shelter in NH euthanizes for space, which is incredible and something to be very, very proud of. Both shelters and rescues in NH – many but not all – import animals from other states where there is still a massive overpopulation of animals in need of homes.
- The downside? It makes it hard to adopt an animal in NH for some. This is a good “problem” to have because it means we are not euthanizing hundreds of animals each month in our shelters. ADOPTERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE DESERVE A LOT OF CREDIT. It takes some work and patience to find the right combination of timing and animal and rarely is as simple as going to a local shelter on a Saturday morning and having your choice of puppies or kittens.
- Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-A-Pet can be confusing. It may appear that a dog or cat is in New Hampshire already, but once you contact the group you learn that the animal in which you are interested is still somewhere down south and only is available to transport to NH once you commit to adopting the animal. This seems crazy to many people, but keep in mind that literally thousands of dogs and cats are adopted this way, successfully, each and every year. There are groups that work very hard to make this type of direct-to-adopter adoption successful, offer support post-adoption should any issues arise, and truly have the best fit and a wonderful adoption experience for both human and animal in mind.
- Some groups have dogs locally before they post them. Others require applications and even deposits prior to transporting the animals. Yet others have no real, local presence whatsoever – only a former adopter or someone willing to get a “local” Petfinder account so the southern rescue can post their animals in New Hampshire (these are the groups doing direct-to-adopter transporting of animals). It’s important to understand what you are dealing with as an adopter.
- Adopting a dog or cat that you have not yet met (meeting the transport truck in another state)? Ask these questions! (This is not a definitive list, just a few things that some folks would not realize should be asked prior to committing to adopt.) Please research,
- Is it possible to see video of the dog?
- Is it possible to Skype/Zoom/Facetime with the foster who has the dog in the south?
- Will the dog come with a health certificate and all of their records?
- If the dog is over six months, ask about heartworm preventative and testing. We recommend asking for a heartworm test within one week of transport (preferably done at the time the exam for their transport health certificate is done). The dog should be on heartworm preventative while in the rescue’s care in the south/throughout their time in foster care or in the shelter.
- Are the dogs dewormed prior to transport and receive a negative fecal prior to transport?
- What happens if the dog does not work out in my home?
- Is it possible to talk to the cat’s foster in the south directly?
- Does the cat come with a valid health certificate?
- Is the cat tested (PCR) for ringworm prior to transport?
- Is the cat tested for FIV/Felv prior to transport?
- What happens if the cat doesn’t work out in my home?
- Many rescues, let alone adopters, are unaware of the laws in New Hampshire regarding licensing, adoption, etc.
- To have foster homes in NH, a rescue must be licensed as a pet vendor in NH. Out-of-state rescues or shelters cannot send dogs to be fostered in NH if they are not licensed here. (Unfortunately, getting licensed here can be tricky, requiring someone local to be willing to be the rescue or shelter’s licensed location for quarantine.) This includes having an approved and inspected quarantine facility as all animals entering the state of NH with the intention of being adopted out must be quarantined for 48 hours. See the link to the licensed pet vendor/rescue list above or call the Division of Animal Industry (603-271-2404) for an up-to-the-minute list.
- Dogs can not be seen or adopted from foster homes. All meetings and adoptions must take place at a licensed facility.
- All adopted dogs must have their medical records with them and a valid health certificate from a NH vet. The health certificate must have been issued within 14 days of adoption.