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TAP Adoption Process & FAQ

The Animal Pad is a family that is built on the trust and reliability of our fosters. As a foster-based rescue, we can only continue to rescue our dogs with the help of volunteers who are willing to open their homes to dogs in need until they are ready for adoption! We do not have a central facility where people can visit and meet multiple dogs at one time, but we do have regular adoption events when we are safely able to host large crowds. The majority of our dogs are introduced on our Instagram and Facebook when they come into our rescue. Keep in mind that when we rescue a large amount of dogs at one time, it’s likely that you will not see some of them until they are published to our website. Once posted to our website, they are fully adoptable and, unless otherwise mentioned in their biography or in email communication, do not qualify for any trial period.


How long does it take for a dog to become available for adoption from intake?

The length of time between when the dog arrives and when he/she is put up on the website varies based on each individual dog, but is generally 4-6 weeks.

What do we mean when we say “Adoption-ready vetting”?

Adoption ready vetting means different things for dogs of different ages. For dogs under 3 months old, they will require a wellness exam and 2 rounds of the DAPP vaccine prior to being adopted. For dogs older than 3 months, a wellness exam and a round of annual vaccines must be completed (DAPP, Bordetella and Rabies). Spaying/neutering is covered under the adoption fee at one of our partnered vets, however, many dogs will be adopted with that service outstanding. In that case, it is completed post-adoption, with the help of an assigned vetting coordinator, and at no additional cost to the adopter. Oftentimes, a microchip is placed when the annual shots are administered (pre-adoption), but some vets advise waiting for the spay/neuter procedure and placing the chip while the dog is under anesthesia. This will be discussed during the adoption process as each dog and their individual needs will be different. If your dog does not have a microchip implanted upon adoption, it’s imperative they have identification tags on at all times. Dogs that have behavior or health issues may not be listed on the website for an extended period of time. Healthy, well-behaved dogs typically will be put on the website within two to four weeks of arriving at their foster home.

What is foster hold and foster priority?

Our fosters are vital to every facet of our organization and therefore, we offer them two weeks of priority to adopt their foster dog if they choose. We check in with them at the end of week 1 and week 2 to gauge their likelihood of adopting their foster dog. At the end of week two, should the foster opt out of adoption, we send them a questionnaire to provide detailed information on the needs and temperament of that dog. We will not conduct meet and greets until that questionnaire is submitted and reviewed by our team so that we can ensure we are appropriately matching applicants in the best interest of the dog. We need time to determine what type of permanent home will be most ideal for each and every dog. We do not have a wait list, nor do we accept adoption interest, for a dog prior to him/her being listed on the website. Adoption is not based on a first come first serve process and we review ALL applications prior to selecting an adoptive home.


Do I need to submit an application for every dog I am interested in?

When the dog that you are interested in has a profile posted on this website, please fill out the application thoroughly. Answer all applicable questions and tell us why your home would be the best place for this pup to go. For any given dog, we typically receive upwards of a dozen applications. Reviewing them to pick just one is a tough task, so please be sure to use as much detail as possible when completing the form. An application with one-word answers is not likely to be selected when we are faced with so much competition.
If your application is not selected for that particular dog, it will be saved on file and we can use it towards any of our other adoptable dogs should you see another that interests you. You can alert us of your interest in another dog by emailing us directly at adoptionsteam@theanimalpad.com, and you do not need to fill out another application. Due to the amount of interest we receive for each dog, we would recommend including a note in your email as to why you think you will be a good match for that particular dog.

Do you adopt out of state or outside of the San Diego area?

We do not ship or transport our dogs, and we prioritize adopters that are within 1 hour of San Diego for the convenience of our meet and greet process and for any outstanding vetting needs.

Can I adopt a dog if my current dog is unaltered?

Per TAP policy, we do not place any of our dogs into a home with unaltered dogs. As a rescue, we are committed to decreasing the overpopulation of unwanted dogs that end up homeless or euthanized each year.

In general, how long is a dog on the website prior to closing their application status?

Highly desirable dogs and younger puppies will generally have an application window that is open for 24-72 hours prior to closing their application window. When the dog’s picture has a PENDING label on it, we have closed their application window because we have a large pool of great applicants to choose from for their forever home. In other instances, like senior dogs or special needs dogs, they may remain on our site for an indefinite amount of time until a suitable match applies.


How does the meet and greet work? Is there a facility where the public can view all of the available dogs?

Because we are a fully foster based rescue, we do NOT have a central viewing facility for our dogs. Instead, all of our dogs are in the loving homes of our trusted and vetted fosters. Once your application has been submitted, please be patient. You will receive an automated email confirming it was received. If your application was selected as a potential adopter, we will notify you to begin the meet and greet process. You will be introduced to the foster to coordinate a time for a meet and greet. We require you to bring every person who lives at your residence and any current dogs for a meet and greet. We do not require cats to be present at meet and greets and can provide further insight into our process when there is a cat in a potential adopter’s home upon request. If there is no coordination for a meet and greet within 24 hours, we will move on to the next applicant, so please diligently check your email once you have applied for a dog with us. Meet and greets must be held within 5 days of sending the email to keep our adoptions process timely. If you are unable to accommodate this timeline, please let us know on your application or ASAP. In some cases where a dog has multiple great applications, we will host a parallel meet and greet with another applicant to see who the dog has a better connection with. We do reserve the right to turn away applicants at any time if it is in the dog’s best interest.

What happens once I’ve had a meet n greet with a dog that I wish to adopt?

Once a meet up is conducted, we request feedback from the foster as well as the potential adopter to determine if both parties felt it was a match. If both parties wish to move forward in the process, we will submit you for a home inspection to ensure it’s a pet-friendly, safe environment for the dog. Not all dogs have the same needs, so we don’t have a generalized “standard home” in mind. Once your home-check is approved, you will receive your adoption agreement within 24 hours. If you choose to have a co-adopter listed on your contract, both you and the co-adopter will need to access the contract separately via the link you receive in your email to sign, and then send back to us for countersignature. Once all parties have signed, the adoption fee is nonrefundable and non-transferrable. You will receive an email from a team member that your contract is complete, and you can coordinate hand off with the foster (typically within 5 days) to bring your new dog home.
If you are interested in meeting multiple dogs or shopping around, please join us at adoption events instead of moving forward with a meet and greet with a single dog. Adoption events can be found on our website calendar or advertised on our social media pages.

What does it mean if my application is not selected for a meet n greet with a dog?

If your application is not selected, please know it is not a negative reflection of you as an adopter. Most likely we had a handful of amazing options and we are forced to choose just ONE in the absolute best interest of the dog. Please stay in touch with us, as we’d love to help you find the perfect addition to your family.

Do you have adoption events? Do dogs get outright adopted at events?

We do have several monthly adoption events when allowed under current safety guidelines! The location, dates, and times of these events vary, so check the calendar on our home page for this month’s details or reach out to adoptionsteam@theanimalpad.com! We would love to see you there so you may have the opportunity to meet some of our team members and meet multiple dogs at one time. Our dogs do not get outright adopted at events. After an event, we discuss as a team and ask for the foster’s input to determine who would be best fit for the dog and determine if another meet and greet is necessary or if adoption can be finalized.


How should I proceed if I am interested in adopting a puppy?

When puppies are born in our care, they stay with their mama & litter mates until they are 8 weeks old, which is when they can receive their first round of vaccines. Around 6-7 weeks old, these litters will be posted on our “Puppies Available Now” page. You can get a head start on the application & screening process by applying through that page. Once the puppies receive their first vaccines, they are moved over to the Adopt page and are handled through the regular adoption process.

What is the adoption fee for puppies and what does it include?

The adoption fee varies per puppy, but it will always cover a wellness exam, deworming, DHPP series, Rabies vaccine, Bordetella vaccine, microchip, and spay/neuter (at 12 weeks old). We do not discount the adoption fee for adopters who prefer to use their own vet, since we are able to provide these services at our own vet for a discounted rate.

Can I adopt a puppy if I don’t live in the San Diego area?

We prioritize our local San Diego adopters because the previously mentioned vet services must be completed at our local vets.


What if I have additional questions about my dog after I’ve adopted them?

Once one of our pups has joined your family, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us. Training questions, medication questions and anything in between are encouraged. We thank you for coming to The Animal Pad to adopt your next dog. We think very highly of our dogs and once you adopt with us, consider yourself TAP family for life!

How can I get my dog’s medical records and microchip information after adoption?

This information will be included in your final steps for adoption once you have been selected as a dog’s forever home. You will receive the medical records and microchip information within two weeks after finalizing the adoption. If you do not receive the records within that time frame or have urgent questions for the vet team, please email vet@theanimalpad.com. If you do not receive the microchip information within that time frame, please email our microchip manager Elsa el.theanimalpad@gmail.com. We are fully volunteer run and have a LOT of dogs in the rescue so we appreciate your patience with our process and our team!


How long does the adoption process take?

It depends! Typically, once we select an applicant for a meet n greet, we ask that the meeting take place within 5 days. If both the foster & the applicant think it is a match, we initiate the home inspection process, which can take anywhere from 1-3 days. Once the home-check is complete, the contract will be sent to you and it is expected that you will sign & return it within 5 days. We also expect for the transfer of the dog from foster to adopter to happen within 5 days of completing the contract. Overall, the process is dependent on all parties’ availability, but can take anywhere from 2-10 days. If the dog is a foster fail, we expect the contract to be completed within 5 days and if the adopting parties do not comply with the timeline, we reserve the right to remove the dog from the home.

Can I adopt a dog for someone else?

We believe that dogs should not be given as gifts. We want to ensure every adopter has made a thorough decision to adopt, and understands the responsibility that comes along with welcoming a new family member into the home. We do not allow people to adopt dogs for someone else or submit an application for someone else. We need to be confident that our dogs are going to loving homes that are aware that this is a decision for the lifetime of the dog.

Can I do a trial period with a dog that I wish to adopt?

There are specific scenarios where we will allow a trial period with a dog before officially making them a part of your family. We call this Foster-to-Adopt, and we will have the dog go home with you as a “foster” for a 3-day period to make sure that it will be a good fit. We allow this option when the dog has special considerations, such as severe anxiety, or if there are household components that the dog has not yet been exposed to, such as cats or kids. Foster-to-Adopt is offered at our team’s discretion, and every adoption process is a case-by-case basis.

If you are otherwise interested in a trial period with a dog, we suggest you check out our Fostering program, as it is a great way to get a feel for having a dog in your home & we give our fosters 2 weeks priority to adopt their foster dog.

Why does the adoption fee differ per dog?

The main factors that determine a dog’s adoption fee are age, breed/mix, and any special needs that the dog might have.

What does the adoption fee cover?

The services covered by the adoption fee must be completed at our partnered vets in the local San Diego area. Services include a wellness check, the DHPP vaccines series, Bordetella vaccine, Rabies vaccine, microchip, and spay or neuter. TAP also covers treatment of any pre-existing conditions necessary to get them to a healthy, adoptable state. After the adoption is completed, any additional medical care is at the responsibility of the adopter.