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Adoption Process
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Dog Application

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Cat Application

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We Take Great Care to Match Pets to Families... Forever!
Our Process Ensures the Very Best for Pets and Owners

Are you interested in adopting a dog? Please read our adoption process below, then click the link for the at the bottom of this page to complete an adoption application!

Retrievers and Friends adopts to families residing in San Diego and Orange Counties, and the Inland Empire areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties**.   We only cover certain areas of San Bernardino County.  Our home checkers are located in Temecula.  Please do not apply if you are in San Bernardino county, but more than 1 hour from Temecula. 

Because we follow-up on our adoptions for the life of the dog and take the dog back if the adoption is not successful, it is important to keep our dogs in our geographic area. For the safety and welfare of our dogs, we do not make exceptions, and we do not ship dogs outside of the state. If you do not live in our geographic area but are interested in adopting, please visit to find a rescue near you.

Retrievers & Friends is an all-volunteer organization. We do not have an "office", nor do we have paid staff. Most of our volunteers have full-time jobs Monday through Friday, and spend their evenings and weekends rescuing dogs from the animal shelters, grooming and caring for the dogs, meeting with prospective families and completing adoptions. Our dogs stay in foster homes until adoption, and are shown by appointment only to approved families.

Unlike animal shelters, we do not receive county funding or other forms of income. We rely strictly on adoption fees and donations to cover the costs associated with rescuing dogs from the shelters (we pay them an adoption fee), veterinary expenses, dog food and supplies, telephone and gas bills, and all other expenses incurred while providing for the dogs in our care.

The first step in adopting a dog is to complete an adoption application. Be specific in your answers to give us the best possible picture of your home and family. A volunteer will review your application and get back to you within 1-2 days. Due to the high volume of adoption applications, we use email to communicate initially during the screening process. Please remember to check your email for our response, and if you do not receive a reply to your application within 48 hours, feel free to send us an email.

Sometimes we may have concerns regarding an application, and we reserve the right to deny an application if we feel there is a reason the home would not be appropriate for one of our dogs. If we will not be proceeding with your application, we will do our best to communicate this in a timely fashion.

We receive many applications online each day, and we usually have several persons interested in a particular dog. We closely review each application, looking at the family's lifestyle, how much time they spend at home, yard size, current pets in the household, their previous pet history and their knowledge of dogs. We compare this to what we feel would be the best environment for the dog, considering his or her training and exercise needs, any medical needs, how the dog relates to children and other animals, etc. After considering each application, we choose the one that seems to be the best match for the dog. If your application is not chosen for the dog you are initially interested in, we suggest you visit our web site often (many prospective adoptive families visit daily!), and email us if there is a different dog you think would be a good fit for your family.

A home check is required for approval of an application and will be done prior to (or at the time of) adoption. The volunteer visiting your home will check your fence and gates for security, and will make sure that there aren't any safety hazards or other concerns within the home. In addition, we want to makes sure that any current pets in the home are also well cared for.

If the volunteer completing the home check is also the foster parent of the dog you are interested in, it is often possible to complete the adoption at the time of the home visit. Sometimes, however, a different volunteer will complete the home check and we will arrange a meeting time with the foster family on a different day.

All dogs will be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and vaccinations (DHLPP) will be given if not already current. Retrievers and Friends uses the Avid Microchip for permanent identification of dogs. The microchip will be implanted prior to adoption. Some dogs have additional health needs, which will be addressed by our veterinarian as necessary. X-rays of hips are not recommended as routine veterinary care, and are not done unless there is a suspected injury or orthopedic condition such as hip dysplasia.

Dogs in our program come from private families or animal shelters. We rarely have purebred puppies for adoption. Occasionally families will surrender young dogs (9 months and older) to our program, and these dogs generally have many families who submit applications for their adoption. Families who are flexible in the sex or gender of a dog or who will consider a dog in the 5 - 7 year range will not wait as long to adopt as those who will only consider a 1 - 2 year old female.

Our policy is to not place our dogs in homes where there are children under 6 years of age.

Click here to complete the dog adoption application!

Click here to complete the cat adoption application!

Thank you for considering a rescued dog for your family. To be considered for a dog, here are the steps:

1) Read the adoption process.
2) Complete an online adoption application.
3) If selected for a dog, make your family available for a home inspection.

Open your heart and your loving home. Apply to adopt, now! It will change your life, forever.

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