Adoption Process

Thanks for your interest in adopting one of our pets!  To apply for a pet, or to ask questions about a pet available for adoption, please start by looking at our available pets. 

After we receive your application, our team will reach out to answer your questions and, if it’s a good fit, we’ll move your application forward.

If you have questions about a pet listed for adoption, please fill out an application!


  • Find an animal that’s a good fit for you on our website. Make sure to read their adoption description in full to learn more about them.
  • Be ready to adopt right away. Our pets want to be in a home, not the shelter! Animals cannot be held for adoption later.
  • Once your application is approved, you must be ready to pick up the pet within 1-2 days. We offer adoption appointments Tuesday - Saturday from 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.



An application is not a hold, reservation, or guarantee on a pet adoption.

  • Visit our website and find a pet you're interested in adopting.
  • The information we have about the pet will be included on their page. For pets who came to us from a previous home, we'll have more information. For pets who were strays, or came from another shelter, their history may be limited (how they are with kids, other pets, house training, etc).
  • “Hero Needed” pets have special behavioral and/or medical needs.
  • If you have questions about a pet, please complete an application. Calls and emails will likely not be received before the animal already has several applications or is adopted.
  • If a pet is still on our website, we are still accepting applications. Click the pink “Adopt me” button to apply.
  • Your application will be saved and can be used for other pets you apply for at Dakin. So if you don’t adopt the first pet you apply for, it’s fast and easy the next time.

Small Animals Have Housing Requirements

Most housing sold in pet stores is too small for them.

  • Please carefully review our housing requirements for the pet - it’s included in the pet’s description. Measure your housing to ensure it meets the requirements.
  • A photo of your small animal housing is required when you apply. After you finish your application, email your photo and measurements to
  • If you need to purchase housing, we have some available at the shelter - inquire with your adoption application.



  • We accept several applications for each pet.
  • For pets without special needs, applications are processed in the order they are received. In most cases, the first applicant will adopt the pet.
  • For pets with special needs, we review applications to find the best match with those needs.
  • Once we have received your application, we will be in touch with more information and next steps. We appreciate your patience during the application process.
  • If the pet is a match for your home, we will contact you by phone to share any additional information we have about the pet, and answer all your questions. You must be available by phone between 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in order for us to reach you.



There are two adoption options for you to choose from -

1.  Curbside, contact-free pickup (no additional fees).

2.  Pre-adoption meets can be scheduled for a $25 fee and are only available for the specific animal you are interested in.

  • All meets and pickup appointments are scheduled for the next 1-2 days and cannot be extended.
  • If you decide to adopt the pet you meet, the adoption must take place the same day.
  • Due to COVID-19, we are not able to schedule general visits, or visits with multiple animals.
  • All fees are due at the time of adoption. We do not offer payment plans or accept checks.

Items you’ll need when picking up your adopted animal -

  • A secure carrier if adopting a cat, kitten, or small pet.
  • A collar and leash if adopting a dog/puppy.
  • These items are available for sale at Dakin. Just ask!



If your application wasn’t selected -

  • Adopting pets in high demand can sometimes be a frustrating process. Your application may have been received after an application was already approved or a special needs animal found a more ideal fit for their needs.
  • We encourage you to apply for a different pet if your first application didn't work out.

If you saw a pet on our website but they’re not longer listed, either -

  • The pet has been adopted.
  • The pet has already received multiple applications and/or has a pending adoption.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for -

  • We do not have an adoption wait list and are unable to notify you when a particular type of pet becomes available.
  • Keep checking! Our available animals change quickly. Many animals are on the website for an hour or less before receiving multiple applications.
  • See more pets who need homes in our community listings here.

We have information about other places to adopt a pet. Click the link below to learn more.


Looking for a specific breed? If you are looking for a puppy or a specific dog breed, it’s okay to work with a responsible breeder!

It will take work and time to get the dog you’re dreaming of. Working with a responsible breeder eliminates the risk of unknowingly supporting puppy mills, where dogs live in cruel and inhumane conditions. Puppies from these mills often suffer from severe medical and/or behavior issues. Follow these tips -

  • Never buy a puppy unless you personally meet the puppies’ mom.
  • Never buy a puppy that is less than 8 weeks old.
  • Never buy a puppy that needs to be shipped to you, or from a pet store. These are from puppy mills and their mom and dad will live their lives in terrible conditions. Buying those pups supports puppy mills.
  • Click here for information about why working with a responsible breeder may be right for you, and what to look for in an excellent breeder.



  • We rarely receive purebred cats, and never receive purebred kittens or puppies.
  • “Kitten season” happens in the warmer months in New England, June through October. Kittens are very rarely available other times of the year.
  • Hypoallergenic dogs are in very high demand, and rarely arrive at the shelter.
  • The most common purebred dogs we receive are pit bulls and chihuahuas. Most of our dogs are mixed breed.