Info for Dog Adopters

Going to pick up your new dog or cat?  Here's what to take with you:

  • Collar with tags with your name and phone number. A martingale collar or harness is best.  A slip leash is another good alternative for pick up but not for the long term.  Do not bring chain or choke collars, or flexi-leashes. Flexi-leashes are dangerous and are the cause of many injuries/ER visits for both humans and dogs. 

  • A crate or kennel. For the sake of your new pet and your car, dogs should be securely crated/kenneled on the drive home. They may panic on the drive, try to sit on your lap, or experience a nerves-related bout of diarrhea or upset stomach.


Understanding your new dog’s veterinary records:

  • Vaccines

    • CORE: All dogs adopted from our rescue are vaccinated at least once with the distemper combo vaccine, which protects against the most common and dangerous canine illnesses. The vaccine most often used by our veterinary partners is the DAPPv vaccine, which protects against Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1 (Hepatitis), Adenovirus Type 2 (Respiratory Disease), Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. If your dog is under 16 weeks s/he will need to be boostered 3-4 weeks after its last vaccine to be optimally protected.

    • RABIES: Only dogs over 16 weeks have been vaccinated for Rabies. If your dog was adopted under 16 weeks, please visit your veterinarian for the DAPPv booster and Rabies vaccine.

    • OTHERS: Some dogs have been vaccinated with the Bordetella vaccine, but we do not routinely vaccinate for Bordetella. As it is not considered a core vaccine, we only vaccinate those dogs who have to spend time in boarding while in our rescue. If you would like your pet to be vaccinated with the Bordetella vaccine, please contact your veterinarian.

  • Heartworm Test

    • All dogs will be tested for heartworm and tick-borne diseases prior to being adopted. You will need the record showing a negative heartworm test result to get a prescription for heartworm prevention for your dog. Your adopted dog MUST stay on heartworm prevention year-round.


Once you get your new dog home:

  • Register that microchip!  75-80% of pets that accidentally get loose are NEVER returned to their owners. Please be responsible for keeping your dog safe at all times.  If your dog does get lost, registering the microchip gives your new pet a better chance of being returned to you.

  • Do not overwhelm your new dog with strangers, children and chaos. Let your dog adjust to its new family and schedule for a few weeks before going visiting and out in public. Please keep the phone number of your coordinator handy at all times. Call us if you have an issue or your dog gets loose. MANY rescue dogs get loose because people underestimate the trauma a dog is experiencing when changing environments. Things you can do to reduce the chances of a lost dog:

    • Keep your dog on a harness with a leash attached at all times for a week after transport.

    • Be extra vigilant. Flight risk is the highest during the first few weeks in its new home.

    • Leash your new dog whenever it is outside or near the door. Or whenever you have children using the door.

    • Do not try to “test” your new dog off-leash.

    • Take your dog to formal obedience training. A dog that is well-trained is much less likely to be lost or hit by a car and very likely to become a well adjusted, well mannered dog.

    • If your dog gets loose, DON’T GIVE CHASE and don’t PANIC! Kneel down and calmly call the dog.

  • If you adopted a puppy, after some time letting her adjust to you, make sure you take her out to meet new people often. They say it’s great for a puppy to meet 100 people of all different shapes, colors, and ages by the time she is 4 months old.  

  • Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a get-to-know you visit with your new pet, and to get a heartworm prevention prescription. You will need to bring your adoption records with you to the visit. If you do not have a veterinarian in your area, let us know and we can give you a recommendation.

  • Register your pet with the County. Your pet will need to have a rabies vaccine (which requires a minimum age or 16 weeks) to be registered. Broward residents can click here for registration information:


Things to look out for:

Dogs may have diarrhea and stomach upset because of a change in diet.    Please do not feed your new dog inexpensive food (Pedigree/Purina/Ol’ Roy), it will hurt their already stressed digestive systems and will not give them the nutrients needed to recover from the recent stresses in her life.

Be concerned if: 

Diarrhea persists for more than 2 days, OR sooner if it has blood mixed in with it. Please contact the rescue if this type of symptom occurs immediately after adoption. If the dog has been in your care for a week or more, please contact your veterinarian. These dogs are wormed, however the stress of shelter/transport, foster home and now your home can suppress the immune system, meaning latent worms in their system can grow unrestrained.  OR, your dog may need a bland transitional diet. DO NOT start your dog on a bland diet with out checking for worms first. Worms and parasites can cause dehydration and CAN kill a puppy if left untreated.  A fecal float done by your vet is inexpensive and should diagnose worms or parasites in the system.

Information on heartworm preventative:


HEARTGARD/INTERCEPTOR is REQUIRED for all dogs and puppies year-round in South Florida. This requirement is due to the dogs exposure to a high number of heartworm positive dogs in the south. If you do NOT use heartworm preventative for the full year, your dog could potentially become heartworm positive. It takes 7 months from exposure to a positive test, so if you use a heartworm preventative during this amount of time after your dog’s arrival, any exposure should be negated by the preventative.   The treatment for heartworm is painful to the dog and has associated risks. Untreated heartworm disease can kill a dog.