21959252_500x333The Adoption Process

So you’d like to find your new best friend?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Our dogs are waiting to find their forever home – could you be the long-lost family they’ve been waiting for?

Here’s how the adoption process works at SOS (click on each step to expand):

All of our dogs require vetting attention 1-3 weeks after adoption, if not sooner for unexpected injury/illness. We also require that all of our adopters establish a working relationship with an accredited, force-free trainer shortly after adoption to ensure an additional level of support for the match. Please do your research and have a plan in place before applying to adopt. Your plan for accessing these services will be discussed during the adoption process and is a condition of adoption.

Dog adoptions to Massachusetts residents are very hard to facilitate due to onerous animal importation requirements mandated by the state, even on animals from neighboring states like RI. At any time, we typically have several local dogs cleared and available for adoption into Massachusetts; if an SOS dog is already available for adoption into Massachusetts, it will be explicitly noted in their online bio. Other already-LOCAL SOS dogs may be eligible for becoming cleared for adoption into Massachusetts, but requesting to meet the dog prior to adoption can further complicate the situation.

We sincerely apologize to those Massachusetts residents who wish to open their homes to a homeless animal but are faced with this barrier. Learn more about this barrier, and how you can change it, here.

Find Fido!

Review our online dog bios, mingle with our dogs at adoption events, talk with our foster homes caring for our dogs.  At SOS, we want to make the RIGHT right match, and that means helping you and Fido start a relationship – sometimes from a long distance.  Take your time, explore your options, consider your home and what kind of companion will fit in your lifestyle.

Complete Application


shutterstock_114470146Once you think you have found the right dog for you, please complete an online application.

We don’t just want to make A match, we want to make A GOOD match.  To do this, we need your help; we know our dogs, but we don’t know you yet – our application helps us get to know you!


Please include as much detail as possible on your application.  This is our first glimpse into your household and lifestyle, and what you are looking for in a canine companion.  We accept multiple applications on every dog, and if we have multiple applications on the same dog, this initial information will help us assess the match. 

Note: If you live in Massachusetts, click here to learn more about your state’s quarantine requirement.

If you are interested in more than one dog, please DO NOT submit multiple applications; rather, select your first choice when prompted and list your other choices in the “Additional Comments” field on the application.


Application Screening

iStock_000012995878SmallOur Adoptions Coordinator will review the application and if it appears to be a good match for the selected dog, a volunteer will check your landlord/HOA, vet, and personal references as relevant.

Let's Talk!

shutterstock_99335846After the above review and checks, if it looks like a good match, we will arrange for a time to talk with you over the phone.  We may also require a home visit or adopter meeting.

Sometimes this step is completed before the Meet-n-Greet with the dog, and sometimes it is completed after.

Meet Your Match


Everyone’s time is valuable and shared expectations are important – Step 6 (see below) typically happens before private meetings are confirmed.

After the phone interview, if the dog is local and it looks like a good match, we will put you in touch with the current caregiver to learn more and set up a meet-n-greet. We also have regular adoption events when most of our local dogs can be met; see HERE.

If the dog is not local, s/he will not be available for a meet-n-greet prior to adoption but we will put you in touch with the current caregiver to learn more. We understand that there is something reassuring about touching and interacting with the animal prior to making a commitment, but we believe that speaking with an experienced caretaker who has been caring for the dog day-in and day-out for weeks/months can sometimes be just as telling about the match, if not more so.

A meet-n-greet is a very small snapshot of the dog – the caretaker has a good idea about how the dog is in general, over long periods of time in many different situations.

Your entire household, including any canines or caregivers, must be present for the meet-n-greet. We want to be sure that everyone gets along!
SOS does not allow adoptions as gifts or surprises. The entire household must meet the dog and be in agreement to bringing the dog into the home.

Finalize the Adoption

shutterstock_165314099 If the match is a good one, you will be informed via email of the adoption decision, and provided with instructions for how to pay the adoption donation and complete our adoption contract/addendum(s).

You can review samples of these contracts here.

Pick Up Your New Best Friend

a15ed179dd01e0f0387ed3caa86c332eOnce the adoption is finalized, congratulations! We will contact you to make arrangements to pick up your new family member!   Please note that additional vetting, quarantine and/or waiting periods may be required depending upon your state of residence. We’ll let you know if that’s the case, but please don’t hesitate to ask!

IMPORTANT: If you live in Massachusetts, click HERE to learn more about the quarantine requirement for all dogs adopted into Massachusetts. Click HERE to help make a change!

About Adoption Donations

SOS Adoption Donations help offset the expenses we routinely incur, such as transport, vetting (spay/neuter, worming, vaccinations, other special needs), boarding, and behavioral modification. Click on the icon above for a breakdown of our Adoption Donations, and to read more about Adoption Donations for SOS.


If you’d like to pay an adoption donation, please click the button below.


We know you are excited to welcome a new companion into your life, but please be patient as we process your application, as we are all volunteers with jobs and families of our own. If you submitted your application more than seven days ago and have not heard from us yet, please contact us at [email protected].

Thank you for wanting to adopt a rescue dog into your heart and home!

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