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My Dog Adoption Application Got Rejected

If your dog adoption application got rejected, I’m so sorry to hear that.

I want you to know that it’s most likely nothing you did wrong. A lot of rescue groups and shelters are very, very picky about who their “perfect” adopter might be.

They have the right to set whatever requirements they choose. But sometimes their policies are counterproductive to getting dogs into good homes.

Personally, if I want to adopt a dog or a cat from most rescue groups, I have to lie or at least leave out some information on the application form.

I will get rejected from adopting from most rescue groups because of these reasons:

1. I’m not willing to allow a “home visit.” I have nothing to hide, but I believe this policy is ridiculous except in very specific cases. For example, if the dog is known to climb fences, the rescue might want to see the adopter’s specific fencing.

2. I’m not willing to announce to my landlord I have cats. I’ve had cats for over 15 years and have rented this entire time. I’ve never told any of my landlords that I have a cat (five different locations). I pay my monthly “dog rent” for my dog. I choose not to announce I have a cat in order to avoid an additional pet fee.

3. I choose not to vaccinate my senior, indoor cat. Most rescues require current pets to be “up to date” on shots. They typically will not make an exception even though our vet is fine with me not vaccinating my 15-year-old indoor cat who has kidney disease.

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Why my dog adoption application got rejected

My dog adoption application got rejected
My dog Ace

I know not to waste my time applying to most rescue groups because I am not willing to allow the home visit that most of them require.

I strongly believe home visits are an invasion of privacy, and while I have nothing to hide I believe it’s wrong for rescues to “inspect” people’s homes.

There are still at least 3 million dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters annually, and I can’t support a group that puts up these barriers to adoption:

  • requiring a home visit
  • requiring adopters to hand over their social security numbers
  • background checks
  • requiring a specific income

How my dog adoption app was denied …

I actually found a rescue group that does not do home visits for all adopters. I got around the home visit because I was already a volunteer.

Like most adopters I truly wanted to be honest.

So, I checked “yes” when the application asked about renting and “yes” when it asked if I have a cat.

I could’ve easily lied about both and said I own my home and do not have a cat. But I chose to be honest.

Then, I waited …

I got a call from a polite volunteer who told me in order to adopt a dog I would have to provide my landlord’s permission, in writing, saying I could have cats.

I said I was not willing to do so because that would welcome my landlord to charge additional pet fees. I’d rather tell the landlord about the second dog without mentioning the cats.

She politely told me I could not adopt a dog.


I was really bummed because I truly wanted to support this rescue and had already had positive experiences volunteering at adoption events.

So I said, “OK, that’s too bad.

I even paused a bit, giving her the chance to change her mind.

I even went so far as to say, “Are you sure you don’t want to pretend you didn’t see that I have a cat?”

But she said no, policies are policies.

And I politely said, “OK, that’s too bad, and goodbye.”

I remained polite and positive to the volunteer.

… And then my dog adoption application got approved!

About a week later, I got a call from a different volunteer saying there was a misunderstanding and they didn’t really need my landlord’s permission as long as I was OK taking on that “risk.”

Hell yeah I’m willing to take on the “risk”!

Good Lord.

Basically, some of the volunteers discussed the situation and decided to make an exception to their policies, which every rescue group should be willing to do!

“We are not the landlord police,” is what the volunteer said.

Good things happen when rescues are willing to be a bit more reasonable.

More people are able to adopt, which means more volunteers, more donations and more positive word of mouth. And of course more dogs find loving homes.

What do you guys think about all this?

Do you support rescue groups with difficult policies, or do you run like hell from those groups?

Was your dog adoption application ever rejected?

If so, please know that it’s not your fault. There are always ways to adopt a dog if that is what you want to do. It just might take some time to find the right rescue group or shelter.

There are also a lot of people listing their young, adult dogs for adoption on Craigslist.

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Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training, dog exercise and feeding a healthy raw diet.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

I was approved for adoption and just thrilled to finally be getting a dog to love! I corresponded and had phone calls with the foster for over a week discussing this dog and everything I needed at home for him.The day before I was to pick it up, the foster called and completely changed her tune. I let her convince me that I wasn’t a good home after all because i didn’t have another dog to keep him company which had never come up before. I was in tears. Turns out, one of the members of the rescue decided they wanted the dog instead. I am so upset and heartbroken. It was a terrible thing to do to me. When I told them that they dismissed me and said some other dog will come along and I shouldn’t focus on this one dog. Now I’m looking a buying a dog since I never want to deal with a rescue again.

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Saturday 21st of January 2023

[…] Should you lie on your application? […]


Saturday 31st of December 2022

We were just denied an adoption. We went for the first interview and went great. Then we brought our senior black lab to meet him, it went well, the walk, the meet, and then they switched people and brought them into a meeting room. Our Case started humping the other dog. Can you believe they said no because of that?!!! No nipping or growling just humping!!! I'm so pissed right now!

BG Gray

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

I despise rescue groups because they are usually idiots, they prevent animals from getting a good home. And ask yourself how much money they take in? Seriously they should have to have a business license, report their income, and anything else a real business has. Make them be transparent, honest and stop the BS.


Friday 31st of December 2021

I was turned down because 1. they said that I was too old, they don't accept applications from people over 50. 2. 2 dogs in my care died in the last 5 years. I was a foster home for more than 2 decades in another state and would be asked to foster dogs with major issues. Only 2 of the dogs out of all of the dogs that we fostered were not able to overcome their history and I kept them. I chose not to lie when they asked if I had a dog that died within the last 5 years. I said yes, one was 17 years old and one was 8. The 8 year old had epilepsy as well as other major health problems. He was also one of the rescues that I kept. So having a problem with either dogs death was completely unreasonable. 3. I have a special needs adult daughter. 4. I was not willing to give them her social security number. I asked them if they thought that a 20 something would be a better home considering that I would be home all of time, have 30+ years experience, have a long relationship with a vet as well as a pet sitter who was a vet tech in the local animal emergency center for more than a decade, own my own home, have a fenced yard and have references from 2 rescues as well as a shelter. Her answer was Yes the 20 something would be because I might die. This is just insane!