How it works

Using Adopt a Pet to find your pet match


Describe your perfect pet.

Fill in where you're searching and some preliminary criteria of what type of pet you're seeking!


Browse adoptable pets.

We'll show you all of the adoptable pets in your area who are a match. Apply more filters to narrow down your search even further.

Don't see your ideal pet today? Save a free or Premium New Pet Alert, and we'll email you with new matches.



On every Adopt a Pet pet profile, you'll find our “Ask About Me” button or other contact information to connect directly with each of the more than 15,000 animal shelters and rescues as well as the private owners who are caring for adoptable pets. Submit an inquiry, ask questions, and express your interest in adoption!

At a glance

Some frequently asked questions

We do not have pets in our care.

Adopt a Pet does not have a giant facility full of pets! (Although that would be fun to work in.)

We don't respond to applications or inquiries.

Adopt a Pet simply relays your messages!

We are not a shelter or rescue.

Adopt a Pet is an online platform, powered by a team of people who want to be your ally on finding your pet match!

We can't speak for a shelter, rescue, or Pet Owner.

We know it's hard to sometimes not get a response, but we unfortunately can't tell you why. :(

More questions?

Shelters are brick and mortar facilities where homeless pets are cared for while they await adoption. They are public or privately owned and often use words like “humane society” or “SPCA” in their name, although they are all separate independently run organizations and not affiliated with one another. Shelters often allow same day adoptions and have staff, volunteers, and hours of operation when they are open for adopters to meet pets.

Rescues are privately operated groups that typically rely on volunteers and a network of loving foster homes to board pets while they await adoption, although they may also have a physical facility. They typically hold adoption events at pet stores, parks, and other pet-friendly locations on weekends so adopters can meet pets and inquire about the rescue's adoption process.

No. Adopt a Pet is not a shelter or rescue and we do not have pets in our care. Adopt a Pet is a search engine run by a small (but mighty!) group of pet lovers who believe life, simply put, is better with pets. We're confident you'll feel the same way when you meet your match, so we build technology to help you do just that.

Use our site to search for hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets from nearly every animal shelter and rescue across the U.S. and Canada as well as thousands of loving private owners rehoming beloved pets they can no longer keep.

Every organization's adoption process is different and you will have to inquire with the shelter or rescue, directly, for their adoption process details. Once you find a pet you're interested in on Adopt a Pet, you can reach out to the organization using the “Ask About Me” button or other contact information listed on the pet's profile.

If the pet is with a rescue, they will likely ask you to complete an adoption application, talk with a volunteer who can tell you more about the pet and, if it seems like a good match, they will arrange for a home visit before completing the adoption. Once you pay the adoption fee and your adoption is complete, they will give you vaccination and sterilization records and arrange for your new pet to come home.

If you're adopting from a shelter, you may be able to adopt the same day. If the pet is at a shelter with open hours, you can likely visit the facility to meet the pet, complete any necessary paperwork and pay the adoption fee, and then take your new best friend home to get cozy and settle in.

Adoption fees vary from organization to organization, but typically range from $25 to $125 at shelters and $100 to $300 or more at rescues. Adoption fees help to cover the cost of care for pets in the time leading up to adoption (food, supplies, veterinary care and sterilization, etc.) and rarely even come close to what the shelter or rescue actually spends. You can feel good paying your adoption fee because every adoption fee paid helps another pet in need. That's hero stuff right there!

Pets listed on Adopt a Pet for adoption by Private Owner are part of our Rehome program. Rehome is the safe, reliable, and free way for pet owners to find a great new home for a beloved pet with an adopter like you. Rehome allows those who can no longer keep their pet to post them on Adopt a Pet so our team can help to ensure they go from one loving home to another and keep space in shelters and rescues available for pets who are truly homeless.

If you have a pet you can no longer keep, our Rehome program may be able to help. Rehome is the safe, reliable, and free way for pet owners to find a great new home for a beloved pet and help to ensure they go from one loving home to another. Rehome is a free service for the pet owner and a portion of the reasonable adoption fee for these pets will go directly back to shelters and rescues. Learn more about Rehome or get started listing your pet for adoption here.

This is a great question! We know how exciting it is to adopt a pet. We also know it can be a big life change so planning ahead can ensure you're ready and prepared. Check out this collection of helpful Adoption Preparation articles from our sister site The Wildest.