Adoption Process

How to adopt a Tara’s House pet:

Adoption Area: We adopt to homes in the greater Washington, DC/Baltimore Metro Areas. This includes those counties in Maryland and Virginia as well as the Harrisburg-York, PA area. If you are uncertain whether you live in our adoption area, please send your name and address to us using our contact form or email us at for verification.

Adoption Process

1) Submit Online Adoption Application
Complete your adoption application online via our website. Be sure to fill in all required information, including your veterinarian information, landlord, etc. If you do not currently have a vet, please indicate the vet you intend to use for your new dog. When all questions are answered, click ‘submit’ to send to our Adoption Committee.

2) Initial Telephone Interview
Within 3 – 5 days after online submittal of your application a Tara’s House representative will conduct your telephone interview if our Adoption Committee decides to pursue your application.
While we try to contact every applicant – sometimes a pet that enters our adoption program is so popular that our limited volunteer resources are simply unable to contact each and every one. We apologize in advance that this has happened.

3) Reference Check
A Tara’s House representative will call all references, including your vet and landlord (if applicable), if we determine to proceed with your application after the initial review.

4) The Home Visit
If Tara’s House finds all references give positive feedback and every other requirement has been met, one of our Adoption Committee members may contact you to arrange a brief home visit. We will ask you to demonstrate a day in the life of your potential adopted dog and evaluate the environment and conditions for the dog. If you have a glowing vet reference or otherwise demonstrate in the phone interview to be very dog experienced, we may waive the home visit.

5) Adoption Approval
Our Adoption Committee convenes – usually virtually – to discuss your application as we worked through each phase of our process. From this collaborative review, our Adoption Committee will make the final decision on your application.

If approved, you will receive an ‘approval email’ from our Executive or Deputy Director. The approval email will provide you will the foster parent’s contact information or invite you to an approved adopter meet and greet, which are generally held weekly.

We do not release any information collected from references, the home visit, or any other source used to make our decision on applicants.
If you are approved to adopt a Tara’s House dog, you must sign and submit to Tara’s House our legally binding adoption contract along with that dog’s adoption fee (payable by check made to Tara’s House).

6) Multiple Applications For the Same Dog

If we have multiple applications submitted for the same dog, our adoption committee will make a decision based on the best home for the particular dog. We do not process applications or adopt our pets out on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

Tara’s House conducts a thorough adopter/dog matching process to be certain the dog you indicate on your application is the best fit for your household. If we determine your desired dog is not the best fit, we will suggest another dog or dogs that would be more appropriate.

7) Adoption Donation Fee
The adoption donation fee we ask adopters to pay is listed in the “bio” of each dog in our pet list. It helps us offset the cost of each dog’s spay/neuter, vaccines, deworming, other routine vetting, food, microchip and transport costs.

After Your Tara’s House Dog is Home

When you adopt a pet from Tara’s House you make a commitment to the veterinary care of your new family member for the rest of their lives. An appointment with your veterinarian to examine your new pet must be scheduled within the first 14-days following adoption. We do not knowingly adopt out sick pets. All of our dogs will have had at a minimum a veterinary exam, routine vaccines and testing and been spayed/neutered. The dog will have been microchipped or we will send you a chip for your vet to insert.

Because all of our pets come from shelters, many in rural areas, they often require multiple de-wormings to get rid of intestinal parasites. This is what a fecal examination detects. Tara’s House provides one or two de-wormings while the dog is in our care, but most dogs will require additional treatments to fully clear their systems. A fecal examination must be conducted during your vet’s evaluation of your new adopted pet during the 14-day post adoption exam.

We strongly recommend that you enroll in a professional, basic obedience training class. Fir certain dogs, this will be a condition of adoption. If you do not know where such classes are, please ask and we will be happy to provide some recommendations from adopters of Tara’s House dogs.

We make a LIFETIME COMMITMENT to our Tara’s House pets. We will take them back at any time – even YEARS later if for any reason the adoption is no longer working out. If for any reason you choose not to keep the pet you adopted, you must notify Tara’s House immediately. Adoption donation fees are nonrefundable.