Adoption Process



Anyone interested in adopting one of our rescue dogs can submit an adoption application to OTTAWA DOG RESCUE.
Note: only those being considered will be contacted by our adoption team.


The application asks quite a few questions, and even requires some personal and veterinary references. People tend to wonder about the amount of detail on the application, so we thought we should explain why we are so particular.

The dogs who have come into our care have either been previously abandoned, abused, neglected or bounce around from homes and shelters. We ask very detailed information because we are trying to find the absolute best home for the dogs and the best matched dogs for our adoptive homes. We want to set both the families and the dogs up for success and we can usually tell from the information provided on the form whether the dog you are interested in would be a good fit for your lifestyle and your expectations. We do not adopt out on a first come first serve basis. Once references have been approved, we always conduct a home visit to be able to visualize where the dog will be living.


The adoption process in a nut shell:

  • An application is received for a specific dog.
  • The Adoption Team reviews each application as it comes in to ensure that it appears to be a suitable home.
  • Once an applicant is identified as a match, they will be notified and should they remain interested, will be put in contact with the foster for a discussion about the dog.
  • If all goes well and the foster feels comfortable with the potential applicant, a meet and greet can be arranged between the dog and the applicants and any existing pets – the whole family should be present.
  • If all goes well and the potential adopters wish to proceed with the adoption, the Adoption Team will contact the vet and personal references and arrange for a home visit at the applicant’s home. In some cases, a virtual home visit will occur.
  • An ODR volunteer will meet with the entire family at their home and discuss expectations, safety measures, what to expect in a rescue dog, and what they are looking for in a dog. The volunteer will also verify that they believe the family will commit to a life-long relationship with the dog and can provide a safe and loving home.
  • All members of the adopting family household should be present at the home inspection so an informed decision can be reached by the entire household on the acceptance or rejection of a dog. This would preclude the dog from being unnecessarily uprooted due to a household member’s lack of input.
  • There is a potential 24 hour wait period before finalizing the adoption. This allows the adopters time to gather thoughts and supplies and make a permanent, responsible decision. This may be waived under special circumstances, or at the discretion of the Management Team.
  • At the final adoption meeting, the foster (or other individual handling the adoption) will review the Adoption Agreement with the new owner. Payment may be made via e-mail money transfer or eTapestry or Paypal to our Rescue account and must be obtained from the adopter at the time of adoption. One copy of the Adoption Agreement should be kept by the adopter. The other copy remains with Ottawa Dog Rescue.
  • The dog’s medical records and papers (if available) will be provided shortly after the time of adoption or mailed (or e-mailed)..
  • New adopters must have their dog examined by their vet within two weeks of adoption. In the event of a pre-existing condition, Ottawa Dog Rescue will cover medical treatment with our vet up to a certain amount. Any issues not detected in the first two weeks are deemed to be new and Ottawa Dog Rescue holds no liability.
  • If diagnosed within the first two weeks following adoption, we will take the dog back into care should the adopter not wish to deal with a long-term medical issue.
  • We encourage the new owner to contact the Adoption Team with questions or problems.
  • A member of our team will contact the new owner after a few days, and after three months to see how things are progressing.
  • Ottawa Dog Rescue does not disclose any information from previous owners or families relinquishing dogs, nor do we give the relinquishing families the name, address or phone number of the adopting family.


Applicants can be declined for, but not limited to, any unfavourable answer for the following reasons:

  • Applicant indicates a plan to breed the dog.
  • Applicant refuses the spay/neuter contract on a younger dog that cannot be altered during their time in Rescue.
  • Applicant misrepresents information on the application.
  • Applicant indicates the dog will be allowed to run free.
  • Applicant’s veterinarian indicates a history of poor care for other animals.
  • Applicant has a history of relinquishing other pets.
  • Applicant will only accept an age or dog personality the Adoption Director feels is unsuited to them (i.e. elderly person who wants a very young dog).
  • Applicant owns other dogs that are not spayed/neutered.
  • Applicant owns other dogs that are aggressive.
  • Applicant rents a home or apartment and landlord cannot be contacted by Ottawa Dog Rescue for their approval.
  • Applicant has no fence when it appears the dog would be at risk due to lack of fencing (invisible fence is not an adequate safety measure).
  • Applicant’s home is unkempt and potentially unsafe with clutter or items that can be considered harmful to a dog’s health.
  • Applicant states that the dog will live outside.


If, through the follow-up process or telephone call from the owner, we are made aware that a dog previously adopted should come back into the program, we will work with the family to find a solution.

We cannot provide refunds of the adoption fee, as in most cases the funds have been used for the veterinary care of another rescue dog.

IF a refund is provided, please allow up to 10 business days for processing of any sort.

When possible, Ottawa Dog Rescue will provide names of qualified animal behaviorists, training facilities or counselors if the owner wishes to attempt to rectify the behavior.

If Ottawa Dog Rescue learns that an owner has violated the terms and conditions of the Adoption Agreement, the Board of Directors will review the circumstances and make a decision regarding action to be taken in recovering the dog in question.


  • Puppies  (1-12 months):  $750.00*
  • Young adult (13 months – 3 years): $650.00
  • Adult (3+ years – 8 years): $550.00
  • Seniors (8+ years): $400.00

*All puppies will be adopted on a spay/neuter, no breeding contract. Ottawa Dog Rescue will coordinate with the adopters once the dog reaches approximately six months of age, to schedule the procedure. Failure to comply with this contractually binding rule will result in the repossession of the adopted dog by ODR without refund of the adoption fee to the adopter.

DISCLAIMER: A $50 transportation fee may be applied at time of adoption for any dogs travelling from outside of Ontario & Quebec and for dogs of specific breeds/behaviours.