Adoption info

We strive to make adopting a simple, fun, and rewarding process.

Adoption Process

Before coming to the shelter, think about your lifestyle, level of activity, work schedules, and living situations to help guide decisions on which dog or cat is right for you. We encourage bringing all family members to meet with a potential new family member. That includes any resident dogs to meet a potential new dog to see what they think of each other.

Step one

Come to our shelter to see which adorable adoptables you like.

Step two

Complete the “Getting to Know You” questionnaire at the reception desk.

Step three

Meet with an adoption counselor and your chosen cat or dog.

Step four

Fill out papers to make it official.

Step five

Head home with your new best friend the same day!

What to bring

  • A current driver’s license (you must be over 18 years of age to adopt)

  • Necessary fees for adoption (cashless preferred)

    Please note that all adoptions require the purchase of a one-month supply of flea & tick prevention at adoption.

  • Appropriate handling items for the animal that you are adopting: a carrier for a cat or other small item (available to be purchased at our shelter) or a collar and leash if you are adopting a dog (also available to be purchased at our shelter)

Adoption fees

We value every animal equally and consider them all to be priceless. Our adoption fees vary and are dependent on many factors, including age, size, breed, behavior, medical condition, and public demand. The higher adoption fees for easier to place animals give us additional resources to provide extra help to other animals in our shelter, such as those that may require additional surgery, medical treatment, or behavior training; those who are on hold due to pending animal cruelty investigations; or those who simply have a more difficult time finding the right family and take a lot longer to find their forever home.

Fees by pet

Small dogs

Over 6 months old, under 40 lbs.


Large dogs

Over 6 months old, over 40 lbs.

$225 - $350
(depending on factors like age & size)


Up to 6 months old



Over 6 months old



Up to 6 months old


Small mammals/Birds/Reptiles

$30 - $50

What's included?

  • Spaying/neutering

  • Current vaccinations

  • Deworming

  • Heartworm test (for dogs)

  • Flea/tick treatment(s)

  • Microchipping

  • A free “starter” bag of Science Diet dry food

  • Access to our 24-hour emergency line for post-adoption health or behavior concerns

  • Free access to our behavior team for follow- up behavioral training and counseling

  • A free follow-up exam at our clinic or a VCA hospital within 2 weeks of adoption, plus $250 in post-adoption services as needed

Frequently asked questions

Adoptions are on a walk-in basis with no appointment needed to make adopting as convenient as possible for our community.

Our goal is to make the adoption process as enjoyable as possible, so we focus paperwork on helping you find a great match for your household. All adoption paperwork is completed on-site.

The website adoptables listing is connected to our shelter management software and is updated every 30 minutes. Following large intakes, the updates can happen across the course of a day or a few days as animals are intaked, as they have spay/neuter surgery, etc.

We help puppies and small dogs on a regular basis. They tend to get adopted quickly, so checking the website regularly or stopping by the shelter regularly will help you find a match.

Our website includes all available photos. Particularly after a large intake, it may take the team time to catch up on photos since the animal care is the first priority. In addition, puppies, kittens and small dogs are often adopted before a photo can be taken.

We never know for sure the breed mix of our dogs since they are rescues. We do often receive dogs that appear to be a specific breed, and they will be listed in our website adoptables listing. These are typically the more commonly found breeds like Shepherds, Huskies, Hounds, Beagles, and Chihuahuas. For less common breeds, you may be best to check with a rescue specializing in the breed, such as Golden Retrievers, Doodles, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Irish Setters, Poodles, Bichons, and Schnauzers.

We never know a breed mix for sure, and which dog will impact allergies is often different from person to person. We can’t guarantee that any of our dogs are hypoallergenic. Your best bet is to stop by and assess whether a dog could be a match for your family.

We do our best to put everything we know in the website description for each pet, but for new intakes, we’re sometimes still getting to know them and sometimes it takes time after intake to update the description. Please stop by the shelter, and our team will help match you with a pet to fit your family.

Our primary goal is to place animals in forever homes. Fostering plays a critical role in helping animals that need a bridge to adoption, and we identify fostering opportunities based on a specific animal’s needs. To help in that very important lifesaving way, please start with a foster application.

We care for 17,000+ animals a year

That may seem like a big number, but every dog and cat in our care enjoys individual enrichment until adoption, such as our daily dog playgroups.

Give back to your community

Open the door to endless possibilities. Together, we will create positive change within our community, help control the homeless animal population, and improve the lives of pets and their families.

Adoption resources

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2024 Forget-Me-Not Gala

The “Forget-Me-Not” Celebration is the Brandywine Valley SPCA’s premier charitable event of the year.
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Mega® Adoption Event

Mega® is back! Join the largest adoption event in the country, this time at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware!
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