Our application process in detail

Adopt don't shop

The first six steps are identical to adopt, foster, or volunteer.

1. Application

All potential adopters, fosters or volunteers are required to submit an online application, which provides our organization with background information about the applicants. Only applicants with a solid history of vetting and responsible pet ownership will be considered. Adults living with family and students of legal age (at least 18) must have a co-applicant.

If you are looking for a fast turnaround, our rescue may not be the right fit for you since our adoption process is involved.


Please save the acknowledgement email that you will receive upon submission of your online application as it contains important instructions about the next steps.

2. Veterinary check

After applying online, applicants should contact their vet to authorize the release of:

(i) at least two (2) years of full medical records for each pet they have owned in the past five (5) years. These records must be emailed to the address specified in the application acknowledgement email; and

(ii) any additional information we may require since in rare instances, we may also call the vet.

3. Personal references

Applicants must provide three (3) personal references who know them well, only one of whom may be a family member. They must instruct their references to use the online reference form available on our website.

4. Preliminary screening

At this stage, we review applications for completeness and assess whether they pass the specific selection criteria of LAHPSTR. For instance, if an applicant rents their home, we verify that they have secured their landlord’s permission to have a dog. Additional information may be requested as needed. Incomplete applications will not be processed. We cannot assume responsibility for tracking down missing, incomplete or inaccurate information.

5. Home Visit

The Home Visit is an integral part of our application process. An informal interview allows us to gather additional information about the applicant; their lifestyle, schedule, home environment, and experience with dogs; and what they are looking for in a rescue dog. In addition, our volunteer doing the in-home visit performs a walk-through of the applicant’s home and yard, and discusses any concerns. All household members must be present for the Home Visit.

The geographical location of an applicant is not important as we are able to conduct Home Visits in most cases.

6. Approval

The Adoption Committee reviews all received information and makes a decision which is then communicated to the applicant. Our organization reserves the right to reject an application for any reason at any time at its sole discretion.

7. Dog Matching

After approval, we strive to match an available dog with an adopter. An adoptable dog is one that has undergone our thorough vetting process and deemed to be ready for placement. Approval should not be construed to mean that an adopter can select any dog. If an adopter is not selected to adopt a dog they are interested in, it simply means that there is no mutual fit. We may be able to match the approved applicant with another, more compatible dog. We base dog-matching decisions on our knowledge of our dogs and rescue experience to ensure the best fit.

8. Formal adoption

Formal adoption requires completion of the legally-binding adoption agreement and payment of the adoption donation, We then schedule a time and place for the adopter to pick up the dog, or if transport is required for out-of-state adopters, make necessary arrangements when possible. An executed copy of the adoption contract and all available veterinary paperwork are sent to the adopter after adoption is finalized.

9. Post-Adoption

We are available as a resource for any follow-up issues or concerns the adoptive family might have. We recommend basic obedience training, as well as a visit to the adopter’s veterinarian to introduce their new dog within a month of adopting the new dog,

While most of our dogs learn basic commands and are house-broken in our care, we make no representation that they will be “turn-key” for the adopter’s home, lifestyle and schedule. By adopting, the adopter makes a commitment to love and care for the dog for the rest of the dog’s life, integrate the dog within the dog’s new family and teach the dog acceptable behaviors for the dog’s new household and schedule.

Dogs typically require a period of decompression ranging from weeks to months after joining a new home. If, after a reasonable time frame and effort, an adopter feels that the adoption is not working out, our organization’s adoption contract requires that the dog be returned to us. Adoption donations are non-refundable.

Kenzo Trotter and Kane Turner, two rescue dogs with Lend A Helping Paw Shih Tzu Rescue, on the couch