Adoption Process

Choosing To Adopt

The choice to adopt an animal and provide it with a Happy Home is one that can bring joy into the lives of both you and your new pet, but it is not one that should be rushed into.  You should ensure you have done an analysis of your home, your lifestyle, and what you are looking for in a companion animal.

• How many hours will I be leaving the animal alone for each day, and where will I keep it?
• What energy level am I looking for?  Am I looking for an animal to go running with, or one that I just want to cuddle on the couch with?
• Are allergies to specific types of animals a concern?
• What traits are most important to me in a pet?  Am I looking for something with the big personality of a Pug, or the playfulness of a Himalayan cat?
• How much time, money, and energy am I able to devote to this new pet?
• Does my building or condo allow pets?

Finding The Right Animal For You

Once you have determined what type of companion animal is the best fit for you, the best thing then is to start looking through the Saskatoon SPCA's adoptable animals.  You can do so by clicking on the appropriate category listing to the left, or by visiting the shelter in person.

While at the shelter, the Adoption Representatives will assist you with spending time socializing with any potential adoptees to find the right one for you.  It is a good idea to bring along anyone, such as significant others, spouses, or children, who will also be living with this potential new addition.

The Adoption Counsellors will be happy to go over any questions you may have about the animal.  Understandably, some animals will have a much more detailed history than others, depending on how they entered the shelter.

Ready To Adopt

If you think you've found that perfect animal for you, the next step is to fill out an Adoption Application.  These forms can vary somewhat depending on the type of animal you are looking to adopt, but in general they will go over your background with animals, the environment into which you would be taking the animal, and your expectations of what adopting him or her will entail.

A "meet and greet" is an opportunity for any dogs you may already have in your home to meet the dog you are interested in adopting in a neutral setting, to ensure they will be able to cohabitate with one another.  This is important, as meeting on neutral ground is a much better way of introducing new dogs, and identifying any issues is much easier on both animals at this point than it would be in your home.

Please note: shelter "meet and greets" are for dogs only; please do not bring cats in for "meet and greets".

If everything to this point has gone positively, and there are no issues to discuss, you might be able to take home your new addition that very day!  The Adoption Counsellors will process the adoption, help you pick out some new items from our store, and you can take your new pet to it's new Happy Home!

Some animals may require additional time at the shelter before they are ready to be adopted.  Most often this is because it is an animal awaiting their spay or neuter surgery.  In this case, the Saskatoon SPCA will accept multiple applications on the animal, and the adopter will be whichever home is deemed to be the most suitable for the specific animal and its needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you are a charity, why do you charge a fee to adopt? Shouldn't it be free?
  • The fee to adopt from the Saskatoon SPCA helps to defer the costs associated with that animal.  It is important to note that despite charging a fee to adopt, the SPCA does not make a profit through adoption.  On average, it costs the shelter approximately $180 per animal.  That cost is actually only reflective of it being in the shelter for one day, and the costs climb by about $10 per day from that point on.  As noted, the fees simply help to lessen the financial impact associated with feeding, housing, and caring for that dog, cat, or exotic and allows the shelter to continue to assist animals in need.


  • What does the adoption fee include?
  • Please see our page on Adoption Fees for a full explanation.


  • How long will an animal have to be adopted before its time is up?
  • This is a common misconception, that adoptable animals have a finite amount of time to find a new home, and then their luck is up.  The reality is that there is no time limit for any adoptable animal, as long as it remains medically and behaviourally healthy.  While some animals manage to find their new homes very quickly, there have also been cases where it has taken a period of months to find that perfect "forever home" for other animals.


  • How old do you have to be to adopt?
  • You must be 18 years of age, and be able to provide photo identification verifying your identity and age.
  • Can I adopt this animal as a gift for someone?
  • No.  With any adoption, it is important to ensure that it is the right fit for home it will be living in, and this is something that is hard to gauge unless the person/people who will be living with and caring for the animal get to interact with it first.  Also, while you may think that the person you are adopting the animal for wants that particular animal and is ready to bring it into their home, that may not be the case.  The best option is to purchase a gift certificate from the shelter for your friend/family member, which they can then use to adopt the animal of their choice.


  • Can I take the animal home on a trial basis, to see if it will work out, before I adopt?
  • Trial periods/adoptions are not offered by the Saskatoon SPCA for a variety of reasons.  Although the intentions are surely only positive, there can be negative effects on the animal.  The process of going to and from a home, whether that "home" be their original home, the SPCA shelter, or a potential adopters home, can be a stressful time for an animal, and we want to ensure we are not exposing them to extra stressors by possibly having them come to and from the shelter because of trial adoptions.  The other downside to trial adoptions is that while the animal is away from the shelter in a home where it may or may not end up staying, it is no longer viewable by other potential adopters, and could be missing out on the family that would be the perfect fit for him or her.


  • Why do I need to fill out an application to adopt?  Can't I just buy the animal from you?
  • It is important to remember that the Saskatoon SPCA adopts animals to new homes, rather than selling them.  This is an important distinction, as it means we are looking to find the best possible home for the animal rather than just giving the animal to the first person who will pay for it.
  • If I fill out an application to adopt an animal, am I guaranteed to get it?
  • The short answer is no, there is no guarantee that you will be able to adopt a specific animal.  The reason for this is that for every animal, we will take multiple applications up to the point when that animal is ready to leave the shelter.  If there are multiple applicants on a certain animal then the adopter will be whichever of the applications is deemed to be the best home for the animal.  If the applications are equally good homes, then preference will be given to whichever was placed first.


  • I live in an apartment.  I have to get a small dog, right?
  • Unless your building has a restriction in place on the size of dogs allowed, there is no reason that you shouldn't look at some of the larger dogs as well as the small.  Many large dog breeds, such as Great Danes and Greyhounds, make wonderful apartment dogs.  These breeds tend to spend most of their time curled up on the couch or bed, cuddling with you.  Additionally, many small breeds can have much higher energy levels and exercise requirements, so they may not be suitable to apartment living.

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