Adoption FAQs

  1. The adoption process starts with a commitment and a promise. You are making a commitment to provide a home and proper care for your new pet and a promise of love and friendship for a lifetime. This is why we encourage you to make your decision with careful consideration of your lifestyle, time, resources and expectations.
  2. Call to check the status of a pet(s) you are interested and to ask questions before making a long drive.
  3. Staff may encourage you to place a “deposit” on a dog until you can come in. More info on that below! To place a deposit please call the shelter at 218-632-5938. If we don’t answer please leave a voicemail.
  4. Spend time with the pet! Once you chose a pet to adopt, the Shelter staff will spend some time observing the interactions between you and the animal to help ensure a good match. You will be asked to complete an Adoption Questionnaire and will be interviewed by a Shelter staff member. During this part of the process, the Shelter ensures you and the pet you have chosen will be good partners. Your lifestyle is an important consideration when choosing the right pet! An active, large breed dog is not a good choice for someone who lives in an apartment and is not home much. Upon successful completion of the interview, you are ready to sign the Adoption Contract and pay your adoption fee. Then it’s time to head for home and the beginning of a wonderful life together!
  5. If you have other dogs over the age of 6 months, we are happy to conduct a meet and greet for your dog and a WCHS adoptable dog at our shelter, if requested (must request in advance).
  6. Complete the adoption application, buttons are at the top of this page. (We recommend doing this ahead of time.)
  7. Once approved, we will go over vaccination history and discuss best practices to assist your pet’s transition to a new home.
  8. Sign legal contract acknowledging your responsibilities to your new pet. In some cases, if your pet is not spayed/neutered prior to the adoption, we can allow you to take the animal home while you await their spay/neuter surgery. In this case, you will need to schedule and then bring your pet to the spay/neuter appointment.

Bring the Whole Family!

Your new companion is going to become a part of your family, so it’s important that everyone meet before you make the commitment to adopt. All family members need to be comfortable with the animal and vice versa. You may find that Cocker Spaniel to be loving and playful with adults, but uncomfortable with your four-year-old. Or, you may have been eyeing a toy poodle, but the children have really hit it off with the lab-pointer mix in the next kennel. Introducing everyone beforehand will help ensure a good match for the entire family.

Transportation and Lodging

Helping your new canine or feline make a smooth transition from the Shelter to your house is another important step. On adoption day, be sure you bring a collar and leash (for dogs) and a vehicle that will safely and comfortably transport your companion. A pet carrier is recommended for safety, and dogs should NEVER be transported in the open bed of a pickup truck without one. At home, ensure there is adequate space allotted for your new pet to eat, sleep and play. A fenced yard for larger breed dogs is always a must, and a place your pet can go to for quiet time (like a dog house, kennel or just part of the house with their pet bed) is important. And, if there areas you don’t want Fido or Fluffy roaming into (like your formal dining room with the expensive Persian rug), be sure they are easily shut off and everyone in the family is aware of the ‘no pet’ zone.

Deposits: Animals are adopted quickly from Wadena County Humane Society, so we advise you to call us if you find an animal that you are interested in to place a deposit on them. To place a deposit on a pet, call us at 218-632-5938 and have your Visa, Discover, American Express, or Mastercard ready. NOTE: Wadena County Humane Society CANNOT hold an animal without a $50 deposit. Anyone with an appointment is welcome to visit with our animals, but we cannot guarantee that animal’s availability unless a deposit is placed either by phone or in person.

Deposits will hold animals for 48 hours to give you a chance to come and meet them. There is a $50 non-refundable fee associated with this service, although if you choose to adopt the pet upon meeting it, this $50 will go towards the pet’s adoption fee.

2nd Deposit: If an animal you are interested in already has a deposit, you may place a second deposit on the animal. In the case that the first deposit falls through, you will be next in line to have the opportunity to adopt this pet and will have 48 hours to from the time we notify you to come and adopt your pet. A $50 non-refundable fee still applies, even if the person with the first deposit decides to adopt the pet.

If your adoption application is not approved, we will fully refund the $50 deposit.

*We aim to do same-day adoptions providing a manager is present or has provided verbal approval to WCHS staff. That stated, at staff discretion, we may ask for an additional 24-48 hour wait to further review your application and whether the animal may be a good fit with your family. If you are driving a distance we encourage you to submit an application online before visiting (accessible at the bottom of this page).

Please contact us with any questions or to make an appointment.


Tuesday, Friday & Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm  

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: Closed

*Hours may vary on holidays.

  1. You must be at least 18 years of age to adopt and provide legal proof upon request.
  2. You must spend time with the pet you are interested in before applying, although you can call to place a hold.
  3. You must complete the necessary paperwork and pay the adoption fee. If an animal is not yet fixed, a refundable spay/neuter deposit of $100 is required for individuals residing within 100 miles. For adopters further than this, we require a $200 refundable deposit to ensure the pet is fixed. After proof of surgery is provided the deposit will be fully refunded as long as you have the animal spayed or neutered within the timeframe agreed upon with WCHS and provide proof of surgery within two weeks of surgery. You may use card, cash, or a check.

Pet owner Responsibilities

Adopting your pet is just the beginning of your life together. Remember, you have made a commitment and promise to provide a loving home and a life for your new friend. As a pet owner, you are responsible for:

  • Licensing your pet according to your local laws and having him/her wear an ID tag at all times showing your name, address and phone number.
  • Making sure your pet is indoors, safe in a fenced yard or otherwise properly supervised!
  • Keeping your dog or cat on a leash or under your control whenever you take him/her outside for exercise. This will protect your pet from injuries caused by cars, other animals, or theft.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet will help him/her be healthier and will reduce the problem of dog/cat overpopulation.
  • Giving your pet a nutritious diet, including constant access to clean water.
  • Providing your pet with plenty of exercise. Be sure your pet receives proper vet care including necessary vaccinations and treatments (rabies, flea & tick control, heartworm preventative, etc.).
  • Training your pet patiently and giving him/her lots of praise and attention.
  • Grooming your pet often to keep his/her coat and skin soft and shiny.
  • Having realistic expectations about your pet. Nobody is perfect. Make a commitment to work through behavior and health problems that arise. Don’t just get rid of your pet!

  1. Senior Animals (animals 7+ years):
    Dogs $150 plus tax
    Cats $50 plus tax

  2. Adult Dogs:
    Fixed – $250 +tax
    Unfixed – $200 +tax

  3. Puppies (12 months or less): $300 +tax

  4. Cats: $85 +tax

  5. Kittens (under 12 months): $120 +tax

*Exclusions may apply.

  1. We ensure all pets are up to date on core vaccinations according to age. Dogs receive DAPP, and Bordatella. Cats receive the FVRCP/Ch vaccine. Owners are responsible for rabies vaccinations.
  2. Our pets are microchipped.
  3. Pets are dewormed.
  4. We keep dogs current on heartworm prevention and flea control. Cats are treated if fleas or ear mites are present on intake.
  5. We provide adopters a 5lb bag of NutriSource dog food or 1.5lb bag of cat food to help you transition your adopted pet into your home.

That depends. For puppies and kittens the adoption fee is 100% NON-REFUNDABLE and is considered a donation to our organization – even if you change your mind within 24 hours. In the case of adult pets, we allow a 2-week trial period in which the adoption fee is refundable less $50 for processing and microchip transferring fees.

No, we never allow pet exchanges as pets are not disposable. We advocate forever responsibility – forever adoptions.

  1. Please call us at 218-632-5938 to discuss the issues you are facing before returning. Often there are solutions to the problems that you are facing and we may be able to help.

  2. We accept returns ALWAYS so long as adoption papers are returned. However,  adoption fees are non-refundable for puppies and kittens and only refundable within the first two weeks for adult pets.

  3. WE ARE “NO-KILL” AND REQUIRE ADOPTERS RE-HOMING AN ADOPTED PET TO FIRST CONTACT US. That way, we can help make a better match or if you have already found another home assist in the transfer of the microchip to the new owner.

Share updates with us by joining the “WCHS Adopters!” private group on Facebook. Fosters and staff love to see the shelter pets happy and loved in a home!