Adopt a Pet
Choosing a Pet | Adoption
Process | Surrender Process
| Foster Care Program | Visit
our Dogs | Visit our Cats |
Adopting a pet is a joyous experience for everyone
involved! When you open your home to a Shelter animal,
you open yourself to an enriched life with a loving
companion. Choosing the right pet for you is an important
step in ensuring a successful adoption - it should never
be an impulse decision. Too many pets are returned to
shelters or suffer a poor quality of life because the
owner neglected to do a little homework up front. Please
visit Choosing a Pet to learn
how to make the best decision for you and your lifestyle.
Then visit our adoptable pets and see which one of these
lovable cats or dogs is perfect for you!
Please view and use the forms
at the end of this page.
Choosing a Pet
What pet is right for you and your lifestyle? What breed(s)?
Cat or dog? What age, personality and size?
If you are considering adopting a pet into your life,
especially if this will be your first pet, we encourage
you to take the New
Pet Quiz. This quiz helps you determine whether
you have the time and money required to care for a pet
and to choose the right kind of pet for your lifestyle.
Choosing the Right
Dog | Choosing the Right Cat
Choosing the Right Dog or Puppy
Consider Your Lifestyle
When choosing a dog to become part of your life,
it is important to take a good look at your own lifestyle.
Do you live alone? Do you spend much time at home? Do
you live in an apartment or single family home? Do you
have a fenced yard? Are you an active person? Do you
have children? These are all questions you need to consider
when choosing a dog to adopt. The impulse to adopt the
adorable puppy is a strong one, but will you have the
time to train, socialize and exercise the puppy? Do
you have the financial resources to pay for all of the
puppy care - exams, shots, neutering or spaying? Will
your home situation accommodate this puppy when s/he
grows up? A dog's size, exercise requirements, friendliness,
assertiveness, and compatibility with children are also
important factors in making the right decision.
Learn About Different Breeds and Mixes
So how do you know what kind of dog is right for you?
Getting educated with the right information is the key.
Learn about various breeds (the American
Kennel Club is a great reference), their characteristics
and personality traits, visit with animals at the Shelter,
and speak with a veterinarian or the Shelter staff for
Dogs are either purebreds or mixed breeds. Purebreds
were born of parents who were the same breed, while
mixed breeds were born of parents who were different
breeds. Because purebred dogs and their members are
from the same breed, they typically conform to a 'breed
standard'. So, if you adopt a purebred puppy, you can
generally determine how big s/he will get and what general
physical and behavioral characteristics s/he will have.
Mixed breed dogs are simply combinations of two or
more different breeds. So, if you can identify the breeds
of your puppy, you have a good chance of predicting
size, appearance and temperament.
Mixed breeds offer several other advantages. First,
you benefit from the combined traits of two or more
breeds. You also get a dog that is likely to be free
of genetic defects common to certain purebred dogs.
When you adopt a mixed breed, you adopt a totally unique
Visit with Shelter Animals
This is important! While you are at the Shelter, keep
in mind that it is a stressful place for any animal.
Many times, a dog's true personality won't show until
s/he is away from other animals and the Shelter environment.
So, if you walk past a kennel with a dog that is not
looking for your attention, don't dismiss him/her just
yet. This loving canine may just be scared or lonely.
When visiting with Shelter dogs, you need to ask many
questions. How old is the dog? Puppies and young dogs
usually require much more training and supervision than
more mature dogs. If you lack the time or patience to
housetrain your pup or to correct problems like chewing
and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice.
How shy or assertive is the dog? Although an active,
energetic dog might catch your eye, a more quiet or
reserved dog might be easier to live with and care for.
How good is the animal with children? Learning about
a dog's past from the Shelter staff can be helpful,
but past information is not always available. In general,
an active dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive
to handling and noise, is a dog who will probably do
well in a home with children.
Choose a Pal for Life
Every dog in the Shelter can provide you with endless
love and companionship, and every dog deserves a lifelong,
loving home. But some dogs are better for you and your
lifestyle than others. That is why you should take the
time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you are
choosing your new best friend, who will be with you
for many years. Select the right dog and you and your
new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.
Choosing the Right Cat
Cats make wonderful pets. They tend to be less
demanding and can easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles
and living spaces. A cat's personality, age, and appearance,
as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home,
are all things you should keep in mind when making your
As you walk past the cat condos at the Shelter, you
will probably notice that some cats meow for special
attention, while others simply lie back and gaze at
you with some apprehension. Regardless of individual
personality, look for a cat who is playful, active,
alert, and comfortable while being held and stroked.
Keep in mind that some cats who are usually quite social
may be frightened or passive while at the Shelter. These
are the cats that may need extra love and attention
to come out of their shell, but in the end make loving
You need to decide which cat might be best for you
and your lifestyle. To help make your decision while
at the Shelter, ask staff members for assistance when
you wish to spend some time with individual cats.
Kitten or Cat?
Kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while
adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens
need more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens
for a few months, so the age of the cat you adopt should
really depend on the level of maturity you are looking
for. Young children usually do not have the maturity
to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat who is at least
four months old is probably the best choice for homes
with kids under six years old.
Shorthaired or Long?
Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur,
and the choice between the two is primarily a matter
of what you feel you can comfortably manage. The main
thing to keep in mind is that longhaired cats require
frequent grooming to avoid matting. Cats with short
coats also benefit from brushing, though they do not
need it as frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing
and will look forward to this as part of a daily routine
Room for One More
If you already own a cat or dog, you're probably wondering
how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good
news is that cats generally get along with other cats
and many dogs can get along with cats. Introducing a
new cat to a home with other pets, however, will require
some time and patience.
Please read 'Introducing Your
New Cat to Your Other Pets' for information and tips
on successful pet introductions.
Regardless of the cat you choose, you will want
to start being a responsible pet guardian from the very
beginning. The easiest way to do that is to keep your
cat indoors with you. If you don't let your new friend
outside, s/he will never miss it, and will have a much
better chance of still being around to enjoy a long
and healthy life with you and your family.
Adopt a Cat for Life
Finally, remember that you are making a commitment to
love and care for your new pet for his or her lifetime-which
could mean 10, 15, even 20 years. So choose your new
best friend carefully and be a responsible pet guardian.
In no time at all, you will know how wonderful sharing
your home with a cat can be.
What to Bring | Adoption
Fees | Pet Owner Responsibilities
| Estimated Costs
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.
If you haven't already, please visit our section on
Choosing the Right Pet for more tips and information on selecting the right companion for you.
Once you choose 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 complete the Adoption Contract and pay
your adoption fee. Then it's time to head for home and
the beginning of a wonderful life together!
What to Bring
At the Headwaters Animal Shelter, we have created a
checklist to help make your adoption day a smooth and
Adoption Day Checklist (coming
Being prepared is the key to avoiding any surprises
when you bring your new companion home from the Shelter.
Some tips and things to consider:
Bring the Whole Family!
Your new companion is going to become 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 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 a 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.
Adoption fees help to cover many of the Shelter's pet expenses including medical care and vaccinations, neutering or spaying, micro-chipping, food and shelter.
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 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*. This will help him/her
be healthier and will reduce the problem of dog/cat
- Giving your pet a nutritious diet, including constant
access to clean water.
- Providing your pet with plenty of exercise. Being
sure your pet receives proper vet care including the
necessary vaccinations and treatments (rabies, flea
& tick control, heartworm preventive, etc.).
- Training your pet patiently and giving him or 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!
*All pets at the Headwaters Animal Shelter are neutered
or spayed prior to adoption
Have you considered the cost of pet ownership? Listed
below are things you should consider before adopting
a pet. Please read carefully and decide if you are ready
for the commitment and responsibility of owning and
properly caring for a pet. Having and loving a pet is
not a right, but a privilege! The following items reflect
the average costs of properly caring for a 40-50 lb.
dog. Larger dogs cost a bit more, small dogs cost a
bit less. This list is for information purposes only
- $20 per month ($240 per year) for a premium food
such as Science Diet, Iams, or Pro Plan (costs based
on 40 lb. bags of food, 20 lbs. consumed per month)
- $10 per month ($120 per year) for various dog treats
- $100 - $300 for annual vaccinations and heartworm
checks and medications as preventative
- $40 - $65 for a one-year supply of heartworm prevention
- $70+ for flea/tick prevention
- $20+ for each grooming session
- $14 - $50 per night for boarding the pet, or having
a pet sitter come in during your vacations
- $50 - $150 for toys and miscellaneous items (this
can go much higher!)
- $50 - $150 for a crate
- Obedience training (highly recommended!) - $120
for an 8-week program.
- Fencing - actual or electronic can cost hundreds
- Older dogs often have more medical expenses (just
Should you find yourself in a situation where you can
no longer care for your pet, please contact the Shelter
at (218) 237-7100 for information and to make arrangements.
Our ability to take in pets is based on space - in other
words, if all of our kennels are full, we cannot accept
new pets until others are adopted. The Shelter does
maintain a waiting list for the intake of new pets when
space becomes available.
If you do surrender your pet to the Shelter, you will
be required to complete a Surrender Agreement. You are
asked to provide as much information about the pet as
possible, including temperament, medical records, status
of vaccinations, etc.
Surrender fees are:
- Kitten $15
- Adult Cat $30
- Litter of Kittens $15 for the first kitten and
$5 for each additional
- Puppy $30
- Adult Dog $60
- Litter of Puppies $30 for the first puppy and $15
for each additional
Is Surrender the Right Answer for You and Your Pet?
Before you make any decisions, we urge you to consider
why you are thinking of surrendering your pet. Pets
are not novelty items and are not disposable. The bonds
we have with our companions are life long and should
not be broken! We understand some circumstances are
unavoidable - you may have found yourself in a financial
situation where you are unable to afford care for your
pet or the pet is that of a recently deceased relative
and you live in an apartment that does not allow pets.
Sometimes, an owner is simply frustrated with a pet's
behavior - he jumps on people, she chews up my shoes,
etc. These are all issues that can be resolved with
proper training that you probably didn't give in the
first place - don't just give up on your friend! If
you feel that training is a good option, please contact
a local, certified trainer for information and a schedule
of training classes available.
Local Obedience Trainers
Take the Lead Dog Training
Please contact Megan directly for scheduling.
Foster Care Program
The Headwaters Animal Shelter Foster Care Program primarily
provides care for those animals who are sick and recovering
from an illness or injury or are too young to be adopted
(i.e. mothers and litters who are still nursing). Due
to their conditions, these animals would not fair well
in a shelter environment. Once rehabilitated and/or
mature enough, these animals are ready for adoption
to a loving home!
Foster Care also enables us to care for more animals
than our facility can accommodate, and allows us to
measure a pet's personality and behavior in a true home
environment. Fostering is not limited to sick or very
young pets, although they tend to have the greatest
need. We seek foster homes for healthy, mature pets
who would benefit from additional socialization or have
other special needs, too!
The Foster Care Program IS NOT an opportunity for people
to 'try pets out' and see if they would like to adopt
them. Foster families put the needs of the animal first
and open their homes to give the pet the best chance
for a happy and loving future.
Become a Foster Parent
Quite candidly, fostering is rewarding, but it is also
demanding and can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
Some people with the best of intentions are not suitable
candidates for fostering. You must be willing to open
your hearts, homes and wallets to a pet in need, care
for and nurture that pet, then return the pet to the
Shelter for adoption. The right person has the appropriate
home environment, financial resources, understanding
of proper pet care and puts the needs of the animal
first and foremost.
If you have what it takes, and are interested in becoming
a Foster Parent, please print and complete the Foster
Family Application, and mail or bring it to the Shelter.
You will be contacted and an interview scheduled. We
encourage you to take advantage of the interview time
- it is an excellent forum for you to ask all of your
questions about fostering a Shelter animal.
Visit Our Dogs
At the Headwaters Animal Shelter, we are pleased to
invite you to visit with our canine residents! A wonderful
group of eager-to-please pooches, your special friend
may be just a click away.
All puppies and dogs at the Shelter are neutered or
spayed, vaccinated for Rabies and DHLPP, tested for
heartworm, maintained on heartworm preventatives, treated
for internal and/or external parasites when necessary,
and inoculated against kennel cough.
Click here to view our Dogs.
Visit Our Cats
At the Headwaters Animal Shelter, we have both kittens
and adult cats ready for adoption into a loving home.
Included here is a peek into the various feline residents
who may be your purrrfect companion!
All kittens and cats are neutered or spayed, vaccinated,
treated for internal and/or external parasites when
necessary, and tested for feline leukemia. Those kittens
and/or cats diagnosed with other conditions receive
the appropriate medical treatment to ensure their health.
Click here to view our Cats.
Click here to access the following forms, as PDFs.