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Frequently Asked Questions

Before calling or emailing us, chances are your question has been answered here!

Adoption Process

1. Fill out an adoption application here on our website.  All fields must be completely filled out for your application to be considered.  Be sure to include the pet(s) of interest by name.  Should your dog of choice find its home before your application is processed your application will remain on file for 3 months and you can email us to add additional pets of interest.  We require an "approved" application prior to any meet and greets and we will not hold any dogs while your application is being processed. 

2. Our adoption committee will review your application and contact vet and personal references and schedule a home visit with all family members (human and fur) living within your household. The adoption coordinator will let you know of your application status and give further steps. Please be patient as this step may take a few weeks!

3. Once your application has been "approved", the adoption coordinator will work to schedule meet and greets with the dog(s) you are interested in. Please note: our adoption committee reserves the right to deny adoption if they feel the dog is not right for your household. Our #1 priority is finding our dogs safe and loving homes that best fit their needs. Not every dog is right for every home, but we will work to find a dog that fits in perfectly with you and your family. 

4. If the meet and greet is successful, we will schedule a time for paperwork to be finalized and to pay the adoption fee. At this point, you will be able to take your new pup home!

Adoption Requirements

1. You must live within a 30 mile radius of our location in Homestead, Pittsburgh.

2. You must be 25 years or older to adopt.

3. We give priority to home owners.  Though your current landlord/property owner may allow a dog, the next may not. 

4. Any pets living in the household must be fully vetted including:

  • All animals must be Spayed/neutered

  • Up to date on all shots. Health exceptions will be considered and verified with your vet.

  • Annual exams

  • Heartworm testing and continued heartworm preventative (year round) is required.

  • Flea and tick preventative (strongly recommended)

Adoption Fee

Our adoption fees range from $350 to $650. This fee includes:

  • All age-appropriate vaccines. We are unable to give rabies vaccines, so this must be done by your vet.

  • Deworming

  • Microchip

  • Spay/neuter. If the dog is not spayed/neutered at the time of adoption due to young age, we will pay the fee as long as it is performed at Penn Hills Spay and Neuter or Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter. If you wish to have the dog spayed/neutered at your own vet, you are financially responsible for that cost and are required to provide proof of spay/neuter to us prior to 6 months of age or 30 days of adoption.

  • A toy box full of essentials as you take your new pup home!

  • A $650 adoption fee includes training sessions at one of our approved facilities.

  • *adoption fee may change without notice.

Why do you only adopt within 30 miles/1 hour of Pittsburgh?

We do home checks for every adoption. Since we are a volunteer-run organization, we do not have the resources or time to travel any farther than this. We encourage you to check your local shelters and rescues for your new furry family member.

How long does the adoption process take?

We do our best to move the process along as quickly as possible, but we are all volunteers who do rescue on the side of our 9-5 jobs. Please allow 1-3 weeks, but remember that this is only an estimated time frame which varies based on the circumstances of the application.

Will you hold a dog for me while my application is processed?

We're sorry, but we cannot hold any dogs. Our goal is to find the best home as quickly as possible. By holding a dog, we keep a foster home filled. If we don't have open foster homes, we aren't able to save more lives!

What breed is the dog I saw posted on Facebook?

Something cute mixed with something even cuter. 99% of the time we do not know exactly what breed our pups are. Most of them are found abandoned or as strays, and therefore we do not know their parents. We will try our best to give you an idea of what we think they are, but we usually can't give a good guess until they're older. With that being said, it makes it hard to accurately predict how big they will get as well.

The dog I saw on Facebook is already adopted. How do I avoid this happening in the future?

The best way to be sure that you are able to meet the dogs we post is to have an approved application on file. We are not able to hold any dogs while your application is processed, and this process can take a few weeks. 

Where are you located?

We are an entirely foster based rescue. All our adoptable dogs are living in foster homes where we get to learn more about their personalities and needs. Meet and greets for approved adopters are often held at our thrift store or the foster's home. Our thrift store is located at 139 E 8th Ave, Homestead PA 15120. Come check us out! The thrift store financially supports our rescue mission and we have tons of great stuff!

Can I call the thrift store to inquire about a dog I am interested in?

Our thrift store volunteers LOVE when you bring your dogs in to see us, but they do not have any information on the adoption process or any available dogs. Please do not call the thrift store for any adoption related questions. If you are interested in any dog, fill out an online application or email with questions.

I emailed/messaged you on Facebook, why haven't I heard back?

Please remember that we are all volunteers with families and careers outside of rescue. We are often overwhelmed with the amount of emails and messages we get on a daily basis. First, check to see if your question is answered in any of the FAQs. If you have a more detailed question, email us at and we will try to respond as quickly as possible.

I need to surrender my dog. Can I bring it to the thrift store?

We are not able to take owner surrenders, especially at our thrift store. Please email with details and we can help put you in contact with the proper organization.


If you adopted your dog from us and can no longer care for it, please contact us immediately to set up arrangements to get the dog to us. Per the signed adoption contract, the dog must be returned to Animal Lifeline. 

Do I need to submit a new application for each dog I am interested in?

Nope! Your approved application remains on file. When you see a dog posted that you are interested in, let our adoption coordinators know, and they will work to get a meet and greet set up.

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