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Adoption Process and FAQs

All adoption applicants should read and familiarize themselves with the adoption process prior to submitting an application.

Adopting a dog from Second Chance Habitat is a commitment for life. While we will always take a dog back into our care if an adoption should fail, know that we will expect you to do everything in your power to address the problem first, including seeking professional training. We will provide you with support and resources to be successful, but your commitment is crucial to success.

In order to provide transparency and clarity into the process, Second Chance Habitat has established the following procedures and policies in relation to the Adoption Process.


Step 1: Read this document in full. It answers most questions we receive regarding the rescue and the adoption process. If you still have questions, please message us on Facebook (


Step 2: Complete the Adoption Application. You may request an application via our Facebook page or by emailing Applications work best from a computer rather than a phone. Completed applications should be emailed to


Step 3: Your application will be reviewed by an Adoption Coordinator.

  • If any information on the application is incomplete, it may not be reviewed. (Ex: if you don't give us your landlord or vet's phone number, we won't be able to review it and will mark it incomplete)

  • Please be sure to contact your vet before you submit your application and give them permission for us to speak with them.

  • If, based on your application, you are a potential adoption candidate, applicable reference checks to include personal references and a vet reference check will be completed.


Step 4: If you are considered to be a potential adoption candidate based on the application review and vet reference check, you will be connected with the dog’s foster or other rescue personnel to schedule a meeting with the dog. If you have other pets, we encourage them to be present.  All members of the family living in the home should meet the dog before the dog enters your home as a foster to adopt or adoption.


Step 5: A representative from Second Chance Habitat will reach out to you to schedule a Home Visit. This is a very important step in the adoption process. The representative is there to make sure your home environment and lifestyle is a good fit for the pet you are interested in. Our staff want the best for the dogs we adopt as well as the people adopting from us. In some instances, the visit will be by Facetime or Zoom, as determined by the rescue. 


Step 6:  Your Home Visit report will be reviewed by the rescue. If you are determined to be an Approved Adopter based on your Home Visit, an Adoption Coordinator will contact you to discuss the status of any specific dog/puppy you are interested in adopting. They will assist in coordinating pick up or delivery of the dog.  You will be required to sign a Foster to Adopt OR Adoption Agreement.

 Step 7: As the end of the two week foster to adopt period approaches, an Adoption Coordinator will reach out to see if you would like to move forward with the adoption. 

  • If you choose to adopt, an adoption agreement will be sent and should be signed by you within 2 calendar days, agreement returned, and adoption fee paid. 

  • If you decide the dog is not the right fit for your family, the dog will be posted as available for adoption and we will begin taking and considering new applications for the dog.  You may choose to foster while we continue to search for a permanent home, or you may request that we take the dog back into our possession.




Q: How long does the adoption process take?

  • We are a fully volunteer-run organization. Please be patient if you do not have an immediate response. Every member of our team has many other work and family obligations. We try to be as efficient and responsive as possible. Each adoption application takes time to fully screen and we typically receive over 100 applications a month. Please understand that our primary obligation is to the dogs entrusted to our care.


Q: Where are you located?

  • We are a foster based rescue, meaning we do not have a brick-and-mortar location.  All of our dogs are in foster homes with amazing volunteer fosters or occasionally, boarding. For more information on becoming a foster, please email us at


Q: I saw Fido on Petfinder/Facebook. Can you give me more info? Can I meet him? Is he still available?

  • If the dog is posted and not marked as adoption pending, then we are still accepting applications for that dog. The information posted is as much as we know about them. Meet and greets are only arranged once we have an application on file and have had a chance to review it.

Q: Can you tell me the status of my application?

  • Unfortunately, no.  We realize this is not a great answer, but it’s an honest one.  We often receive a bunch of applications at once and we’re just not able to keep everyone updated along the way. The reality is that we are a small group of volunteers with other obligations (full time jobs, families, etc), and we’re doing our best to rescue dogs along the way.  With that comes cleaning up potty accidents, chauffeuring dogs to and from meet and greets and vet appointments (planned and unplanned), dispersing medications and supplies to dogs in foster homes, and a plethora of other pup related chores. This is also a complicated question because we are reviewing multiple applications at once and we might love your application but are already in the adoption process with another potential adopter. Also, the adoption process can take several days to a week or more due to scheduling meet and greets, home visits, etc, and sometimes we get to the end of the process and it just doesn’t work out, so we go back to our stack of applications and start over. With all of the variables with adoptions, it would be very challenging to give status updates to everyone along the way. If your application checks out, an Adoption Coordinator or the foster family will reach out to schedule a meet and greet. If you did not hear from anyone within 2 weeks of submitting your application, then it just didn’t work out this time.  Please don’t take this personally.  Again, we often receive many applications for a dog and it may just be a matter of timing, so please don’t be shy to apply again or reach out in the future.


Q: Why is the adoption process so detailed?

  • While we realize that our screening process may seem extensive and may occasionally (and unfortunately) eliminate some good homes, it is a process that has been developed through years of experience and we stand firmly behind it. Our goal is to place Second Chance Habitat dogs into their forever homes and we take it very seriously.  We want to do everything we can to ensure the dog and adopters are a good fit. Having to return a dog to the rescue is traumatic for a dog and typically the adopters as well. This is why Second Chance Habitat does its due diligence during the application process.


Q: What are the adoption fees?

  • Our adoption fee is $300 for dogs over 6 months.  Dogs younger than 6 months are $350, but we welcome any additional donations.  The adoption fee includes Spay/Neuter, Rabies vaccine, deworming, heartworm and parasite prevention, Vaccines: FVRCP (cats), DHPP (dogs), Bordetella (dogs), martingale collar.

​Q: What is your phone number?

  • ​Second Chance Habitat is a team of volunteers located throughout the Hampton Roads area. We do not currently have a central phone number. All questions should be directed to our Facebook page or This ensures your message is forwarded to the appropriate volunteer for a call-back if needed.


 Q: Are all adoptions first come first serve?

  • We do not adopt dogs on a first-come basis. All applications will be screened to determine the most suitable match for the dog and the adopter. Every Second Chance Habitat dog is fostered by a member of our team, and lives in their home as part of their family.  Our foster families get to know the dog, what they need, their level of socialization, and the type of home that will best suit them. The needs of the dogs are our highest priority. Applying for a dog you’re interested in quickly does increase the likelihood your application will be considered though.


Q: Do you do same day adoptions?

  • ​Second Chance Habitat does not do same day adoptions. The point of the applicant screening procedures used by animal rescue groups is to ensure the safety of both the animal and their new families, as well as to reduce the chance that the animals will be returned because of an inappropriate match. All applicants are required to go through the Adoption or Foster to Adopt Process outlined above.

Q: What if I have not heard back from Second Chance Habitat after I have submitted an application?

  • It does take time to process applications, so please be patient.

  • If you indicated on your application that you were interested in a specific dog, the particular dog that you applied for may have been adopted by the time your application was processed. We do our best to let potential adopters know if a dog currently has an application being pursued. Please check our Facebook page to see if the dog is still listed.

  • If at any point during the application process your application is determined to be incomplete, misleading or not factual, it will be denied without notice.

  • Not everyone who submits an application will be contacted to continue the adoption approval process. We receive several hundreds of applications and inquiries annually and we review each and every complete application that we receive.

Q: Can you hold a dog for me until I am ready to adopt it?

  • We understand that you may be interested in adopting but you also have travel plans, or other obligations that make it difficult to adopt at a certain time. We are unable to hold dogs for adoption, as this takes up vital space in a foster home that could be used in saving the life of another dog in need.  Please check back with us when you are ready to bring a new family member dog into your home or apply to get pre-approved for a future dog.


Q: Can I do a sleepover or trial with a dog?

  • We typically require a two week foster to adopt period, which we consider a trial period. We understand that adding a dog is a lifelong commitment and we want the match to be a good fit. The adoption contract would be performed after the trial if the dog and family are a good fit, and the adoption fee would be due at that time. 



Things to Keep in Mind


  • If your application is not selected, it’s not because we think less of you and your home.  Most likely we had an overwhelming number of amazing applicants and yours simply was not the application chosen for a reason specific to the dog’s needs or temperament. If your application has been approved to adopt, but we feel the desired animal is not the best match, we encourage you to be patient and stay in touch with us through the process of finding the best pup for your family. If you are open to considering other dogs, please note on your application in the box where you indicate the dog you are interested in.

  • Every person involved with Second Chance Habitat is a volunteer.  We have no paid staff. Your adoption fee goes to cover your dog/cats expenses.  Once those needs are met, any remaining money is invested in our senior or sick animals, who often cost more than double the amount of our adoption fee. 

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