Adopt a dog FAQs

Everything you might want to know about our dog adoption process.

How do I adopt a dog?

Adopting a dog is extremely rewarding but is also a big commitment. Each dog has their own individual and specific needs, so it’s very important that you understand and meet their individual requirements.

All our dogs available for rehoming are listed on our website with a detailed description of their characteristics and needs, so you can see if you think any may be a suitable match for you. The website is updated regularly with new arrivals, so don’t worry if you haven’t spotted a potential match just yet!

All visits to Raystede to adopt or give up an animal are by appointment only. We accept online applications to adopt an animal and will consider reserves, introductions, and adoptions on a case-by-case basis. Due to the high volume of enquiries being received we are not currently able to respond immediately to every application we receive.

Step 1: Submit your application form

Tell us about your home, lifestyle, experience, and the type of animal you are hoping to share your life with.

Due to the high volume of enquiries we receive, we regret that we are not able to respond to every application but please be assured we have your details.

Step 2: Don’t be a stranger

Once you have registered with us, please keep an eye on our website for new arrivals.

If you spot a dog that you think may be a suitable match, there is no need to submit another application form. Please contact us directly to highlight your interest by emailing or calling 01825 880468.

When animals arrive at Raystede, we get to know them through behaviour and medical assessments. Our expert animal care teams carefully use this information alongside your application to see if the match could be a success.

Step 3: A meet & greet invitation

You will be invited to Raystede to meet any animals who might suit your home. We will discuss the animal's background, health and behaviour. This sometimes requires a few visits. Please note that booking a visitor ticket to Raystede does not enable you to meet an animal you are interested in adopting.

I struggle to use the internet; can I still apply?

If you are interested in applying to adopt an animal but aren’t keen on using the internet, don’t worry, a member of our Rehoming Team will be more than happy to help you complete an application form over the phone. Call between 8.30-4.30pm on the Rehoming Team’s contact number: 01825 880468.

How long does the adoption process take?

It depends on whether we have a match for you and how many visits are needed before the dog is able to come home. It can take a couple of weeks, but it may also take several months. They are worth the wait though!

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

Puppy (up to and including 6 months) - £250

Adult dog (7 months and over) - £200

Adoption fees include:

  • Neutering
  • First vaccinations
  • Microchipping and ID tag
  • Treated for fleas and worms
  • Behavioural and medical assessments
  • 4 weeks free insurance with Petplan
  • Follow up advice & lifetime support available from our Kennels Team

Do you ever have puppies for adoption?

It is quite rare to have puppies brought to us for rehoming. When they are, they tend to be rehomed quite quickly, due to the high demand for them.

It is quite unlikely that you will find a puppy to adopt at Raystede, but you are still welcome to apply for adoption and let us know you are interested in a puppy.

Can I visit and see the dogs available for adoption?

We don’t allow visitors of Raystede to walk through our main kennels as this can be stressful and triggering, particularly for some of our more anxious and reactive dogs.

All our dogs are listed on our website with detailed descriptions of their characteristics and needs. If you think that one may be a suitable match for you and would be interested in adopting, please start by completing an application form via our website.

I have children, can I still adopt?

All the dogs that come to Raystede have different behavioural requirements and experiences. We do thorough behavioural assessments on all our dogs before they are available for adoption. Part of the assessment is looking at whether they are suited to living with children. The Kennels Team also take into consideration their situation before coming to Raystede such as, have they previously lived with, or been around children, what ages are they used to and what was their behaviour like?

The Kennels Team will use the assessment to decide whether the dog could live with children.

Any decision made will be in the best interest of the dog, taking into account your individual circumstances.

Is there a maximum age limit for potential owners?

No, there is no age limit for our potential adopters. We look at each dog and potential adopter individually. We take into consideration things such as the dog’s activity levels, characteristics, and your living situation.

I don’t have my own garden, can I still adopt?

Most dogs that come to Raystede for rehoming require access to their own garden or a suitable outside space. We may get dogs in that don’t need a garden, but these dogs are few and far between. We encourage you to keep checking our website for new arrivals and to also register with other rescue centres.

I rent, can I still adopt?

Yes, we would just need to see landlord permission to have a dog at the property before reserving an animal to you.

I’ve applied for lots of dogs, why haven’t I been successful?

Thank you for your continued patience, sadly at the moment 80% of the dogs in our care have extra training and support needs (known as STAR dogs) so we are looking for adopters who are open to learning and are able to commit to their ongoing training.

We receive a lot of enquiries for each dog, our Kennels Team carefully assess each applicant and their suitability for the dog they have shown an interest in. If you miss out on a dog it doesn’t mean you can’t have a dog from Raystede, it may be that the dog wasn’t quite the right match for you, that someone else registered their interest before you. Also, we typically try to avoid rehoming a dog to the area it came from. Please be patient; hopefully the right dog for you is out there.

Interested in finding out more about our STAR dogs? Click here to read more about what this entails: STAR Dogs - Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare

What are your adoption requirements?

There are no set requirements for adopting a dog from Raystede. All our dogs are looking for different types of homes so have their own individual needs. For example, some dogs may be wary around lots of noise and people so would prefer a more rural setting, whereas other dogs won’t mind living in a busy town. Please have a read through each dog’s write up on the website to see what type of home they are looking for.

I completed an application form but never heard back

Once you have submitted your application form, please keep checking our website for any suitable matches and email us at if you see a dog that you think is a match. If you are a good match for that dog, we will be in touch with the next steps. If you haven’t heard from us within 2 weeks, please assume you haven’t been picked as a match for that particular dog. We receive thousands of application forms for dogs and sadly aren’t able to respond to every form. In this instance, we recommend checking the website for any new arrivals, all our available dogs are on the website.

We rely on your donations to help animals like Topsy.

When Topsy arrived with us, he was severely underweight and needed a lot of care. We couldn't help the amount of animals we do without your support. Please donate to help more animals get the care they deserve.