The adoption process

  1. What to expect
  2. Complete the adoption form
  3. Finding your perfect dog
  4. Reserve your dog
  5. Home Check
  6. Preparing for travel
  7. Join our adopters community
  8. The journey home
  9. Welcome to the family

What a wonderful thing you are doing…

Adopting a rescue dog from overseas is one of the most rewarding experiences. We’re looking forward to helping you find your perfect companion!

What to expect

We’re delighted that you’ve chosen to adopt a dog from Wild at Heart Foundation, and we’re here to help you through the journey. However, there’s no escaping the fact that the global pandemic has complicated travel routes and caused a surge in enquiries – in response, we’ve adapted our adoption process. 

We’re still very much looking forward to kickstarting your adoption journey and thank you for your patience.  

We understand that adopting a dog from abroad is probably a new experience for you: read on to find out what to expect from the adoption process. You can also visit our FAQs; read our Success Stories; or visit our latest blog post on adopting a dog during Covid-19 for more information. 

Step One
Complete the adoption form

The adoption form is the first step in your adoption journey – it tells us more about you and what you’re looking for. We ask a lot of questions because we take our matchmaking duties very seriously! We also only accept one form per applicant, so please do give us as much information as possible. 

We understand that this early stage is one of the most exciting parts of the process. Chances are you’ve seen a dog or two that you love the look of, and you’ll be eager to hear back from us (we get it…as adopters ourselves, we’ve all been there!!) 

However, please keep in mind that with hundreds of applications coming in each week, many for the same dog, it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful in adopting a dog currently on our website. Whilst we understand this may be a little disappointing, rest assured that it’s nothing personal, we’re simply looking to find the right homes for each and every dog in our care whilst juggling a long waiting list! 

As such, please treat this stage of the process as an opportunity to tell us which dog currently on our website closest matches the kind of dog you’re looking fortherefore, we ask that you only include the name of one dog. 

Ready to get started? Complete the adoption form now. 

Step Two
Finding your perfect dog

In the good old days pre-Covid, we would aim to speak to every applicant but sadly, with hundreds of enquiries coming in each week, our small team is no longer able to offer such a personal service. However, we still promise to give your adoption form the careful attention it deserves! 

So, you’ve submitted your form…what next?  

Once you have submitted your form, you’ll receive an auto-response to confirm we’ve received your application safe and sound (please check your junk folders!) 

From here, our team will review your application as soon as possible, and move on to one of the following steps… 

  • You’ll be notified within 2 weeks if your application is unsuitable at this time.  

It’s nothing personal, but at this busy time it’s the only way to ensure the very best homes for the dogs in our care whilst juggling a long waiting list. Sadly, we’re not able to offer individual feedback. 

  • Our team will create a shortlist of the best suited applicants for each dog. If shortlisted, you’ll be contacted with next steps. 

Please note that this shortlisting process depends on how soon dogs can travel. For example, if we have a Bulgarian transport run booked for the coming month with spaces to fill, we’ll prioritise applications for Bulgarian dogs. 

  • If you haven’t heard from us – either to be shortlisted or informed that your application was unsuitable – and the dog you applied for is now showing as reserved, don’t lose hope! 

This means that we have chosen to keep your application on file because your circumstances show great potential for a rescue dog in need of a forever home. While we’re not able to reach out individually to update you on whether your first choice of dog has been reserved elsewhere, we will keep you in mind for other dogs whose requirements closely match yours. 

Sadly, due to thousands of applications coming our way each month, we can’t guarantee how long it will take to match you to an alternative dog.  

In the meantime, while there’s no need to submit additional applications or inform us of additional dogs who’ve caught your eye, please know that we’re so grateful for your patience! 

Step Three
Reserve your dog

Once  the perfect dog has been selected and everyone is happy to proceed, we ask you to pay a £50 non-refundable deposit in order to reserve your dog. This amount is then deducted from your final adoption fee.

Please note: Wild at Heart Foundation does not charge anything for the dog itself; the adoption fee covers the cost of finding them their new home and supporting the partner shelter providing them care until they’re able to travel. This includes the cost of food, vaccinations, micro-chipping and any further veterinary treatment needed. It also covers the cost of onward transportation, and all necessary admin required to prepare them for travel.

We rely on the generosity of our community to help keep our adoption efforts running, and to ensure that we can continue to rescue and care for those dogs who are not yet lucky enough to have found their forever home. You’ll have the option to add a donation to your final balance when you pay your adoption fee, and we’re so grateful for whatever you’re able to spare.

Step Four
Home Check

We’ll then be in touch to arrange a Home Video Call at a time that suits you. This is a great opportunity for us to put a face to the name and to get to know a little more about you, your lifestyle and work routine, as well as answering any further questions you may have.

It’s also a chance for us to see how your home is set up for your new arrival, as well as providing you with lots of information about the adoption process in general. Most of our volunteer home checkers are previous Wild at Heart Foundation adopters too, so they’ll also have lots of invaluable first-hand experience and advice to pass on.

Step Five
Preparing for travel

Our Adoption Team will now begin booking your dog’s transport, and will ensure that all paperwork is in place to allow them to travel. We will be in touch as soon as we have details about your dog’s rehoming date, journey details and approximate times. 

We’ll ensure that your dog receives all the necessary vaccinations, veterinary checks and paperwork needed to travel. If they’re old enough, they’ll also be spayed / neutered. 

We’ll also ask you to review and sign our Adoption Contract which sets out the conditions of adopting a Wild at Heart Foundation dog, which gives an overview of our expectations for our dogs’ ongoing care. 

It’s at this stage that we would usually ask for the full balance of your adoption fee. However, due to ongoing travel complications (more on those below!) we’re only asking for 50% at this stage and the remaining 50% once your dog’s travel has been booked and confirmed. 

We have a transparent pricing structure which is dependent on the costs of travel involved in your dog’s rehoming journey.

Covid-19 – how is this affecting international travel?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on our transport processes: there are fewer travel opportunities across both air and land routes, and more demand from individuals looking to fly with their pets as they move home after lock down. All international rescue charities are working with a backlog of adopters waiting to get their dog home, meaning spaces on flights and vans are in high demand. Throw in the additional complications surrounding local lockdown, quarantine and international travel restrictions, and you’ll see why it’s taking us longer than usual to get our dogs into their forever homes.

The good news is, we’re jumping on every opportunity that comes our way and, thanks to our contacts within the industry, are often able to take advantage of alternative routes or options. Rest assured, we’re doing all we can to bring your dog home.

What’s more, we work with amazing partner shelters, all of whom are taking excellent care of all of our dogs until they can travel – so your dog is in safe hands while they wait for the next available freedom flight or rescue-mobile ride!

Step Six
Join our adopters community

While you wait, we’ll be delighted to welcome you into the family and help you prepare for your new arrival. We know that you’ll be impatient to meet your new pet, and that you’ll probably want to get your hands on as much information as possible, so we’ll make sure to give you all the support and advice from our community that we can:

  • You’ll be invited to join our private Facebook group, an invaluable online forum where our adopters – old and new – share stories and photos, ask questions and offer advice. Our adopters are a brilliant bunch who are always happy to give first-hand support for all soon-to-be-adopters.

  • You can subscribe to our mailing list to receive all the latest updates, news and stories from Wild at Heart Foundation; or browse our blog.

  • You can read our FAQs and Success Stories to learn more about other adopters’ experiences.

Step Seven
The journey home

We’ve already talked about the impact Covid-19 and Brexit is having on our adoption process, so we won’t go into that again! But rest assured, we’re doing all we can to bring your dog home and will be jumping on every opportunity that comes our way. 

While we can’t guarantee how or when your dog will travel, once you reach this stage of the process, your Adoption Coordinator will keep you updated every step of the way. 

Welcome to the family

We’re proud of the aftercare check-in service we provide to all our adopters. To ensure that you have all the support you need, we’ll be on hand with plenty of advice for that initial settling-in period. We’ll also reach out at various intervals throughout your first year together.  

There’s even a Facebook adopter’s community, which is a great place to share stories, seek advice and lend an ear! 

We consider our Wild at Heart Foundation dogs and their adopters to be part of our family, and are proud to have an extended pack of thousands throughout the country. We love to see how you and your dog are coming along, so do get in touch  with your stories and photos, and tag us in your Instagram  posts. 

Thank you for choosing to believe in a dog in need and to adopt through Wild at Heart Foundation. We look forward to welcoming you into our community and to seeing your dog settle into its wonderful new life. 

The Wild at Heart Foundation team x 

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