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 help you through the journey. Under normal circumstances, the entire process usually takes around 6-8 weeks from start to finish – however, with the global pandemic complicating travel routes and causing a surge in adoption enquiries, the process is taking longer than we’d like, and our average time from start to finish is currently closer to 3 months.

We’re still very much looking forward to kickstarting your adoption journey, and thank you for your patience. We know your perfect dog is out there, and promise that they’ll be so very worth the wait!

P.S. – You can read more about how we’re responding to Covid-19 here, including how it is affecting adoptions.

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 or read our Success Stories for more information.

Step One
Complete the adoption form

The adoption form is our chance to gather more information about you and what you’re looking for. We ask a lot of questions, but your answers are an important part of helping us to find your perfect dog – so please do give us as much information as possible. We take our matchmaking duties very seriously, and carefully consider all applications that we receive.

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

However, please do keep in mind that with hundreds of applications coming in each week, many for the same dog, it may be that we’re not able to match you with the first dog you see. We do not operate on a “first come first served”, rather we match each dog to the best suited applicant from a shortlisted batch of options. It’s nothing personal, we’re simply looking to find the right homes for each and every dog that we care for.

Whilst we understand this may be a little disappointing, rest assured that the right dog for you is out there, and we’re committed to helping you find them! With new dogs and puppies added to the website each week, you’ll be closer to the top of the list of the next round of adorable dogs or pups, so please don’t lose hope.

Ready to get started? Complete the adoption form now.

Step Two
Finding your perfect dog

Once our team has had the chance to give your adoption form the careful attention it deserves, they’ll be in touch with more options about the dogs that we think will be the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

They’ll then be on hand to discuss any questions you may have, and will of course be happy to make alternative suggestions if you’re not happy with any of the options we put forward (although we’re confident that it’ll be love at first sight!)

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.

At this stage, we’ll ask for the full balance of your adoption fee. 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

On the day of travel, your dog will be transported by a professional pet courier firm who will care for your pet every step of the way. We only work with partners who meet our exacting welfare standards, and all our transport providers love dogs just as much as we do. You will be able to track the progress of your dog’s journey as they make their way home.

Most of our dogs arrive in the UK by van, which makes its way up the country stopping at pre-arranged collection points along the way (often a service station for convenience of access!) Some animal courier companies are able to deliver the dog to your home.

If your dog has a direct flight to the UK, it may be that you will need to pick them up from the Animal Reception Centre at the airport stated – however, we’ll use pet couriers that bring the dog to a more central meeting point if needed to ensure the handover is handled as smoothly as possible.

We ask you to be flexible and keep the whole day free as  we may only be able to give you specific timing and collection point details 24 hours in advance. Journeys are subject to delays – now more than usual – so we really appreciate your patience and understanding if details change last minute.

Welcome to the family

We’re very proud of the after care service we provide to all our adopters. To ensure that you have all the support you need, we’ll be in regular contact with you during your first few months of adoption, and we’re here to help whenever you need us.

If you’re struggling with something or simply need some advice, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team. We have a network of behaviourists we can refer you to, who can provide expert support, advice and in-person sessions as needed, and our Facebook community 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 xxx

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