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Adoption FAQs

Considering adoption? Here are some of our most frequently asked questions! For more information, please give us a call at (207) 449-1366. 

Q: I'm ready to adopt! Now what do I do?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are currently performing adoptions by appointment only. If you see an animal on our website that you would like to adoptclick here to fill out a Pre-Adoption Survey, which is the first step in the adoption process. 


Yay! Congrats! You’d like to add to your home! The next step is to visit us during open hours to meet your perfect new friend. Maybe you have one or two in mind that you’ve seen on our website or on Facebook. You can come in to meet the animal and we’ll make sure it’s a good match on both sides. After you’ve been approved for adoption by your adoption counselor, there is a bit of paperwork, and you can leave with your new family member!  If you are adopting a dog and already have one at home, talk to us about setting up a “meet and greet” to introduce the dogs.

If you have questions about a specific animal, please call (207) 449-1366 to chat with an adoption counselor to learn more about any animal.

On special “mega” adoption days when many puppies or kittens are going up for adoption, you can expect a line before each facility opens. The earlier you arrive the better. We have a ticketing system to admit people in the order that they show up. We’ll give you a numbered ticket. You can leave and return when we open, and you won’t lose your spot in line. Give us a call if you have questions about how this works.

Q: Why are some animals free to adopt?

If you’re checking out adoptable animals on our website or in-shelter, you will notice that some animals have an adoption fee of $0. There are several reasons why an animal’s adoption fee is waived.

That animal’s adoption fee has been sponsored. Sometimes visitors and volunteers fall in love with an animal that can’t go home with them, but nevertheless, they want to help that animal find a home, even if it’s not theirs!

We have intentionally reduced or waived the adoption fee to encourage people to consider adoption of that animal. Sometimes a fee-waived adoption will get a potential adopter’s attention, which is especially important for an animal that has been overlooked and waiting for a home for longer than most. On average, cats spend an average of 10 days waiting for a home at Midcoast Humane while dogs spend about 7 days before going home. However, some animals have stayed with us for a year, or even longer – and that’s much too long. A shelter is not a home. If a decreased or waived adoption fee piques someone’s interest, then it’s a tool we are interested in using.

Some feel that waiving an adoption fee devalues the animal in some way. People think that with a “free” adoption, an adopter might not be prepared to provide long-term care for the animal, or that a waived adoption fee could lead to someone making an impulsive decision to adopt when it hasn’t been thought through.

The adoption application and counseling process is exactly the same for fee-waived adoptions versus full price adoptions. With every prospective adopter, we discuss the needs of the specific animal they’re interested in. This includes a conversation about the time commitment that is required, the type of home environment that will suit the animal, and what sort of financial obligations pet owners can expect.

In the past, we have denied adoptions if we feel that an animal’s needs can’t be met in a particular home.  Often, prospective adopters will come to this conclusion themselves after speaking with an adoption counselor. Sometimes we are able to suggest a different animal that would be a better fit.

The ASPCA has conducted studies assessing the quality of the bond between owners of fee-waived animals versus full fee animals.  They found that there is no difference in the bond between adopters who paid a fee and those who did not. Both groups showed strong bonds with their adopted pets, and there was not a higher rate of returned adoptions among the fee-waived animals. Additionally, there was proven to be no difference in the level of post-adoption veterinary care to fee-waived pets versus that of their “full fee” counterparts. What’s more, shelter finances were not negatively affected waiving adoption fees.

You can access more details about the research, as well as several successful case examples from around the country here: http://aspcapro.org/feewaived.

For our fee-waived adoptions, we ask for a donation to help offset the costs of caring for that animal. Usually, adopters will end up making a donation.

As a shelter, our priority is to place animals in loving and appropriate homes as soon as possible. If you have any questions about our policies around fee-waived animals, don’t hesitate to speak with a Midcoast Humane team member.

Q: What care has my animal received at the shelter?

Cats: All of our cats are spayed/neutered and tested for Feline Leukemia and other diseases. They receive rabies and distemper vaccinations, and receive flea, tick and de-worming treatments, as well as an ear cleaning. All cats are also microchipped. Additional medical care is administered as needed.

Dogs: All of our dogs are spayed/neutered and tested for heartworm and Lyme disease. They receive preventative heartworm treatment (6 months+) as well as rabies (12 weeks+), distemper, bordetella, and canine influenza vaccinations. All dogs receive flea, tick and de-worming treatments, an ear cleaning and other medical treatments as needed. All dogs are microchipped.

Q: Is there post-adoption support available to me?

We want to do everything possible to make sure your new pet adjusts to your home! Our adoption counselors will go over how to introduce your pet to your home, but if you have any questions after your adoption, please give us a call at (207) 449-1366 to talk with a shelter staffperson. If we don’t answer your call right away, leave your information and we will contact you at our earliest opportunity.

A Midcoast Humane volunteer will contact you after your adoption to make sure everything’s going well. Additionally, a wealth of information for new adopters exists online. The ASPCA has wonderful guides on pet care here

Q: Do you allow holds on animals?

We do not allow holds on animals for any reason.

Q: What do you feed dogs and cats while they're at the shelter?

We feed our animals high quality foods that are dye-free, and suggest this for our adopters. Dogs and cats are fed dry food and canned food, and because most of our food is donated, the food is not always the same from day to day, but the quality is consistent. Ask your adoption counselor about food that we’ve fed your pet.

Q: A cat has "FIV+" next to its name. What does that mean?

Cats with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) have weaker immune systems, but typically live long, relatively normal lives.  FIV does not affect humans or dogs. It can be spread between cats through deep bite wounds. FIV positive cats can live with other cats, provided everyone gets along! FIV cats should be indoor-only pets.  For more reading, check out Best Friends Animal Society or PetMD.

Q: What is Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)?

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) commonly affects shelter animals, particularly cats, and is likened to a common cold in humans.  Cats can also be asymptomatic in the shelter and only manifest symptoms after adoption (a stressful process for an animal!) in their new homes.  If we are aware of any URI. in an animal, we will send you and your new pet home with medicine prescribed by our veterinarian. For more information about Upper Respiratory Infection, please see the ASPCA’s Cat Care Resource page.

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