The Adoption Process

Thinking about adopting a dog? This page has everything you need to know about our adoption process, to get started watch this short video which will prepare you for adoption day!

Video credit to Jessica from Jessica Russell Moves


Have you looked at the dogs available on our website?


We are open to the public 7 days a week, 11am-4pm to visit the dogs and view them in kennel



Read our Adoption Philosophy and make sure your views on dog ownership align with ours. Please read this entire page to make sure you are ready for adoption day.

🐾Step 2) APPLY

Browse available dogs online and then complete an adoption questionnaire. List all dogs you are interested in, or add ‘Matchmake Me’ as the dog’s name if you’re open to our team matching one of our amazing dogs to your home.


7 DAYS A WEEK: Walk ins welcome for adoption interviews between 11am-3pm! Our gates remain open until 4pm, but we conclude our adoption interviews at 3pm so we have time to take the dogs out, feed them and get them ready for bedtime. 

During quieter periods, we will also do our best to review online applications, but unfortunately cannot get back to every applicant, especially for more ‘popular’ dogs. If you agree with our adoption philosophies and are ready to adopt- please do not wait for us to contact you after submitting a questionnaire.

PUPPIES & DOGS IN FOSTER CARE: If you are particularly interested in a young puppy or a dog that is currently in foster care, please indicate this on your questionnaire. Young puppies will not be on site here at the Refuge as it is much more beneficial for them to remain in foster care until their adoption. For dogs and puppies that are not on site, we will review online applications and get in touch with suitable homes to arrange a meet and greet.


This may take an hour or more. We need to talk to you and get a feel for your home, lifestyle and why you are looking to rescue and rehome one of our dogs. Once we find you a doggy match we need to introduce him/ her to all members of your family, including other dogs and cats!

To commence the adoption process we require:

  • Proof of landlord approval to have a dog at your home if you rent

  • Photo ID with your address on it – so we know you are who you say you are

  • Adequate funds for – adoption fee; any beds, leads, collars, dog food or other items you need to make your dog comfy in his or her new home. All dogs must leave with a flat collar, lead, ID tag and a seat belt attachment; all of which can be purchased in the store at the Refuge.


Why do you only save an application for 6 months?

Anything within your home environment or lifestyle may have changed after 6 months. You may change your mind about the type of dog you want; the behaviours you are willing to work with; how much time you want to spend exercising them 

Will I be contacted about my application?

If you have applied online, you agree with our adoption philosophies, you’re ready to adopt and everyone in the home can come along to meet the new family- please don’t wait! Come on down to the Refuge any day of the week between 11am and 3pm. We are unfortunately not able to respond to every application we receive. To put it simply, we are a small team that rehomed more than 1,400 dogs last year. We receive up to 1,000 application per month, with certain dogs receiving lots of applications. We are a not-for-profit organisation that does not have the staffing capacity to answer all of the enquiries and requests we receive.

Why is it taking so long for me to find my furry companion?

Some dogs get adopted really quickly (the lucky ones?); not all dogs fit any home or environment – many of our dogs have had a rough start to life and may have some challenging behaviours or idiosyncrasies that are better suited to a specific environment and household. This DOES NOT mean that you are not a good home. It just means you and the dog you are interested in are not well suited. We want you and our dogs to be happy together furever. If you trust us to match you with a dog we think is the most suited to your home and lifestyle, we will try our best to ensure you are the perfect match for one another. 

Can I foster/ trial a dog before I adopt?

In short, no. We use foster carers to care for dogs with medical needs or who are not coping in kennel. There is no layby on our dogs as we want them to be adopted into their loving furever homes and this decreases that opportunity for them.

Please remember dogs can live for 15 years; it is a long term commitment that you need to seriously consider. If you decide you are ready and willing to commit for the long term you will be rewarded ten-fold for all the effort you put in.

Adoption Fees

Did you know that the Dogs’ Refuge Home is almost entirely self-funded? This means that our Adoption Fees are used to help cover some, but certainly not all of the costs associated with rescuing and re-homing our dogs. Unfortunately rescuing dogs and giving them a second chance is quite costly and without charging an adoption fee we wouldn’t be able to save the lives of thousands of dogs each year.

Our adoption fee helps cover pre-treatment vet works including sterilisation, vaccination, microchipping, flea and worming, behaviour assessment, training and food expenses, however the cost to rescue and re-home a dog is considerably more than our adoption fee. We feel that every one of the dogs in our care is worth every cent we invest in them.

  • ADULT DOGS (ages from 6 months to 7 years) $550
  • PUPPIES (up to 6 months) $750
  • LONG-TERMERS – available for a special fee of $450 (includes one-on-one training sessions)
  • SENIOR DOGS (over 7 years) $450

PLEASE NOTE: To adopt a dog you must either be a Citizen, Permanent Resident or visa holder with the intention to remain in Australia for the foreseeable future. If a move is on the horizon in the future- you must be prepared to relocate WITH your new doggie family member.

Our Policy on Sterilisation

We sterilise all our dogs and only re-home dogs to families with an existing dog if that dog has been sterilised. There are a number of reasons why we do this:

Ethical reasons – we sterilise all our dogs to prevent “accidents”. Puppies born to families that have not sterilised their dogs might have trouble finding homes and can subsequently end up in shelters.

Behavioral reasons – dogs that have not been sterilised are more likely to show increased aggression towards other dogs. We will not re-home dogs into an environment where an unsterilised dog may act inappropriately towards the new dog.

Medical reasons – sterilisation reduces the risk of mammary tumours, which can be life threatening to female dogs, as well as tumours of the ovaries, uterus, cervix and pyometra. Castration in male dogs reduces the risk of prostatic disease and perianal tumours, and eliminates the risk of testicular cancers.

Our Returns Policy

Sometimes rescue dogs can take a while to settle in their new home, particularly if they have been with us for some time or are not accustomed to a good home life.

We accept back all our dogs unconditionally and our Adoption Agreement states that should your dog prove incompatible with your lifestyle, home environment or if your personal circumstances change, that you ALWAYS bring the dog back to us.

There is no time limit on returning a dog to us. If you are having difficulty with a dog you have adopted from us then please call the office and ask to speak with a trainer so we can try to offer some remedial training support to help settle your new dog in or correct undesirable behaviors.

A trainer can also help you decide if the dog is not a good fit for your home or requirements or refer you on to other training and obedience programs. Please always speak to us first before making any decisions about your adopted dog’s future.

PLEASE NOTE: It is NOT permitted to advertise your rescue dog privately through online means (Gumtree, Facebook etc). ALL Dogs’ Refuge Home dogs MUST be returned to our shelter should your circumstances change in the future.