Dog Adoption

Notice: To reduce public exposure, our shelter is closed for pet adoptions, including viewing or visiting animals in adoption areas. All animals in the shelter will still receive appropriate care.

Dogs Available for Adoption: (See our adoptable dogs on Petfinder)

One of the many dogs that have been adopted at our shelter

We hope you’ll come by the shelter and meet our dogs. You may see the perfect pet for you on our Petfinder listings, but sometimes these listings lag behind the dogs arriving in our shelter.

We have a wonderful variety of dogs that find new homes at the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter. We often have small dogs available, and always have larger dogs. Most dogs are about a year to two years old. We sometimes have puppies, and often have senior dogs that have been abandoned by their owners.

Every dog receives a thorough behavior evaluation before we make it available for adoption. If we feel that a dog is too rambunctious for small children or too shy to do well in a noisy household, we will limit the homes where we’ll place that dog. Other dogs can fit into almost any family. Our goal is to make sure each dog finds the right adopter – and each adopter finds the right dog.


We welcome the public to spend time in our adoption kennel and meet the dogs that are looking for new homes.

If you’d like to get to know one or more a little better, we’ll ask you to fill out an application form. This allows us to learn about you and make sure you’re looking at a dog that will be a good fit for your home.

Take the time to get to know the dogs that interest you. We have a “meet and greet” area, and encourage you to pet the dog, play with the dog, and see if you feel a bond. If you have children, we want the whole family to meet the pet and feel comfortable.

If you don’t find the right dog for you on your first visit, keep coming back. We find homes for hundreds of dogs every year.


Our adoption fee for dogs is $175 (7 months or older) and for puppies (less than 7 months) is $250. We will sometimes consider a lower adoption fee for an animal with special needs, such as a dog with health problems that will require ongoing medical attention.

Your adoption fee includes:

  • vaccinations including: deworming, distemper, parainfluenza, parvovirus and rabies
  • spay or neuter of the dog
  • microchip identification 
  • leash
  • certificate entitling the dog to a free examination with a veterinarian in Washington county within 10 days
  • 1-year license (for dogs over 6 months old)  


We have a booklet that will help you get started off right with your new dog. We recommend prospective adopters read our Dog Adoption Packet ahead of time. It has plenty of tips about dog care, training, and helping your dog transition into his happy new life.


You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a pet. An adoption application must be completed and reviewed by shelter staff.  

Not all dogs are suitable for all homes. For example, we may determine a dog isn't a good match for families with children or would make a poor pet in an apartment. We may approve a family to adopt one dog but not another, depending on the needs of the animal.

We only adopt to families that will keep their dogs indoors. Dogs must be supervised at all times in they are outdoors (even if they are in a securely-fenced yard).

Individuals must be adopting the pet for themselves, not for someone else. (We’ve found that too often people who are surprised by a gift of a pet decide not to keep the animal. If you want to give your loved one the gift of a pet, offer to pay for a pet that your loved one picks out.)

The adoption fee must be paid in full at the time of the adoption, accompanied by a signed and dated adoption application. Your new pet goes home with you when you complete the adoption process (unless we need to hold the pet for a day or two pending spay/neuter surgery).


We want you to be happy with your new family member. If this dog isn’t the right match for you, return the dog or puppy within 30 days. If you return the dog to the shelter within 30 days of adoption, we will refund your adoption fee. (Refunds may take up to 6 weeks to process.)   


It’s not always the right time in your life to adopt a dog. Consider the cost and responsibility before you take a dog home. Sometimes even a dog-lover needs to wait until a different time to bring home a dog.

Here are some issues to consider before you adopt:

Commitment: Most dogs live about 10 to 18 years. Are you and your family prepared to make this long commitment to the animal you are now adopting? Pet ownership also includes responsibilities for training, veterinary care and other things necessary for the pet to lead a comfortable, happy life.

Lifestyle: Dogs are very time-consuming pets. They need exercise and attention every single day. It’s important for you to select an animal with a personality, exercise needs, and grooming requirements that fit your family's lifestyle.

Behavior: Many of the animals in our shelter have previous life histories that weren’t happy. They didn’t always receive the socialization that loving homes provide. Some dogs may go through a phase of chewing, digging, barking or house soiling during the time the animal is adjusting to its new home. All of these behaviors are easily correctable, but take a commitment from you. Our animal care staff can also advise you on this issue.

Expense: Pet ownership comes with some built-in expenses. Consider the following expenses and how they could affect your household budget:

    • Food
    • Veterinary care
    • Grooming
    • Supplies (collar and leash, pet beds, crate, brushes, toys, food and water dishes)
    • Obedience classes (most dogs of any age will benefit from classes).

Health: Animals in our shelter are often strays with no known medical history. While we make every effort to adopt a healthy pet to you, it is always possible that the pet could become ill and require you to pay for veterinary care. (Any Washington county veterinarian will provide a free examination for an adopted pet within 10 days of adoption.) Even generally healthy animals may have expensive veterinary bills during their lifetimes.

Your Home: Before you adopt a dog, think about where you live. If you’re renting, does your property manager allow pets? Is there a pet deposit? Is there a limit on size or number of pets? Think about how you’ll exercise a dog and give it potty breaks. Do you have a fenced yard, or will you need to walk your dog every time it needs to go outside? 

Children/other Household Members/Other Pets: Not every dog is a great match for young children. We can help you find a good family dog – and will suggest a different pet if you’re looking at a dog that may be too rambunctious or too shy to be a good pet for a young family. Similarly, if there is a frail elderly or disabled family member, be sure to look for a gentle dog.

Ask yourself if any of your family members are allergic to pets, are afraid of animals, or just don’t enjoy being with animals. We recommend that all family members meet the dog before you decide to adopt.

Remember, adopting a pet is a major life decision. Make it carefully and deliberately.  


Animal-lovers who aren’t in a position to adopt right now should consider a wonderful alternative: volunteer with our animals. You’ll have the pleasure of spending time with cats or dogs, and the satisfaction that you’ve made a homeless pet’s life happier and better.

Some of the volunteer positions we almost always need help with include: 

  • Dog walking: Come on a regular basis and give exercise to our dogs. It’s a great activity for dogs and people. 
  • Play with the cats. They need attention and stimulation. 
  • Foster a pet! Every spring and summer we need dozens of foster homes to help raise litters of kittens. We also need foster homes to help socialize dogs so that they can become great pets for adopters. 
  • Help us keep our kennel and cattery clean. With thousands of animals coming through our doors every year, it’s a big challenge.  

We also welcome financial donations to help our important work.