How to adopt a dog

The new normal: rehoming goes virtual

While our rehoming centres were closed to the public during the pandemic, our brilliant canine carers continued to go above and beyond for our dogs, during a very difficult time.

More than 350 dogs who were with us for a long time have been rehomed since lockdown – a real testament to how effective our virtual rehoming has been. To build on this success, we’re moving to virtual rehoming for the foreseeable future, to help even more dogs find their forever homes.

But what does that look like? Let's find out.

How virtual rehoming works

From a Zoom call to zoomies in the garden -here's how rehoming a dog from us works now:  

  1. First of all, search for dogs available for adoption on our website. If you’re interested in one, call us on 0303 003 0000 (lines are open Monday - Friday between 9am and 6pm, and at weekends and bank holidays from 8.30am - 5pm).
    How to adopt step 1
  2. Our team will check and see if you’re a potential match. If you are, we’ll ask you to fill in an application form so we can find out more about you. We’ll review your application, looking at how closely your lifestyle matches the needs of the dog.
    How to adopt step 2
  3. If you seem like a great fit for the dog, we may arrange a virtual home check. We may also invite you to an appointment to meet the dog at the rehoming centre.
    How to adopt step 3
  4. If we mutually decide you’re a perfect match, we’ll arrange an appointment for you take them to their forever home.
    How to adopt step 4
  5. We’ll keep in touch to see how you and the dog are doing. If you need any advice or support, we’re just a phone call away.
    How to adopt step 5

Please note: to make our rehoming system fairer for all of our lovely dogs, our centres will no longer be open for walk-in visits. This will help make sure every dog has an equal opportunity to be matched with their perfect forever home. Learn more about our rehoming policy.

More information about adopting a dog

Covid-19 safety at our centres

More information about our adoption process

After adoption

Giving up a dog

Donating pre-loved items to our centres

Covid-19 safety at our centres

Covid safety at Shoreham Rehoming Center

Vaccinations for staff

We encourage every staff member to have their vaccine as soon as they’re offered one. We’ll ensure they are given the time to do this. 

Covid-19 safety measures

We ask all visitors to wear a face covering when in our centres. We’ve got social distancing measures in place and ask that visitors follow these. Our staff will be asked to wear face coverings in small, poorly ventilated or busy areas and when speaking to members of the public.

More information about our adoption process


How to adopt dogs like Sid

Getting started adopting a dog

Visit our rehoming pages to see the dogs available for adoption.

If you’re interested in one of them, give us a call on 0303 003 0000. We’ll discuss the kind of home the dog needs and, if it seems like a good match, we’ll send you an adoption form to fill in.   

We’ve experienced unprecedented rehoming interest during the pandemic. When the numbers are so high, unfortunately we’re just not able to contact everyone that applies. So, if you apply and don’t hear back from us within five days, we’re sorry to say your application hasn’t been successful this time.  

How virtual matching works

We’ll review your application and if think you could be a good match for the dog, we’ll give you a call to chat in more detail. When reviewing applications, we're looking at how closely your lifestyle matches the needs of the dog. If we have lots of strong matches, then we'll start with the family that applied first.

We may arrange a virtual home check to find out more about you, your lifestyle, and the home you can offer one of our dogs. We’ll talk through all the same things we would’ve discussed in an in-person home visit, including how a dog will fit into your life in the long term, as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. 

We may also make an appointment for you to come and meet a dog at the centre. And when the dog is ready to go home, we’ll make an appointment for them to be collected. These appointments will take place outside where possible.

How much it costs to adopt a dog

Our fee for adopting an adult dog is £185 in England, Wales and Scotland, and £172.50 in Northern Ireland (due to extra dog licence fees you'll need to pay). Every dog we rehome is vaccinated, microchipped and neutered (or we’ll give you a neutering voucher if they haven't yet been neutered). We'll also give you a new Dogs Trust lead and collar, starter pack of food, and 4 weeks’ free insurance from our partner Petplan. 

Our fee for adopting a puppy is £240, this includes the £185 rehoming fee and a £55 Dog School fee. Training is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner, so we only rehome dogs under six months to adopters who are willing to attend a four week Dog School course. Our Dog School classes help puppies learn key life skills and teach owners the basic training techniques they need to create a strong bond with their new family member.

Rehoming to families with children

All the dogs in our care are thoroughly assessed by our behaviour experts to determine their ideal home. Some will be able to live with children, and some won’t. It will say on a dog’s profile if they’d be comfortable in a home with children.  

Rehoming to families with other dogs

All the dogs in our care are thoroughly assessed by our behaviour experts to determine their ideal home. Some will be able to live with another dog, and some won’t. It will say on a dog’s profile if they’d be comfortable in a home with other pets. 

If we match you with a dog, we’ll ask you to bring your other dog to the rehoming centre for them to meet, so we can be sure that they will be happy to live together.

Reasons you could be turned down

We pride ourselves on our thorough behaviour and veterinary assessments that help us match each dog to the right person. We rehome to all different types of homes, from houses to narrow boats. It just depends on the needs of the individual dog. 

We will be honest if we don't feel you are the right match for a particular dog. Please don't take this personally. We know how disappointing it can be to hear a dog won't be coming home with you. Our experts will have made the decision knowing the dog’s needs and what’s best for them. 

Factors like working hours, regular holidays, or other commitments could mean your lifestyle isn’t the best fit for the dog. We would be doing a disservice to ourselves, the dog and to you if we rehomed a dog somewhere that we didn't see as their forever home. But this doesn’t mean we won’t have another dog in the future that could suit your family.

What we can tell you about a dog’s history

We'll be completely honest and tell you everything we know about a dog you’re interested in.  

If a dog is handed over to us, we get as much information as we can from previous owners. Some dogs come to us because they are stray, abandoned or rescued, then it can be difficult to know their history. Our expert teams give each dog a full assessment so we can piece together as much of that dog's story as we can.  

Why we can’t move dogs between centres

Moving a dog between centres can be a stressful for them, so we avoid it unless it’s in their best interest.  

It is possible to adopt a dog from a centre that’s not close to where you live, depending on the needs of the dog.

After adoption


Dog Training - dog school

We commit to support you for your dog’s whole life

You can contact us at any time for support and advice, whether it’s been days, weeks, months or years since you took your dog home. For any concerns, big or small, you can contact our dedicated post-adoption support team on 0300 303 3738. This team of behaviour experts are on hand all day as well as evenings, weekends and bank holidays, so we’ll arrange a time to call you back that suits you. We’ll be able to talk through any behaviour or training questions you have and tailor a plan to help you and your dog. 

Our post-adoption support team will also check in on you two days after you take a dog home. We’ll ask how your new family member is settling in, and whether you have any concerns about their health or behaviour that we can help with. We’ll also ask for your feedback about the rehoming process. We’ll offer you a call at two weeks post-adoption, and then another four months later to see how you are doing.

What to do if you’re concerned about your dog’s behaviour or health

For specific training or behaviour advice you can get in touch our post adoption support team at any time on 0300 303 3738. 

Our website has loads of useful advice on training your dog and keeping them healthy and happy, including information about Dog School training classes.

We can’t give accurate veterinary advice over the phone, so if you’re concerned about your dog’s health, it’s best to contact your veterinary practice.

Giving up a dog to Dogs Trust

We know that life rarely goes according to plan and things don’t always work out, including owning a dog. If you are thinking you may need to give your dog up for adoption, then please call us on 0300 303 2188 or contact us via our online form.  

If you have any concerns, big or small, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our dedicated, expert staff will do everything they can to help. We'll discuss your options with you and help you make the right decision for your dog. If we decide together that returning your dog to us is the best course of action, we will take them back into our care. 

More information about giving up a dog.

Donating pre-loved items to our centres

In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

We’re accepting pre-loved donations of treats, toys, towels and bedding (except feather duvets) at our centres via our contact-free drop off points. Signage outside will make it clear where you can drop off your kind donations. Please don’t leave clothing, valuables, electrical equipment, or furniture at our centre drop-off points.

Find your local centre

Donating pre-loved items to our charity shops

Our charity shops are now open and accepting donations. Before travelling, please check our opening hours and donation times.

Find your local charity shop

If you’d like to support our work in other ways you can make a monetary donation. We’re so grateful for your support.