Adoption Process

So, you've reviewed our guide on deciding to adopt, and you've decided it is time to add a new pet to your life! Keep reading to learn how to adopt from the Seattle Animal Shelter.

Important note: adoptions are "first come, first served, best fit." We are not able to hold adoptable animals for any reason, including waiting to meet with other family members or resident pets. Before coming in, please review the adoption process below carefully, as well as our adoption FAQ, to ensure you have everything you need.

Before you adopt

  1. Update existing pets' licenses.
    • If you reside in Seattle city limits, visit our online licensing portal and make sure all of your existing pets are currently licensed.
    • You may update licenses online or with our customer service representatives when you pay for your adoption.
  2. View our online listings of available animals.
    • Our online adoption listings are updated live. If an animal disappears from the website, it is no longer available.
    • If you find an animal you are interested in, check the "Location" field. If the location is listed as "Foster Care," follow the instructions on the listing to apply. For all other locations, visit the shelter in person during business hours to apply.
  3. Gather the required documents.
  4. Plan your visit.
    • Review our hours, location and contacts.
    • Any family or household members who will live with the pet must meet with the pet before adoption. If you have a resident dog, rabbit or guinea pig, and are adopting a pet of the same type, you must bring your resident pet with you for a meet-and-greet during the adoption process.
    • All adoptions must be started by 5:30 p.m.

Adoption process

  1. Interview
    • The officer will review your adoption questionnaire, ask some follow up questions, then approve you to meet with available pets by signing the bottom of the paperwork. This signed questionnaire is your "ticket" to interact with potential matches.
  2. Interact
    • If you find an animal you are interested in, collect the green "I'm Available!" sheet from the front of their kennel and present it with your approved adoption questionnaire to an officer or volunteer.
    • An officer or volunteer will facilitate a meet-and-greet with the pet, including a meet-and-greet with any resident pets of the same type (for dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs only).
  3. Adoption counseling
    • Before the adoption is completed, an officer will talk with you about the pet, its needs and challenges, and ensure that it is a good match. This is a great time to ask any questions about the pet or about pet ownership and adoption in general.
  4. Paperwork
    • Complete the adoption agreement paperwork.
  5. Pay fees
    • Bring your paperwork to the cashier window and pay the applicable adoption and licensing fees.
  6. Celebrate!
    • Most pets in the shelter can leave with you the same day. There are rare occasions where the pet will need to stay for additional veterinary care or spay/neuter surgery, in which case the officer will advise you when your pet will be ready for pickup.