Adoption Policies

Friends of Homeless Animals reserves the right to refuse placement of any animal for any reason. The well-being and safety of the animal comes first. Friends of Homeless Animals requires that all dogs and cats adopted from our organization be family members and thus dwell inside the home.

  • Adopters must complete an online application or have a telephone interview prior to visiting our shelter.

  • We adopt in the greater Washington DC area. Part of our approval process is a home visit so we need to have a volunteer, within a reasonable distance from adopters, to fulfill that part of the process.

  • Adopters must be at least 21 years of age.

  • Completing the application is the initial step in the adoption process and does not guarantee that an adoption will occur.

  • All adults of the household must be in agreement before adopting an animal and must be present when you fill out an adoption application. Some exceptions may apply.

  • All members of the household must meet the pet before the application is considered complete and becomes active.

  • In cases of a dog adoption, all canine members of the household must also meet the potential new canine family member prior to adoption.  For the safety of the animals, the use of retractable leashes is restricted on our property.  If you do not have a standard leash, we have one you may borrow while visiting.

  • The Adoption Committee must approve all applications.

  • A home visit will be scheduled if the application is accepted.

  • Vet references will be checked. All animals presently in your care must be spayed or neutered. Some exceptions may apply.

  • All dogs currently in your care must be on heartworm preventative. Some exceptions may apply.

  • If you are renting your home or are in a condo association, you must provide a copy of the lease or association agreement at the time of your home visit.

  • Misrepresentations on an application will automatically disqualify you from adoption.

  • The placement process, from application to adoption, typically takes one week. In some specific cases, it may take longer. Why the rigorous process? When we accept a dog or cat into our rescue, we make a commitment to him or her, to care for them, get them healthy again and find them a wonderful, loving home. We want to make sure that our applicants understand the lifetime commitment they are making and that they can provide our animals with a great new life.

  • On occasion there is considerable interest in a particular dog. FOHA will accept only one application at a time on an individual dog. All applications will go through the usual process of review, including an application, visit to the shelter and home visit. After the visit to the shelter when all members of the family have met the dog (including canine members of the family), the application will be activated and sent to the home visit team and the website will state that the dog is "Pending Adoption." If for some reason an applicant does not complete the process, the website will reflect the change from "Pending Adoption" to "Up for Adoption".  Friends of Homeless Animals reserves the right to refuse placement of any animal for any reason. 

  • Once an application is placed, FOHA cannot hold an animal longer than a week - the time it takes to process the application and visit your home. If you can't finalize the adoption and pick up your new family member the following weekend, the animal will remain available for adoption. Some exceptions may apply.

  • Friends of Homeless Animals does not adopt animals as gifts.

  • All FOHA animals are the sole custody of Friends of Homeless Animals.

If you read and agree to these guidelines and would like to inquire about adopting one of our dogs or cats, call our Adoption Line at 703-385-0224 (if you’re under 18, have your parents call). Please leave a message and a volunteer will get back to you as soon as possible. Your message should include your name, phone number, place of residence, and questions about the animals you’re interested in. All adopters must have a telephone interview or complete an online application before visiting the shelter.  If you complete an online application, someone will contact you either via phone or email regarding visiting our facility.  

Visiting Our Facility

  1. Upon arrival at the facility, please check in at the adoption office. For dog adoptions, everyone 18 and older is required to read and sign the requirements for visitors.

  2. All persons living in the home must meet the new companion before your application can be processed.

  3. In cases of a dog adoption, all canine members of the household must also meet the new companion before your application can be processed. For safety reasons, the use of a retractable leash is restricted at the facility. If you do not have a standard leash, we will have one you may borrow while visiting.

  4. Our adoption process takes one week.  Once an application is placed, FOHA cannot hold an animal longer than that.  If you are unable to finalize the adoption and pick up your new companion the following weekend, the animal will remain available for adoption.  Please take this into consideration when you plan your visit.  Some exceptions may apply.

FOHA’s Adoption Process

FOHA uses a multi-step adoption process that includes 1) prescreening, 2) an adoption application, 3) veterinary reference check, 4) home visit, and finally 5) adoption contract. Our volunteer adoption counselors guide you through this adoption process. Our objective: to help you and your family find the best adoptive pet for you and to provide you the tips and tools required to successfully transition your new pet into your home and family. FOHA’s adoption process reflects the serious commitment involved in adopting a new family pet.

The adoption process typically takes one week.  As FOHA adopts cats and dogs to loving families, we are able to save other animals in need of safety – many of them at risk of immediate euthanasia. Therefore, we cannot hold dogs or cats beyond the standard adoption application period. If you are moving or going on vacation in the near future, please present your application for adoption AFTER you are settled in your new situation or returned to your home.

The Adoption Contract

Once your adoption is approved, you must complete and sign an adoption contract and pay an adoption donation fee. The adoption donation fee reflects your commitment to your new pet and allows FOHA to continue its work of saving and rehabilitating animals in need. Effective September 15, 2011 our adoption donation fees are as follows:

  • Dogs: $325 for one / $50 discount for second dog.  An additional $5/per dog will be charged per bag of dog food. This is a required purchase in order to wean the dog/puppy to the food you choose to use.

  • Puppies under 1 year old: $375

  • Cats under age 9: $125

  • Senior cats: $100

  • Kittens: $150 plus $15 mandatory microchipping fee

FOHA’s shelter is located on private property in Loudoun County, Virginia. Our on-site adoption hours are:

  • Fridays: 12-5

  • Saturdays: 12-5

  • Sundays: 12-5

  • Mondays: 12-5

Check our Events page for off-site adoption events throughout the community.

While the majority of our animals live at the shelter, a number of our adoptable pets live in foster homes. If you should be interested in meeting one of our fostered pets, our adoption counselors will help facilitate a meeting at the shelter, at an off-site adoption event, or at the foster home at a mutually convenient time.

FOHA’s Commitment

At FOHA, we care deeply about the placement of our animals in loving homes. Our adoption process focuses on identifying families ready to take on this responsibility and helping those families find the best match. Adoption is a commitment for lifelong care, a commitment that must be taken seriously – each adopter must consider the time, financial, and emotional commitment required in introducing a new pet to the family and providing for the pet’s lifetime care. Friends of Homeless Animals reserves the right to refuse placement of any animal for any reason.

Ready to Start the Adoption Process?

You’ve done your research. You’ve given serious consideration to the commitment you’re about to make. Everyone in your home is ready and anxious to add a new furry family member. You’ve looked at the pictures and read the bios of our pets for adoption. You’re ready to learn more or to begin the adoption process. Here’s how you can get started:

Complete an online adoption application.

For more information about any of our pets or our adoption process, or to receive an adoption application you can complete off-line, email or Note that prescreened individuals can also complete their adoption application on-site or at an adoption event. To reach us via phone, call 703-385-0224 and follow the prompts to the appropriate email inbox.

Preparing for A Successful Transition

At the same time that you’re meeting your new potential family member, you’ll want to start thinking about how to make his or her transition into your family and your home a success. Just imagine the process from the pet’s point of view – new people, new environment, new everything! The process of transitioning into a new adoptive home can heighten stress and anxiety of a cat or dog. Every pet’s transition will be different. FOHA is here to help you plan ahead to make that transition period as successful as possible and as safe as possible for your new pet and your family.

We highly recommend each potential adopter review these tips PRIOR to bringing home their new pet.

To read about "Bringing Your FOHA Dog Home," click here.

To learn more about “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a New Feline Family Member,” click here.