Q: Can I meet the dog prior to adoption?
A: In most cases, the answer is no. The majority of our dogs come up from Mississippi and Alabama. We typically try to adopt out the dog PRIOR to coming to Massachusetts. We know that most people want to meet the dog prior to adoption, but that is why Sweet Paws offers the “Foster to Adopt” program which allows you to bring the dog into your home for 2 weeks before finalizing your decision to adopt. If the dog you are interested in is in Massachusetts, we will set you up with their foster parent to do a meet and greet.
Q: I like a specific dog, but I won’t be ready to adopt for another month or so, can you hold the dog?
A: Unfortunately we cannot hold any dogs. Because Sweet Paws Rescue has no formal shelter facility, all of our adoptions are on a “first come, first served” basis. Is it possible that the dog you are interested in will still be available in a month, absolutely. But we cannot guarantee or hold any dogs for any reason. We have a limited number of foster homes and need to move dogs to their “forever homes” as soon as identified.
Q: What is the adoption fee?
A: The adoption fee is $450, which covers all AGE APPROPRIATE shots, spay/neuter (which will need to be completed at Sweet Paws Rescue’s vet if it is not done before transport) and transport to MA.
Q: Can I get a discount on the adoption fee?
A: Because we are a non-profit organization, we survive on donations and adoption fees. The cost of the adoption ($450) does not cover what we pay in total to transport, vet and house a healthy puppy (typically around $600).
Q: What do I need to do to adopt a dog?
A: First and foremost, you must fill out an adoption application on our website. You will be asked several questions and you must give 3 personal references and a vet reference (if you have current pets). If you rent, your landlord’s information is also needed. If you own your own, we will need a copy of your mortgage statement, or electric bill, or something that identifies you as the home owner. We will also coordinate a home visit to make sure that you house in an adequate environment for a dog.
Q: How long does the entire adoption process take?
A: First, you must fill out an adoption application and go through approval process (this may take anywhere from 24 to 96 hours) Once you are approved, we will attempt connect you with your dog’s foster family in the South. At times, a dog may be able to get on transport within a week or two; sometimes it’s longer (depending on the health and age of the dog). You will be aware when your dog’s potential transport date is, and you will be contacted by a Sweet Paws Rescue team member the week of transport to arrange pick-up times and place. You will know as soon as possible if there are any changes in the transport dates of your dog. Please be aware that things can happen quickly and your dog may come up sooner or later than originally expected.
Q: What is ISO?
A: ISO stands for Isolation. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture requires that every dog coming into the state (as part of a rescue organization) have a USDA health certificate within 10 days of travel AND once arriving in Massachusetts, spend 48 hours in a MDA Certified Quarantine facility. The dogs are given a general wellness exam (by a MA vet) prior to their release from quarantine and if given a clean bill of health, are free to be released.
Q: Can I go visit my dog while he/she is in ISO?
A: No. This is standard protocol and we cannot make exceptions to this rule.
Q: When and where can I pick up my dog?
A: You will be given a specific time to come and pick your dog up from ISO (you will also be given the address). Please be aware that we are only given a small window (we share this facility with other rescues) and we need to be mindful. Pick-ups are typically Saturday mornings, usually between 9 AM and 11 AM. This can change and pick-ups may be scheduled mid-week, depending on transports and ISO space. Please understand that we do not have a place for these pups to go after they get out of ISO, so you will be responsible for making arrangements if you cannot be at the ISO facility at your designated time.
Q: What do I need when I pick up my dog?
A: Please bring a leash and collar. Some dogs are already wearing collars (typically adults) but it’s good to get yours on the dog as soon as you can. Some of them (puppies typically) do not know how to walk on a leash and will need to be carried. HOWEVER, you will want to attach the leash to their collar in case they jump down. Also, you MUST bring your payment with you to pick. We accept cash, bankers check or credit card payments. **We are no longer accepting personal checks** If you dog does not work out within the first two weeks, Sweet Paws will refund your adoption fee (minus $50) in the form of a check.
Q: Will I get any paperwork when I pick up my dog?
A: Yes, your dog will come with its veterinary paperwork; from the South as well as the vet recheck from MA. Please bring this paperwork with you when you schedule an appointment with your own vet.
Q: My dog is dirty from transport, is that normal?
A: Yes, these dogs are on transport for 24 hours and then in ISO for 48 hours. It is extremely common for your dog to be smelly and dirty. It is also very normal for your dog to have small scratches, cuts, and scabs. Most of these guys are coming from less than ideal situations and may have some “wear and tear”. No dog will be allowed on transport with “open wounds” so don’t worry about that.
Q: My dog has worms! What do I do and will Sweet Paws pay for it?
A: It is 100% normal for dogs and puppies to get worms. If your dog or puppy does have worms, you would need to bring a stool sample to your own veterinarian and get dewormer from them. Sweet Paws Rescue does not cover this cost. Prior to transport, each dog has a negative fecal result from the vet (meaning no worms, parasites, etc show up on their fecal exam) HOWEVER, because of the stress of transport and worms ability to stay in the intestinal track, they can often reappear. It is very common and nothing to be too worried about. Just pick up their poop and dispose of it right after they go.
Q: What should I feed my dog?
A: Now is the ideal time to put your dog on whatever food you would like to feed them. Because there have been several transitions (foster, transport, ISO) you have the opportunity to start your dog on a healthy diet. If you have any questions about dog food, please ask.
Q: My dog has diarrhea, is this normal?
A: Yes, diarrhea can be caused by stress in dogs (also worms, change of diet, etc). Because your dog has experienced multiple transitions in a short period of time, it is very common for dogs to have diarrhea. What you want to look for is any blood or mucus in the stool, this may indicate something more serious. Also, make sure that your dog is drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. Typically, a dog’s diarrhea can take anywhere from a couple of days to over a week to become formed, hard stool.