Before you visit

You've already taken the first step by looking for your new best friend in our online listings. If you see an animal online and would like more details before you visit, call our Adoption Center at (608) 838-0413 ext. 145. Staff are available to answer phone calls or return voicemails starting at 11:30 am each day.

It is important to discuss the adoption with all members of your household to confirm that everyone agrees with adopting a new pet. If you rent, you should also discuss the adoption with your landlord and make sure you understand any pet policies your landlord has.


Meeting the animals

The next step is to visit the Main Shelter or one of our satellite adoption locations to meet with animals you may be interested in.

See all hours and locations

The adoption process generally takes at least an hour and wait times at the Main Shelter can vary from 20 minutes to 3 hours during peak times. We cannot guarantee that guests arriving after 6 pm on weekdays or 4 pm on weekends will be able to meet with a pet because the last hour of the day is reserved for adopters who are scheduled to pick up their new best friend. During our busiest times, we may need to stop checking in clients prior to these times in order to accommodate potential adopters who are already on the waiting list. We strongly suggest coming in during non-peak hours (weekday afternoons) as it reduces the potential for long waits. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are our busiest times with the potential for lengthy waits.

Please do not bring your current pet with you when you come to visit shelter animals. For health and safety reasons, we do not allow members of the public to bring their personal pets into the kennel areas and we do not have staff available to hold your pets for you while you visit.

Available animals are met with on a first come, first served basis. During our busiest times, we may ask you to limit your visit to two animals. DCHS is not able to call adopters when specific breeds or types of animals come in. We encourage adopters to monitor the available animals on this website.


Adopting your new pet

Prior to meeting with an animal, we will ask you to complete a short adoption questionnaire. An Adoption Counselor will then help you meet with the animals you selected. We will share with you all of the animal's medical and behavioral information and explain their future needs. We will answer all of your questions and ask about your preferences, expectations and experience in order to do our best to help you find an animal that is a good match for your family.

While we encourage the entire household to meet with a potential pet, for most of our animals, this is a recommendation and not a requirement. We generally do not encourage or require dog to dog meet and greets due to the stress of the shelter environment but are happy to discuss this further with you and give you tips on how to do this successfully at home.

Animals that have been cleared medically are able to go home the same day! If, after counseling, you are ready to take your new pet home, we will review your pet's medical documents and have you read and sign an adoption agreement. We will also send you home with a small supply of the food your pet has been eating in order to get you started.


Adoption Fees and Holds

Adoption fees for dogs and cats include spay or neuter surgery, age appropriate vaccinations, flea and tick treatment, heartworm testing for dogs and other vaccines and veterinary care as needed.

See all adoption fees

Most animals are ready to go home with you right away but if either you or they need a little more time, DCHS will place an adoption hold on a specific animal for you in the following circumstances:

  • If the animal is ready to go home but you would like time to thoroughly consider your decision or time to prepare your household for your new pet, we can hold the animal for you until close of business the next day. The fee for this service is $20 in addition to the adoption fee.
  • If the animal has a medical need, such as spay/neuter surgery, before it can go home, we will hold the animal for you until it has been released to go home by our veterinary staff. In order to place this hold, we require a $20 non-refundable deposit that is applied towards the adoption fee The remainder of the adoption fee will be due at the time of adoption.
  • For cats that are available pending the end of their stray hold, we will hold the animal for you until the stray period is over and the animal has been medically cleared for adoption. In order to place this hold, we require a $20 non-refundable deposit that is applied towards the adoption fee The remainder of the adoption fee will be due at the time of adoption.

Taking your new pet home

Congratulations! You are ready to head home with your new pet! Dogs must go home with their own leash and collar. (Slip leashes, choke chains, prong collars and harnesses do not qualify.) Cats and critters must go home in secure carriers.

Leashes, collars, carriers and more are available for purchase at our adoption centers or you may bring your own with you when you pick up. Proceeds of sales at our main Adoption Center and Adoption Center West support the lifesaving work of Dane County Humane Society!


Female | Age Unknown
Domestic Shorthair

Male | Age Unknown
Domestic Shorthair

Male | 12 years
Chihuahua, Short Coat

Male | 3 months
Terrier, Pit Bull

Female | 1 year