Adoption Procedure & FAQ

How can I adopt a homeless animal?

The process begins by filling out an application. Once your application is reviewed, a member of our volunteer staff will contact you regarding next steps.  


The process typically goes pretty quickly (sometimes even same day!), so please do not fill out an application if you are not yet ready to adopt. In any case, please allow up to 10 business days for your application to be approved. You are welcome to contact us via email if you don't hear back about your application status. 


You can also visit us at our adoption events, which are held on Saturday and Sunday of most weekends.  We do highly recommend that you fill out the application before attending the events, so as not to delay the process of bringing your new family member home with you!

What is your adoption process?

  • Once you fill out an application, you will receive a confirmation email stating that it has been received. If you do not receive a confirmation, we have not received your application.

  • Within 5-7 business days, you will receive an email from us requesting a response from one of your references. Please forward this email to your reference and have them email us back the answers.

  • Within 48 hours of receiving your reference, we will have your application processed.

  • Once approved, you will receive an adoption approval email. Please review it carefully. 

  • The final step is to meet the pups! Our dogs and cats are available to be met in foster if they are already here, or from weekly adoption events if they have yet to arrive. Please check the pet’s profile on our website for arrival date and feel free to ask us via email if the dog is in foster already.

Do I need to fill out an application for each pup / kitten that I’m interested in?

No! Please do not fill out multiple applications. We only require one application for generic approval. Please note that there are separate applications for dogs and cats. Once approved, you are eligible for any pup or kitten. 

I’m approved for the animal I was interested in, is it reserved for me? 

No, your approved application is generic and valid for any pup or kitten, not just the ones you applied for. Your application approval does not mean that you reserved a specific animal or that the pup you applied for is automatically yours. You will still need to attend our adoption event and put your name on the sign in sheet, or schedule a meeting with the foster. 


Please note that we have strict requirements for certain breeds like huskies, English bulldogs, pugs, frenchies. These requirements may be specific home environment, further proof of financial ability to support the animal, breed experience, etc.

I’m approved! Now what?

Upon approval, please come to our weekly adoption events to meet the pups! Our adoption process is first come, first adopt. We do not have waiting lists nor reserve animals to put you on the top of the list.

We recommend arriving at 9am to the event to sign in, and we call names off the sign in sheet at noon based on order of arrival. 


If you cannot make it to our event, please check the updated list of available animals on our website. If the animal has already arrived, we can connect you with the foster to schedule a meeting. 


If you decide it's a match and would like to move forward with adoption, you can then pay the non-refundable tax deductible donation and take the pup home. We will follow up with the adoption papers and medical records including shots, microchip, health certificate, and tax receipts via email. 

What should I bring to the adoption event / foster meeting?

Now that you’ve been approved, you are ready to meet your new pet! If you are interested in several pups or kittens, we always recommend coming to our adoption events. Event details can be found on our website. 


We also schedule foster meetings for potential adopters to meet the animals one-on-one. Please email us to schedule a meeting. 


Upon adoption, please bring your proof of approval (on paper or phone) and a form of ID. If you cannot attend and your family member is coming instead, please be sure they are listed on the application form as a secondary adopter or brings an ID that matches the address on your application. 

Does my application expire?

No, as long as your living situation and finances to support an animal remains the same, your application is still valid. If anything changes, please let IOHR know as soon as possible.

I am adopting out of state, is this possible?

Yes, we accept adoption applications from non-NY states and allow out of state adoptions on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, adopters find it difficult to come to our adoption events in time to meet the pup they are interested in. IOHR will work hard with you to ensure you can adopt the pup. We typically do not adopt animals to southern states with high shelter rates due to many animals in your area already needing homes. 


If the animal is available and you would like to proceed with adoption, we request the adopter to personally come to NYC and pick up the pup or kitten in the same manner as a local adopter would. We do not have the capacity to arrange transportation.

Where do your animals come from?

IOHR rescues animals from all over the US as well as the world. We work with partners in Animal Control facilities and shelters, rescue dogs from breeder situations and assist international rescuers desperate to get their pups to families in the US. The practice of mass poisonings of strays by the government in Middle East countries is pretty unknown to most to the US. We work to educate people on these issues as they are just as important as issues commonly seen in the US.

Most, if not all of the time, we have zero information about the breeders that we get our dogs from. We do not have relationships or direct contact with these commercial breeders. We do however have relationships with the vets in the area as well as residents who are in contact with these breeders and this is how we rescue these pups.


If you are looking for a list of breeders to target in an effort to shut down puppy mills, we recommend starting with the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred List.

What is the adoption fee to adopt a pet? Is it negotiable?

IOHR operates mainly off of a breed based fee range similar to that of a Golden Retriever rescue or a French Bulldog rescue. Please inquire about the fee for a specific dog. 


The fees are payable in full at the time of adoption and are not negotiable under any circumstance.  Animals are a significant responsibility and adoptive families need to be prepared to care for a pet as a family member, both emotionally and financially and our feeling as a group is that if you cannot afford this fee then you are not in a place to own a pet.


What does my adoption fee do for the rescue?

The organization has to incur costs for each and every pet it rescues. Some examples are: vetting and medical care, quarantine and boarding for puppies to ensure there are no health issues, shots, deworming, flea/tick medication, spay/neutering, microchip insertion if applicable, transportation and gas (often from more than 1,000 miles away), food, leashes, incidentals, and operational costs outside of animals' needs.  


While some dogs only need standard care, others require more extensive veterinary care or behavioral attention. As a non-profit organization, we rely entirely on adoption fees, donations, and fundraising to enable us to continue rescuing dogs.

How / why do you get purebred dogs?


Over the last 12 years, our director Jennifer Lamb, has cultivated relationships with rescuers all of the country and the world. She has been at the forefront of dog auctions, witnessing the brutality and lack of care that occurs there. It is because of the amount of time she has spent in the rescue world that people trust they can reach out to us with unwanted dogs and we will take them no questions asked. What started as IOHR helping to take the soon to be “retired” breeder moms and dads changed to us being asked to take puppies and adults of all breeds for the most trivial reasons such as coloring not being right, small imperfections (cut above an eye, missing paw, umbilical hernia) or even just aged out.


This is solely about the animals, the breeders we get purebreds from are registered with USDA, they are known and monitored. To clarify, if we did not take these dogs their next step would be being sold in auction to the highest bidder to be used for breeding or euthanasia. Please keep in mind these breeders see animals as commodities, not pets or valued family members. If a breeder mom or dad is not producing correctly, they will not be kept as another mouth to feed. While this may seem unorthodox, this is the sad reality of a situation that is legal by the US Government but cannot be monitored highly enough due to overload and not enough inspectors.


Why do your fees change so drastically for these dogs?


Typically we will operate off of a breed based fee tier similar to breed specific rescues. At the same time, we are taking in Labradoodle puppies, we are also taking in breeder moms with cancerous mammary tumors, dogs with double entropion, dogs with dental disease, pregnant and heartworm positive dogs (all currently in our care). These dogs need the proper vetting before adoption, their lower fees will not cover the vet bills that they have incurred. 


To read more about Laws, Puppy mills, Amish puppy mills and breeder dogs, please check out the links below.


Puppy Mills & The Law

Amish Puppy Mills

Puppy Mill FAQ


What if I adopt a pet and it just doesn’t work out?

If you can’t keep a pet, by contract, you are REQUIRED to contact us. As noted on your application, you have agreed to work with a trainer regarding any issues you have seen, we have many trainers listed on our Resources page. We reserve the right to tell you that you NEED to work with a trainer. However, the fee is always non-refundable and will be considered a tax deductible donation.

Can you call me when you have a certain type of dog?

No, unfortunately we do not have the capability to keep track of individual requests. We recommend you set up an alert on Petfinder for the breed you are interested in. Also don't forget to please check the website frequently! It is updated daily!

Can I pay the fee and pick the dog up in a week?

Unfortunately, no. It's not about the money for us, it's just a lack of foster space. If we are holding a dog for you, there is another dog dying in a shelter because we are not able to pull him. You are welcome to check back when you are ready to take the dog home, and if he is still available, you can adopt at that time.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept the following payments:


  • Cash (preferred)

  • Money order (preferred)

  • Zelle 

  • Apple Pay

  • PayPal (plus $35 additional fee)

Do you have a dog trainer who will help me with my newly adopted dog?

We have multiple! Check our our Resources page to see a full list of our trainers, along with discounts on grooming, boarding, day care, walking, and more!

Click here to see our adoptable animals!