Adopt

$75 Adoption Fee

$50 Adoption Fee

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Adoption ProcesS

Fill out an adoption application form
and email to 

adoptions@paws-shelter.org

Adoption Hours

Tuesday - Sunday 

10am - 5pm

Call (850) 243-1525 to speak with

an adoption counselor

Click here to learn about our Seniors for Seniors Program!

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Bringing your dog home

Make Them Feel Comfortable

We don't always know our rescue dog's history or what they’ve been through. The best thing you can do is make sure they feel safe and secure. Be patient with them as they learn their new environment. Make sure they have an indoor space that’s just their own (and preferably near you), with warm, soft, and comfortable bedding that will make them feel right at home.

Build trust and bond

Like most relationships, getting to know each other and building trust can take time. Allow your dog time to settle in and slowly start to bond with them by going for walks, grooming, and playing games. 

CAREFUL INTRODUCTIONS

Bringing a rescue dog into your home can be a big and scary new experience for them. It's best to let them get comfortable in their new environment before introducing them to your other pets. 

 

Introduce your dogs on neutral territory as this can ease tensions and prevent territorial aggression. Make sure to supervise carefully and provide both dogs with lots of treats, cuddles, and pats when they behave well. Take them for a walk together and give them plenty of opportunities to smell each other and become acquainted. 

3-3-3 Rule

3 DAYS

​Your dog may:

  • Feel overwhelmed by their surroundings

  • Not feel comfortable enough to be himself

  • Not want to eat their food or drink their water

  • Be scared and unsure of what’s going on

  • Shut down and curl up in their bed

  • Behave defiantly and test your boundaries

3 WEEKS

​​Your dog may:

  • Start to settle in

  • Feel more comfortable

  • Figure out his environment

  • Get into the routine you’ve set

  • Let their guard down and start showing their real personality 

  • Start showing ingrained behavior issues

  • Figure out this is their new home

3 MONTHS

​​Your dog may:

  • Feel comfortable at home

  • Have built trust and a true bond with you

  • Have gained a complete sense of security with their new family

  • Embrace their new routine wholeheartedly

Bringing your Cat home

  • Your new cat may be confused and distant when you first bring them home.

  • Keep them in a small room with their litter box, food, water, scratching post, toys and a bed for several days to a week. Slowly give them access to more rooms in the home.

  • New foods and stress can equal a lack of appetite. Start with small amounts and a special treat to motivate feeding. Leave the room if needed. 

  • Have plenty of accessible water. If the cat has not eaten or drank in 24 hours or seems lethargic or sick, please call your veterinarian or the shelter where you adopted your pet.

  • Give your cat “safe” places where they can hide, such as large paper bags, boxes or blankets.

  • Using a Feliway spray or plug-in can help reduce stress. These products can be found online or at local pet stores. 

  • Let the cat come to you. Using calming body language and allowing the cat to approach you will help tremendously. If you force interaction, it may cause more harm than good. 

  • Introducing play can also help with bonding. 

  • Wait to introduce other pets. Letting them adjust during this time can make for a much easier introduction.

Additional Resources:

The Humane Society of the United States

ASPCA

BASIC TIPS
INTRODUCING TO OTHER PETS

Realistic Expectations

You can’t force your pets to like each other. Go slow during the introduction process to increase your chances for success. 

 

Patient and SLOW

Your current pet and your new cat need to be introduced very slowly so they can get used to each other before a face-to-face meeting. Slow introductions help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing. 

Giving Good Impressions

While your new cat is decompressing in their small room:

 

  • Feed your resident pets and the newcomer on each side of the door to associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each other's smells. 

  • Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.

  • Try to get your pets to interact with a toy. Tie a toy to each end of a string, then place it so there's a toy on either side of the door. 

  • Be sure to spend plenty of time with your new cat in their room, but don't ignore your resident cat.

  • Swap the blankets or beds the cats use to increase familiarity with their scent. 

  • Allow the animals to see each other without being able to make physical contact. 

 

Stopping Conflict

  • If there are signs of increasing aggression (flattened ears, growling, spitting and crouching) make a loud noise by clapping your hands or throw a pillow nearby to distract them. 

  • Repeat the introduction process as needed or seek additional advice from your shelter. 

  • Never try to break up a cat fight by picking one up.

  • Make sure all cats have a "safe" place to escape to.