Adoption Info

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Adoption Guidelines and Requirements

  • Applicants and Co-Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • All pets must be up to date on vaccines/titer tests (vaccine protocol includes rabies vaccine and distemper/parvo, and a bordetella vaccine is recommended), and documented monthly heartworm prevention, at least 6 months every year as a minimum, to also include an annual heartworm test.
  • If you have had a pet in the last 10 years, we do need the name and contact information for the veterinarian who provided medical care to your pet.  We will want to verify that the dog was kept current on vaccines, annual heartworm testing and on monthly heartworm preventative.  If this cannot be documented, we cannot move forward with your application.
  • One of the most common situations we see are dogs that need to be re-homed because a person can no longer care for them or has passed away.  We do ask for co-applicants on applications from many single applicants to help ensure the long-term stability of the dog. While our adoption contract does require that all dogs must be returned to us if the adopter cannot care for the dog, we prefer to pre-approve co-applicants so that adopter can have peace of mind should they not be able to care for the dog and the rescue can be assured that a home that meets our standards has been arranged for our foster dog.
  • Heartworm testing and prevention:  We do require that current dogs have an up to date heartworm test and be on monthly heartworm prevention.  We do regularly get questions about the prevalence of heartworm infections in Ohio.  While it is more common in the South where mosquitoes are more prevalent year round, it is seen in Ohio.  Additionally, the more comprehensive heartworm test also checks for tickborne (lyme, anaplasma, erlichia, etc.) diseases, which ARE more prevalent in Ohio.  Using a heartworm and flea/tick preventative is much more cost effective than treating an infection, not to mention easier on your dog.
  • The dog may never be allowed off a leash/lead unless it is in a securely fenced yard. Some of our adoptive dogs have a requirement for a fenced yard--in those situations we will only consider those homes with a secure, physically fenced yard.
  • We do not adopt to homes who use an invisible or underground fence as a containment means and our adoption contract does not permit a shock collar of any kind to be used on the dogs. Invisible fences, in addition to being a negative training method, do not offer any protection for small dogs from predators coming into their environment and doing them harm.  If you have an invisible fence, you have no fence.  If your neighborhood does not permit a structural fence, then the use of a leash and daily walks is the preferred method.  We have not come to this decision lightly and everything we do is about keeping our foster dogs safe and setting them up for success in their permanent home and we appreciate your understanding.  Below are links to articles that provide additional details about why invisible fences can be such an issue for many dogs.
  • Small breed dogs should not be left alone outside unsupervised.  We do not approve applications for applicants who leave their dogs outside or give them outside access when they are not home.  There are too many horror stories of predators like hawks, owls, coyotes and humans taking small breed dogs from back yards.  
  • Dogs are not meant to be surprise gifts.  The application must be in the name and address of the potential adopter and they need to be involved in the process.  We regularly contacted by people who want to adopt a dog for their parents or grandparents, etc.  We are huge proponents of the positive effects of companion animals, but they need to be involved in the process.  Another way to help a family member or friend would be a sponsorship of the adoption donation for their future family member.   
  • We do adopt out of state to outstanding applicants with a verifiable veterinary history; however, please understand that it can take additional time to complete the processing of your application. We do not ship or transport our dogs, if you are out of state and interested in adopting, you must be willing to come to Ohio to pick up your new family member.

Adoption Process

  • The first step in the adoption process is to submit an online application.  Please do not ask us to call you before an application is submitted as the number of inquiries makes that impossible.  We are an all-volunteer, foster home based organization and all of our dogs are in private foster homes throughout the state.  We do not have a facility that you can come visit.  We do not have a shelter.   We do not schedule meet and greets until after an application is fully approved. 
  • Our volunteers are processing hundreds of applications at any point in time and it does generally take several weeks to process an application.  Please refrain from requesting updates on your application if it has been less than 3 weeks.  When you submit an application, you will receive an automated email telling you that your application has been successfully submitted.  If you have not received this email, please check your SPAM folder. (NOTE: if you submitted your application using an or email address, please be sure to mark our email domain as a safe sender)
  • Adoption application is completed online on our Forms/Applications page and submitted automatically to Ohio Fuzzy Pawz.
  • If the application is successfully submitted, the applicant will receive an automated email letting them know that their application has been received.
  • OFP volunteer reviews application for completeness.  If the application is incomplete, it will be returned to the applicant via email notification.   Failure to provide references (first and last names) or reference contact information will stop any processing.  We generally have hundreds of applications that are currently being processed so it is difficult to ask for additional information if not provided.  Based on information provided on the application, the OFP volunteer does an initial assessment if applicant is good match for specified pet and proceeds to clarify any unclear information on the application.  If the applicant fails to respond to adoption questions or provide requested information to the OFP volunteer, the application will be denied. 
  • If potential adopter and pet are deemed to be good match or if a dog was not specified, the volunteer proceeds to contact references and get their replies.  OFP regularly receives multiple applications for a single dog.  We do not adopt on a first come, first served basis.   We always try to determine which home which be the best fit for the dog. Preference is always given to approved application and to those applications with a solid, verifiable veterinary reference.  
  • All pets in the home must be current on the rabies and distemper/parvo vaccines as well as have a current heartworm test and prevention, visit vet as recommended and altered. Your vet will need to provide to OFP verification if they recommend against a spay/neuter.
  • We attend various dog related events throughout the area.  We do not do adoptions at these unless prior arrangements have been made with approved applicants.
  • If your current pets are NOT current on vaccines or heartworm testing/prevention, the processing of your application will not continue until we have confirmation from your veterinarian that the vaccines and/or heartworm testing/prevention have been updated.  We are unable to hold dogs while you update your current dogs vaccines or heartworm testing.  
  • Once the references have been successfully verified, an OFP volunteer will contact applicant to set up the home visit. 
  • Since the pandemic, we have moved almost entirely to a virtual process.  We are currently conducting virtual home visits for applicants.  All of our home visits are done virtually with a video call using either Facetime (for iPhone users) or Google Meet (Android users). The purpose of the home visit is to see the home and yard of your home where the dog will be living and to meet everyone who lives in the home. It is also an opportunity to answer any questions, you might have about the process.  The volunteer may not be able to answer questions about a specific dog, but we are able to answer most questions at this time.
  • No application is approved until a home visit has been completed.   Everyone who lives in the household must be present at the home visit. The home check is an opportunity for a volunteer to see where a dog would be living, sleeping, playing, etc. as well as taking a look at your yard.  It also provides an opportunity to meet the members of the household.  We look at the application process, including the home visit, as a conversation with applicants to help determine what type of dog would work best in the home.  If you have a fenced yard, the fence should secure enough to contain a small dog.  Be sure to pay special attention to gates and the bottom of the fencing.  Not all of our dogs require a securely fenced yard, but if you have a fenced yard, we do want to ensure that it is secure enough for any dog you might adopt.
  • Once the home visit is completed, the volunteer will provide their notes back to the Directors.  The entire application is reviewed and the application will be notified.  Sometimes this last step can about a week, depending on schedules and volunteer availability.
  • If applicant is not considered a good match for the specified pet indicated, OFP may suggest other pets that are available and considered a better match.
  • If applicant is considered a good match, a meet and greet is scheduled. In most situations, the adoption can take place at the time of meeting the dog. At the time of adoption, the applicant will sign the adoption contract and pay the adoption donation.
  • ​ OFP cannot hold dogs once an adoption has been approved.  We are fortunate to receive multiple applications on many of our dogs.  It is not fair the dog or to other adopters to hold a dog.  Additionally, we generally have a wait list of dogs needing to come into rescue and since we are a foster-home based organization, every space matters.
  • Please keep in mind that our organization is made up completely of volunteers, who work regular jobs and have other commitments.  We all work as quickly as possible but it is not unusual to have around 400 applications currently being processed, so while we say that it generally takes less than two weeks, it can also take several weeks.  If your application is incomplete, if we have questions or are unable to reach your references, your application will be delayed. 

**OFP has the right to refuse any adoption we do not feel is the best interest of the animal. **


  • If you are a previous adopter and have not an application updated within the last 3 years, please submit a new application.
  • Once the virtual home visit has been completed, your application will have a final review and you will receive an email providing you with a final update.  Since every situation can be different, it can takes several days to a week to receive this email. In the email we will also provide an update on the dog's status if you specified a dog on your application. The email also provides instructions on how to move forward.
  • All inquiries for approved applications should be sent to the Applications Team at . Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and it may take a couple days for a response depending on current volumes and volunteer availability. 
  • When you reach out about a dog, please keep in mind that we do not adopt on a first come, first served basis but we always want the best fit for the dog.