How do I adopt a pet? What instructions do I need to follow post-adoption?
For instructions on how to adopt; our adoption fees and what is included with those fees; and post-adoption instructions and requirements, see How to adopt.
Can I take my new pet home the same day?
In most cases, yes. We actually prefer for you to take your new pet home so that he/she can get started being a part of your family. If you know you are in the market for a pet, it is a good idea to have some things ready for your new pet such as bedding, food, bowls, and toys. That way, when you fall in love with the right one, you both will be ready.
Has my new pet already been vaccinated?
Yes, your new pet will have had all of the vaccinations he/she needs up until the point of adoption. This means that you may have to get more vaccines as they become due but we will have taken care of what they need up until the date of adoption.
Has my new pet already been spayed/neutered?
In some cases, your pet may not yet have been spayed or neutered due to age or other circumstances. If so, we will pre-adopt the pet to you. In these circumstances, San Antonio Pets Alive! still has legal ownership of the pet until they have received surgery.
What if a dog I am interested in is Heartworm Positive?
Because heartworms are so prevalent in Texas, we do have a number of dogs that have tested positive for heartworms in our program. In general, we will process your adoption and then give you recommendations on how to get the treatment done once your pet acclimates to your environment. We can give you low-cost options for treatment, and in some cases, will reduce the cost of the adoption fee. We will be following up ensure that the dog is being treated. We will not adopt a dog who is heartworm positive that will not receive treatment.
It is important that a dog undergoing heartworm treatment is calm and relaxed for a few weeks following treatment so we prefer for the treatment to occur in your home as opposed to being in our program.
What is your return policy?
If you need to return your adopted pet for any reason, please e-mail us at returns@
If you are having behavioral or medical issues with the pet, please specify the problem as SAPA! may be able to assist, to avoid adoption return.
Can I get my adoption donation refunded if my new pet doesn’t work out?
In general, no. We want potential pet owners to be sure they are ready to adopt. We encourage you to think through the decision before you adopt, rather than after. We are willing to work through any issues that arise and depending on the situation, we may be able to offer an exchange (if the pup you chose doesn’t get along with an existing pet for example) or a partial refund (for extenuating circumstances).
I found a pet that I want to adopt but am not sure if he/she will work out in my home with my other pets. Can I do a trial adoption?
We do trial adoptions in certain situations, usually just for our adult pets. If you are interested in a trial adoption, speak with the counselor at the adoption event about your situation. You will be required to do all of the adoption paperwork and pay the adoption fee, but your contract will have a stipulation that entitles you to a full refund if you return the pet to us within a certain timeframe.
We usually don’t do trial adoptions with puppies. Puppies will almost always get along well with the other pets in the home. We would prefer that an adopter be 100% ready and committed to that puppy before adopting. If you have concerns about raising a puppy, please talk to a counselor. You might discover that one of our older dogs will be a better fit for your lifestyle since they are usually much less work than a puppy.
In addition, we do require that you spend at least 30 minutes with your potential adopted pet. If you have others dogs at home, they may also be required to spend that 30 minutes with the potential adopted dog before an adoption application can be completed.
What do I do with my new pet if he/she gets sick after I adopt him/her?
Every pet leaves our care with health insurance from ShelterCare. You can use the insurance at any vet clinic (you have to file all the paperwork). It will cover your pet for 30 days and up to $750 per incident (after a $75 deductible).
Please read your insurance information carefully and be sure to activate it. Many of our pets have just come out of the shelter, where they could have caught something. While all of our pets are under the supervision of a vet, there are diseases which tests cannot catch until the pet is showing symptoms.
This pet insurance only covers problems that have come up after adoption; it does not cover pre-existing conditions. The coverage begins 48 hours after adoption. Click here for more details about insurance from ShelterCare.
- profuse diarrhea
- not eating
- coughing/trouble breathing
- heavy nasal/eye discharge
What if I’m having problems with the pet I adopted from SAPA! and need help?
We try to set the right expectations about anything that we know about the pet before you adopt (dogs/puppies need training and possibly housebreaking, separation anxiety is possible in dogs abandoned at shelters, puppies tend to cry the first few days, dogs/puppies need regular exercise to be good dogs, etc…) but if you are experiencing a problem, we want to help you fix it. Please check the behavior team page for places to find behavioral help.
We have volunteer trainers willing to help with behavioral issues and we have veterinarians that can offer advice on what to do with medical problems. We also send home every pet with 30 days of free health insurance that comes in handy should a medical problem develop after adoption. We want every adoption to be successful.
We will follow up with you 7, 30 and 90 days after you adopt from us, to ensure that you have the support that you need. If you need to contact us before that, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.