adoption guidelines


Once an animal is rescued, it is hart's priority to find each dog a loving, safe and stable lifelong home. To assist in achieving our goal, we have established these hart Adoption Guidelines. These Guidelines will be applied to all adoption applications by hart and foster homes through our Adoption Process.

Adoption Criteria

  • Potential adopters must be at least 18 years of age.
  • hart will not proceed with a home visit or adoption to any individual showing signs of intoxication (alcohol or substance abuse) at the time.
  • Potential adopters must have reasonable expectations of the dog and not show intolerance or aggressiveness toward the dog.
  • Potential adopters must demonstrate they have the financial means to care for the dog. References may be required for students or unemployed individuals.
  • Individuals who have returned an adopted dog to hart for reasons which show a lack of understanding or compassion will not be allowed to adopt another dog.
  • Potential adopters who have euthanized an animal for reasons other than severe health or who have surrendered an animal to another organization, or given an animal away for reasons which show a lack of understanding or compassion with respect to the animal's needs and natural behavior will not be allowed to adopt a hart dog. 

Multiple Applications and Finding the Best Match for the Dog

Adoptions are not done on a "first-come, first-served" basis, meaning that the first applicant does not have an automatic claim to the dog. While hart will consider applications in the order in which they are received, hart reserves the right to consider more than one application at a time until the right match for the dog is found. hart may also place a hold on incoming applications to allow the foster home time to consider current applications. Where there are multiple applications for a particular dog, the best match for the dog will always be the primary consideration.

Special Needs Adoptions

Some hart dogs may have specific medical and/or behavioural needs and therefore may be listed as "special needs adoptions". Where necessary, the adoption process for these dogs may be modified and include additional steps such as multiple visits between the potential adopter and the hart dog, meetings with the behaviouralist or trainer currently working with the hart dog, or a commitment to continue training with the dog after adoption.

Out-of-Town Adopters

All hart dogs are fostered in homes in the greater Edmonton area. Potential adopters who live outside of the greater Edmonton area will be considered as potential adopters provided they adhere to the steps in the adoption process and the foster home is in full agreement. At a minimum, out of town potential adopters will be required to travel to Edmonton to meet the hart dog. Detailed photos of the potential adopter's home and yard, as well as references, may be requested. If the adoption is approved, the adopter will be responsible for providing transportation of the hart dog to the new home.


All dogs adopted through hart must be spayed/neutered. Based on the dog's age at adoption, some may be altered prior to moving to their permanent homes. Some may be too young, so hart will work with the adopter to arrange a spay/neuter appointment at a veterinary clinic authorized by hart and hart will cover the costs of this procedure. Spay/neuter is a condition of every hart adoption.  If a potential adopter has an unaltered animal at home, the reason that the animal is unaltered is an important factor that must be considered prior to an adoption approval.

Pets as Gifts

hart does not allow its dogs to be adopted as gifts. The potential adoptive home that is screened and approved must be the intended home for the dog.

Secure Outdoor Space

hart dogs will only be adopted out to homes with permanent, secure fences or other such secure structure (i.e. dog run with a top or cover). hart may consider adopting to a home without a fenced or otherwise secure yard if the potential adopter has adequately demonstrated how the dog will be kept safe and secure when outside.

Indoor, Companion Dogs

hart does not condone leaving dogs outside, unsupervised for extended periods of time as all dogs are social animals who thrive in a healthy, family setting and may become bored and problematic (barking, digging, aggressive) if left unsupervised. All hart dogs will ONLY be adopted as indoor, companion dogs, not working or outdoor yard dogs.


hart dogs are crated while in foster care and we strongly recommend using the crate until the adopter can trust the dog to be left in the home unsupervised. 

Children and Pets

hart takes all household members into consideration when arranging an adoption and may, based on the dog's temperament, discourage the adoption of certain dogs to families with young children. 

Landlord Permission

Potential adopters who rent will be required to submit written proof from the landlord that pets are permitted (i.e. lease, written permission signed by landlord).  Owners of townhouses or condominiums may be required to provide proof that their bylaws allow dogs. 

Other Pets at Home - Proof of Vaccination

All resident animals of a potential adopter must be up-to-date on vaccinations before an adoption will be approved. Proof (i.e. vaccination certificate) may be requested.

Medical Conditions

While hart makes every effort to ensure the dogs available for adoption are healthy, hart does not guarantee the health or temperament of any dog. Once adopted, medical costs (including booster and rabies shots) are the responsibility of the adopter. 


The adopter has three (3) weeks in which to return an adopted dog to hart for a fifty percent (50%) refund, regardless of circumstances. After the three (3) week period, if the adopter is unable to keep the dog, they must contact hart who will take the dog back into care, or use all available resources to place the dog into a suitable home. No refund will be issued after this three (3) week period.  

Follow Up

In order to ensure successful placement of hart dogs, an adopter can expect follow ups from hart volunteers. 

Adherence to Municipal Bylaws

All municipalities have bylaws pertaining to the control of animals. Potential adopters must adhere to the animal control bylaws in their area, including licensing requirements.