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So you want
to adopt!

Step One

Begin the process by taking a look at our available animals. We know we have some very cute photos, but please be sure to read the descriptions by clicking on the animal's photo. They include information about age, weight, lifestyle preferences, and how the animal does with children and other animals. We also occasionally list some requirements to adopt specific animals, so please be sure to read the whole description. Once you have an animal or two in mind, make sure to check that you are allowed to have that animal in your housing situation. Some landlords, condo or home associations, and home insurances have breed restrictions and we would not want you to find out too late.

Step Two

Give us a call at 603-472-3647 x201. Please note that we do not have a receptionist, and we are not always able to pick up right away. The same staff caring for the animals are the ones answering the phones, so please be patient! If you do not reach someone on the first try, please leave us a voicemail with ideal callback times. We always return calls within 24 hours. As soon as we can, an adoption counselor will return your call to speak with you more about the animal(s) you are interested in. If it is a good fit, we will work with you to set up an appointment within the next two days.
 

  • Once you have an appointment with an animal, that animal is not available for anyone else to meet with.

  • We do not book appointments out more than 48 hours to not hold any animal back from other adoption opportunities.

  • We ask that all household members come to meet the animal and resident dogs if you are interested in adopting an additional dog.

Prepare for your visit!

Before visiting our facility, we kindly request that you complete a waiver.
You can do this ahead of time by clicking the button below (don't worry, you will also have the ability to complete the waiver once you arrive).

Step Three

When you arrive for your appointment park in the first parking lot on your left, go to the front doors, and ring the buzzer to the right of the doors so we know you have arrived. If you are planning on adopting a small animal, please bring a safe and secure carrier. An adoption counselor will introduce you to the animal you are interested in and answer any additional questions you may have.

  • If you are bringing your dog to meet a dog, your adoption counselor will facilitate that meeting and determine its success.

  • Some of our animals are able to go home same day to perfect fit homes, and some of our animals need more visits before they are ready to leave. Your adoption counselor can tell you ahead of time if the animal you are interested in is able to go home the same day.

  • It is at the discretion of your adoption counselor if the adoption process will be continued after your first meeting.

  • If you are cleared to adopt and need to prepare or make sure you are making the right decision, we will typically hold the animal for you for an additional day to give you some time. The exception is puppies and kittens, who we do not hold for any additional time.

Step Four

Congratulations! You have found a new best friend and been cleared to adopt. Our paperwork process is short and we do not have a formal application process. We prefer card payments and ask that you bring a smartphone if one is available to you. Your adoption counselor will review your pet's medical records with you and any additional information you will need to know. You will be given a small bag of the food your pet has been eating and feeding instructions. If you are adopting a dog, we will fit your dog to a brand new martingale collar complete with a nylon leash.

  • What time of day do you see the cat?
    Owned indoor/outdoor cats typically explore the outdoors during the day and return to their homes at night. Fearful cats who are seeking safety in the quiet and cover of darkness will more often come out at night.
  • Have you seen this cat before?
    Have you been seeing this cat for months, or is this your first time seeing it? If it is your first time seeing the cat and it appears healthy, well cared for and confident, it is likely it is an owned cat who decided to explore some new territory. If it is a cat you have been seeing, is scared to approach and appears unkempt, the cat may need assistance.
  • Is the cat a healthy weight, or is it thin/emaciated?
    True strays are often underweight and may appear emaciated. These are cats that were originally indoor cats and have had to fend on their own without the know-how to do so properly. If the cat looks overweight, it may belong to one of your neighbors!
  • Have you spoken to your neighbors?
    Know that many indoor/outdoor cats do not wear collars or identification, and that those things can come off accidentally. It is important to get a photo of the cat if possible and speak to your neighbors and post in local town facebook groups as the answer might be right across the street from you!
  • Does the cat appear well cared for?
    Cats that are struggling to care for themselves outdoors and need assistance often appear dirty, matted, may be flea infested or generally unkempt. Most often an owned cat will be clean and well fed.
  • Is the cat ravenously hungry?
    Cats who are struggling to feed themselves outdoors will often devour any food presented to them. Wide, fully opened mouthed bites and attempts to get as much food in their mouth at a time as possible is a sign of a hungry cat that may need assistance.
  • Is the cat missing the tip of one of its ears, or have a notch cut out?
    An "ear tip" (pictured in the photo of the black cat on this page) signifies that a cat has been trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and belongs outdoors. It could mean they are someone's barn cat or are part of a feral cat community and signifies they likely have a caretaker and belong outdoors. Unless the cat is ill, injured, pregnant, in danger or unwelcome, please leave them be. If the cat is any of those things, please call your nearest shelter for further instruction.
  • Is the cat approachable?
    Indoor/outdoor cats are often comfortable and confident being outside, and may wander right up to you and allow petting. Indoor cats who have been displaced are most often petrified as they are in an unfamiliar environment. Feral cats have little to no socialization with people and will not allow a human to get close.
  • Retirement Assets
    Retirement Assets A gift of your retirement assets—such as a gift from your IRA, 401(k), pension, or another tax-deferred plan—is a great way to make a planned gift. If you are like most people, you probably won't use up all your retirement assets during your lifetime, so why not allocate the remainder as a charitable gift to an organization that can put the funds to good use for a cause you feel passionate about! ​ Typically, retirement plan balances are subject to both income and estate taxes. However, as a nonprofit organization, the Animal Rescue League of NH won’t have the burden of these taxes and the animals will benefit from the full value of your gift! ​ NEXT STEP: Contact your retirement plan administrator for the beneficiary designation form. Please let us know about your gift (email CEO Marianne Jones) as many popular retirement plan administrators assume no obligation to notify a charity of your designation. We’d love to thank you for your gift and make sure that your wishes for the donation are honored.
  • Wills & Living Trusts
    Wills & Living Trusts By making a bequest to the Animal Rescue League of NH through your will or living trust, you can help create a legacy of love for pets in need in our community! ​ There are several ways that you can make a bequest through your will/trust: Specific Gift: you can designate a specific dollar amount, percentage of your estate, or a specific stock/bond you would like to leave to a specific person or organization. ​ Residuary Gift: this type of bequest is honored after all other gifts have been made and all other debts/expenses/taxes have been paid. ​ Contingent Gift: this type of bequest is fulfilled if certain conditions are met—for instance, if your primary beneficiary does not survive you, you can indicate your next choice through a contingent bequest. NEXT STEP: Have you already named ARLNH in your will/trust? Please let us know of your plans (email CEO Marianne Jones); we’d like to thank you for joining us in our work to improve the lives of animals in our community! ​ Haven't made a will yet? Check out this free, online will-writing resource tool. The easiest way to make a powerful commitment to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire is to include a gift in your will. It will cost you nothing today but ensures our rescue services can continue for generations to come. To help you get started, ARLNH has partnered with FreeWill, a free, online service that guides you through the process of creating a legally valid will in 20 minutes or less. You can use FreeWill to create your legacy gift today.
  • Charitable Gift Annuity
    Charitable Gift Annuity With a charitable gift annuity, you can realize tax savings and reliable annual income while donating to a worthy charity! ​ Here’s how charitable gift annuities work: You make a donation to ARLNH (minimum of $10,000). Then, you receive fixed annual payments for the rest of your lifetime at a predetermined payment rate. ​ You will receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction, and if you donate appreciated securities to fund your gift annuity, you will get capital gains tax savings as well. ​ Your gift of a charitable gift annuity will benefit you—and someone else, if you so choose—now and benefit animals in need in your community into the future! ​ NEXT STEP: Please contact our CEO, Marianne Jones (by phone at 603-472-3647 or by email at mjones@rescueleague.org) to learn about the process for this giving option.
  • Life Insurance
    Life Insurance You can name the Animal Rescue League of NH as a primary beneficiary on your life insurance (or as a contingent beneficiary should your other beneficiaries not survive you). After your lifetime, the benefits from your policy will be donated to ARLNH, free of federal estate tax, to continue its mission of helping pets and the people who love them in our community! NEXT STEP: Contact your life insurance company for the appropriate forms to name a policy beneficiary.
  • What do I need in order to adopt?
    Prior to your appointment please make sure that you have looked into any restrictions set by your landlord, condo/home association or home insurance. The animal you are interested will have an adoption fee listed on their profile, so please be prepared for that cost. Our software prefers to process card payments on smartphones, so please bring a card and smart phone if they are available to you! If you are adopting a cat or small animal, please bring an appropriately sized, safe and secure carrier.
  • Can I come in and look at all of the animals?
    Not at this time. The pandemic offered us a unique opportunity to see how our animals do when we are not open to the public. We have seen a drastic increase in the ability to relax and sleep in our shelter animals since making the shift to appointment based adoptions. Many animals do not appear friendly when they are being seen through glass, and this is because they do not understand how to respond to repeated strangers passing by but never being able to investigate them. Adoptions by appointment allows the animals to be even more present for your visits, and allows the staff to truly take their time with you and your future pet! We will be happy to chat with you about our available animals and see who might be a fit for you. If we have an animal who has the personality and traits you are looking for, we would be thrilled to introduce you! Do not be discouraged by this process, we will assist you every step of the way.
  • Can I take an animal home the same day I visit them?
    Sometimes yes, sometimes no! Many of our animals are available to go home the same day if all members of the household are present, the meeting has gone well and your adoption counselor feels comfortable doing so. We prefer our animals to go home sooner rather than later if possible, so we will always allow same day adoptions when it is safe to do so! Some animals are a bit quirky and require more than one visit. If you have a dog who will be meeting a shelter dog, sometimes they may need more than one visit to be comfortable around each other. Other times, we may want you to sleep on your decision before moving forward! This is something you can chat with your adoption counselor about prior to your appointment. They will be able to give you a general timeline!
  • What medical care does the shelter provide?
    ARLNH provides exceptional care, medical treatment and behavioral support to all animals looking for their forever homes. All cats adopted from ARLNH have: Been tested for FELV and FIV Received distemper and rabies vaccines Started on monthly flea and ear mite prevention Received dewormings as needed Been spayed or neutered and microchipped All dogs adopted from ARLNH have: Been tested for heartworm disease Received kennel cough, distemper and rabies vaccines Been spayed or neutered and microchipped Started on monthly heartworm prevention and flea/tick prevention Received dewormings as needed All small animals have had an exam with our shelter veterinarian and received any necessary treatments. All rabbits are spayed or neutered.
  • Can I set up an appointment to see multiple animals?
    No. In order to prevent heart break, if you have an appointment with an animal we will not set up an appointment for anyone else to meet that animal. This means that animal is guaranteed to be there when you arrive for your appointment! This also means that the time between your appointment being made and your appointment date is time that that animal is in waiting and cannot be adopted. Because of this, we only allow you to make an appointment for one animal at a time so we do not prevent adoption opportunities for multiple animals. With that being said if you arrive for your appointment and there is another animal you are interested in, please check in with your adoption counselor. If that animal is a good fit for you and does not have an appointment scheduled with someone else, we may be able to introduce you to both!
  • What are the adoption fees?
    Adoption fees help to cover some of the costs of caring for an animal until they find their forever home. (Credit/debit card is the preferred method of payment for adoption fees.) Cats: Under 6 months - $175 6 months - 1 year - $150 1 - 8 years - $125 8+ years - $50 Bonded Pair - $50 off the second cat! Dogs: Under 6 months - $475 6 months - 1 year - $400 1 - 8 years - $325 8+ years - $175 Bonded Pair - $100 off the second dog (excluding puppies 8 months and younger) Small Animals: Rabbits - $50, 2 for $75 Ferrets - $50, 2 for $75 Guinea Pigs - $25, 2 for $35 Rats - $10, 2 for $15 Mice and Hamsters - 2 for $5
  • Dogs
    Paw Safe Snow Melt Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food Nylon leashes (6 foot length, 1 inch width) Slip leads Nylon Martingale collars Front attaching harnesses (EZ Walk, Sensation, Freedom) Brain toys (Kongs, Kong wobblers, Tug-A-Jug, Buster Cube, etc) Squeaky tennis balls, plush or plastic toys Please visit our Canine Amazon Wishlist or our Walmart Registry to order items directly to the shelter.
  • Shelter Supplies
    Dawn Dish Soap Odoban or Simple Green Windex Poop bags Disposable, non-latex gloves Unscented liquid bleach Paper towels Scrub tops and pants, larger sizes preferred Toilet paper White vinegar Heavy duty 55gal contractor trash bags Please visit our Shelter Supplies Amazon Wishlist or our Walmart Registry to order items directly to the shelter.
  • Cats
    Unscented, non-clumping clay cat litter Science Diet Adult Dry Cat Food Science Diet Kitten Dry Cat Food Feather, mouse or catnip toys Cat slow feeders Cardboard scratchers Kitten Replacement Milk Visit Stretchandscratch.com to order specialized cardboard scratchers that fit comfortably in our cat cages without taking up floor space. Please visit our Feline Amazon Wishlist or our Walmart Registry to order items directly to the shelter.
  • Office Supplies
    Card stock Copier paper Easels Hanging file folders (Pendaflex) Binder clips Post-Its Scissors Scotch tape Stamps (first-class Forever stamps) Manilla Folders Use our Office Supplies Amazon Wishlist to have items shipped directly to the shelter.
  • Small Animals
    Rabbit toys (plastic stacking cups, chew toys, wooden toys) Timothy hay Blue Seal Bunny 16 Pellets Oxbow Adult and Young Rabbit Food Oxbow Adult and Young Guinea Pig Food Apple tree branches Tall metal exercise pens and exercise pen covers Please visit our Small Animal Amazon Wishlist or our Walmart Registry to order items directly to the shelter.

Click one of the following links to view our adoptable animals!

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