Adoption FAQs

What is the adoption process?

After you see an dog or cat you like, we recommend you fill out an application online. That way we can review your information and be ready for you to meet the animal. You can also fill out the application in person at one of our adoption events.


Once the application is filled out, we will review it and contact references if needed. We will then set up a time for you to meet that animal (if you cannot make it to an adoption event). If it’s a good fit and no further visits are needed, you can sign the adoption agreement or take the animal home for a trial adoption.

How much does it cost to adopt?

There is an adoption fee with each adoption, which helps us offset the cost of fostering and medical procedures. All of our adoptable dogs are $300-400. All our cats/kittens are $150.

All puppy adoptions include age-appropriate shots up until time of adoption, as well as dewormer, spay/neuter and microchip. All adult dog adoptions include (at minimum) vaccinations for rabies, distemper/parvo multi-shot, bordetella, microchip, spay/neuter, heartworm test, fecal and dewormer if needed. All of our adopters also have the opportunity for 30 days of free pet insurance through PetPlan.

Do you require a fence?

While some adoptable dogs may require a fence or specific type of fence individually, 4 Paws does not require fencing to adopt in general.

Where are you located?

4 Paws 4 Rescue is an all-foster rescue, meaning all animals are located in our homes. This allows us to fully evaluate and get to know our dogs before listing them. It also allows us to work on behavioral/training issues before adoption. Most of our homes are located around the greater St. Louis area.

Do you adopt to out-of-area adopters?

Yes, anyone can adopt our companions. You must be able to get here to adopt (we do not ship/transport to you), you may be asked to supply photographs of your home, and if there is an issue and you are no longer able to keep your new companion, you are required to get them back to us (or cover costs in doing so).

Can you ship or transport a dog to me?

No, we will not ship or transport a dog to adopters. On some occasions, a foster parent may be willing to drive all or part of the way to you, but in most instances – especially out-of-area adopters – you need to come to us. This is for the safety and health of the animals in our care.

Can I see dogs in person before adopting?

Certainly! We try to go to as many events as possible, to gain awareness for our dogs as well as socialize them in public. See our Facebook page or Events Page for upcoming opportunities.

You are also welcome to fill out an application to adopt, and our foster homes or coordinators will be in touch. We always set up at least one meet&greet with perspective new homes, so you may get to know new companions.

How long does it take to adopt?

The length of the adoption process varies, and most of the time is up to you. Once we receive your app, we will contact references and usually call you within a few days. We are all volunteers, so it depends on our schedules. If there’s a specific dog you are interested in, your application will go directly to that foster home.

Once you are approved and an available dog has been matched with you, it just means meeting up and hopefully signing the adoption contract. Again, depending on schedules, this can be a day or a week. Most applicants have a new lovable companion within a week or so.

What is included in the adoption price?

All puppy adoptions include age-appropriate shots up until time of adoption, as well as dewormer, spay/neuter and microchip. All adult dog adoptions include (at minimum) vaccinations for rabies, distemper/parvo multi-shot, bordetella, microchip, spay/neuter, heartworm test, fecal and dewormer if needed. Foster families may also send a small care package or toys, depending on the pet. All of our adopters also have the opportunity for 30 days of free pet insurance through PetPlan.

Why is the adoption fee higher than my local shelter?

When you adopt a dog from a rescue, your adoption fees are going towards the cost of care your adopted dog has received while in care.  Most of the time, that includes all vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchip, monthly preventatives, food, and other expenses toward keeping animals. This is why adoption fees are often adjusted based on the age of the dog you adopt since puppies need more care and medical requirements. Our expenses also include many additional medical treatments, such as heartworms, ailments, emergency procedures, etc.



Many shelters are government-funded. This means expenses are reduced. Also, when an animal at a shelter becomes ill or comes in with issues, the outcome is often euthanasia before treatment. This is to prevent the spread of disease in the shelter and focus on adoptable animals. Rescues, on the other hand, are privately run without government assistance. We rely on our community veterinary centers and often pay the same cost as the public.


To help us keep our adoption costs down, please consider donating.

Where do dogs come from?

One of our most common questions. Sometimes, dogs end up in local Animal Controls, and we rescue them before euthanasia. Other rescues and humane societies also contact us on occasion. Other times, owners contact us directly with a variety of reasons: family lifestyle change, moving, allergies, didn’t realize energy level or personality needs, can no longer care for…No matter the reason, we are here to help.

Can you hold a dog for me?

This depends on the situation, so please ask, but most of the time we will not hold a dog for an inquiry. Applications are processed based on the order they come in, and the best fit for that animal. This is why we suggest your first step be filling out an application. If you are not ready to adopt yet – due to schedule, vacations, etc – we may have to adopt that specific dog to another applicant and then help you find a companion when you are ready.

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4 Paws 4 Rescue is a 501c3 non-profit organization licensed by the Dept. of Agriculture in the State of Missouri

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