Adopting a pet: What to expect from a home visit?

Through, I’ve found a dog that I’m interested in adopting (a sweet black pug rescued from euthanasia at a different shelter). I filled out the application and the rescue organization seems interested, but I have to submit to a home visit (their policy for all adoptions, it seems).

Even though the shelter is well out of my state, they say they have a volunteer in my area.

What can I expect from such a home visit? Are they looking for anything in particular?

They likely will look to see if you have a fenced backyard (or a yard at all), if your stairs are to code (pugs are susceptible to back injuries if they take even short falls, and you’ll want to make sure there is adequate protection – a baby gate in evidence would be a good idea if you have stairs), no piles of electrical cords around that could be chew hazards, general cleanliness, and you should have have thought about the answers to some obvious questions – if the inspector asks where the dog will sleep, don’t be caught with a glazed look in your eyes. Be prepared to show a proper spot, in a nice place like the kitchen or bedroom, not in the garage or basement. Have thought about how often you plan to walk the dog and that you have a veterinarian lined up or at least know of one. Show where the dog’s water and food will be.

If you have not owned a dog before, show that you have resources for advice and especially for pugs, who sometimes have special needs because of their brachycephalic physiology and the diseases that they are prone to. You could buy or borrow a book from the library about pugs and read it and tell her that you are aware of these issues.


I don’t have any advice on a home visit, but I thought I’d just stop by and get all giddy over a new pug! My two pugs thank you for rescuing yours!

Wow. I’m pretty impressed a rescue organization will do a home visit prior to adopting an animal out. Don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a thing. Druids are obviously great with animals, so you’ll pass with flying colors. Karana and Tunare smile upon your efforts.

I went and looked up “black pug” and found this. I’m not a dog person, but that’s pretty damned cute.

Sorry, I don’t know much about a home visit either. I’d like to think that they’re just doing a general check to make sure you’re not going to be using the little guy for dog-fighting or something.

We adopted a pug mix in June, and the visit was mostly checking out our fence and making sure he got on with our other dogs. He stayed with us immediately, but we’d also filled out a pretty comprehensive application, so I assume they’d talked to our vet and all that before meeting us.

Congrats! Our neighbors have a black pug and he’s just precious.


I’m a little nervous about this - I don’t have a fenced yard, but I was very clear about this in my application. I live very close to a dog park though and my sister, who I visit often (at least once a week) has one. I do have a yard though and explained that I planned to walk the dog. One of the reasons I’m attracted to a pug is because I’m experienced with them and know that they tend to not require long runs outside.

Interesting point, one that I had not considered. Hopefully I should be OK on this. I plan to gate off the basement unless supervised so the pug would not be going up and down stairs except just 3 or 4 to the door to go outside.

My sister has a pug as well. Should I ask her to be present with her dog? I have spent a lot of time with her, including even going to her obedience classes, and the two dogs would spend a lot of time together.

It should be OK that you don’t have a fenced yard as long as you have been clear with them. We had this same situation when we adopted our first corgi: our back yard wasn’t fenced, though we told the rescue inspector we planned to do it and we have since done so. About the stairs, it also should be OK there – just remarking that you have planned to gate off the basement ought to be fine.

Did you have to give references? If so, and you weren’t able to give your sister as a reference because she’s related to you, I would just say that your sister is a pug owner and therefore you are experienced with them and their potential health issues. I don’t see any reason why she should (or shouldn’t) be present – couldn’t hurt, might help, especially if the dog is very well behaved. If you have air conditioning, I’d point that out because pugs suffer in the heat (don’t know how hot it gets in West Des Moines, but it just would be another sign that you know what you are doing).

That looks pretty much exactly like my lil’ black guy.

As far as stairs… I’ve never heard that before. We have a two story house, and our two pugs are up and down the stairs about a million and a half times a day. Doesn’t seem to have hurt them at all.

I did have to teach both of them to go up and down stairs when they were puppies. Stairs are pretty tall when you’re a tiny pug puppy! I’d put treats on each step and they learned pretty quickly.

Another good pic - my mother got me a pug puppy calendar for Christmas, and a closeup of this little guy is the January picture. Squeee!

Another reason is to make sure you’re not an animal hoarder.

I’ve adopted two animals in the past few years from shelters and while I had to fill out an application, including my vet info, I didn’t have to go though a home visit.

No, going up and down stairs usually isn’t a problem for a healthy younger dog. Falling down stairs, now that’s a problem! Some people live in older homes where the railings are too far apart, and dogs can slip in between and fall over a balcony or something. That’s why I said the inspector might check to see if the stairs are “to code.”

As Cat Whisperer noted, the inspector likely will be mostly checking to see if fluiddruid is sincere and not a dog broker or something. Even if there were a problem, they surely would allow time to correct it rather than nixing the adoption outright.

I always thought the home visits for adopting pets were a bit over the top. Then I saw the episode of Hoarders where the woman had 2 cats she thought had run away but in fact had died when they got trapped in the clutter and they decayed to nothing but fur and bones and she never even noticed. :eek: I now completely understand having a home visit before allowing someone to adopt a pet.

How awful!

Some places want to make 100% certain that the animal is not going back into an even worse situation than what they came out of, and I can see their point.

When I was a kid, the Greyhound Pets of America sent a couple of people and a couple of greyhounds over for a home visit when my family expressed interest in adopting a greyhound. There wasn’t any serious home inspection-- they just sat and chatted with my parents about the special needs of greyhounds, the do’s and don’t’s, and all that. I also got the feeling they wanted to make sure my sister and I were mellow kids who knew how to treat dogs and wouldn’t freak out the poor greyhounds, who tend to be shy and gentle types.

Why would you be nervous? If they don’t approve you go to, I don’t know a million other place and get another dog. What am I missing here? It’s not like there aren’t thousands of animals that need a good home.

Maybe she has her heart set on that dog. I was attached to my pup immediately after I saw his picture on Petfinder. I held my breath until I heard back that he hadn’t been adopted yet.

I had a home visit when my house was undergoing MAJOR renovations and was in shambles.

We still got approved.

I doubt you have anything to worry about.

They’re not usually looking for perfection, they’re checking to see if it’s a healthy environment, and that you don’t have more pets than you & your home can support. They’ll probably want to know the basic things like where the dog will sleep & eat, and what it’s access to exercise and the outdoors will be like.

I don’t think the fact that you don’t have a fenced yard will count against you - you do have access to a dog park and you’ll have him outdoors plenty. A fenced yard isn’t a requirement, though they usually do look at the fence if you plan to let the dog out on it’s own, to check for safety.

In addition to hoarding & breeding/fighting (who’d get a pug for a fighting dog, anyway?) concerns, they also want to make sure you can take care of the dog, and won’t be bringing him back to the shelter in a few weeks. Sure, they’d take him back, but shelters don’t usually have a lot of open spaces and they’d rather the dog or cat just go to a good home the first time around.

{Foghorn Leghorn}That was a joke, son.{/FL} (So is this - I’m pretty sure you’re a girl. :slight_smile: )

Wow! That sounds more intense than the home visit we had for adopting our children…