Adopting from Island Dog Rescue is different from many other rescue organizations as our primary mission is not adoption.
Our preferred adopters are people who believe in our mission and support our “big issue” rescue focus. If you are not sure what we mean by "big issue" please read more about us on our home page
Adopting from Island Dog Rescue is different from many other rescue organizations as our primary mission is not adoption. In addition to our “big issue” focus in the islands (rescue, spay/neuter, medical treatments, community outreach and education) we transport MANY dogs and puppies from the islands to stateside rescue organizations. We also bring SOME dogs/puppies to Virginia Beach for adoption by our local supporters. Our preferred adopters are people who believe in our mission and support our “big issue” rescue focus.
If you are interested in adopting from IDR, the first step is to fill out our electronic adoption application (link is at the end of this document.) Please do not message us and ask us if we have puppies available before you have submitted an application! The sad reality is that we ALWAYS have puppies and dogs available - it is just a matter of when we are bringing them to the area.
Once you have filled out the application, our volunteers will review it as quickly as possible. This could take several days (sometimes it only takes an hour!) Please request to join the Island Dog Rescue Available Dogs in Virginia FaceBook group. You do not need to wait to hear from us on the status of your application. This group is where we post information about available dogs. (In addition to posting on our website)
After you have submitted your application, please connect with us via private message on our main Island Dog Rescue Facebook page. Let us know that you have submitted an application, and what you are looking for. If you are not quite ready to adopt, that is ok too - your application will remain on file and you will have access to the group page where we post information about available dogs. You can reach out when you are ready! We encourage you to get involved as a volunteer or perhaps a foster.
Be advised that sometimes it can be a quick process and sometimes people wait a month or even longer to find the right addition to their family. The more information you can give us, the better we can help you.
We constantly have new dogs coming into care on the islands that are going through medical protocols. We decide where to send them based on interest. We cannot possibly list all of them so we use this informal matching process to decide which dogs will travel where and when.
We are a foster based rescue and our dogs and puppies are often on hold for adoption before they even arrive. We are fortunate to have so many people that believe in our mission and want to adopt through Island Dog Rescue to support our cause. If you are solely looking for a cute puppy to adopt as quickly as possible, we urge you to explore other options. Island Dog Rescue volunteers and supporters are given priority for adoptions.
IDR is a foster based organization. We do NOT have a facility. You cannot come look at the available dogs to choose one. Many of our dogs/puppies are adopted before they even arrive. A $100 donation serves as a deposit to hold a puppy for you on arrival.
The full adoption fee of $350 is due before any dogs go home. We have a 3 day adoption trial period. After three days, if you feel the dog is not a good match, you will be refunded $250.00. $100 of the adoption fee is considered a non-refundable donation to the rescue. Please keep in mind, sometimes the adoption fee for a dog may be higher if we have incurred extra expenses for that dog but this is always disclosed up front.
After the three day trial period, no refund is issued. Matches sometimes don’t work out for a variety of reasons so we will continue to work with your family to find exactly the right dog for your home!
Our process is not for everyone. We understand that! Sometimes we have available dogs/puppies that are not on hold and we will host an adoption event for pre-approved adopters. Adoption events provide an opportunity to meet a puppy before any financial commitment is made. Unfortunately, we do not often have as many dogs/puppies for this type of event. We also sometimes have dogs and puppies in foster. We are happy to arrange a meet & greet for approved adopters.
We try very hard to match dogs with families and lifestyles. We often have history from dogs previous owners, fosters in the islands, or our own personal observations. If you express interest in a dog but we feel that it won’t be a good fit than please trust us. There is most likely a more in-depth reason and it is nothing personal against you or your family.
Also, we work on a first come, first served basis (as long as we believe it is a good match!). If a person completes our application process and we deem it to be a good fit than we will honor that match. We constantly have new dogs traveling so if you get your heart set on a dog already promised to someone else then let us know. We might have a similar dog waiting in the wings!
The cost is to HELP cover vaccines, de-worming, transport, spay/neutering, and (in some cases) micro-chipping. Our base adoption fee is $350 and it is tax-deductible. This cost does not fully cover all of our expenses and we welcome all donations (financial or your time.) We treat many dogs with life-saving surgeries and heart worm treatments, which never get publicized.
We are fully run by volunteers who love dogs. We are trying to manage all of our hats and day jobs along with rescuing the sweetest dogs in the world. Sometimes, we are great at it. Other times, we are a bit slower. We have several people who volunteer with us so you may not always speak to the same person. Please have patience with us. We typically try to answer messages within 24-48 hours. Days when dogs are arriving are always hectic so please give us some extra grace on those days. If you haven’t gotten an answer within 48 hours then please message us again. We are not ignoring you and it never hurts to get a gentle reminder.
We provide health records at adoption. All records are recognized by US veterinarians.
Island Dog Rescue coordinates from multiple sources on Caribbean Islands and all animals are flown to the mainland on commercial, cargo and even private flights. Like human travel, flights vary based on availability and even weather limitations. As you can surmise, many factors go into transport and the logistics in general. If you want a great overview of the transportation process we invite you to see the video NationSwell did on our founder, Sali Gear. We do our best to stick to plans. But, safety for the dogs always comes first. We want them here, too! We will keep you as updated as possible about arrival dates and times.
Your guess is as good as ours?! We affectionately refer to them all as “Coconut Retrievers”. You might spot the legs of a Dachshund, the coloring of a Lab, or the ears of Chihuahua but guessing is all that we can do. These are all rescues from the streets. Occasionally, we know information about the mother. But, that is the exception, not the rule. We can estimate the dog’s full grown size but these are also guesses. Doggie DNA tests are between $80-$150 and we would love to see your results as well! We do not guarantee the breed estimate or size estimate of our dogs.
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic, non-shedding dog you may be better off working with breed specific rescues. Our dogs are almost always a mix of MANY breeds and we absolutely cannot tell if a dog will be hypoallergenic or what level of shedding it will be.
Again, if you are concerned about specific breeds you may be better off working with a breed specific rescue. It is impossible to determine what breeds may or may not be present in a rescue dog’s make-up. DNA testing is available and a fun way to learn what breeds your dog is. But if there are specific breeds you are seeking or you want to avoid, we cannot accurately tell you that they are or aren’t present.
Island Dogs need high quality nutrition, as all dogs do. Please do your research, talk with your vet, and decide the best food for your dog. Then, watch your pup transform as he/she thrives in a loving home.
YES! By 9 months of age, we require you to alter your pet, if not done prior to adoption (by 6 months is recommended). This is not negotiable. If you adopt an older pup that is not spay/neutered we will give you a definitive timeline for altering. IDR covers the cost of most spays if the animal is over 1 year old but this is determined on a case by case basis and is not to be assumed.
YES! Heart worm treatment is expensive and extremely painful for dogs. Preventing heart worms is EASY! There are multiple options in medications and injections (given by your vet) to prevent heart worm disease. IDR insists that you give our dogs the love they need by providing this simple preventative.
Please talk to us about how to introduce your new pup to your home. There are many steps you can take to ensure a successful transition for all. We do insist all Island Dogs have a “decompression” period and be fully vaccinated before visiting pet stores, dog parks, public venues. We have resources for you to reference as part of your adoption package, but also trainers and other people familiar with the process. Get in contact with us!
You can visit the Available Dogs page on this website and you can join our Island Dog Rescue Available Dogs in Virginia Face Book group to see available dogs.