The Adoption Process

We are happy you are looking for a new family member, thank you for considering Maine Lab Rescue for your next pet.

We have included much information on this page, and realize it is quite lengthy. We encourage you to read the entire page, it will help you understand our process and help expedite our adoption committee's review of your application.

Before submitting an application, please make your references (landlord, personal and veterinary) are aware that you are looking to adopt a pet and that we may be calling for a reference. Please note, our volunteers may call from area codes other than Maine's area code, 207. If we are unable to reach your references, the person calling will leave a voice mail, if it is set up on the phone. If personal references fail to call us back, the application remains in a pending status and cannot be processed further.

Applications and inquiries from approved applicants are processed in the order received. If you have not yet submitted an application to us and are interested in adopting one of our pets, we recommend you include a completed application with your email. When an application is received, one of our volunteers will acknowledge your application, usually between two and three business days from submission, depending on volunteer availability. Sending multiple emails asking if we have received your application slows our ability to reply to all who contact us. 

You may submit an application for a specific animal that is posted in our adoptables album on Facebook, or you may submit a general application if you intend to adopt in the very near future. Please note, if you are submitting an application for a specific dog or cat who is currently available, you should be prepared to adopt the pet soon after it is listed. Meets and greets are scheduled for the start of our adoption events, which are generally held each Saturday in various locations in the greater Portland, Maine area. Meets and greets are not scheduled without an approved application. If you are unable to attend our event, we are not able to hold that pet from the event. We are unable to hold pets for future meet and greet or adoption, nor can we hold adopted pets for future pick up.

Please allow up to a week, or more in some cases, for us to process your application, we are primarily a volunteer organization and at certain times can receive very high volumes of applications and emails. Two versions of our application are included here. One is a fillable word document, the other a printable PDF, you may use either. Please email your completed application to If you are unable to scan and email the printable version, you may fax it to (207) 221-1139, or you can take photos of each side with a smartphone, please make sure the photos are legible. If you fax an application to us, please do send an email letting us know. Failure to completely fill out the application will result in processing delays.

Email is our primary method of communication, please be sure to check yours regularly, especially toward the end of the week. If using your work email, please make sure you have access to it outside of normal business hours, or when you are on vacation, otherwise please use an alternate email address for all communication, including application submission. 

Approved applications from potential and previous adopters are valid for 3 months after approval. If it has been longer than 3 months since your prior application was approved, please submit a new application. Submitting an application does not guarantee the ability to adopt, nor does it place a particular pet you are interested in on hold. If your application email includes interest in a specific pet, we will update you on that pet's status when your application has been approved. 

Please note: Due to Massachusetts import laws, we are unable to adopt to MA residents. Any questions regarding these laws should be directed to Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.

Requirements to Adopt

Below are minimum requirements to adopt, at times there may be other factors that help determine our ability to approve an application.

Applicants must be of legal age to sign a contract in the state of Maine.

Applicants must have the ability to own a pet at their home. If your residence is not an owned property, we must verify the pet policy with your landlord or the property management company. This includes parents if an applicant still lives at home.

All adults in a shared home must consent to a new pet in the home. This means both partners and spouses must agree that a new pet is welcome, as must all roommates who reside in a shared rental property. Please be sure to include roommate names and contact information in your email to us. Partner or spouse information should be listed on the application itself.

All resident pets of all applicants or roommates, parents, etc. must have had regular and routine veterinary care, be spayed or neutered, and be up to date on core vaccines per the recommendations of your veterinarian and up to date on annual exams. We do verify these records, please be sure you have contacted your veterinarian to give them permission to speak with us, it will help expedite the processing of your application.

Please visit our Adoptions FAQ page for answers to our most frequently asked questions. 

Downloadable Documents

Adoption Fees and What's Included

Our adoption fee for a dog located in Maine is $495. Adoption fees can vary if the dog is considered special needs or other circumstances warrant. The adoption fee for a cat or kitten located in Maine is $225. Adoption fees are payable by cash or credit card (or debit card with a credit card logo) only, personal checks are not accepted.

Dogs and cats fostered in other states before coming to Maine are not typically available for adoption in that state, we encourage you to contact a local rescue or shelter when starting your search for a new pet.

Our dogs and cats are spayed or neutered before any adoption is considered final. All pets available through Maine Lab Rescue will be current on age appropriate core vaccines.

Dogs and puppies will have the following core vaccinations and testing:

  • Rabies (3 months and older)

  • Distemper

  • Parvovirus

  • Hepatitis (multiple strains)

  • Leptospirosis

  • Bordetella

  • Imported dogs over six months are tested for heartworm, exposure to Lyme disease, Canine Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma (the latter three are tick borne diseases).

Cats and kittens will have the following vaccinations and testing:

  • FVCRP vaccination
    (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calici Virus, and Feline Panleukopenia).

  • Rabies (3 months and older)

  • Adult cats are tested for FeLV/FIV

Adopters will be provided with a copy of all available medical records for their new pet. We recommend heartworm preventative for all dogs, and flea/tick treatment for all dogs and cats.

Maine Lab Rescue has the right to approve or decline applications without explanation. If we feel a specific dog is not a good match, we may decline to adopt that particular dog to you. A great deal of time and effort goes into placing our dogs and we want both the adopter and the dog to be happy.