XXXOur Adoption Process

Step 1

Our Coverage Area.  Due to our volunteers’ limited ability to travel, we can only work with families within our coverage area, which varies from time to time based on the availability of our volunteers.  If you are interested in one of our available Labs, or if you would like to be on our waiting list until the right Lab comes along (which we highly recommend doing), you must first confirm that you are in our coverage area.  Please email us at to advise us of your adoption interest and to provide us with your full address, including zip code. If you are interested in a particular Lab, please also include that information. We can then confirm coverage and let you know if you are in our coverage area. If you are outside our coverage area, you may click here for Other Rescue Sites on our Resources and Links page.


Step 2

Application. If you are in our coverage area, the next step is to fill out our online application here or print an application here and mail it to us. There is a $15 non-refundable fee to process your application, which must accompany your application. Following receipt, your application will be sent to a volunteer in your area who will contact you (usually by email) within 10 days of receipt of your application to schedule a home visit. If you do not hear from us within two weeks, you may email us at to confirm if your application has been received. Please be patient as it may take up to four weeks to schedule your home visit. We are an all-volunteer organization, and we are limited to scheduling home visits as our schedules permit.


Step 3

Home Visit.  The home visit is your chance to meet the volunteer who will be working with you to find just the right Lab for your family.  It is also our opportunity to talk with you about the type, personality and age of Lab you are looking for in a companion and to discuss with you the Labs that we have available.  All family members, including any other household pets, must be present during the home visit.  Our goal is to make sure that the Labs we place are going to a home that will suit their individual personalities and will last a lifetime.


Step 4

Reference Checks. We require a veterinarian reference (if you currently or have previously owned a pet) and two personal references. Veterinarian references must indicate that any animals now or previously owned by the applicant have been kept up to date on vaccinations and have received a veterinary examination at least annually and otherwise as-needed. If you have never owned a pet, we will require three personal references. If resident dogs are not on heartworm prevention or tested yearly per the advice of their vet, that will be acceptable to the rescue. However, it is expected that any Lab adopted through Brookline will be tested annually for heartworm and placed on monthly heartworm preventive year round.


Step 5

Approval Process.  After checking your references, the volunteer who did your home visit will send a summary of your home visit to our approval committee, which votes on applications at least once a week.  Following that review, the volunteer who did your home visit will advise you if your application has been approved.


Step 6

Select a Lab.   Once approved, the volunteer who did your home visit will maintain an ongoing dialog with you as he or she works with you to find the perfect Lab to fit your home and your family’s lifestyle.  Our available Labs are listed on our website here and we encourage you to check this list regularly.  You also can read our foster dog blog here for stories of some of our other Labs in foster care that are not yet available for adoption.


Step 7

Introduction.    Once you have been matched with one of our Labs, the next step is an introduction with that Lab.  Arrangements will be made for you, all of your resident family members, and any of your existing dogs to meet the prospective adoptee Lab.  This introduction generally takes place at a neutral location halfway between the home of the Lab’s foster family or surrendering owner and your home.


Step 8

Pre-adoptive Period.     If the introduction goes well, you will sign a Pre-adoptive Agreement, pay the $50 pre-adoptive fee, and take him/her home with you to begin the mandatory two week pre-adoptive period.  We require this minimum period to give both you and the Lab time to get to know each other and to help us ensure that we have made a good match.  First of all, it will take at least two weeks for you to get to know the Lab.  Secondly, any change in environment is stressful for a Lab, and the Lab will require this period of time to adjust to his/her new environment and your family’s routine.  Giving the Lab less than two weeks is not fair to the Lab or any of those involved in the adoption process.  At the end of the two week period, if you haven’t yet decided if the Lab is a match with your family, at the discretion of Brookline, the pre-adoptive period may be extended.


Step 9

Adoption.   At the end of the pre-adoptive period, if you decide that the Lab fits into your family and you wish to finalize the adoption, a Brookline volunteer will visit your home again to see how the Lab is fitting in and to ensure that the general situation meets all of the criteria in our Adoption Agreement.  If these criteria are met, you will sign the Adoption Agreement and pay the remainder of the adoption donation.  The Lab will only become yours after the Adoption Agreement has been signed.


Step 10

Keep in touch. We’d like to hear from you about your experience. Once the adoption has been finalized, please be sure to email us your Success Story and one or more photos of your new Labto post on our website. Be sure to also share your experience through word of mouth with others and visit us at community events in your area, which are listed on our events page. We love getting visits from alumni as well as email updates regarding your Lab’s progress in your home.