Helen Woodward Animal Center thanks "Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation" for their support of our Spay / Neuter program!

Special thanks to the Tippett Foundation and the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation for supporting our Adoptions program.

ANIMAL ADOPTION FAQ – HOW TO ADOPT A DOG OR CAT

Frequently Asked Adoption Questions

  1. How does the adoption process work?
  2. What type of pets do you adopt out?
  3. How do you get your animals?
  4. If I need to give my pet up for adoption, what do I do?
  5. Do you take animals on a temporary basis?
  6. Do you take strays?
  7. What do I do if I find an injured or orphaned wild animal?
  8. Can I request a particular breed?
  9. What is the Pet Protection Agreement®?
  10. Do you always have puppies and kittens available?
  11. I'm thinking about adopting a pet as a gift to a friend. What do you suggest?
  12. Do you take donations of items to be used in the department?
  13. Are all of your assistants volunteers?

How does the adoption process work?

If you are looking for a certain type of pet, first check our website (it is updated every time a pet is available or adopted) or come down in person to browse through the kennels and cattery. When you see an orphan pet you like, you can proceed to the front desk to receive more information on your selected dog or cat and fill out an adoption application. Your pet application will be reviewed by one of our Adoption Counselors and the potential pet will then be taken out so the two of you can interact.  If you decide you'd like to adopt your new furry friend, and your application shows you to be a good match, you'll be able to pay the adoption fee and begin life with your newest family member.

What type of pets do you adopt out?

We adopt out cats, dogs, puppies and kittens.

How do you get your animals?

Helen Woodward animals come from a variety of sources, such as the transfer of animals from public shelters to relieve overcrowding (approximately 90%), as well as owner transfer. Pets are relinquished by their owners for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is because of a move, allergies or a lifestyle change.  All transferred pets have passed our rigorous medical and behavioral screening.

If I need to give my pet up for adoption, what do I do?

Call us for an appointment to learn about our requirements. Each pet must pass a health and behavioral exam. Because we are a limited access facility, we can only accept pets on a space available basis, which varies by species and age. We accept only healthy pets.

Do you take animals on a temporary basis?

Our adoptions department does not, but we do have an award winning modern boarding facility, Club Pet.

For more information on pet boarding, click here.

Do you take strays?

No, by law, all stray animals MUST be taken to a local Animal Control agency.  This allows owners who may have lost these pets an opportunity to find their furry family member.  Helen Woodward Animal Center is only allowed to take animals from overcrowded shelters needing our assistance or pets that have been relinquished by their owners.

What do I do if I find an injured or orphaned wild animal?

Throughout the year families bring injured animals and wildlife (orphaned birds, raccoons, opossums, and other assorted "critters") to Helen Woodward Animal Center. In many cases, these animals have been injured and need immediate medical care. Because Helen Woodward Animal Center deals only with domestic animals, we refer these animal lovers to other agencies in the area that deal specifically with wildlife. This takes up precious time that can make a major difference for animals that require special care and feeding. Here in the San Diego area we refer "Good Samaritans" to these wildlife rescue organizations:

Project Wildlife 619-225-9453  
Wildlife Center 858-278-2222 or 619-921-6044

These organizations can provide care for injured and orphaned wildlife of all kinds.

Can I request a particular breed?

If you are seeking a specific breed of dog or cat, we recommend that you periodically check the website to see if the desired breed is available. A wide variety of new pets are made available throughout the year.

To see a live updated list of our currently available adoptable animals, click here.

What is the Pet Protection Agreement® for Your New Furry Friend

The Pet Protection Agreement® is a service you’ll only find at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

We know the last thing you think of on the exciting day you bring a new family member home is, “What if something happens to me?” The Center wants to make it easy to consider this issue.

In the adoption packet you take home, the Center provides a Pet Protection Agreement. This pet trust template is a simple way to name a pet guardian and leave instructions for the care of your new furry friend.

The Agreement:

    • Was created by attorney Rachel Hirschfeld.
    • Protects pets if their owners are unable to care for them, either during life or after death.
    • Is valid in all states.
    • Has the express purpose to establish continued care for one’s pets should the owner become unable to do so.
    • Can include all their pets on this one simple Agreement.
    • Is a legally binding way to provide for your pets’ wants and needs for a lifetime.

Do you always have puppies and kittens available?

Kittens are seasonal. We start receiving litters usually in May and they are available through November. Puppies are often available year round. Be sure to check with us for our selection.

I'm thinking about adopting a pet as a gift to a friend. What do you suggest?

 We feel very strongly that the choice must be made by the person caring for the pet. Many of our orphan dogs and cats have been relinquished because the client was given the pet as a present. Because pets are a lifelong commitment, it is very important that there be a bond between pet and owner.  It is standard procedure that we speak to the primary caregivers before we approve the adoption of a pet.  

Do you take donations of items to be used in the department?

Yes, we can always use blankets, towels, dog bones, dog and cat toys, etc. Sometimes we have specific needs that are published regularly in our newsletter, "The Companion."

To see our current wish list, click here.

Are all your assistants volunteers?

No, but our paid staff is dependent on the help of volunteers to care for all the orphan pets. They walk, bathe, socialize and help them feel more at home while they are here. We also have volunteers at the front desk to help with paperwork and phones. 

If you would like to volunteer, click here for more information.

If you would like to FOSTER orphan pets, click here for more information.