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Due to COVID-19, we are changing our adoption process.
Click here to learn more.

white catAdding a new companion animal to your life is a major decision and one that requires plenty of thought and planning. By choosing adoption, you are helping to put an end to the pet overpopulation problem and providing a home for an animal in need. In return, you are likely to be rewarded with unconditional loyalty, love and companionship from your new friend.

WHS has many purebred and mixed breed dogs and cats to choose from. Animals are thoroughly evaluated for temperament, and WHS staff will work with you to find the right pet who best fits your needs and lifestyle.

biscuit dogWe invite you to view adoptable animals on our site and then visit the shelter in person to get to know them better. You just might find your new friend for life!

If you have questions about a specific animal or other adoption-related questions, please call (503) 585-5900, x327 or  Contact Us

Adoption Fees


  • Puppies: starting at $125 (rare shelter breeds up to $500)
  • Adult Dogs: starting at $100 (rare shelter breeds up to $400)
  • Senior Dogs (7+ years): starting at $60


  • Kittens (2 – 6 months): $125
  • Juveniles ( 7 mo  – >12 mo): $75
  • Adult Cats (1 yr – >7 yrs): $50
  • Seniors (7 years and up): $25
  • Special needs (FIV+ or others): $25
  • Barn cats: Waived adoption fee (free)
  • Desirable Breeds: Base adoption price + $25
  • Hospice: Waived adoption fee (free)

WHS does not accept checks for adoptions or merchandise. We do accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, and debit cards.

View All Adoption News Posts

Adopting a Pet

Do you give pet behavior advice?

If you have a specific question or behavioral issue with your pet you’d like to discuss, call or email our Behavior Helpline.

We can often point pet owners in the right direction, solve minor issues, and even prevent a pet from being surrendered due to their behaviors in some instances.

The Helpline is checked regularly and messages will be returned by a behavior professional as soon as possible.

When contacting the Behavior Helpline, please include the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your phone number
  • The best time to return your call
  • Type of animal (cat, dog, other)
  • How long you’ve had the animal
  • A brief summary of the problem or question

Call (503) 585-5900, ext. 318

Who serves rabbits in our community?

Currently, WHS only shelters cats and dogs.

  • The best resource for all things bunny is Rabbit Advocates in Portland.
  • Oregon Humane Society also takes rabbits.
  • Local Petco stores are very willing to rehome small pets.  Our local Petcos store are located at Keizer Station, on Lancaster Drive and on S. Commercial.

What are the steps of the adoption process?

  1. Consider how a new pet will mesh with your lifestyle, and what qualities you are looking for.
  2. Check with your landlord or home-owner’s association to see which animals are allowed, and what applicable fees or deposits might be.
  3. Identify possible adoption candidates online, or visit an adoption center.
  4. Consult with our staff and volunteers to help  find the right match for your needs.
  5. Complete an adoption application.
  6. If not already spayed or neutered, you may need to wait for your pet to undergo surgery and recover.
  7. Complete an adoption consultation to review your pet’s history and any considerations to ensure your adoption will be a long-term success.
  8. Prepare for your new pet by purchasing supplies.  Willamette Humane Society has a pet supply & gift store on-site, Davenport’s Den.
  9. Complete the adoption contract and payment.
  10. Post-adoption, you may consider behavior & training classes to encourage good behavior and improve quality of life for you and your pet.

How do I fill out and save information in online pdf forms?

If you’re having trouble saving information in online pdf forms for adoption applications, foster applications, behavior questionnaires, or other forms, please try the following steps:

  • Before filling in the pdf form, save it to your device.

Save the PDF to your Device before filling in the fields.


  •  Edit your saved form in Adobe PDF Reader to enable saving data typed into the fields.  You should see a purple confirmation bar at the top of the form confirming that your data can be saved.

You can now save fields



  • If the pdf is unable to be saved, consider printing your form using a virtual pdf printer to save electronically.
  • Save your form as a new pdf with a unique file name.
  • Submit your form through e-mail or upload to the contact form of

Where are the Adoptable Pet Locations?

On-site Adoption Locations

Adoption Locations- Click to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge Map
  • Admin Conference Room – If a cat is in the admin conference room, they may be a long-term resident or have other needs that can’t be met by our regular kennels, suites, or foster homes.  Please ask adoption staff about visiting with them.
  • Cattery A – Standard kennels, accessible from the shelter lobby/atrium, next to the education hall.
  • Cattery B – Accessible from Cattery A.
  • Clinic – Occasionally, our Spay & Neuter Clinic veterinarian and staff will foster a cat  to monitor them after a special surgical operation.  Please ask adoption staff about visiting with pets located in the clinic.
  • Foster Home – These are pets located off-site in volunteer foster homes.  To visit with them, please speak with our foster coordinator by e-mailing, or calling 503-585-5900 ext. 303.
  • Isolation Cats – These are cats recovering from communicable illnesses (such as kennel cough) in a special area of the shelter not accessible to the public. Please ask adoption staff about visiting with these pets during or after recovery.
  • Kitten Room – Our kitten room is located in the hallway from the lobby/atrium to the dog kennels, and across from the education hall.
  • Suite – There are three cat suites accessible from the shelter lobby.  This is the best location for bonded pairs or cats with special needs.  Ask adoption staff or a volunteer about visiting with these pets.

  • Adoption Dogs– Otherwise called the dog “adoption floor”, this area of dog kennels is located down the North hall from the the shelter lobby, past the education hall, and through the door on the right. There is a second bank of doors on the left leading to each row of kennels.
  • Foster Home– These are pets located off-site in volunteer foster homes.  To visit with them, please speak with our foster coordinator by e-mailing, or calling 503-585-5900 ext. 303.
  • Isolation Dogs– These are dogs recovering from communicable illnesses (such as kennel cough) in a special area of the shelter not accessible to the public. Please ask adoption staff about visiting with these pets during or after recovery.
  • Puppy Room– Puppies and small breeds are housed in the puppy room, in the North hallway from the shelter lobby, across from the education hall.  Not to be confused with “Mary’s Place” which is a puppy play-room for volunteers to socialize our pets, accessible from the main kennels.
  • Stray Dog Kennels– Sometimes, there are so many dogs available for adoption that we don’t have room for all of them on the adoption floor.  Some are sheltered in our stray dog kennels in an area not normally accessible to the public.  Please ask adoption staff or a volunteer for help visiting with these pets.

Off-Site Adoption Locations

Currently, Willamette Humane Society cats may be adopted from multiple locations in the Salem-Keizer area. Our cats are cared-for by Willamette Humane Society volunteers in space generously provided by the following businesses.

Why is a pet flagged for No Children?

no_kids_smallBased on a pet’s temperament, history, and behavior assessments, we may sometimes flag a pet not to live in a home with small children. Maybe a pet’s play style is too rough, or maybe kids would just stress them out! Please check the adoption description or ask adoption staff about how old / respectful children need to be for a particular pet.

Why is a pet flagged for No Dogs?

no_dogs_smallBased on a pet’s temperament, history, and behavior assessments, we may sometimes flag a pet not to live in a home with dogs. Maybe a pet’s play style is too rough, or they show fear, or may become aggressive with dogs. Please check the adoption description or ask adoption staff about specific circumstances for each pet.

Why is a pet flagged for No Cats?

no_cats_smallBased on a pet’s temperament, history, and behavior assessments, we may sometimes flag a pet not to live in a home with cats.  Maybe a pet’s play style is too rough, or they may demonstrate fear or aggression toward cats! Please check the adoption description or ask adoption staff about the needs of each pet.

What do the family ratings mean?

WHS uses a “family rating system” based on a dog’s history and temperament evaluation.

  •  G:  Likely to be appropriate with toddlers and young children.  Tolerant, resilient and forgiving.
  • PG:  Likely to be appropriate with young children, but may not be appropriate with toddlers.
  • PG-13:  Should not be placed with young children; requires considerate, respectful older kids.
  • R:  Not to be placed in a home where children live or visit.  Dog may have issues with handling, food/toy aggression, or dog-to-dog aggression, or a known history of problems with children.

What’s the photography package offered to adopters and volunteers?

What is a barn cat?

Willamette Humane Society sometimes has cats who cannot live as house pets. Cats eligible for the barn cat adoption special fall into three categories:

  • Cats whose litterbox habits make them unsuitable for house pets.
  • Cats who are just too independent to appreciate being cooped up in cages in the shelter.
  • Cats who prefer the company of other cats and animals to people, or who don’t like to be handled.

Cats who are suitable to be house pets are not eligible for the Barn Cat Special, it is created to provide the best possible outcome for cats who may not otherwise be able to find homes.

The barn cat program reaches out to those with a working barn, outbuildings, or other safe structures deemed appropriate by our adoption counselors on a case by case basis.  Having a barn cat or cats will help keep down the rodent population.  The cats will be helping the property owner, while the property owner provides the cats with a safe place to live. And, because these cats are already spayed/neutered, the property owner won’t have to worry about endless litters of kittens appearing!

Willamette Humane Society staff will go over how to acclimate the new cat(s) to the barn or structure and make them feel at home.

The Adoption fee for Barn Cats is waived.


  • Spay or Neuter surgery prior to adoption placement*
  • Ear tip marking to identify spayed or neutered cats outdoors.*
  • FVRCP vaccine
  • FIV/FeLV testing
  • One year Rabies vaccine
  • Revolution flea treatment and dewormer

*Cats that are already spayed or neutered will not receive surgery and/or ear-tip.

Barn Cat adopters must agree to provide daily food, water, and shelter to the cat.  Veterinary care should be provided as needed.

Do you have any adoption specials or promotions?

When Willamette Humane Society has an adoption special, naturally we want to spread the word as much as possible, but sometimes we’ll have an impromptu promotion. If a promotion is going on, it will be listed on the home page, under the Adoption News menu, and also listed below.

Ongoing Adoption Specials

Other Oregon Sheltering Resources by County

Heartland Humane Society
398 S Twin Oaks Circle
Corvallis, OR 97333
(541) 757-9000

Benton County Dog Control
180 NW 5th Street
Corvallis, OR 97330
(541) 753-0732

Clackamas County Animal Shelter
13141 SE Highway 212
Clackamas, OR 97015-8901
(503) 655-8628

CAT Adoption Team
14175 SW Galbreath Drive
Sherwood, OR 97140
(503) 925-8903

Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd.
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 285-7722

Greenhill Humane Society
88530 Green Hill Rd
Eugene, OR 97402-9111
(541) 689-1503

Central Coast Humane Society
P.O. Box 71
Newport, Oregon 97365
(541) 265-3719

Lincoln County Animal Shelter
510 NE Harney
Newport, OR 97365
(541) 265-6610 opt 6

SafeHaven Humane Society
33071 Highway 34 SE
Albany, OR 97322-7232
(541) 928-2789

Linn County Dog Control
3008 Ferry St. SW
Albany, OR 97321
(541) 967-3925

Homeward Bound Pets
10605 Loop Rd
Dayton, OR 97114
(503) 472-0341

Newberg Animal Shelter
901 Brutscher St.
Suite D-107
Newberg, OR 97132

Yamhill County Animal Control
2070 Lafayette Ave
McMinnville, OR 97128
(503) 434-7538

Bonnie  L. Hays
Small Animal Shelter

1901 SE 24th Ave
Hillsboro, OR 97123-8163
(503) 846-7041

Pet Friendly Apartments

Statistics show that almost 50% of renters have pets. For rental property managers, it makes good business sense to maintain a policy that welcomes responsible pet owners. An animal-friendly policy will increase the marketability of a housing property or community and often results in an increased length of occupancy. Tenants must be willing to show proof that they are responsible pet owners, take measures to ensure their pets act appropriately, and adhere to all pet-related rules established by their housing community.

When tenants and property managers work together, it can be a win-win situation for all and result in fewer animals surrendered to shelters.

Here are some tips to help both tenants and property managers:

What is included in the adoption package?

The adoption package for a dog or a cat includes:


  • Vet exam
  • Microchip & inclusion in national registry
  • Personalized ID tag
  • Spay or neuter surgery
  • First vaccinations & de-worming
  • Trial of Insurance from 24PetWatch
  • Temporary collar
  • Temporary leash for dogs or a carrier for cats
  • Coupon for NutriSource pet food, sold in Davenport’s Den

 There are also adoption perks provided by partners and sponsors

All About Feline Combo Tests

Each cat adopted from Willamette Humane Society receives the Feline Combo Tests as a standard practice for cats over the age of six months. All cats under the age of six months receive the FeLV test as a standard. For the public, our Spay & Neuter Clinic offers the tests for $25 at the time of surgery only.

  1. The Idexx snap combo test reveals presence of antigen (the actual virus).
  2. Rate of infection ranges from 2-3 of feral cats, to 13% or more of at- risk cats. Prevalence is highest in outdoor cats.
  3. Virus can be transmitted in saliva, urine and feces, through the placenta before birth, or via milk after birth. Biting, mutual grooming, sharing litter boxes and feeding dishes, and moms to litters are common routes of transmission. Generally takes prolonged contact and social interaction to acquire infection.  The chance of contracting permanent infection from a one-time brief contact is 3 chance of becoming permanently infected.
  4. The virus lives only a few hours on a surface outside the cat and is easily killed with common disinfectants.
  5. First stage if infection is called a transient viremia.  Virus is circulating in the blood for 3-6 weeks (maximum of  16 weeks).  The cat is contagious during this time, but many cats are able to clear the virus from their body during this phase.  Ability to do so is dependent on age, health, immune status, and concentration of viral exposure.  Kittens and sick or stressed animals are at highest risk.
  6. Second stage of infection is called persistent viremia.  The virus invades the bone marrow and the cat becomes permanently infected.
  7.  Some cats can clear the virus from their blood, but it will stay within the bone marrow, called a latent infection.  These infections can only be diagnosed with a bone marrow sample or special PCR tests.  The virus may stay hidden or re-activate during times of stress, illness or reproduction.
  8. 50 die within 3 years.  They may develop leukemia, anemia, tumors, and can develop other infections due to immunosuppression.
  9. Vaccination provides some protection, but is not 100% effective.  FeLV vaccines have also been associated with development of vaccine-associated sarcomas (tumors).
  10. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends FeLV testing at time of adoption to prevent exposure of other household cats, and to serve as baseline data for the future.  The AAFP also recommends retesting all cats at least 90 days after the initial test in case of early stage of infection at time of initial testing.
  11. No test is 100% accurate under all conditions.  Results should be interpreted in light of the patient’s health and prior exposure to FeLV.  A decision for euthanasia should never be made solely on the basis of whether a cat is infected.  Consult your veterinarian for more information.

  1. The Idexx snap test detects presence of antibodies to FIV, not the actual virus.
  2. Rate of infection is approximately 1.5-3 percent in the US, 3-4 of high risk or sick cats are infected.  Prevalence is highest in free-roaming, aggressive males.
  3. Transmission is most common via biting. Rarely, mothers may pass the infection to newborns in utero, in the birth canal or via infected milk.  Some kittens in a litter may become infected while others do not.
  4. It can take 8-12 weeks post infection to see antibodies.
  5.  A kitten may receive antibodies from an infected mother yet not have the virus within its body, thus may test positive for up to 6 months without having the actual virus.  Kittens under 6 months of age with a positive test should be retested at 60 day intervals until 6 months of age.
  6. A positive test for an adult cat is most likely a true positive, but should be confirmed with another test (the Western blot).  Few cats, if any, ever eliminate the infection.
  7. Infected cats may appear normal for years, though cats will become immunosuppressed and susceptible to secondary infections.  The cat may deteriorate progressively or have a waxing and waning course of disease.
  8. There is a FIV vaccine, but protection is not complete, and future tests will show positive due to the FIV antibodies acquired.
  9. The FIV virus does not survive outside the cat for more than a few hours.
  10. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends testing of all newly adopted cats.

How many animals does Willamette Humane Society serve each year?

Every year an average of  5,000 animals come through our doors. Lost or stray animals will be brought in by Good Samaritans or dog control agents. We also care for animals seized by law enforcement agents due to neglect. Sometimes because of tragedy, animals are left without a guardian.   In all cases, we work to find each animal a loving home.

How do you determine which animals go into the adoption pool?

Each animal is considered individually so we can make the best choice possible to serve that particular pet.  A trained technician carefully evaluates the health and temperament of every dog and cat that enters the shelter.  We use structured and commonly accepted tests to identify dangerous aggressive tendencies in dogs. We assess cats based on their ability to be handled by staff for normal procedures. In addition, each animal undergoes a basic health examination.

Animals with abnormalities are seen by a shelter veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Temperamentally sound and healthy or treatable animals are fast tracked through the adoption process as their condition warrants. Animals with serious medical conditions or behavioral and training needs may be given long term rehabilitation plans and adopted with hospice agreements or behavioral waivers. If an animal needs additional time, we also consider placement in the WHS Foster Program, which is made up of more than 325 local families.  

We always do our best to place animals we believe to be safe in a new home through a careful screening and application process.While housed in the shelter, all animals receive food and water, exercise and socialization, and if necessary, grooming and health care.

What is the “hold” time for a stray or lost animal?

Before any animal can be adopted by a new owner, there is a stray hold time to give owners an opportunity to claim their pet.  Oregon law prescribes a three day hold time for dogs without identification and a five day hold time for dogs with identification.  

There are no laws for how long to hold a stray cat, but WHS places a one business day stray hold on a cat without identification. This does not include the day of arrival or any days we are closed to the public. Our return-to-owner rate for felines is no different than when we had a longer stray hold. In fact, stray cats now have greater adoption visibility and faster placement.

Can an animal be left at the shelter for placement, but taken back if the only option is euthanasia?

We work hard to serve every animal that comes through our doors, but sometimes the transition into shelter life is just too difficult for an animal. In 2016, we implemented  a call-back program for the person surrendering an animal.  If we cannot help the animal in our adoption program, the surrendering party has the option of being called to see if they can take the animal back. We encourage people to do everything possible to find an appropriate home for their animals before bringing them to the shelter.

Why do you have adoption fees?

Shelter service fees such as adoption fees cover only a small portion of our costs, generally no more than 25 percent in any given year. 

Along with donor support, adoption fees cover sheltering, routine or major medical care, and behavioral services for animalsmany of whom reside at the shelter for a considerable length of time before being adopted.  Each adopted animal is vaccinated, dewormed, spayed or neutered, and flea treated.  An adoption package includes a collar, identification tag, microchip and registration, leash or carrier, and first veterinary visit.  Other benefits may also be added on a case by case basis.

Why do they ask so many questions on the adoption application?

We want our animals to be adopted in homes where they will have quality, lifelong care. While adoptions are seldom turned down, an adoption will be denied if we truly believe that the animal will not be provided with adequate companionship or care. We use this opportunity to educate people about the specific needs of companion animals.

What are your open hours? How can we reach you?

  • Mon: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Tue: CLOSED
  • Wed: CLOSED
  • Thu – Fri: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Sat – Sun: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
4246 Turner Rd SE
Salem, OR 97317
503-585-5900Contact the Shelter

Receptionists are available to answer phones and return calls during business hours, and on Wednesday evening.

  • Mon – Sat: 10:30 am – 6:00 pm
  • Sun: CLOSED
548 High St NE (between Union & Marion)
Salem, OR 97301
503-362-6892Contact the Thrift Store

What types of animals do you adopt?

WHS focuses on placing dogs and cats in loving, new homes. WHS does not accept or adopt out small pets, exotic animals, reptiles, or farm animals. If you need help re-homing a small pet or farm animal, ask our Customer Service Staff for referrals to other organizations or read our FAQ section about re-homing small pets.

Do you accept small pets?

WHS does not currently accept small pets. If you need to re-home a rabbit, guinea pig, bird, rodent, or other small pet, see the following tips for re-homing your small pet and a list of referrals to rescue groups or other outlets.


Tips for Rehoming Your Small Pet

When you are no longer able to care for your small pet in your household, Willamette Humane Society encourages you to locate a new home for your beloved pet.

Some tips and ideas include:

  • Contact friends, neighbors, co-workers, and church or club members and let them know you are looking for a home for your small pet. Don’t forget about teammates of your child’s sports, music, scouting or other groups.
  • Post the offer of a well-mannered, family-friendly pet on your local Craig’s list, community TV bulletin board, and grocery store and coffee house bulletin boards.
  • Consider a small classified listing in your local newspapers. Some newspapers, including the Statesman Journal, allow you to post free classifieds in their online editions.
  •  Call local elementary schools, child-care businesses, 4H or FFA clubs, as they may be interested in your donation of your pet, cage and remaining bedding/food to get the group or a member interested in responsible animal care.
  • Have you considered a group home, elderly foster care home or an elder neighbor who might be limited in their mobility but would love a small “pocket pet” to keep them company?
  • Many small pets can be easily cared for in a home or apartment and fit into many different families. We suggest you screen potential new homes carefully and visit with potential new owners to share your own experience and knowledge of your pet – as well as the dietary, care and exercise needs the pet requires.


Kathy Bremer
(541) 974-4258
(503) 394-3076

Exotic Bird Club of Oregon
(503) 362-1982
Rose City Exotic Bird Rescue
PO Box 68342
Oak Grove, OR 97268-0342
(503) 221-4213

NW Bird Rescue
13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.
Suite C-8 P.M.B. # 101 Vancouver, WA  98684
(503) 247-3626

Audubon Society
5151 NW Cornell Road
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 292-6855

Michelle Blake
(503) 391-1360

Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 285-7722 x211

Guinea Pig

Rabbit Advocates

Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 285-7722 x211

Local Petco stores are very willing to rehome small pets.  Local Petco store are in Keizer, on Lancaster Drive and on S. Commercial.

Why should I pay to adopt an animal when I can get one for free from a newspaper or online ad?

Every adoption package at WHS includes the spay/neuter surgery, initial vaccinations, a vet exam, microchip, ID tag, 30 days of pet health insurance, and other valuable benefits. In addition, we evaluate pets for health and temperament, so that we can help match adopters with the pet that’s right for them. We also offer post-adoption support to address concerns and questions that may come up after a pet goes home. In all, adopting a pet is a tremendous value for the price.

A “free” pet is not really free because you will likely have to pay for his first vet exam, vaccinations, sterilization surgery, microchip, and other services. Those costs add up quickly, and you will probably end up paying more for your “free” pet than if you adopted one from a reputable rescue group or shelter.

Why do you have variable adoption fees for dogs?

We review our adoption fee scale on a yearly basis and take into account the fees that other humane societies and shelters in our area are charging. Our base adoption fee is currently $100 for an adult dog and $75 for a senior dog. Adoption fees for dogs that are in high demand (e.g. small dogs, puppies, unusual shelter breeds, and purebreds) are set higher than our base prices. These types of dogs tend to be adopted very quickly, which helps offset the cost of care for other dogs that may stay with us for a month or longer before finding new homes.  In addition, many dogs receive dental work and other medical services prior to adoption, so the higher fees can help offset some of those costs as well.

Our dog adoption package is a great value because it includes the spay or neuter surgery, initial vaccinations, flea treatment, microchip and inclusion in national registry, a free vet exam, one month of pet health insurance, personalized ID tag, leash, and collar.

Why do you sometimes turn adopters down?

Our goal is to place adoptable animals with people who can care for them properly and meet their needs throughout their lifetime. We do not expect adopters to be perfect guardians, but it’s important to make the right match for both the adopter’s sake and the animal’s. We may turn an adopter down who is not the right fit for a particular animal, but can often help the adopter make the right match with another pet.

Can I adopt more than one pet at a time from WHS?

Yes. WHS allows more than one adoption for cats, kittens and adult dogs. We may also encourage two pets to be adopted together, if they come into the shelter as a bonded pair.

WHS does not allow people to adopt two puppies from the same litter, and strongly discourages adopting two unrelated puppies at the same time. The puppies will tend to bond strongly to each other and not to their human companions. Also, because of the amount of work and energy it takes to train one puppy, training two at the same time is likely to be too challenging for all but the most experienced puppy raisers.

What if the adoption isn’t working out? Can I return the pet?

Happy People Happy Pets

Happy People Happy Pets

Happiness matters-for you and your new pet

Your adoption satisfaction is guaranteed.  If you adopt a pet from Willamette Humane Society and discover that you are not compatible, you may return the pet within 30 days and receive a refund of your adoption fee or an exchange for another pet that will meet your needs.

We want to place the right pet in the right home and eliminate any perceived risk that might be associated with adopting. Our new policy will help ensure a good fit for both the adopter and the animal, improve customer satisfaction, and hopefully increase the number of adoptions. Ultimately, if people are happy with the pets they adopt, the pets are going to be happy too.

Willamette Humane’s “Happy People Happy Pets” started with a grant through the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and is based on a program successfully implemented by the Humane Society of Boulder Valley as part of the ASPCA’s $100,000 Challenge. Encouraged by the success of Boulder Humane’s adoption refund initiative, the ASPCA invited shelters to apply for grant funding to pilot similar programs in their communities. WHS was one of 3 shelters selected to receive grant funding. Per the ASPCA’s requirements, most of the grant money was used to conduct visitor surveys at Willamette Humane and establish some baseline data that will help staff measure the success of the program. The other portion of the grant was utilized to help spread the word about the new initiative to the community.