Frequently Asked Questions

What is Homeward Bound?

Homeward Bound is a private, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization concerned with the welfare of dogs and other animals. We are dedicated to the sheltering and fostering of homeless and unwanted animals. In addition, we take pride in the fact that we are a no-kill rescue and placement program that does not euthanize our animals if they are not adopted within a certain length of time. Homeward Bound has been in existence since 1991 and has rescued well over 12,800 dogs, cats, and other animals.  Homeward Bound promotes responsible adoption and care of companion animals. We seek out well matched permanent homes for our loving and deserving animals.

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Where is Homeward Bound located? Where do the animals stay?

Homeward Bound is located in Minnesota.  Because we are a foster based organization we do not have a brick and mortar facility at which to meet the dogs. Dogs can be seen during our weekly adoption events.  After each event all of our dogs and cats go back to their temporary foster homes if they are not adopted out.   When a dog or cat is adopted another one can be rescued and fostered.  Fostering our animals enables us to observe the disposition and needs of each individual animal allowing us to aid prospective adopters in the selection of a pet that fits the personality, desires, and lifestyle of a family/person.

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How can I help Homeward Bound?

We are always looking for volunteers to help out at the adoption events and our fundraisers.  Donations, whether monitary or goods, are most welcome!  Check out our Get Involved page for more ideas and information on helping out.

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What does “no-kill” mean?

We take pride in the fact that our animals in our program remain in foster care until they are adopted, without a time or space limit. Sadly, ‘no-kill’ does not mean that we never euthanize an animal, since the reality is that not every animal that comes to us can be adopted. This decision is not made lightly. Each case varies, but if a dog is terminally ill and suffering, exhibits repeated aggression towards people, has shown severe and unreasonable aggression toward other dogs, or severe behavior problems which cannot be corrected, they are deemed unadoptable and are euthanized. This decision is gut-wrenching and one we avoid whenever possible. 

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Why does Homeward Bound rescue so many special-needs dogs?

Many animal care facilities deem animals with health problems to be “unadoptable” and opt to euthanize them rather than treat them. Many of these health problems are easy to fix, such as heartworm, Lyme disease, tumors, doing dentals on senior or neglected dogs, repairing broken bones and torn ligaments, working with skin care for mange and mites, removing masses and kidney stones, etc. Here at Homeward Bound, we have a space in our hearts for all dogs, even those with special needs and we will not turn our backs on these dogs that need us most. Our mission is to help these poor victims onto a better life, by providing necessary vet care and placement into a permanent home that is 100% committed to caring for the animal(s) for the rest of their lives. There is a price for rescuing so many special needs dogs — our weekly vet bills are high, generally running several thousand dollars per week.  Because of this our adoption fees tend to be higher than other rescues or shelters. We can’t rescue all of the special needs dogs, but we are proud of the fact that we can rescue some of them.

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Can a dog or cat adopted from Homeward Bound live outdoors?

No. We feel very strongly against dogs or cats living outdoors. We state in our adoption contract that all animals adopted from Homeward Bound must live indoors only. Dogs are social pack animals and we want our animals to live as a family member and companion.  

What does this mean?  Without a special exception in writing from the Executive Director of Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, we expect that the animals adopted from Homeward Bound will live indoors as a part of the family.   A dog will not be kept outdoors overnight, during the adopter’s working hours, or at any other time left alone outdoors while the adopter is not at home. Being a house-dog means just that – it does not mean garages, dog houses (heated or otherwise), barns, kennels, outbuildings, etc.  We feel so strongly about this that without unusual circumstances, we will not adopt out a dog or cat to individuals or families that keep other dogs/cats outdoors, even if they agree to keep a Homeward Bound animal indoors.

Why does it matter?  Dogs are social animals and want to be with their people or pack.  Being isolated from their pack goes again their most basic instinct and frequently in their quest for attention, undesirable behaviors develop such as digging, nuisance barking, and barrier aggression/frustration.  Dogs left outdoors can be a target for thieves, have a higher risk of illnesses such as heatstroke and frostbite or event getting poisoned (either intentionally or unintentionally).   Additionally regular interaction and socialization is vital in order to have a happy and mentally healthy pet.

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Why do some dogs require a fenced yard?

 As we get to know the dogs in our programs we may decide that they may require a home that meets special requirements such as no children, no cats, or a physically fenced yard.  Not meeting a special requirement does not mean an individual or family will be a poor pet owner.  They are simply not the right owner for that particular animal.  Some reasons why we might require a physically fenced yard (not invisible fencing).

  • Many Hounds (including most Beagles, Basset Hounds and Coonhounds) will never be reliable off lead and will follow their noses as far as they can.
  • Some dogs have a hard time “doing their business” on a leash or tie out.  In order for them to be successful with their house training they need the freedom and in some cases privacy to “go” without being tied up.
  • Some dogs have very sensitive temperaments. For these dogs, training collars and invisible fencing collars that use shock correction would be very detrimental to them.

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What do I need to consider before adopting a dog?

Adopting a dog can be a wonderful experience, especially if you have made the decision to add a family member thoughtfully and done the necessary research.  There are any number of web articles available on what to consider before adopting a pet/dog/cat, breed information, puppy or adult, male or female, and coat type to name a few.   Some of our favorites are: 

What kind of dog should I get?

Before you get a dog

Are you ready for a dog?

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What are your adoption requirements?

  • Adopters must be at least 18 years old and provide valid photo identification (e.g. a driver’s license).
  • Adopters must be willing to make a 10-20 year commitment to the dog/cat.
  • Adopted animals may not be given as gifts.  The prospective owner must be involved in the process.
  • You must familiarize yourself with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to understand if your insurance company has implemented any breed bans that will affect your insurability.
  • Renter’s and condo/townhome residents must provide information on the pet policy for the property.  Be aware that some properties have weight and/or breed restrictions. 
  • You must familiarize yourself with your city’s animal laws, many cities have breed restrictions, limits on the number of pets      per household, leash laws and registration requirements.   
  • Every animal adopted from Homeward Bound must and shall reside indoors, in the adopter’s home, and live as a family member and companion only.  Adopter’s agree that unless a special exemption is provided in writing by the Executive Director of Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, adopted animals will not be kept outdoors including: Overnight, during the adopter’s working hours, or at any time left alone outdoors while the adopter is not at home.
  • We do not place dogs to be used solely as guard, watch, or hunting dogs.
  • We do not place cats to be used solely as mousers or barn cats.
  • Adopters must agree to bring the adopted dog/cat to a licensed veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and all recommended routine vaccinations and tests as well as provide heartworm, flea, and tick preventative. Additionally the animal should be provided with necessary veterinary care upon sickness, disease, and/or injury.
  • If an adopter currently has resident dog(s) or cat(s) they must be spayed/neutered and up to date on all vet care (shots and preventatives).
  • Adopted dogs must wear a collar with owner identification tags, rabies and license tags or be microchipped.
  • Animals may not to be transported in any open vehicle, such as the bed of a truck, unless in a secured crate
  • Adopter’s may not mistreat, abuse, neglect, or otherwise treat the dog/cat in an inhumane manner.  Nor allow others to do so.
  • Adopted dogs may not be surgically or otherwise de-barked.
  • Adopters are to familiarize themselves with our adoption policies
  • We reserve the right to require and complete a home visit before approving an adoption.

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What are your adoption policies?

Pre-Adoption Questionnaires: All prospective adopters will complete a pre-adoption questionnaire prior to adopting.  A pre-adoption questionnaire may be obtained by emailing the contact listed in a dog’s bio on our website or may be completed at an adoption event.  Normal processing time is usually quite short, however depending upon the situation; reference checks, property manager verifications (if applicable), and if deemed necessary a home visit may take some time.

The questionnaires help us to successfully match the right animal with the right family. The questionnaire is simply an application for an adopter to be eligible to adopt from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, not a contract for adoption.  They are not dog specific and may be used if a potential adopter is interested in more than one animal.  Pre-adoption questionnaires are processed on a first come, first served basis but are approved based on an animal’s best interests and blanket approvals are not given.  Certain dogs may have specific requirements including, but not limited to: No children, no other pets, another dog required, a physically fenced yard required, etc.  Potential adopters who are approved and do not meet these requirements are ineligible to adopt that particular dog. 

Adoption Fees:  Most of our adoption fees are in the $350-$450 range, although there are some outliers on either end of that range.  All dogs and puppies have been surgically sterilized, given dewomer, vaccinated, and if not already done are micro-chipped upon adoption.  In addition, adult dogs are tested for heartworm and usually Lyme disease.  Because we provide a number of special procedures such as dentals, surgeries, treatment for heartworm and Lyme disease, mange, and so on we spread the cost of these special treatments among all of the dogs in our program.  Adoption fees vary depending upon a dog’s breed, gender, and age among other factors.  Minnesota state sales tax is assessed, collected, and paid on each adoption.  At this time adoption fees may be paid with cash only.  Once collected adoption fees are non-refundable.  No cash refunds are given. 

From time to time we’re asked “Why are your adoption fees so high?”  As mentioned previously we treat a number or ailments that other shelters/rescues will not.  The dog is either passed over or euthanized.  We have a place in our hearts for these dogs and feel strongly that an otherwise healthy dog deserves the chance for a happy healthy life.  We do not believe that rescue dogs are bargain dogs. 

The other question we receive is: “What if I can’t afford the adoption fee?”  We work very hard to save the lives of and find loving homes for the animals in our program.  However, it is not our mission to provide the public with low-cost pets. We understand that sometimes money is an issue but our adoption fees are not negotiable.

Author Larry Powell graciously gave us permission to share his article on rescues and how adoption fees are used. We couldn’t say it better ourselves!

Distance Adoptions: We do allow people who reside outside of the Twin Cities to adopt from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.  However, we do not ship dogs.  Potential adopters must attend an adoption event to meet the dog(s) they are interested in and complete all paperwork in person.  Distance adopters must meet all adoption requirements and agree to all policies, including returning any animal to Homeward Bound Dog Rescue if the adoption doesn’t work out or life situation changes.

Trial Period: In accordance with Minnesota state law there is a three (3) business day trial period for all adopted Homeward Bound animals. If, for any reason within this period, you choose not to or discover that you cannot keep the adopted animal Homeward Bound Dog Rescue must be notified immediately.  When arrangements to return an adopted animal are made within the three day trial period Homeward Bound Dog Rescue will issue a credit voucher equal to the adoption fee.  The credit voucher is valid for 60 days from the date of return.  The credit voucher is non-transferrable and has no cash value.  It may be used only toward a Homeward Bound Dog Rescue dog and it is not valid with any other rescue group.  If the new dog adopted has a lower adoption fee no refund of the difference is given.  If the new dog has a higher adoption fee, the difference is to be paid by the adopter.

In the event that another dog cannot be adopted, Homeward Bound will issue a donation letter in the amount of the fee and the fee may be used as a charitable donation.  Consult with your tax advisor for the deductibility of the donation.  

Health and Temperament: It is our policy to share information on any known issues prior to adoption. However, Homeward Bound Dog Rescue makes no explicit or implicit guarantees in reference to the health, behavior, and/or temperament of adopted animals.  All animals are adopted as is and future vet work is the responsibility of the adopter. 

Pet Health Insurance:  Pet health insurance is a good investment.  Homeward Bound Dog Rescue offers a free 30 day gift of pet health insurance through Shelter Care with each adopted dog, on condition that that the adopter provides a valid email address.  This gift covers a variety of accidents and illnesses with a low deductible. This is an opt-in offer and must be accepted within 72 hours of adopting a dog from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.  There is no obligation and it is up to the adopter’s discretion to accept the offer and/or to purchase continuing coverage.  If an adopter does not have a valid email address, a gift of insurance offer may be issued.  It is then up to the adopter to call Shelter Care directly and accept the offer. Homeward Bound accepts no liability with regard to the Shelter Care Program.

Repossession of an Adopted Animal: If an adopter is found to be in violation of the adoption policies, requirements, or contract Homeward Bound Dog Rescue reserves the right to repossess any adopted animal with no refund of the adoption fee. In addition, Homeward Bound Dog Rescue reserves the right to make post-adoption home visits and/or follow up calls to check on the welfare of adopted animals to ensure that all terms and conditions are being met.

Returns: If an adopter decides that an animal adopted from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue cannot be kept (outside of normal life decisions regarding the animal) or is no longer wanted the adopter must contact Homeward Bound Dog Rescue prior to taking action.  Adopter’s that cannot continue to provide a home for an animal adopted from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue agree to return him/her to Homeward Bound Dog Rescue and will not surrender the animal to an animal shelter, humane society, pound, or another rescue, nor will he/she be sold, given to, exchanged or adopted to anyone else without written consent from the Executive Director of the rescue.

Right of Refusal: Homeward Bound reserves the right to refuse any adoption with or without cause.

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How do I adopt a Homeward Bound animal?

The first step is to read through all of our adoption requirements & adoption policies

Check out the dogs on our website and email us with questions: If you’d like to find out more information about a dog/cat or have specific questions that are not addressed in the biographical information or would like a pre-adoption questionnaire, feel free to send an email to the contact listed in the animal’s bio. We will generally respond to your message within 24 hours however, please know that Homeward Bound Dog Rescue is staffed by volunteers and there are times that other commitments such as jobs, school, and families get in the way of our volunteer work.  If you do not receive a response within three days please contact us again as it’s likely that the original message was not received.  Due to volunteer scheduling we are generally unable to make or return phone calls regarding adoptable dogs.

Come to an adoption event to meet our dogs:  Each week our foster families bring their fosters to our adoption events.  Due to space limitations at the Petco Stores where the events are held, we usually cannot bring all of the dogs we have to the event, although we typically have approximately 60 dogs attend each event. If you are interested in a particular dog or dogs, please do email us so that we can make sure they attend.  Please note that most of our foster families do not meet with prospective adopters outside of the events. 

Adopting:  When you meet a dog, the chemistry is right, you want to adopt, and have a completed and approved pre-adoption questionnaire on file then the next step is adoption.  Adoption involves completing the adoption contract and related paperwork, paying the adoption fee, and taking your new family member home!

Holds:  We do not hold animals for potential adopters.  If you are interested in a particular animal it is advantageous to have an approved pre-adoption questionnaire on file before the adoption event.  If multiple people have been pre-approved for the same animal we do not wait until all approved adopters get to the event.  Adoptions are done on a first come, first served basis with priority going to potential adopters that have been pre-approved.  . 

If multiple people come to an adoption event at the same time for the same animal, each prospective adopter is given a chance to meet and spend time with the dog/cat.  If the chemistry is right for multiple parties and interest remains we first review the pre-adoption questionnaire information for each prospective family to see if there might be a best fit for that particular animal.  If all things are equal we will draw a name.

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May I read the adoption contract prior to coming to an adoption event?

Yes, the text of the adoption contract is as follows:

This agreement is between Homeward Bound Dog Rescue (HB) and the undersigned new dog owner (“you”) regarding the adoption of the above described dog (“the dog”). This dog is adopted AS IS and all future vet work is your responsibility. Dogs have received the vaccines as stated above, but may or may not have had a vet check as noted above and in the vaccination record. HB does NOT guarantee the health or temperament of this animal. Unless provided by participating veterinarian, HB is legally unable to provide any prescription medications for any underlying health conditions (such as kennel cough) and therefore it is your responsibility to have any condition(s) treated and HB is not responsible for any costs incurred by you.

There is a three (3) business day trial period (the “trial period”) for the dog in your home. If you adopt the dog on a Saturday, the trial period expires on the following Wednesday. If, for any reason such as landlord issues, allergies or animal personality clashes, you choose not to keep the dog, you must notify HB immediately. If notified during the trial period and you return the dog by 11AM the following Saturday Pet Adoption, you will receive a replacement certificate for ONE dog of equal of lesser value valid for 60 days from date of return. This credit may be used only by you, it is not transferable. HB reserves the right to deny replacement certificate in cases of abuse, neglect and/or the animal dies.

NO CASH REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON.

The dog, if not already done at the time of adoption, must be spayed or neutered by date stated above. HB reserves the right to repossess the dog, with no refund of the adoption fee, if the dog is not spayed or neutered by above date. A certificate from your veterinarian indicating the completion of the spay or neuter must be sent to the HB P.O. box below.

HB requires that the dog be housed indoors in your home, unless otherwise specified in the “Notes” column above. If you are in violation of these terms, HB reserves the right to repossess the dog with no refund of the adoption fee. HB reserves the right to make scheduled post-adoption home visits and/or follow up calls to check on the welfare of the dog and assure that the terms of the contract are being met. If you cannot keep the dog, it MUST come back to HB. HB will follow appropriate legal action against you to reclaim the dog from anyone other than person specified on this contract. HB is a private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the welfare of homeless dogs. It is understood and agreed upon that no warranty or action has been made with respect to the dog except as set forth in writing of this contract. It is further understood that you and HB will abide by the agreement herein.

I fully understand that all expenses incurred henceforth are my full responsibility, and I agree to give this dog the best possible care. I also agree to spay or neuter the dog by the above date if not already done, keep it housed indoors, and return it to Homeward Bound if I am unable to care for it or choose to relinquish this animal for any reason — NO EXCEPTIONS. 

By signing this, I agree that I am liable for the adoption fee as stated above regardless of check processing. If I stop payment on this check or there are not sufficient funds in my account, I agree to pay an additional $30 per check along with the adoption fee regardless if I keep the adopted dog. If I supply false information on this contract, I understand that the dog will be repossessed with no refund of the adoption fee or fees paid while I own the dog. Furthermore, I agree to be held financially responsible for any fees and/or court costs incurred by Homeward Bound during repossession.

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How do I surrender an animal to Homeward Bound? 

Deciding to surrender a pet can be heartbreaking.  If all options around the reason for surrendering a pet have been exhausted we ask that you first contact the shelter or breeder from which you originally obtained the animal.  Many organizations require that dogs be returned to them in the event the pet cannot be kept.  If that fails you may contact us.

Because we are a foster based organization we have a limit to the number of animals we can have in our program at any given time. If you are willing to act as a foster parent for the animal while we work on the adoption process we would very likely be able to accept the pet into the program.   If we can accept your dog into our program, you will need to complete an Owner Surrender Form which asks for details about the animal and provides a release transferring ownership of the animal to Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.  Once a pet is surrendered to Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, if the surrendering party is not acting as a foster, visitation with the surrendered pet is prohibited.  Additionally we will not provide surrendering parties with contact information for the adopter. 

We do not charge a fee for surrendering an animal but we do request a minimum donation of $50 for spayed/neutered animals and $100 for intact animals.  Please give generously to help the animals.  Homeward Bound does not impose a time limit on dogs placed in foster care while awaiting adoption.

Considerations: If your dog is a senior or has a serious medical or behavioral issue, please consider euthanizing him/her in your loving arms rather than subject him/her to the potential trauma of rescue. It is our belief that it is more humane to euthanize a pet them in the arms of loved ones rather than making an older dog go through the stress of rescue.  And if an animal is seriously ill it’s suffering should end.  Once admitted to our program Homeward Bound Dog Rescue will not euthanize an animal because they are not adopted within a certain length of time.

Note:  It is rare that we can accept owner released cats/kittens because of the size of the unwanted feline population. 

In order to determine whether we can accept your dog into our program, and find an appropriate foster home – if applicable, please email Cheryl at cheryl.hwb1@gmail.com providing the following information in your request:  

  • Why are you seeking to rehome your dog?
  • How long have you had him/her?
  • What breed is he/she?
  • Age?
  • Is he/she housetrained?
  • Is he/she spayed/neutered?
  • Is he/she current on vaccinations?
  • Is he/she good with people, kids, other dogs, cats?
  • Does he/she have any bite history?
  • Are there any health or behavior issues that we should be aware of?
  • Do you have a photo that you can send us?

If Homeward Bound Dog Rescue cannot accept your pet into our program we encourage you to seek out other rescues.  PetFinder.com is a good resource to use to find rescues and shelters in the area.  The Animal Humane Society is an open-admission organization that accepts all animals (an appointment is required). As a result, not all animals are able to be placed for adoption and humane euthanasia may be considered in some cases.

Please be aware that if you decide to list your pet as “free to a good home” or for sale via Craig’s List or the classified ads in the paper he or she may very well be picked up by a lab and used for animal testing or by individuals involved with dog fighting and be used as a bait animal.

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Is Homeward Bound on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube? 

Yes! You can connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Additionally, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and be the first to see any new videos we upload.

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These are just some of the special dogs that are still patiently waiting for their new families to find them and take them home. Please take a look at the featured dogs.

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