FAQs

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Which towns does HSWA serve?

HSWA serves the following communities: Albion, Belgrade, Benton, Burnham, Canaan, Clinton, Detroit, Dixmont, Fairfield, Freedom, Hinckley, Knox, Mercer, Oakland, Palmyra, Pittsfield, Shawmut, Sidney, Thorndike, Troy, Unity, Waldo, Waterville and Winslow.

Why adopt a pet from HSWA?

When you adopt a shelter pet, you save a life. Shelter pets also cost less than a pet from a breeder. All of our pets are spayed/neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccines, tests and treatments.

Where do HSWA animals come from?

HSWA cares for owner surrenders and strays brought in by the general public or animal control officers. HSWA also teams with All Sato Rescue to bring transport dogs to the shelter. We recently began a partnership with Three Little Pitties All Breed Rescue in Houston to transport dogs who would otherwise face euthanasia.

Why does HSWA import dogs, aren’t there enough in Maine?

There is a high demand in Central Maine for puppies and dogs, but we don’t have a lot of strays and surrenders. That’s why we partner with All Sato Rescue in Puerto Rico. Most of the adult dogs have spent time in foster homes, they tend to be friendly, house trained and good with kids. And everyone loves puppies! We recently began a partnership with Three Little Pitties All Breed Rescue in Houston to transport dogs who would otherwise face euthanasia.

What forms of payment does HSWA accept?

HSWA accepts all major credit cards, cash and checks.

Is there an application process to adopt a pet from HSWA?

Yes. Potential adopters complete an adoption application that consists of adopter’s basic information, lifestyle and any previous pet history. Our goal is to do our best to match adopters with the pet that would be a great fit for the entire family including your new furry friend. We typically require a 24 hour hold before adopting dogs so we can properly check references and ensure a good fit for the entire family and the dog. We also require a photo ID (passport, driver’s license, state ID, etc.) at the time of adoption for all animals.

How long does the adoption process take?

After your adoption application is reviewed, it can take up to 30 minutes to enter your information into our database and merge the animal’s information and the adopter’s information together. This ensures adopters receive the important paperwork for their new pet and activates the pet’s microchip in the name of the new adopter. We typically require a 24 hour hold before adopting dogs so we can properly check references and ensure a good fit for the entire family and the dog. 

What do I need to bring to prepare for adopting a new pet?

Adding a new pet to your family is an important decision. Adopters will need to bring a valid photo ID. They will need to have the payment type they will use to cover the adoption fee at the time of adoption. Additionally, adopters should consider bringing a pet carrier or leash and collar. However, we do sell Lupine leashes and collars in our lobby. Adopters should have a letter from their landlord giving permission for a pet if they rent their home.

Does HSWA hold animals?

Unless approved by the management team, HSWA does not hold animals. Pets are adopted out on a first come, first considered basis.

What is my new pet’s background history?

We will share as much information as we know about an animal; unfortunately, sometimes when an animal is surrendered to HSWA, we are unable to obtain many details about his or her past. Many animals are brought to us as a stray by a citizen or ACO (Animal Control Officer) so we have no information. Often times we have to rely on what our staff observes in the shelter setting or behavioral tests.

Does HSWA offer meet and greets?

If you are considering adding another dog to your household, HSWA encourages you to bring in any dog currently living in your home to meet the shelter dog before adoption. We also encourage you to bring in any dog with which your new dog may be spending long periods of time.

What should I feed my new pet? What is he or she used to eating at the shelter?

Our animals receive canned/wet and dry food as we receive them from donations. We recommend that dogs and cats at their new homes are fed a food that has meat(s) listed as the primary ingredients and does not include dyes or a filler, like corn or grains. Our small animals are fed species-specific pellets, vegetables and other treats.

Does HSWA euthanize animals that have been at the shelter too long or are sick or injured?

There’s no such thing as “too long” at our shelter. We do our best to find a home for every animal that comes through our doors. We care for them, heal them when we can, bring them to specialists if needed, hold fundraisers for special surgeries, place shy or undersocialized cats in barns, comfort and care for our seniors, bottle feed premature kittens…essentially anything we can to give each animal a fighting chance. Euthanization is the absolute last resort for any animal in our care and only takes place when it is more humane for the animal to end its suffering. We make these decisions with a heavy heart and luckily very infrequently.

Does HSWA recommend pet health insurance?

Yes, pet health insurance helps to avoid out of pocket expenses if your pet should become sick or injured. HSWA has teamed up with 24Pet Watch Pet Insurance to offer you and your new pet a free first month of pet health insurance with your adoption. Please see their website for more information.

Why does my pet need to see the vet within 10 days of adoption?

HSWA asks that you take your new pet to meet your vet within 10 days of adoption. We want to make sure your veterinarian, your new pet and you are able to develop a relationship and have baseline data on the health and condition of your pet immediately after adoption. This allows both you and your vet to be familiar with your pet and a better ability to diagnose and treat should your animal become hurt or ill. Staff make every effort to ensure adoptable animals are in good medical health and will inform adopters about all conditions of which we are aware, but sometimes something could be missed, or may not present until an animal is out of the shelter. An adopter is responsible for illness once the pet leaves the shelter. We highly recommend considering pet insurance and it is available at the time of adoption through a third party and reputable agency. Please ask an associate at the time of adoption.

Where can I take my new pet for veterinary care?

See our list of area veterinarians

What do I do if my new pet becomes sick or injured after adoption?

If you think your pet is sick or injured, contact your veterinarian immediately. If it is an emergency, contact an emergency clinic or area veterinarians.