How to Adopt a Pet from AWS

Thank you for choosing the Animal Welfare Society as a place to adopt a pet! The Adoption Center is a welcoming and friendly place where great people and deserving pets connect. Before you adopt, there are a few things we’d like you to know.


How to Adopt during COVID-19

In our effort to promote social distancing, we have changed our adoption process. If you are seriously interested in adopting a pet, you must call to make an appointment. For dogs, we encourage you to have a specific dog in mind that you’d like to meet though you will have the opportunity to meet other dogs as well. For cats, we understand that folks may want to meet several cats to get to know them before making a decision. That will be possible during your appointment. We ask that you only make an appointment if you are seriously interested in adopting. 

Adoption appointments can be made by calling (207) 985-3244 ext. 125 between the hours of 11 am – 3 pm and you must speak to a staff member directly. If no one picks up, please do not leave a voicemail as that will not guarantee an appointment. Understand that appointments will be limited to 5 each day, as to promote social distancing. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to find our pets home and keep our community safe at the same time.

As always, adoptions are first come, first serve, meaning the person who calls first gets their choice of available appointment times and thus his/her choice of animals to meet and adopt. We are not able to extend holds on any animals at this time, so we ask interested adopters to make their adoption decision during their appointment and be prepared to take their new pet with home with you.

Please note: our adoption pages are REAL TIME, so as soon as an animal is adopted, it will “disappear” from the website.


You are welcomed to visit the Adoption Center as often as you like to visit our animals.

Our population changes on a daily basis as new pets come in and resident pets are adopted. For a real-time listing of pets available for adoption, visit our dog, cat or small animal adoption pages. Our Adoption Center is open from 11 am to 4:30 pm daily (except for Wednesdays when we are closed for adoptions and visits). When you arrive, we ask you to sign in and then you can visit the Adoption Center.

Please note that only animals available for adoption can be visited. While we do post photos of animals (particularly puppies) going up for adoption a few days in advance, we clearly indicate with their photo online the date he/she will be available for adoption. This date is the first date for visiting and viewing (animals cannot be visited with or viewed prior to the date listed on their profile online).

Our adoption counselors spend considerable about of time with the animals each day, so they are always happy to share information and stories. Don’t be shy – please ask any and all questions that come to mind, before, during and after the adoption process. We are here to help and will gladly answer all of your questions.

Our simple and straightforward Adoption Questionnaire begins the adoption process.

This questionnaire is our preliminary way of getting to know you.  By answering questions about your expectations, interests, experiences, lifestyle and family dynamics, our adoption counselors can be best prepared to provide information about the pets you may be interested in and help you find the best match for you and your family.

You can download and complete the adoption questionnaire in advance and bring it with you or you can complete it on-site when you arrive at AWS.

Visiting together with the animals is an opportunity to get to know their unique personalities and needs.

We want you to find the pet that is right for you, your family and your lifestyle. While it is not mandatory, we encourage you to get the whole family on board. Bring everyone in your family along for your visit so that each household member has the chance to meet and interact with the pet(s) you are interested in adopting. We have several areas inside the Adoption Center or outside in the Courtyard, where you can spend quality time together and get to know your new pet. With dogs for adoption, you can even take a walk together, perhaps along one of our many trails. For fellow canine family members, dog-to-dog introductions are handled on a case-by-case basis. We will work with you to determine if an introduction is in the best interest of your resident dog and your prospective new dog. You do not have to bring your resident dog with you when you stop by to meet available dogs. A meet-and-greet can be arranged once the adoption process is started.

Adoption fees vary from species to species and depend on an animal’s age, breed and size.

Adoption fees are listed on each individual animal’s web profile and on a card on/near their kennel or space in the Adoption Center. Our adoption fees include the extensive care each and every animal receives at AWS, including shelter, daily enrichment and veterinary care. Learn more about AWS adoption fees and the benefits they include.

We encourage adopters to think ahead before adopting.

It is helpful to know for certain that pets are welcomed where you live before you adopt. Think about applicable local ordinances, homeowner’s and/or renter’s insurance policies, rental agreements, parental consent, approval from roommate(s), etc. We encourage adopters to make sure they have the right set up, inside and out, for the pet they would like to bring home. Some pets need a fenced in yard, other pets do best as the only pet, etc. Each animal’s housing needs are unique, as are the rules or regulations that might govern your home and the jurisdiction in which you live.

You do not need to make a decision on adoption the first time you stop by, though many people do.

We will continue to work with you throughout the adoption process, as you decide upon the pet that is just right for you. However, please keep in mind that pet adoptions are on a first come, first served basis, particularly for highly sought-after pets. Kittens and puppies for adoption are considered highly-sought after and often go home the very day they become available.

Things to know when seeking to adopt a highly sought-after pet:

  • We post highly sought after pets online a few days in advance and indicate clearly with their photo online the date he/she will be available for adoption. This date is the first date for visiting and viewing (animals cannot be visited with or viewed prior to the date listed on their profile online).
  • Adoptions begin at 11am. However, on days when highly sought-after pets (particularly puppies) first become available, parties may arrive prior to this time and begin forming a line. Starting at 8 am, we will have a sign-up sheet hanging on our front door. Interested adopters arriving early can write down their name to ensure their place in line when visits and adoptions begin at 11 am.
  • Adoption questionnaires should be completed before interacting with individual animals.
  • A commitment to a particular pet does not have to be made within the 15-minute time frame, though after 15 minutes, the next in line will have access to available animals, and so on. All adoptions are on a first come, first served.
  • Please be prepared to wait 15 minutes for every person/family in front of you. Usually applicants have a particular animal in mind before coming to the shelter, which can speed the process. We do our best to keep things moving quickly, and we ask for your patience while those ahead of you make their choices and complete their adoptions.


Adoption questions? Contact us.


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