Our Adoption Process:

What to expect

So how does this work?

Many potential adopters are curious as to how the NorthStar adoption process works.  We created this page to explain how to apply to adopt from us, and what to expect at each step along the way.  Once you have submitted your application, your assigned adoption coordinator will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Step 1: Submit an Application

The very first step in our adoption process is to submit an application. When submitting an application, you may either select one of the dogs listed on our adoptable dogs page or choose the option **No Specific Dog**. If you are looking to adopt, but do not see a particular dog you are interested in, we strongly suggest submitting an application for “No Specific Dog” so that your application can be processed and you will be able to move quickly to adopt. Due to the current national health crisis, there is a overwhelming demand for dogs and a queue of already approved adopters.  Thus, incoming dogs are being offered to already approved applicants before being made available on our website. This is the case with most rescues in the Northeast, so we strongly suggest submitting an application so we can work to find you the perfect match.

Step 2: Application Processing

Deciding to add a dog as a family member is the first step in an exciting journey and we look forward to helping with your search. We have a long application with a lot of questions which we use to help learn about you and help us find a perfect match.

If your adoption application is approved, you will be contacted by one of our adoption coordinators. Note that we are currently experiencing delays in adoption application processing due to the huge demand for dogs. NorthStar is an entirely volunteer based organization and we are working hard to make sure we remain in frequent contact with applicants.

Step 3 - Finding your New Friend

The NorthStar adoption coordinator assigned to you has access to dogs that have just been rescued and have not yet appeared on our website and all the major pet portals such as Petfinder, adopt-a-pet, etc.  Ordinarily the dogs appearing on our website and the dogs appearing on other pet portals are are automatically in sync and have the same pets listed.  Your adoption coordinator will work with you to determine if any of our current dogs in foster, or any of the new dogs that will be coming in, are a good match for your circumstances. The dog that we collectively decide might be a good fit could already be in a foster home in New Jersey, or could still be in another state awaiting transport.

Step 4 - Waiting for Arrival

Once we have worked together to find a good match, we may be able to put you in touch with your dog’s foster family in the originating state. We should also be able to give you an exact transport date, or at least an anticipated timeframe for transport, the time between choosing your dog and arrival in NJ will vary widely: NorthStar prefers to have as much vetting as possible done in the originating state so that your pet is healthy, spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, and 100% ready to make the trip safely. This is a very exciting time!  Use this time to review any adoption materials provided by NorthStar, including the adoption contract, and to get your home ready for your new arrival.

Step 5: Transport

There are many different ways your pet might arrive to NJ: Ground transport using one of several trusted and safe pet transportation companies; volunteer legged transport using transport provided by organizations such as Kindred Hearts Transport Connection; or your pet might even arrive on a small plane booked through organizations such as Pilots and Paws. However, more than 90% of our dogs arrive on paid ground transport.  NorthStar makes all transport arrangements and any transport fees are included your pet’s adoption fee.

Step 6: Arrival!

Prior to arrival, our adoption coordinator will set up an appointment for a “meet and greet.” This will usually be the day that your pet arrives (unless of course your pet is already in foster in NJ), which is almost always a Saturday morning. Please be on-time for your appointment as there are usually multiple dogs arriving and multiple back to back appointments. The meet and greet will either take place at our adoption center (187 Plane Street in Boonton NJ) or another location specified in the email you will be receiving. In rare cases, the “meet and greet” might be scheduled at your home. Almost all adoptions are currently done outdoors for everyone’s safety (weather permitting.)  Face masks are mandatory for the meet and greet, whether indoors or outdoors. Hand sanitizer will be provided. If you have any other safety concerns or special needs, please mention them to the adoption coordinator and we will do our best to accommodate them. We are currently asking adopters to complete the adoption contract prior to the meet and greet so that we can minimize exposure. If the meet and greet does not work out (e.g. the dogs are not a good match for each other or your family), you can retain and destroy the contract. You will be receiving more specific instructions in the email setting up your appointment. Please read the email carefully and follow all the instructions carefully.

Step 7: Settling In....

Now that your NorthStar dog is finally home, it’s important to remember to give your new friend time to adjust.  You can think of this special time in terms of the “Rule of 3.”  Although most dogs arrive very well adjusted, some require more time to show their true personality.  All dogs arriving from out of state, where they had time to bond with their foster families, need a little time to decompress, take in the new sights and smells, and figure out that their journey is complete.

The rescue dog ″Rule of 3″

Post Adoption

NorthStar Pet Rescue takes pride in the support we provide post-adoption. As a 100% volunteer run organization, our payment is seeing the joy our dogs bring to their new families. We will be following up with you regularly and with your permission, sharing updates on our facebook page and social media. A little known fact is that most of our volunteers and fosters are former adopters! If you don’t have time to volunteer or cannot foster, your financial support is greatly needed. The costs for NorthStar to foster, vet, and transport a dog to its forever home almost always exceed the adoption fee. As a senior-focused rescue, we take in many senior dogs with extensive medical needs that regularly reach a thousand dollars or more; our discounted senior adoption fee only covers a fraction of that amount. NorthStar’s operating costs are minimal and we have no kennel facility. All donations go directly towards helping save more dogs, not paying salaries!  Please consider making a recurring monthly donation and review the other ways you can show your support!