Our Adoption Process

GSRNE places dogs in these six New England states (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI).  We cannot support long distance adoptions.  If you are from outside New England, you may want to visit Other GSD Resources page for information on other GSD rescue groups throughout North America.

The procedure for adopting from GSRNE is as follows –

To ensure your situation meets our guidelines, you must meet the requirements listed.  We regret that some good homes may be passed up because of these requirements, but we feel that this policy is best for everybody involved taking the dog and family’s safety into account. Currently we are unable to consider Applications that meet any of the following conditions:

  1. Homes with cats (this is due to the number of approved adopters with cats that are waiting for a GSD that is friendly with cats).
  2. Homes that do NOT have a physically secure fenced area (minimum 5′ high) of at least 1000 sq. ft. (ex: 20×50) that is attached to the home so when the back or side door is opened, the dog goes directly into the fenced area.
  3. Homes with children under the age of 7 years, whether the children live in the home or are regular visitors.
  4. Applicants that rent their place of residence.

 Click here to go to our Requirements for Adoption page for additional details.


 Call our Adoption Hotline (978) 443-2202

You must also call our Adoption Hotline if any of the following apply:

  1. Any of your current pets are NOT good with dogs.
  2. You currently have more than one dog.
  3. Your current pets are NOT all spayed or neutered.
  4. You have no previous experience with a GSD or GSD mix.
  5. All of your current dogs are NOT on Heartworm Preventative.
  6. You are NOT willing to take a rescued GSD to regular training classes or have a trainer come to your home.

 Call our Adoption Hotline (978) 443-2202


If you meet ALL the Requirements for Adoption listed above, you may complete the online Adoption Application here…

GSRNE Adoption Application Form

(please note that you will not be contacted from this application if you do NOT meet all adoption requirements.)  If you do not hear back within 48 hours, please

 Call our Adoption Hotline (978) 443-2202

Please leave your name and phone number, along with a convenient time to return your call.   It is important that you speak slowly and clearly so GSRNE can call you back.  We try to return all calls within 24-48 hours. 

NOTE: If you do not receive a callback within 48 hours, please call back.  This means that your number wasn’t clear enough to understand.  When the volunteer calls back, they will go over our requirements for adoption as well as answer any questions you might have.  It’s a good idea to write down your questions so you won’t forget.

After you have spoken to an Adoption Hotline Volunteer, they will send you an application (if you meet the requirements for adoption).  Read every bit of the Adoption Application packet that you receive.  This packet is complete with information about both GSDs in general and about adoption and how that works.

Have A Home Visit Done

Once the application is accepted, a GSRNE Home Visitor Volunteer will call you and make an appointment to visit your home to discuss the needs of a rescue German Shepherd dog with you and your family.  Usually we can get this visit done within a few weeks of your application approval.  This volunteer will sit down and meet with you, and check the safety of your property, etc. This is great time to ask questions, voice concerns, discuss what you love in a dog, what you would rather avoid, etc. 

NOTE: We cannot “reserve” certain dogs for you to meet.  Completion of the adoption application and home visit interview begins the adoption process and helps us determine which dog in our program matches best with you and your family.

We reserve the right to refuse an application if the home situation or environment is deemed incompatible with the needs of our rescue German Shepherd dog.  Our requirements have been set through years of experience placing and rehoming rescue dogs.  Our emphasis is on the dogs’ needs.  Disqualification does not mean the prospective adopter would not be a good home, but that the situation does not meet our dogs’ best interest.

Meet the Dog!

If approved, the Adoption Coordinator will help you set up an adoption visitation appointment with the dog’s foster home to meet the GSRNE dog who best matches your family’s profile and requirements.  Because GSRNE has all of our dogs living in nice foster homes, not in kennels, we do not have a facility for you to visit.  GSDs do NOT do well in shelter situations, so we make sure that they are placed in a foster home until we can find a matched approved adopter for them.

This is the best way to meet a new dog.  You will see how the dog lives and behaves in a home environment.  Exclusive time is set aside by the foster home to be with you and your family, so that you can focus on the rescue dog you are meeting without the distractions or stress of kennel/shelter situations, or short-handed staff.  You can ask whatever questions you want about the dog from the foster home that has  lived with this rescue dog for over a month.  Your visit can be a relaxed and pleasant experience where you and the rescue dog are the focus.

Visitations to meet a dog may be set up right away, or can take some time, depending on the availability of dog(s) that match your needs and lifestyle.

Make Your Decision

After meeting the dog that seemed to match with your requirements, it’s decision time!  If there is a connection, the actual adoption begins.  If the match just isn’t quite right, we’ll figure out why, add that criteria to the search, find another dog who may make a better match, and another visit will be scheduled.  Because we take great care to find a dog that will match your lifestyle and preferences, it rarely takes meeting more than one, possibly two dogs, to find that ultimate new family member!

The adoption donation is $300 for adults and puppies, and $150 for Seniors or “Special Needs” dogs.  These donations help to defray the rescue’s boarding and veterinary expenses, but does not cover the entire expense we incur for each dog. 

This adoption donation covers the following:

  • Spay or neuter
  • Microchip
  • Heartworm, Lyme, Elrichea, and Anaplasma (4DX) test, where available, on dogs over 6 months
  • Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP) vaccination
  • Rabies vaccination (dogs over 16 weeks)
  • Lyme vaccination
  • Fecal check and basic worming, if needed
  • Blood panel for senior dogs to check vital organ functioning, or dogs with obvious health issues
  • Treatment of any other health issue
  • Isolation and health certificate fees if needed to bring the dog into rescue
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • The dog’s favorite toy

Also included is a complimentary one-year membership to German Shepherd Rescue of New England, Inc., which includes a subscription to the GSRNE newsletter.

Our organization is comprised wholly of hard-working volunteers whose only reward is seeing these wonderful German Shepherd dogs in loving homes, given another chance for a happy life.  We will try to match you with a devoted, loving, loyal companion. Thank you for your interest!

 Please Remember

We are all volunteers, most of whom work full-time day jobs, have our own dogs and families, and are doing this out of a desire to make a difference in the lives of needy German Shepherds.  We appreciate your patience while we work through the Adoption process.

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