Adoption Process

The decision to bring a dog into your home is a lifetime commitment.  Unfortunately, many of the dogs that come into CILRA’s care did not have that kind of commitment from their prior homes.  CILRA’s adoption procedures are designed to help ensure that the dogs we place will find forever homes with their new families.

Here are some things to consider:

First – Have a family discussion.

A dog requires food, exercise, brushing and other care every single day.  All household members should discuss why they want to get a dog and what responsibilities they are willing to undertake.  Adopting a pet should be the unanimous decision of all family members. There are also financial costs to dog ownership, including but not limited to food, leash and collar, toys, a crate (if needed), regular veterinary care, emergency veterinary care, license fees, and obedience training classes.  These costs can add up to approximately $1,000 per year.  Please carefully consider whether you have the financial resources to care for a dog before adopting.

If any family member is unsure about whether they really want a dog, the decision should be put off temporarily.  In the meantime, perhaps family members would enjoy volunteering at an animal shelter to learn more about handling and caring for dogs.

Second – Learn about the breed.

Labrador Retrievers can make wonderful companions.  However, keep in mind that most Labs are large and active dogs, who need daily exercise as well as attention & interaction from their human family to be happy.  As you research the characteristics of the breed, consider how a Lab will fit in with your lifestyle.  Discuss preferences as to the dog’s age range, color, and gender with all members of household.

There are some excellent sources of information about Labs on the Internet.  You can learn more about Labs on the website for the American Kennel Club here.  The Dog Owner’s Guide is an excellent on-line resource for information about many dog-related topics, including breed information, choosing the right dog for you, veterinary care, training, and much more.  An article on Labs can be found here.

There are many books available at your local library or bookstore about Labrador Retrievers and more generally about choosing a dog.  Some excellent choices are Labrador Retrievers for Dummies (by Joel Walton and Eve Adamson); Labrador Retriever Handbook (by Audrey Pavia); Paws to Consider: Choosing the Right Dog (by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson); Choosing a Dog for Life (by Andrew de Prisco); and Adopt the Perfect Dog: A Practical Guide to Choosing and Training an Adult Dog (by Gwen Bailey).

Of course, feel free to talk to any CILRA representative about the pros and cons of life with Labbies – we’ll be more than happy to share our stories!

Third – Fill out and submit an adoption application.

You can submit an on-line adoption application form. Or, you can also request that an application be mailed to you by calling us toll free at (888) 882-1900 or by e-mailing us at Please answer the application questions honestly and as fully as possible, so that we can find the best possible match for you.

After you have submitted your application, please be patient.  CILRA is staffed entirely by volunteers, many of whom have full-time jobs as well as families and their own dogs to care for.  For this reason it may take a few days for a representative to contact you.  If for some reason you do not hear from us, feel free to call or e-mail us to check on the status of your application.  In the meantime, you are encouraged to visit PetFinder or the “Labs at Shelters” page on the CILRA website to assist you in your search for a new four-legged family member.

Fourth – The home visit.

After CILRA receives your application, a volunteer will contact you to schedule a mandatory home visit with you and your family.  The purpose of the home visit is to discuss your expectations for a dog, review the care, training, and exercise you are prepared to provide your new family member, and answer any questions you may have.

Fifth – Meeting the dog.

Once your home visit is completed and have been approved to adopt, you will be placed on our active applicant’s list.  A CILRA representative will contact you about available dogs that could be a good match for your household. Please keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right match.  It is during this time that you should prepare your home for your new arrival.

In most cases, a foster home will contact you to discuss their foster dog and schedule a time for you to meet.  Typically you will travel to the foster home to meet the dog.  If you have children, they should be present at the time of meeting the dog for the first time.  If you have another dog at home, we strongly recommend that you allow the dogs to meet so you can assess how the dogs get along before making a final decision to adopt. You can adopt at the time of meeting the Lab or feel free to talk it over with your family for a couple of days before making a final decision to adopt or continue with your Lab search.

Thank you for your interest in Lab rescue!