Virtual Adoptions

Excited about making one of our adoptable pets a part of your family? See below for frequently asked questions about Virtual Adoptions and the process for bringing home an adopted pet.


What is a virtual adoption?

Riverdale Animal Shelter continues to provide essential services including lost and found, surrender, end-of-life services, and virtual adoptions by appointment. Due to social distancing guidelines, our adoptions process is virtual and therefore “contactless,” meaning we use an online adoption survey; and all adoption counseling will take place via telephone or by Zoom. Meet-and-greets with adoptable pets will be available only via Zoom.

Where can I find the online application survey?

You can find the online application survey for the pet you are interested in adopting by clicking on the About Me link for that particular pet.

How long will it take to hear back about my application?

It can take up to 48 hours for our Adoptions team to respond to application surveys that are the first, best fit for matching the pet with the right family, but we’ll do our best to respond sooner. If you don’t hear back from us after 48 hours, we may have already found the best match for the pet. Unfortunately, due to the number of applications we receive, we aren’t able to follow up with every applicant.

What does the “first, best fit” mean?

Adoption applications are processed in the order they’re received. If your application is one of the first to arrive and we identify your home situation/lifestyle would be well-matched to the unique needs of the pet you’re interested in, you would be the “first, best fit” for adopting that pet.

I don’t know how to use Zoom. Can I still adopt? 

Yes. Instead of using Zoom, we can call you via phone to conduct the counseling portion of the adoption. However, since we can’t schedule an in-person meet-and-greet while traditional adoptions are closed due to the pandemic, we aren’t able to introduce you to the pet without using Zoom.

Do I get to meet my pet before adopting?

Due to social distancing, our virtual adoptions process is “contactless,” meaning we use an online adoption survey. All adoption counseling will take place via telephone or by Zoom. Meet-and-greets with adoptable pets will be available only via Zoom. 

How long does it take for the Adoptions team to make a final decision?

If all goes well during adoption counseling and you’re still interested in adopting, the counselor will connect you with a member of our Customer Care team to call to finalize the adoption and schedule a pick up time at the shelter.

What do I need to finalize the adoption?

You’ll be required to email a photo of a state-issued ID and provide a credit card to complete the adoption.

What if my newly adopted pet is not a good fit for my family?

We understand that sometimes a pet may not be the right fit for your family after all. In this instance, we ask that you please return the pet to us at Riverdale Animal Shelter, so that we may find a fit that works better for them. You’re always welcome to return the pet to us at any time during their lifetime however, within the first 90 days you will receive a full refund and will not be charged a surrender fee.

Virtual Adoptions Process

Step 1: Complete an online application

  • View our adoptable pets on our website. 
  • If you see a pet you’re ready to bring home, click on their bio to learn more about them and to fill out an online application survey.

Please note: We’re currently experiencing a high volume of application surveys for most pets, which is wonderful, but there are some important tips and guidelines to be aware of:

  • You may submit an application survey for only one pet.
  • Submitting an application survey is not a guarantee of adoption. Please do not submit multiple application surveys or inquiries for the same pet; it just slows things down.
  • Due to the volume of application surveys, we may not be able to contact you if the pet you are interested in has already been adopted.
  • All application surveys are processed in the order they’re received.
  • If you’re the first, best fit for the pet, a member of our Adoptions team will reach out to you within 48 hours. 

Step 2: Complete virtual adoption counseling with our Adoptions team

  • If your application survey has been selected, a member of our Adoptions team will email you to set up a counseling appointment to review all behavior and medical notes we have on the pet.
  • If you prefer, we’re able to conduct this meeting over a Zoom, which would also include a virtual visit with the pet.
  • Please note that due to social distancing requirements, we are not able to offer an in-person meet-and-greet with our adoptables.

Step 3: Finalize the Adoption!

If you decide to proceed with the adoption, you will complete the process with one of our Customer Care team members, and then schedule a time to pick up your pet at the shelter.