How do I begin the adoption process?


We are glad you are considering adopting one of the many wonderful CLR labs that need a forever home.The first step is to submit an online application. Since we are a 100% volunteer organization, we have limited availability to address your questions or call you until you have submitted an application. We are more than happy to respond to your questions once you have been approved. The application can take two weeks to review and process. Once you have an approval, your application remains active for a year.  We do not have an office or any full-time paid employees, so we do not have an available phone number. If needed, one of our volunteers will make contact.  Most of our communication is by email.

Complete Adoption Application

How do I know CLR has received my application?

You will see a confirmation screen after you click Submit as well as receive an email copy of your application. If you don’t see the confirmation screen, you may have missed a required field. A red asterisk indicates a required field.

Why does the application process take 2 weeks (3-4 weeks during COVID-19)?

Since CLR is an all-volunteer organization, most of us have day jobs and family obligations. We receive many applications each week, we process them as quickly as possible. You can help the process along by providing accurate information in your application, answering any questions you receive from us quickly and accurately, and letting your vet (and landlord, if applicable) know that CLR will be contacting them. This includes, but is not limited to: providing the correct name (e.g. married name change) and the correct phone number for your vet’s office.  In addition, it would expedite the process if you check with your vet to make sure your records are available.  If you have used several different vet practices, we need to know where we will find the current vetting records. Often, we are waiting for others to respond to us with required information.

Please note that Cincinnati Lab Rescue will contact your vet one time. Should there be any issues (no permission to release records, errors in vaccination records, overdue vaccinations, etc.) it will be up to you to contact your vet to get vaccination records and provide them to CLR.

Can I apply to adopt a specific dog?

You are encouraged to list dogs that pique your interest, but there is no guarantee they will be available when you are ready to set an appointment.  We do not hold specific dogs for future appointments. Experience has taught us that holding a dog rarely works for the dog or the adopter. The reality is that the dog that catches your eye may not be the best match for your family, and the dog has lost an opportunity to find his/her forever family.

Will you contact me if the dog(s) I listed on my application are adopted?

No. As the application says, the list of dogs you provide is for information only. Our application is not to adopt the specific dog or dogs you listed, but rather to be able to adopt any dog from Cincinnati Lab Rescue once you are approved. The approval process can take up to two weeks, so some or all of the dogs you listed may no longer be available by the time you are able to make an appointment. We hold adoptions every Saturday, and typically we update the list of available dogs on our site by Sunday or Monday. This enables you to check on the status of the dog(s) you are interested in yourself. If the dog(s) you were originally interested in get adopted, don’t worry. There are always more dogs in need!

I saw the listing for a particular dog on your website. Can you give me more information about that dog, or send me more pictures?

If you haven’t submitted an application, or your application is not yet approved, no. We try to put all the information we have about each dog into that dog’s listing on our website, and we keep that information up to date while that dog is in our care. So, we don’t have any more general information about the dog available that isn’t already on our site. Once your application is approved, and you are deciding which dogs you would like to meet in your appointment, we may be able to answer some specific questions.

Veterinarian is a required field. What if I don’t have one at the moment?

Vet information is a required field since we always conduct a vet check for current and prior pets. If this is your first pet, please enter No vet in the field for veterinarian and a fictitious phone number such as  555-1111 for a veterinarian phone number.

Why do you need to contact my vet?

Part of being a good dog owner is providing proper medical care. CLR has worked with the vets at our partner animal hospital to develop a set of criteria that define a good vet check (such as regular wellness checks and heartworm prevention). If those criteria are met, we can quickly move the application on to the next step. Because we realize that there are always exceptions and we may not get the full picture from one call or email with your vet, we may contact you to seek more information and clarification. This enables us to make an informed decision on every application.

What is the next step after I receive an adoption approval?

Once you receive an email approval, we ask that you let us know (by email) what future Saturday you would like an appointment. We will respond as soon as possible, typically within a day, to set a specific time for your appointment.  Once that date and time are established, we will follow-up with an appointment confirmation.  The confirmation will include directions to our facility.  Early in the week of your confirmed appointment, we will need to know which dogs you would like to meet.  Some of our dogs are always in foster care, so we need to provide our foster families advance notice to have those dogs present.

How often does CLR get new dogs?

New dogs arrive at CLR almost every week. We typically have 4-6 adoptions each week, and then the following week bring in as many new dogs as were adopted. Our site is immediately updated over the weekend with the dogs who were adopted, and new dogs are added when they are available for adoption. We encourage you to keep an eye on the website for new additions.

We keep the website up-to-date so the current information is accurate.

Can you tell me if a particular dog is good with kids/dogs/cats?

Many of our dogs come from shelters and we often don’t know their history. If a dog goes into foster with CLR, we may get more information about the dog’s interaction with the family’s kids, dogs, and cats (depending on whether the family has any of each). Of course, we can also observe the interaction of each dog with the other dogs in our rescue. If we do have information about whether a dog does particularly well or poorly with kids, dogs, or cats, that will be included in the dog’s profile on our website.

We do require adopting families to bring any dogs and children living at home to your appointment, to understand how each of our dogs interacts with your family members.

We also highly recommend viewing the first video at Stopthe77.com in order to better understand dogs’ interactions with children.

We are unable to test our dogs with cats, so our information is limited. Dogs and cats can often learn to coexist, though it may take a while depending on their temperament.

When and where do you hold adoptions?

Adoptions are held exclusively on Saturdays from 9:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M.  We schedule specific appointments so we have sufficient time to assist potential adopters find the best match for their family and complete the entire the adoption process. The location is included with your appointment confirmation.

Why do you only hold adoptions on Saturdays?

That is the only time the adoption facility is available to us. Also, our volunteers have committed that time to be available to help you.  Although we occasionally are present at special events, we NEVER do on-site adoptions.

Will I have the opportunity to meet all of the dogs that I list?

Hopefully, but not necessarily.  A family with an earlier appointment may have listed the same dog. Again, we do not want one of our dogs to miss an opportunity for a forever home. We try to let you know if some of the dogs you listed have prior appointments.  You are also welcome to meet other dogs that are not on your list, providing they are available. Remember, your application is active for a year, and if you do not find a match, you are welcome to visit again.

Why do you require the entire family, including our current dog(s) to be at the appointment?

We believe the best matches are made when the entire family, including current canine family members, are present, engaged in meeting the dogs, and active in the selection process. We are most successful finding the best match when we are able to meet the entire family and assess the family dynamics.  As objective observers, we feel we can often guide and help you find the right fit for your family.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

You should prepare your home for your new family member. Decide where he or she will sleep, eat, and most importantly, how you will keep your new dog safe when you are not home, for most families, we recommend having a crate for the dog’s safety as well as protecting your home until you feel comfortable allowing the dog more freedom in your home.   Please bring a leash, and we also recommend a prong collar. If necessary, please adjust your family’s schedule so all family members (including canines) are present. Adopting a new dog is very exciting family adventure, but we ask that you understand that adoption days can also be a little chaotic, and we appreciate your patience.

What happens when I arrive for my appointment?

When you come into the facility, go through the front door, then turn right and go through the next door, into the adoption facility. A CLR volunteer will greet you and introduce you to the person who will be conducting your appointment. That person will update you on whether any of your selected dogs have already been adopted, answer any questions, and introduce you to your selected dogs (and other available dogs, if you like). During your appointment, you will be given the opportunity to meet and interact with the dogs, which may include some time alone with the dog. We often encourage you to take the dog for a short walk with your family. For dogs in foster care, someone from their current foster family may be available to answer questions. Please come with an open mind.  Often the dog you thought was the perfect match, isn’t, but another dog immediately grabs your heart.

What if I don’t find the right dog for me?

We will try to work with you to find a match, but if you just fail to connect with any of the dogs you meet, you can come for another visit. Application approval is good for a year. So, we ask that you watch the website until you see dogs that interest you, and schedule another appointment. We do ask that you come with the intent of adoption (i.e., not just browsing), and that you not have unreasonable expectations of the “perfect” dog. We have limited access to our adoption facility, and want to make sure that most of our appointments lead to adoptions. At the same time, we don’t want you to feel pressured into taking a dog that you don’t think is a good fit for you.

How do I complete the process?

You have found the perfect dog, so just confirm with our volunteer, and you will be able to take your new dog home with you that day.  Someone from our team will review the medical files and complete the paperwork sharing transitioning into your home and other helpful information.   At this juncture, you will complete the contract and are asked to pay our adoption fee.  Before you leave, a CLR volunteer will take a family picture for our website.

How much is the adoption fee and what does it include?

The fee is: $375 for pups (8 weeks – 1 year), $325 for adults, and less for seniors (determined on an individual basis). We accept checks, cash, and nearly all credit cards.

CLR’s adoption fee includes: a complete vet exam, heart-worm test, fecal, spay/neutering, microchipping, vaccines (DHPP, rabies, and bordetella), and addressing most medical issues discovered in the exam. If the dog is on any current medication, that will also go home with you  along with any special instructions.  We will register the micro-chip information for you.  Many of the dogs only require basic vetting, while others require more extensive medical care.  We promise to disclose any medical issues that we have discovered.

What if we have additional questions once we are home?

When we review the paperwork with you, we always request that you keep in touch with us at 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month.  We now consider you as part of our CLR family, and we continue to be there for you.  Write us at info@cincinnatilabrescue.org with any questions and we will do our very best to assist you.

Why is there a math problem at the end of the application?

This prevents us from receiving spam by ensuring a real person is completing the form.