Adoption Process

Part of our programming at AARCS includes finding our rescued animals loving, forever homes. We want to ensure that the animal you wish to adopt is well-suited for you, your family, your home, and your lifestyle.

Many of our animals are located in foster homes in Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding areas. By placing animals in foster care we get to know the animals in a home environment and begin teaching them how to be a family pet. This includes house-training, walking on leash, crate training, and interacting with kids, other pets and people. Some of our cats are located in pet stores, and we also have adoptable cats and critters on-site at our Edmonton shelter.

We ask that you apply only when you are ready to take home a new pet within one week. We do not hold animals. Please be prepared for your new pet with food, a bed, toys, and bowls, before you bring them home.

Please note that animals in our care have uncertain pasts. We do our best to guess at age, breed, and size, but we can never be certain. We also cannot guarantee future health or temperament.

Adoption Procedures



Adoption Procedures

Expand the Boxes Below for Information

Animals in Foster Homes or Pet Stores

STEP 1 · Adoption Application

Complete the adoption application at the bottom of the animal’s profile, or on our adoption application page. For pet store cats, please ensure you get the animal’s name and AARCS ID from the pet store as the animal may not be listed on our website.

If you have any issues with our online forms, please contact the appropriate Adoption Team:

STEP 2 · Application Review

An adoption coordinator will review your application and email you within 24-48 hours to arrange an over-the-phone adoption call before meeting the animal. The team will share with you the history of the animal as well as any known medical care required. For pet store cats, although we hope to expedite our pet store adoptions, we may not have an adoption team member available while you are at the store.

*Please check your spam folder if you haven’t heard from us – we will always reply!

STEP 3 · Application Approval

Following the adoption phone call, we will have the foster family contact you within 48 hours to arrange a meet and greet. We ask that these meetings be arranged as soon as possible, and no later than the upcoming weekend.

For dog meet and greets:  If you have another dog in the home, we recommend arranging a neutral location where the dogs can meet.

STEP 4 · Waiting Period (Dogs Only)

Once you have met the dog/puppy you would like to potentially adopt, we ask that you take a day to think about it. Discuss the adoption openly and fully with all members of the household. Ensure that the dog matches what your family is looking for. If after this time you feel the animal is the right match, please contact the adoption coordinator no later than 24 hours after the meeting.

We will waive the waiting period for out-of-town adoptions on a case-by-case basis but still ask that you leave the foster family for a minimum of one hour to discuss with your household, process the adoption application, and give the foster family a chance to say goodbye.

STEP 5 · Finalizing Adoption

If you, the adoption team, and foster family are in favour of the adoption match, you can take home your new family member or arrange a mutually beneficial time within one week.

At the time of adoption, you will be provided with an adoption package, including a small bag of the Hills Science Diet food that we feed while in care (except for critters.)

For cats, please come prepared with an appropriate pet carrier if you wish to complete a same-day adoption, or you can purchase one in-store for pet store cats.

In all cases, the adoption agreement and adoption fees must be paid before the animal is released. The agreement form and payment processing are available online and both are mobile friendly.

Animals at North Haven in Edmonton

Edmonton Cats + Critters

AARCS has an onsite adoption centre in Edmonton and we encourage you to stop in to adopt a new friend. We currently have cats and critters available at the adoption centre. We do have dogs available for adoption in the Edmonton area, but these are in foster homes and follow the procedures noted under Animals in Foster Homes or Pet Stores.


STEP 1 · COME IN or Apply Online

To adopt a cat or critter from our Edmonton North Haven Shelter, you are welcome to fill out the application form online in advance. You only have to do this once and it will help speed up the process. Not to worry – if you choose a different cat or critter, or decide to wait, we will keep your application on file. Start by viewing North Haven Adoptables and filling out the application at the bottom of the animal’s profile. We will put them on hold for 24 hours after we get in touch with you. If you have any issues with our online forms, please contact our North Haven adoptions team at [email protected].


Stop into the shelter in Edmonton to see adoptable cats during business hours.
We are located at 8108 Coronet Road, Edmonton, AB

Tuesday – Friday: 12PM – 7PM
Saturday & Sunday: 11AM – 6PM
Mondays: Closed

STEP 2 · Application Review

If you filled out the online application, an adoption coordinator will review your application and call or email you within 24 business hours. The team will share with you the history of the animal as well as any known medical care required.

*Please check your spam folder if you haven’t heard from us – we will always reply!

If you did not apply online in advance and come to the shelter to view adoptable cats and critters, you can complete the application on your phone or we can provide you with a tablet and will review your application with you at that time.

STEP 3 · Same-day Adoptions ENCOURAGED!

Please come prepared with an appropriate pet carrier to take your new cat or critter home that day. We have a handful of gently used carriers for purchase if you do not have one. If you wish to take a day to think about it, you can arrange to pick up your new family member the following day. At the time of adoption, you will be provided with an adoption package, including a small bag of the Hills Science Diet food that we feed while in care (does not apply to critters.)

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees are used to help cover a small portion of the cost of care, including food, training, supplies and veterinary services for each animal, and these fees allow us to continue to rescue more animals in need. Adoption fees are non-refundable as processing adoptions and adoption returns take time and resources.
  • Puppy 6 Months and Younger – $550
  • Dog 7 Months and Older – $425
  • Dog 8 Years and Older – $100
  • Kitten 6 Months and Younger – $200
  • Cat 7 Months and Older – $100
  • Cat 8 Years and Older – $60
  • Bonded Pair of Kittens 6 Months and Younger – $350
  • Bonded Pair of Cats 7 Months and Older – $150
Barn cats are available for adoption by donation. As a non-profit organization, we appreciate a donation to cover the cost of caring for these cats as well as providing spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and tattoos. Our cost averages $200 per cat, and we suggest a nominal adoption fee of $25-$100. Learn more.
Critter adoption fees vary based on the type of animal, including but not limited to Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Skinny Pigs. Adoption fees vary from $20 – $250 and the applicable fee will be listed in each critter’s profile.

Adoption Policies


All of AARCS’ cats, dogs and rabbits are spayed or neutered prior to adoption. This cost is included in our adoption fee.

Other critters may not be spayed or neutered due to the high risks of surgery.


AARCS provides scheduled vaccinations for all animals while in our care. The adoptive family is responsible for vaccinations and any ongoing veterinary care that becomes due after the adoption is completed. The timing for the next scheduled vaccines will be included in the provided medical records.


Renters/Condo owners need to confirm with their landlord/condo board that they are allowed a pet and check if there are any restrictions including size, specific dog breeds and pet-related damage deposits. Please keep in mind that adoption fees are non-refundable, and it is your responsibility to ensure you are fulfilling your tenancy agreement.


We do not adopt animals as gifts for someone else. All members of the household must be in favour of the adoption.


We require that adoptive families come to us to meet with the animals in person. Most animals are located in the Calgary or Edmonton, Alberta areas. We do not facilitate adoptions outside of Canada, and will not ship animals.


We allow for same-day adoptions for cats and critters, but do require that you come prepared, including having a carrier, should you wish to take your new pet home the same day. For dogs, we ask that the family take time after the meet and greet to consider if it is the right fit and to prepare for your new addition. At the discretion of the dog adoption team, we may agree to a same-day adoption. This may be appropriate for someone driving more than one hour to meet a dog. All parties must still be in favour of the adoption, including the adoption team, the foster family and the prospective adoptive family.


AARCS accepts all adoption returns barring unusual circumstances. Returns cannot be dropped off at the shelter unannounced and need to be coordinated through a member of our team. If you need to return a pet adopted from AARCS, please fill out the appropriate intake request form here. Please note that sometimes the placement of a returning animal may take several weeks to accommodate depending on shelter/foster space and the individual needs of a returning animal. We understand that adoptions do not always work out and do not automatically disqualify anyone who re-homes an animal from adopting in the future. We encourage adopters to reach out for help if they are having any issues with their newly adopted pet as we can often assist by recommending resources for training and offering advice.