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Returning Your Dog

We strive to find the perfect fit for every dog and every family, but we know that sometimes things don’t work out. When Rescue Rovers pulls a dog from a shelter we make a lifetime commitment to that dog, a promise to always look out for them.
If you cannot keep your Rescue Rover dog for their entire life, we want them to come back to us so we can honor that promise. We take our dogs back at any time, for any reason.*

As a foster-based rescue we do not have a facility for dogs and must wait for a foster home to open up for them. The majority of our fosters operate at full capacity, which means it can take a while before we have an open space for your return. Please remember that you have agreed to house the dog and keep them safe until a foster spot can be found on both your original application and your adoption contract.

We ask that you give us as much notice as possible if you are going to need to return your dog.

You can start the returning process by filling out the form here or by email at

*If through the return process, your dog is deemed unsafe to humans and/or other dogs, euthanasia may be recommended which will be at the adopter's expense. 

Unsure about returning?

Keep in mind that the majority of returns can be avoided. Dogs truly do not need as much time as many adopters think they do, and several studies have shown that between 30 minutes and 2 hours (depending on breed) of quality time with their owner is all a dog needs to feel happy and loved. Many people seem to feel that they are doing their dog a favor by giving them up, but in actuality, the majority of dogs are better off remaining in a home they know and love. Check out our Reformed Rovers – stories of adopters who considered returning, but then put the work in, instead. We have also included some helpful training advice below to help you and your dog overcome any issues you may be having.

Before You Return

Perhaps the most common reason for a dog being returned to the shelter is unwanted behavior. Whether it’s going potty inside, destructive separation anxiety, leash aggression, or any number of other behaviors that have you pulling out your hair, know that it can get better with training and, sometimes, with age. Older dogs tend to calm down a bit, and some bad behaviors can disappear over time. But as a dog parent, you need to be prepared to accept your dog’s flaws and work with them. Here are some common unwanted behaviors. You can click on them to find more information on how to train your pup and correct the problem.

If your training efforts don’t succeed or if you find that you are simply not up to the task of training your dog, you can find help from a dog training class or a personal dog trainer. Don’t get discouraged. Training can be a long process, but it’s very rewarding.

Not Getting Along With Children Or Other Pets?

If your dog has reactive behaviors, it’s important to understand the cause so you can correct the behavior. Your first instinct when a dog nips at a child or another beloved pet may be to get rid of him, but with training, time, and a positive environment, your dog can acclimate and start to relax. It’s also important for children to understand the do’s and don’ts of interacting with dogs, and make sure your pup can have some space during the training process. Some forms of aggression are easier to train away, while others take more time.

If your dog is aggressive to other dogs, you should read the advice provided here. If your dog is aggressive to people and children, you should click here for advice. In either case, it is best to consult a behaviorist to see what your options are for training.


A dog is a member of your family. You wouldn’t move to a place that doesn’t allow your child to be with you, would you? When selecting a home, a place that doesn’t allow your pup to come with should be a deal-breaker for you. Still, sometimes financial circumstances limit your options. It’s important to ask your potential landlord what you can do. Some will allow a dog to stay for an additional security deposit or monthly fee. If not, just try to realize that there are other housing options available to you. Some other place that allows dogs will come along. You can even use filters on most property search engines that will show only places that let pups come with you. It’s not worth surrendering your dog if you can find a place that allows dogs so easily.

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