Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions about our Application & Adoption Process

Where can I find the application on your website?
The application is on our website under the “Adopt” tab.

What happens after I apply?
You will receive an acknowledgment email after you submit your application which explains the application process in detail.

Once I have submitted my application, how long will it take until it is processed?
Processing time is contingent on volunteer availability and the volume of applications. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. TRU Rescue has a comprehensive process, and we ask for your patience.

How will I know if my application has been approved?
We have a 2-step approval process; If your Adoption Coordinator recommends that you continue the application process after your reference checks and phone interview, then a member of our Home Visit Team will contact you to schedule a virtual home visit. After completing the virtual home visit, you will be informed if you are approved. Upon approval, you will be connected with the foster to set up a meet and greet with the dog.

Why do you do a virtual home visit?
Using Facetime (or another app), a virtual home visit gives us a chance to see the home where the dog will be living and meet any other pets and people that will be living with the dog to help us determine if the house is a suitable environment for the dog. It is also a chance to meet one of our team members in person, discuss the dog you have applied for, and ask any questions you may have.

Are applications processed in the order they are received?
TRU Rescue does our best to process applications in the order they are received. However, we review each application to identify those applicants who present the BEST option for the dog being considered, which is a subjective process. If your application is selected, a TRU Rescue Adoption Coordinator will contact you and your references.

Is it Ok if I apply to multiple rescues at one time?
TRU Rescue believes that each applicant should explore all available avenues to find a dog who is a good match. We ask that you inform us if you have adopted elsewhere during the process so we can close your application.

Can I adopt a sibling pair or two dogs at the same time?
No, we do not adopt sibling pairs or two dogs simultaneously (unless they come to our rescue as a bonded pair). We feel that each dog needs to have the time and space to become acclimated to a new environment independently. If you have recently adopted a dog from us or another rescue and are interested in adopting a 2nd dog, we ask that you wait approximately six months and reach out to us again.

Do I need to submit a new application for each dog I want?
No, you only need to submit one application, and you can indicate your interest in as many dogs as you would like. Your application is valid for six months.

What happens if I have already submitted my application and want to add more dogs?
Feel free to email us at and ask that the additional dogs be added to your application.

How do I meet a dog I saw on your website (or Adopt-a-Pet or Pet-Finder)?
Please thoroughly read the information on our adoption application and then fill out an application should you wish to adopt. TRU also participates in adoption events in the area, where you can meet some of our adoptable dogs. Follow us on Facebook at TRU Rescue | Phoenix MD | Facebook

Do you transport dogs to my location?
No, we do not transport dogs to adopters. Approved adopters typically pick up their dog at the foster’s home or an agreed-upon location.

Can you place a “hold” on a dog I am interested in?
No, we do not place holds on our dogs.

Do you adopt dogs to people outside of Maryland?
Yes, we do. However, most adopters come from our headquarters in northern Maryland and sometimes southeastern Pennsylvania. Our network of fosters, veterinary practices, behaviorists, trainers, and volunteers are primarily located in Maryland. Once approved, we do require our adopters and fosters to arrange an in-person meet and greet before adoption, and it is possible that some meet and greet sessions will not result in an adoption.

Do I have to have a fence to adopt a dog from you?
No. However, each dog has different needs; some dogs do best in a fenced yard. While fenced yards are ideal, if you do not have a fenced yard, you must be committed to having your dog leashed at all times outside of the home. In general, we are OK with electric fences provided the adopter is well-versed in the methods used to properly and safely train a dog on an electric fence system and/or uses a professional to assist in the installation and training of the fence. It is essential that a newly adopted dog not be introduced to the electric fence training during the initial 2-week shutdown period. Properly training a dog on an electric fence system is typically a 3-4 week time commitment, including several short training sessions per day.

Is it OK to use tie-outs or a cable run for a dog?
We do not condone the use of stakes, tie-outs, or cable runs as they can pose a safety threat to your dog should they become entangled in the cable or cord, which may cause possible strangulation and/or other injuries.

Do you adopt dogs to people who have a pool in their yard?
Yes, we do, provided the pool is not accessible to the dog without supervision and that it has a pool cover off-season that will not allow a dog to fall through.

Do you adopt dogs to people who live in apartments and/or are renting?
Yes, we do. We will contact your landlord to determine if dogs are permitted in your apartment or rental home; and if there are breed, size, or weight restrictions. You can help us by contacting your landlord before applying for a dog with TRU Rescue and finding out what the policies and costs (if any) are for your complex or home.

Questions about TRU Rescue Dogs

How do I know if the dog I’m applying for is good with children? With cats? With other dogs?
The biography included with each dog should indicate if the dog is good with kids, cats, and other dogs. We continually update each dog’s bio as information becomes available from the dog’s foster. If you are approved, a member of our home visit team will discuss those particular questions with you in detail during the home visit to help determine which dog will be the best fit for your home and lifestyle.

How do I know if the dog I’m applying for is still available?
If it is still posted, it is still available. Once a dog has been adopted, it is removed from the site. It is possible, however, that by the time your application is processed, the dog you have applied for has already been adopted.

Do you have any hypoallergenic dogs?
There is no such thing as a strictly hypoallergenic dog. While some dogs shed less than others, we cannot predict how much or little any of our TRU dogs will shed as they are almost always mixed breeds.

How do I know if the dog I’m applying for is a good fit for my family?
The application is not a commitment to a particular dog or to adopt. It is a tool used to help us make a great match. You can use the application to tell us as much as you can about your family and the sort of dog you would like to adopt. The more you can say to us, the better we can help you.

Where do you rescue your dogs from, and where are they now?
Most TRU Rescue dogs are pulled from “high-kill” shelters in several southern states. TRU has partnered with shelters and rescues throughout those states to help identify dogs that would benefit from being transported to Maryland for adoption. Many southern states do not have the space, resources, or pool of available adopters that we do in Maryland.

Where are TRU Rescue Dogs located now?
Our dogs are placed in loving foster homes until they find a permanent home with one of our approved adopters. Most of our fosters are located in the northern Maryland/southern Pennsylvania area.

Do you know the history or background of the dogs you are rescuing?
Most dogs at TRU are either Owner Surrenders, or Strays. We strive to provide each foster and adopter with as much information as possible.

Can you guarantee a TRU Rescue dog’s breed?
No, we cannot guarantee what breed our rescues are. The vast majority of our dogs are mixed breeds, and we do our best to gather as much information about each dog as possible and share that in the dog’s biography.

Can you guarantee the size a puppy will grow up to be?
No, we cannot guarantee the size a puppy will become, but we certainly do our best to estimate based on the suspected breed, the size of the mother (if known), and the vet’s estimate.

I need help rehoming a dog but did not adopt the dog from TRU Rescue. Can you help?
We will consider rehoming a dog not adopted from TRU Rescue on a case-by-case basis.


How much does it cost to adopt a dog from TRU Rescue?
The adoption fee for a dog less than 12 months of age is $400, and the fee for a dog more than 12 months of age is $375. If a dog has not been sterilized when adopted, the adoption fee includes an ADDITIONAL $100 refundable spay/neuter deposit.

What do you use the money for from the adoption fee?
The adoption fees help TRU Rescue offset the cost of rescuing a dog, including shelter fees, transport, boarding, and veterinary care.

How do I pay the adoption fee?
We accept credit and debit cards.


Why have I not received a response to my email?
If you have not received an email response from us, please check your spam folder for and ensure that your email mailbox is not full and can accept messages. Our all-volunteer team strives to respond to all emails as quickly as possible.

What is the best way to contact you if I have any questions not answered on this FAQ page?
Email your questions to

About TRU Rescue

Is TRU Rescue a 501(c)3 non-profit organization?
Yes, we are.

How many dogs do you rescue each year?
Typically 300-400 depending on our ability to find foster commitments.

Where are you located?
Our headquarters are in Phoenix, Maryland, but our dogs live with fosters, typically in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, until they find their forever homes.

After Adoption

What is your policy regarding spaying/neutering a dog after we adopt?
Any dog adopted from TRU Rescue is contractually required to be sterilized when age appropriate unless there are documented medical reasons indicating that the procedure not be performed.

Do you provide any information for new dog owners?
Yes, check out the “Adoption” tab on our website and scroll down to “New Owners” or click on this link:
New Dog Owners

What is the 2-week shutdown protocol, and why should I use it with my newly adopted dog?
The two-week shutdown protocol gives a new dog a chance to have the time and space to decompress by slowly integrating it into its new home, family, and routine. Any change in a dog’s environment or routine will cause some stress, and it’s our job as their guardian to be patient and guide them through this time, however long it takes. The link below explains the shutdown protocol in an excellent short video from Baltimore County Animal Services. You can also find links on our website under the “Adoption” tab, and scroll down to “New Owners” for links to several articles and videos on this essential protocol.
Two-Week Shutdown for Dogs – YouTube

How much does it cost to care for a dog each year?
The amount varies widely based on many factors, including the dog’s age, size, quantity/quality of dog food, vet costs, preventative medications, and general health and medical needs. It is common to expect to spend between $1,000-3,000 per year to cover your dog’s requirements. Puppies and elderly dogs tend to cost the most to care for. Some adopters elect to use CareCredit or Pet Insurance.

What do I do if I have questions about my TRU dog after adoption?
You will receive a “Congratulations” email after you have adopted that contains a lot of information for our adopters, including who to contact with questions. We encourage our adopters to join our Facebook Group for Volunteers, Fosters, and Adopters of TRU Rescue.

What should I feed my dog?
We recommend you research dog food thoroughly and feed your dog a high-quality diet, whether it is processed/kibble, raw or fresh. Discuss recommendations with your vet or a certified canine nutritionist, and check out the site for comparisons between brands. While occasional healthy treats are acceptable for your dog, dog obesity is a massive problem in our Country, so quantity should be taken into consideration, as well as quality. You should also be knowledgeable about the foods that are toxic to dogs. A helpful resource can be found at People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets | ASPCA

What is Heartworm Disease and why do you recommend I use a preventative?
Heartworm disease is a severe and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Proper dog care should include the regular use of a heartworm preventative. Please consult your veterinarian to discuss which one is the best for your dog. For more information, check out: Heartworm Basics – American Heartworm Society.

Why is it important to have my dog on a flea/tick preventative?
Fleas and ticks are two common parasites that can cause many problems and diseases in pets. They are also preventable with a variety of different preventatives. Proper care of your dog should include the regular use of a flea/tick preventative. Please consult your veterinarian to discuss which one is the best for your dog. Read more about fleas and ticks here: Fleas and Ticks | ASPCA

Is it OK to leave my dog in a crate during the day while I work?
We recommend that all dogs, whether the dog is crated or has free roam of your home while you are gone, not be left for more than 6 hours without the chance to relieve themselves. Hiring a pet sitter should be strongly considered if you must be gone for more than 6 hours. If you are regularly gone for more than 6 hours daily, you may want to reconsider if adopting a dog at this time is in the best interest of the dog.

What happens if the dog I adopt doesn’t work out?
If you are having issues with your TRU Rescue adopted dog and have consulted with and/or used a professional trainer for an appropriate period of time, TRU will work with you to find another home for your dog. More detailed information can be found in your signed contract.

Do you have dog trainers that you can recommend?
Yes. We have an extensive list of dog trainers that TRU and/or our adopters and fosters personally recommend. You can find the list on our website under the “Adoption” tab, then under “New Owners.” You can also click on this link: TRU-Recommended-Trainers.pdf (

Is it OK if I use a dog door for my dog to go in and out of the house?
If your yard is fenced, and someone is home while your dog is going in/out to observe/supervise the dog, then we are OK with dog doors. We do not condone leaving your dog home alone or unsupervised with access to a dog door.

Do you have safety recommendations for traveling with my dog?
We always recommend that your dog be in a secured crate inside the vehicle or tethered to a seatbelt with an approved travel harness. Information on traveling with your dog, as well as other safety issues, can be found on our website under the “Adopt” tab and “New Owner Info”, or by clicking on this link: TRU-Rescue-Dog-Safety-Information.pdf (

How You Can Help

Can I volunteer with TRU Rescue?
Yes! If you are 18 or over, please fill out a volunteer application on our website or click on this link:

How can I donate to TRU Rescue?
Please click on the “Donate” tab on our website, or click on this link:

Do you have a donation wish-list?
Yes! We have a wish list set up with Amazon Smile. Click on this link to purchase something on our list:

Can I apply to foster a TRU Rescue dog?
Yes! We are always looking for fosters. If you are interested in fostering a TRU Rescue dog, please fill out an application here: