Hours of Operation:

Q. When is DAWG open?

A. We are open 7 days a week, by appointment only. From 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Q. Why isn't the shelter open for walk through visits? Why do I have to make an appointment to see the dogs?

A. At DAWG, one of our highest priorities is the health and well-being of the dogs in our care. Unlike city or county shelters, whose residents are in place for a short time, as a no-kill shelter, our dogs are often with us for weeks, months or even years. The shelter is the only safe place and home they know. When strangers, even well-meaning ones looking to adopt, walk through the shelter, it stresses our dogs.  We make appointments for potential adopters to meet our dogs in our facility.  We’ll spend as much time as you need and introduce you to as many matches as you’d like to meet in order to make the best match and help you find the perfect new family member!

We host a monthly open house the second Saturday of each month. You're invited to take a tour and see and learn more about our dogs

Q. How do I make an appointment?

A. You can make an appointment online here or simply give the office a call at (805) 681-0561. Or, you can make an appointment by going to the shelter.

Adoption Questions:

Q. What is your adoption process?

A. Completing an application is always the first step—even before you meet the dog! That way, we can help to ensure that it’s a great match and set you up for success with your new family member. Once we receive your application, we will set up a time for you (and everyone in your household, including other dogs & cats) to meet the dog you’re interested in. If it’s a match, and home ownership has been verified or your landlord approves the adoption, we’ll do a go-home talk to share everything we know about your new pup and pass along training information and tips, and provide training if the dog requires it.

We strongly believe in finding the right home for our dogs and giving people the tools they need to be great dog owners. We do this through extensive medical and behavioral evaluations of our dogs, assistance in guiding adopters towards the perfect dog for their family, and a high-level of support throughout the adoption process.

Q. How much does it cost to adopt a dog/Is there an adoption fee?

A. As a non-profit, we operate off of the generosity of our community. The minimum adoption donation depends on the age of the dog.

Puppy - 3 years old: $250 donation
4 years - 7 years old: $150 donation
8 years and older: $125 donation

All dogs ready to go home are spayed or neutered, up to date on their current vaccinations, and micro-chipped before any adoption. In addition, we spend a great deal on the health and welfare of our dogs. As we spend countless hours training, and working on our dogs veterinary care, the adoption donation never covers even a fraction of what we put into each dog before the adoption. The adoption donation helps us have the funds to keep the shelter running to continue our mission to give each dog the loving care they need before they find the home they deserve. We more than appreciate any amount you could give above the minimum.

 Q. Why do I have to fill out an application before I meet the dog?

A. We’re unique at DAWG, in that we try to find the best dog to fit your lifestyle, and family. Not every dog is right for every home, and our application process helps us make the best match we can. The application is free, and is not a commitment to adopt. You can even fill out one application for multiple dogs, or not put a dogs name down at all until you have met them. It’s a tool for our adoption team to use to make sure that we’re introducing you to dogs appropriate for your life and family. A great majority of the dogs at the shelter are here because they are looking for a specific home that they would flourish in under their individual circumstances, without an application before we introduce you we have no way of knowing if that dog is right for you.

Q. If I submitted an application, or adopted a dog in the past will the office still have all of my information?

A. No, we save applications that are not active for three months. After that, you will have to fill out a new application. You will also need to fill out another application if you’ve had any big life changes such as moving, had children, gotten any new pets, etc. Call the office if you’re unsure, or have any questions. We will be happy to check for you.


Q. Why is the application so much more thorough than other local shelters applications?

A. The dogs that come to our shelter are here for a second chance. They were on a euthanasia list, or in a home that couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of them anymore for various reasons including medical needs, or behavioral issues. We spend a lot of time working with the dogs that come to our shelter. We work on training, and healing our dogs because they have been through so much before they got to us. We are dedicated to placing them with the right family. Many of our dogs are looking for a very particular person to go home with because of their background and circumstances. Because of that, we spend time looking for the right home for our dogs versus any home with people who are interested but might not be a good fit for that dog in particular. Our more thorough application helps our adoption team find that perfect, lasting match.

Q. Why does DAWG ask for photos of adopters homes?

A. That’s a requirement of rescues because of animal hoarders, and other unsafe situations people may have in their home we wouldn’t know about otherwise and wouldn’t want to subject our dogs to. Also, to check if the space, or fencing is appropriate for the particular dog they are interested in. As a rescue group, our dogs have already been through so much. We wouldn’t want to place them in an unsafe or inappropriate situation. We take the privacy of our adopters very seriously, any and all personal information given to DAWG is protected, and then shredded when we no longer have use for it. If you have any questions or concerns about your personal information please give the shelter a call.

Q. Does DAWG choose adopters based on a first come first serve basis?

A. We don’t go based off of first come first serve, it is always whoever is the best fit for the dog. However, if someone is most of the way through the adoption process, and is a good match for that dog we will stop taking applications on that dog.

Q. Does DAWG put dogs on hold for people?

A. We do not put any dogs on hold. Our goal is to place as many dogs as possible into safe, loving homes. If a good match comes along for a dog while another family is deciding if they are interested, it would not be in the best interest of that dog to have to stay at the shelter for longer than is necessary.

Q. Does DAWG do same day adoptions?

A. We do not. Even on the easiest adoptions, our application process cannot be completed in one day. Any dogs/cats and some other pets need to do a dog introduction as well as ALL members of your household. We will then need to verify home ownership or get landlord approval before the dog could go home, and get 8 - 15 photos of your home. The dog also may have other applications, need training, or needs to be cleared to go home medically which can make the adoption process longer. If you have any questions please contact the office for more information.

Q. How long is the adoption process?

A. The length of the adoption process depends on the dog. Some of our dogs will need to work with our trainer and their potential owners for a while before they are ready to go home. It is taken on a case by case basis working with your family, and making sure the dog can successfully integrate into your home. There are some other factors that can hold up an adoption to make it longer than normal. If the dog needs to be cleared medically, or needs training, if there are multiple applicants, and more. Our trainer will give you an idea of how long it will take during the meet & greet with the dog you’re interested in.

Q. Does DAWG allow adopters to foster the dog before deciding to adopt them to see if it will work out?

A. We do not. We are empathetic to making sure the dog is right for your home and your family before making such a big decision! We would never send a dog home with someone who wasn’t ready to adopt them. Making sure it’s the best match it can be is what makes the process at DAWG longer than other shelters. Shelters that do same day adoptions, where you don’t have a relationship with the dog before you bring them home offer that as an option because they don’t offer the personalized training, and work that we do with our adopters before the adoption. We also offer personalized, free training and help after the adoption process if you’re having any issues at all. If none of that works, and the dog is not a good match for you, we also take any DAWG dogs back anytime they need to.

Q. How often do you get new dogs?

A. Every time we adopt out a dog, we bring a new one in. The website is kept up-to-date. Keep an eye on the website or our social media to see when we get new dogs!

Donation Questions:

Q. When can I make a donation?

A. Anytime we’re open! 7 days a week, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Q. Do I need to make an appointment to donate?

A. Nope! Just drop by the shelter anytime we’re open.

Q. What kind of items do you accept for donation?

A. We take most items for donation! The much shorter list is what we don’t take. Towels/ bedding/ or dog beds that have holes in them and rips or tears we don’t take because the dogs will rip them up and eat them! Anything in very bad condition we don’t take, as well. We love to accept crates, dog bowls, dog beds, dog toys, collars/leashes, dog clothes, and so much more. If you’re unsure of your donation, give us a call! We will be happy to let you know if it is something we can use!

Q. Do you take open bags of dog food?

A. Yes! We don’t feed them to our dogs as they are each on a specialized diet, but we save it to give to people when they are struggling to afford dog food.

Q. Do you take leftover dog medication?

A. Yes! But, it has to be given directly to our shelter manager, veterinarian, clinic coordinator, or veterinary technician. Call ahead to make sure one of them is there when you want to come drop it off, but no appointment is necessary.

Q. Does your shelter have a donation wish list?

A. Absolutely! You can find it here.

Q. Will I get a tax receipt for a donation I made?

A. Yes! If you gave cash or donated an item at the shelter, ask for a donation receipt at the office when you’re donating! If you forgot give the office a call and we can email one to you! If you donated money by card, or check you will receive a tax receipt by mail shortly after. If you have any questions give the office a call!

Q. Can someone from DAWG pick up a donation?

A. Most of the time, yes! It depends on the size and weight of donation. Give the office a call to ask if we’re able to send someone to pick it up. If there is a lot of something or the donation is heavy, we are always happy to remove it from your car and carry it in! Just ask at the office.

Volunteer Questions:

Q. How do I become a volunteer?

A. The first step is to attend a volunteer orientation. They are held once a month! Sign up to come to the next one. After you attend an orientation and return your paperwork you can start coming to the shelter to volunteer! If you want to walk or socialize with our dogs, you will have to attend volunteer training! After you’ve completed your training, you can come whenever you would like to volunteer or walk dogs.

Q. What types of volunteer opportunities are available at DAWG?

A. From laundry and dishes to parties and events (and everything in between!)  We offer a variety of opportunities at DAWG which help keep everything running smoothly.  Our shelter runs 365 days of the year and we always need help keeping it up!  We have something for everyone!  

Q. What is the minimum age to volunteer?

A. For the safety of our “two legged little friends”, and due to liability, we require all volunteers to be 18 years and older. But volunteers 15 - 17 years old may come with a parent or guardian with them at all times.

Q. Is there a cost to volunteer?

A. All volunteers must pay a one-time fee of $15 which is simply to cover the cost of your DAWG volunteer t-shirt.

Q. Is there a time commitment?

A. We know everyone has busy schedules, but we require only a six hour minimum of volunteer service a month to stay active in the program. Some volunteer duties will require more hours, but you should be able to find a role that fits your schedule!

Q. I have volunteered with another rescue organization; do I still need to go through the DAWG Volunteer Process?

A. Yes.  Every rescue is different with different protocols and procedures and it is imperative that all of our volunteers know DAWG’s procedures and how we handle our animals for their safety and yours. Plus, it is fun – you will get to know other like-minded volunteers just like yourself.

Q. I have volunteered with DAWG in the past, do I still need to go through the Volunteer Process?

A. Yes.  If it has been more than six months since you last volunteered, you will need to come back through the orientation, as oftentimes policies and procedures have changed.  Should you have any questions, please email volunteer@sbdawg.org.

Other Questions:

Q. Does DAWG offer veterinary care to the public?

A. Unfortunately, we do not. Our veterinarian works only on the dogs in our care at the shelter. For lower cost veterinary care, try the Santa Barbara Humane Society! Their number is (805) 964-4777; Office Ext. 114

Q. I found a stray dog, can I bring it to DAWG?

A. All stray/found dogs have to be taken to county animal services. Their number is (805) 681-5285. We cannot take in any stray dogs. DAWG gets dogs from owner turn in’s, and from the county shelter system only.

Do you have a question about anything not covered here? Give the office a call at (805) 681-0561 or email us at info@sbdawg.org

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have!