Shelter Partner: Process & Requirements

How it works

What to expect, benefits, and program qualifications

Hope and homes for the most overlooked dogs and cats

Pets for Patriots offers a turnkey program to help you place your most adoption-challenged dogs and cats with military veterans. The emotional support and love of a companion pet is a wonderful way to thank veterans in your community while saving animals’ lives.

Our program is open to tax-exempt shelters, rescues, SPCAs, humane societies, and municipal animal controls. We offer a free, demonstrably successful program that is easy to administer and that your staff, volunteers, and donors will love.

Download and share our shelter partner program overview.


Benefits: loving homes for dogs and cats

When you join Pets for Patriots, you…

Adopt more hard-to-place pets since our program focuses solely on the most overlooked dogs and cats in your care

Get adoption referrals of veterans looking for a companion pet

Receive free print and digital tools to promote our partnership in your shelter and community

Have a program that is easy to use and that your staff, volunteers, and donors will love

Access a demonstrably successful turnkey program to support veterans in your community with the love of a companion pet

Get this and more – for free


Eligible pets: the most overlooked dogs and cats

Veterans in our program must adopt a pet who is…

Dog or cat, at least 2 years of age, OR

Dog or cat with special needs, OR

Dog or cat homeless 6+ months, OR

Dog 40+ pounds at adoption


Eligibility requirements: essential needs of our program

To join, you must…

Operate as a 501(c)(3) or municipal tax-exempt organization for a minimum of one year; organizations in fiscal sponsorship are not eligible

Have up-to-date financials on Guidestar; 990-EZ or 990 (501(c)(3) organizations only)

List current governance and day-to-day management/operational information on Guidestar and/or organization website (501(c)(3) organizations only)

Offer a member patriot special – gratitude for service for veterans in our program


Application process: how to get started

Apply to become a shelter/rescue partner…

Complete our online application request (takes less than 5 minutes)

If we are unable to advance your application we’ll send you an email explaining why

If we advance your application we’ll email you requests for your eligibility documents

Once you are approved we’ll send you a series of emails to get you started, including access to our members-only shelter partner welcome kit

Shelter FAQ

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A veteran wants to adopt a pet from us who has not yet applied to Pets for Patriots. What do we do?

You can put the dog or cat on a three-day hold, or offer a short (e.g., seven-day) foster-to-adopt to give the veteran time to apply to Pets for Patriots. Our usual turnaround is no more than two business days from the time we receive both a veteran’s online application and eligibility documents. Veterans will forfeit all benefits of our program if they adopt a pet prior to being approved by us unless they adopt on a weekend or federal holiday, or we have made arrangements with you beforehand, such as for an adoption event or extenuating circumstance. In those cases we give the veteran til the end of the business week to apply and be approved into our program.

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Can a veteran adopt more than one pet?

Yes! Pets for Patriots members may have up to two program-eligible pets at any time. For each to receive full benefits, each pet must fit one of our adoption criteria. The veteran may adopt both pets simultaneously (bonded pairs or other similarly compatible animals) or over time.

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Can we help a veteran complete the online application to Pets for Patriots?

While we realize you want to help, our applications are legal documents between Pets for Patriots and the veteran. If someone does not have internet access or needs help, please ask them to call our toll-free number and a member of our team will be happy to help: 877-473-8223.

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Do we have to change our adoption criteria?

No. We respect your work and will never ask you to change the criteria you use to evaluate potential adopters. However, if you decline to adopt a pet to a veteran in our program we appreciate knowing why so that we can figure out how to best serve that veteran moving forward.

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Do you notify us when a veteran is approved in our community?

If you are a new partner or one that has not had an adoption with us in a while, we will send you an email to let you know that a veteran in our program may be coming to your shelter/rescue to adopt. Due to privacy reasons, we cannot provide the veteran’s name without permission.

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Can we ask for military ID or discharge papers?

No. If someone is approved by Pets for Patriots, we have already validated that veteran’s military credentials. We are experienced at reviewing a wide range of documentation relating to a veteran’s status, branch of service, etc., and have specific information we seek during such reviews. Pets for Patriots approves applicants after we have verified their credentials to the best of our ability. Further, those documents contain confidential and highly sensitive information. You may ask for other ID that is part of your customary application process, e.g., driver’s license, rental agreement, utility bill, etc

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There are no veterinary partners in our community; can we still apply?

Yes! We have multiple resources to give veterans access to affordable pet healthcare, but always appreciate recommendations to veterinary practices in your community that you think may be a good fit for our program.