Criteria & eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

Tax-exempt shelters, rescues, SPCAs, humane societies, and municipal animal controls are all welcome. We review Guidestar profiles of 501(c)(3) applicants since we take seriously our responsibility to assess a prospective partner’s organizational and financial viability.

Applicants must:

Operate as a 501(c)(3) or municipal exempt organization for a minimum of one year and not operate under fiscal sponsorship; and if a 501(c)(3) organization:


Have current governance and day-to-day management/operational information on Guidestar and/or organization’s website


Have current financials on Guidestar (990-EZ or 990; we cannot review organizations that file 990-N)

What are the requirements?

Member patriot special

All shelter/rescue partners are required to offer a ‘member patriot special’ – a ‘thank you for your service’ for veterans in our program. You may offer one special for dogs and another for cats if you like.

Popular specials include:

Adoption fee discount or waiver; you must be specific when applying or your application will be delayed:

Specific percent off adoption fees, or

Specific dollar amount off adoption fees, or


Specific reduced adoption fees in dollar amount

‘Day one’ essentials, such as pet food, leash/collar, cat carrier, etc.
Pet training (must specify duration or number of sessions)

Coupons for discounts at local pet retailers in your community


We look for partners that are inspired to serve veterans living in their communities and are motivated to find homes for the most overlooked dogs and cats in their care. Our partnership model is not well-suited to rescues that adopt out over a wide geographic area, breed-specific organizations or cat-only rescues, though none of these conditions is disqualifying on its own.

We check every 501(c)(3) applicant’s information in Guidestar to assess financial viability, governance, and other factors that reflect the stability of each organization.

If your application receives preliminary approval, we will follow up to request verification of medical care for the animals in your charge. Otherwise, we will email you with the reason(s) your application is declined.

Proof of tax exemption

We work only with tax-exempt animal welfare organizations. For-profit shelters, breeders, and pet retailers may not apply.

You are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or a tax-exempt municipal shelter:

If you are a 501(c)(3) we will veryify your tax-exempt status on Guidestar

If you are a non-profit municipal shelter: letter from your shelter director on letterhead describing how both taxpayer- and donor-directed funds are protected for use for shelter operations, and/or copy of the relevant section of your city’s municipal code describing the shelter’s non-profit status; or a copy of your state tax-exempt certificate is equally acceptable

Proof of veterinary care

All applicants must provide proof that animals in their charge receive appropriate medical care.

You are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or a tax-exempt municipal shelter:

If you use a veterinarian in your community: currently-dated letter signed by your primary veterinarian, on letterhead, describing the type and frequency of medical care they provide the pets in your care

If medical care is provided by in-house/staff veterinarians: currently-dated letter signed by your executive director, president or CEO, on letterhead, confirming that necessary medical care is provided by your organization’s veterinary staff