Adopt a Cairn

Our Adoption Process

The Application

The first step in our adoption process is filling out our online Adoption Application. Once completed, it will be reviewed by the Placement Director for your region (Regional PD) to ensure it is complete and meets our adoption criteria. Please note that if your application is incomplete or does not meet our adoption criteria, it will be declined.

If your adoption application meets our criteria and there is a possible candidate for you, then the Regional PD will contact you. If we do not have a candidate at the time you apply or if the dog you expressed an interest in is not longer available, the Regional PD may suggest another dog for you. If there is not a good match for you at the time you apply then your application will be kept in our database for future consideration.

The Matching Process

Matching a dog to an adopter is a “team effort” that involves both the Regional PD and the foster home. We do not match dogs on a “first come, first served” basis. Rather the Regional PD and foster home seek to make the best possible pairing based on a dog’s needs and the applicant’s requirements. Applicants who are flexible in terms of age and gender will likely be matched sooner than an applicant who will only consider a puppy or young dog. Likewise, applicants who are willing to travel a distance to adopt may be matched sooner than one who will only consider a dog in their immediate area. Applicants with children typically wait longer for a match because not all Cairns are good candidates for young families.

Reference Checks

Once you are matched to a dog, we begin checking your personal and veterinary references. Our reference checkers rely on the information you put on your application so it’s essential that you provide correct phone numbers and alert your personal and veterinary references to the fact that they may be getting a call from a CRUSA representative.

The Home Visit

Once the reference check has been completed (and assuming it meets our criteria for adoption), we will contact you to schedule a home visit. The home visit generally takes about 45 minutes and is conducted by a Cairn Rescue USA volunteer. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and it’s also a chance for our volunteer to make certain your home is “Cairn-ready” and call your attention to any potential hazards. Exposed electrical cords….plants….insecure fences….these are some of the issues that would have to be remedied before an adoption could move forward.

(If current conditions dictate that an in-person home visit is not prudent, then we will schedule a virtual home visit via zoom or request jpegs or video of your home.)

Foster Home Impression

Once your home visit is completed, we put you in touch with the foster home. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about the dog and for the foster home to assess if you are a good match. Our foster homes play a key role in a foster dog’s socialization and development so it’s important that they approve of the dog’s future family.

You’re in the home stretch!

In this final step, the Board of Cairn Rescue USA votes on your adoption. Your Regional PD will notify you of the result and assuming you’re approved, you’ll receive your Adoption Contract. At the time you take possession of your Cairn, you will be asked to make a donation to Cairn Rescue USA to help defray the extensive costs involved with rescue work. These include: shelter fees, transport costs, food, grooming and veterinary care. Our adoption donation fees are as follows:

Purebred Cairns
Under 6 months old – $450
6 months to 1 year old – $400
1 to 3 years old- $350
4 to 7 years old – $300
8 to 10 years old – $250
Over 10 years old – $150

Cairn Mixes
Up to 5 years old – $250
6 to 10 years old – $200
Over 10 years old – $125

For Cairns that have long-term health issues, the adoption donation may be reduced based on the care and medications that the Cairn will require post-adoption. These donations constitute quid-pro-quo donations for tax purposes which means that you are permitted to claim as a charitable donation on your income taxes only the amount that exceeds our good faith estimate of the dog’s fair market value (which we list in the Adoption Contract) and will be able to do so only if you itemize your deductions on your income tax return. In addition, if the Cairn is microchipped, we require that you pay a microchipping fee of between $20 and $45 as explained in the Adoption Contract.

For Cairns under 6 months of age, which are not altered at the time of adoption, we also require a $250 spay/neuter deposit, which is FULLY refundable upon presentation and verification of a spay/neuter certificate. In some states we are able to procure pediatric neuters for our puppies and if the puppy that you are adopting has had one, we ask for an additional donation of $50 to help offset a portion of the cost that we incur for the procedure. Please note that adoption donations do not constitute purchase monies paid for the rescue dog, and therefore are not refundable in the event that you decide to return your rescue Cairn or for any other reason.