Waggin' Train Rescue

Adoption Information

Thank you for opening up your heart and home to one of our rescue dogs. We take the placement of our dogs very seriously. Each one of our rescue dogs has different personalities and needs, which means that they may have specific requirements for their new home. Our Adoption Process is our way of getting to know you and your home dynamic in order to ensure that the placement is the right fit for our rescue dog, and for your family.

Available Dogs:

Please visit our Available Dogs tab to see our current rescue dogs available for adoption. The list is updated regularly. When we rescue our dogs from the shelter, they come from a variety of backgrounds. Some dogs are surrendered to the shelter by owners that no longer want or can care for them. Other dogs are found as strays on the street, having gotten lost or abandoned. Yet others are seized by the city, when an owner becomes ill or has been arrested. After researching the information available to us about each dog (their medical and behavioral evaluations, and volunteer notes about interactions) we write up a "bio" and try to give as much information as possible about the rescue dog, and the type of home we feel would be the best match. We try to post good photos, although sometimes they are not as nice as we'd like. We are grateful to several of the volunteer photographers at the shelters, who donate their time and energy trying to take pictures of the shelter dogs in order to highlight their wonderful qualities.

Behavior Evaluations:

Sometimes we are lucky in gaining information about certain dogs, if their owner is surrendering them and takes the time to discuss the dog's attributes with the shelter staff. It gives us a clearer understanding about their background and exposure experiences (with kids, other dogs and cats). In other cases, we know absolutely nothing about the dog's past and have to slowly get to know them through interactions and observations. In either case, one of the first steps we take is to request a behavior evaluation also known as the MYM SAFER Test. This evaluation is done at the shelter by a certified evaluator.

ASPCA MYM SAFER is a seven item aggression assessment that identifies the dog's comfort level with restraint and touch, reaction to new experiences including movement and sound stimuli, bite inhibition, behavior around food and toys, and arousal level towards other dogs.

The dogs are given a grade on their reaction to each of the seven tests (either on an A-F scale or a 1-5 scale). Not all behavior evaluations are an accurate representation, due to the stress levels the dog is under at the shelter, and sometimes fear can be misinterpreted. However, it gives us a much better understanding of the dog's reactions, and whether he may be a candidate for us to rescue and re-home.


When each dog enters the shelter system, they are checked over by a shelter veterinarian, to get an overall assessment of their health and body condition. The vet will also give them a behavior rating, based on the dogs reaction to the exam and any treatment needed. This interaction is also helpful to us in further assessing the dog's personality. After making the decision to rescue a dog, we have it brought up to date on it's vaccinations including 1 year vaccinations for rabies, distemper and bordetella. Each of our dogs is also Heartworm and Fecal tested, as well as microchipped. In many cases we are able to have our rescue dogs spayed or neutered before they leave the shelter. However, in cases where the dog has already become sick while at the shelter with the very common Kennel Cough virus, we have to delay their sterilization until they have recovered. Each dog arrives at their new home with full vaccination and medical records, including rabies tag. Each dog must be licensed by the adopter according to their town or county regulations. It is the responsibility of the adopter to provide heartworm and flea & tick preventative to their rescue dog.

Many times when the dog is transported from the shelter to one of boarding kennels or foster homes, they are already sick with Kennel Cough, which is common for the shelter environment. All dogs leaving the shelter are discharged with antibiotics to help them overcome the illness or simply as a preventative in the hopes they don't get sick. Usually it will run it's course in about 10 days, and the dog is feeling much better.

Foster Homes/Boarding Kennels/Transportation:

Once we rescue a dog, we either place it into one of our foster homes (if one is available) located all over our adoption area, or we have it transported to one of four private boarding kennels that we use (one in Frederick, PA, one in Sterling, NJ and two in NY, Montgomery & Sprakers). "Meet & Greets" for our dogs can be set up, but appointments are required and the hours are limited. We usually do not set up meetings until an application is filled out, references have been checked, and you're approved for adoption. We are members in excellent standing with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals (please feel free to call them at any time to verify and confirm if you would like a reference). It is the Mayor's Alliance that also provides our transportation needs for all our dogs...transporting them to their new foster or adoptive homes, or to the boarding kennels as a courtesy to our rescue. We place dogs all over New England, NY, NJ and Eastern PA.

Adoption Fees:

Our adoption fees range from $100 to $250, depending on the dog's age, condition and if there are any special needs. We are all volunteers, funding our rescue with 100% of our adoption fees and donations which we use towards paying our boarding and medical expenses. We're happy to announce that we received our non profit 501(c)3 status and all the adoption fees and donations for our rescue dogs are now tax deductible.

Foster to Adopt Program:

We set up many of our dogs as foster to adopts. We place the dog with you for a week's "trial" or foster period. It gives you the opportunity to determine if the dog is a match for your home, family and routine, thereby helping to relieve any anxiety of committing to a dog you've just met or in some cases receiving a dog "site unseen". We will be in contact with you throughout the foster week to see how things are going, and to be a support resource for you to answer any questions or concerns you might have. If at the end of the week we all agree it is indeed a great match, then you can simply move forward with adoption. We will then email you an adoption agreement to read, sign and send back with the adoption fee. If however at the end of the foster week, you feel the dog is not a match, then we will ask if you would be willing to continue fostering it until we can find a permanent home. If you would prefer not to, we will ask your assistance in helping us to return the dog to one of our boarding kennels.

Application Process:

The first step in our Adoption Process is filling out the application, which is available right here on the website. You must be at least 21 years old to apply. After we receive it, we will review it and determine if we feel the dog and it's characteristics are a good fit for you, your family and home dynamic. If we have concerns about whether the dog is the right match, or if we have other applications already pending for that particular rescue dog, we may recommend other candidates that might be a better match and may also capture your heart.

The next step would typically be a phone interview, giving you (and us) an opportunity to ask questions, and better get to know the dog and our process. Following a phone interview, references would be called and checked. We call your veterinarian to ensure that your past or current pets are up to date with their vaccinations, and that you have yearly check ups.

A "Meet & Greet" then would usually be scheduled if the dog is located close enough to the family's location. If the dogs are not within a reasonable driving distance, then arrangements can be made to have the dog transported to you. We also reserve the right to conduct a home visit.


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