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  • Are your dogs vetted before going to new homes?
    Why yes, they are! All dogs are given age-appropriate vaccinations for distemper, rabies, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. If the pup is over the age of six months, they are also spayed or neutered in accordance with Virginia state law. They have had a heartworm test and are up to date on heartworm medication and flea and tick preventative. They have also been dewormed. ​ If the dog has any special medical needs that are not spelled out, the foster or team lead will call you to discuss prior to approving your application.
  • Do you adopt to people with children?
    Yes. Sometimes, you will see a requirement on our dogs that they can only be rehomed with older children (usually older than age 12). As we are rehoming herding dogs, sometimes the rambunctiousness and activity of young children can be too stimulating to them and they attempt to herd - it is the #1 reason that herding dogs find themselves in shelters as owner surrenders, and the #1 reason that dogs have been returned back to us from adopters. However, we do have some dogs that do fine around children (and this will be noted on the dog's profile if so), and others that need to be in a quiet home with no children. It is dependent on the dog and the foster's evaluation. When the foster submits an evaluation to their team lead, we rigorously stick to their requests and specifications for a new home. This means that if they request that we seek a home that has children over the age of 12, we do not make exceptions for younger or much-younger children. We understand that this may be upsetting for people who have had one or two herding dogs in the past with their young children. Because these are herding dogs, often have an unknown or partially unknown background, and we take the safety of our prospective adopters' families seriously, we trust and follow our foster families' evaluation regarding the age of children in the home. Thank you for your understanding.
  • How much is your adoption donation?
    Currently, our adoption donation scale is as follows: ​ $350 - puppies ($50 is a refundable spay/neuter deposit that will be refunded following proof of neuter or spay) ​​ $300 - dogs between 6 months and 9 years old ​​ $225 - senior dogs over 9 years old ​​ We are a 501(c)3 non-profit so your donation may be tax-deductible.
  • Will you ship a dog to me or transport a dog closer to me?
    While we are so glad you want to adopt a dog, we do not ship our dogs anywhere. We ask that prospective adopters go to meet the dogs in the comfort of the foster's home so the prospective approved adopters can get the best idea of what this dog will act like in their home.
  • Do you adopt out dogs as Emotional Support Animals or Service Animals?
    No, we do not.
  • What are the requirements for adoption?
    We require the following of every one of our adoptive homes: ​ 1. Animals already in the home must be up to date on vaccinations, heartworm tests, and heartworm preventative (if applicable). ​ 2. Everyone in the home must be on board with adopting a dog. That means if you have roommates, a landlord, a spouse with allergies, or children who are afraid of dogs, you may want to have a serious conversation before adoption. ​ 3. You must own your home or have clearance from the owner of the home. We do not adopt to individuals living with their parents unless the whole family is adopting the dog. ​ 4. The dog you are apply to adopt is not to be kept as an outside pet either in a barn, tied outside, or living in a backyard. Our standards for adoption preclude our dogs from being treated as anything but beloved family members. While some may be working dogs, they also must be "part of the family." ​ 5. You must not have a history of animal abuse or neglect, or of child abuse or neglect, or of domestic violence.
  • Can I visit the dog in the foster's home prior to submitting an application?
    As much as we would love to have a facility for everyone to stop by at their convenience, we don't have such a space because we know herding dogs don't do well in shelters. As such, we have private foster homes. The benefits of foster homes are many, but one of the drawbacks is that we require an approved adoption application prior to any kind of meet-and-greet for the foster's safety and the potential adopter's convenience.
  • Can I adopt a dog for my parent / sister / grandchild / child / as a gift for someone?
    Under no circumstances do we adopt out dogs as gifts. All parties must be fully informed and involved in our dogs' future homes. We encourage all family members to be a part of the process of adoption.
  • Can you waive the spay or neuter requirement for one of your dogs?
    Absolutely not. There is no waiver for spay or neuter surgery for any of our dogs.
  • What is positive-reinforcement dog training? Why do you require it?
    SOHO was founded in part by two positive-reinforcement trainers that use the scientific advances in clicker training to effectively and safely train dogs. Positive reinforcement trainers often use verbal cues, hand signals, treats, clickers, toys, and even games to help modify behavior, correct bad habits, and even to teach tricks. Trainers use both positive reinforcement (giving rewards) and negative punishment (taking away rewards.). Dogs trained this way become well-adjusted, responsive, well-mannered companions. ​ There is a lot of actual scientific research to back this up. We are happy to provide the scientific studies we have read and utilize supporting the efficacy of utilizing positive reinforcement, as well as the studies we use that show that these methods are the best to ensure a dog's emotional and physical health. Please e-mail us at for more information.
  • Do you have a foster-to-adopt program?
    While we understand the emotional role that foster dogs can play in our lives, we do not have a foster to adopt program at this time because our adoption process allows for a two week "return" period for the dog, which is enough time for most people to decide if they would like to keep this dog in their home.
  • I want to adopt two puppies from the same litter! Can I do that?
    No. We do not adopt out puppies to the same home because of something called "Littermate Syndrome". While we understand that it can be emotionally difficult to separate a puppy from their siblings, it is actually emotionally healthy for the puppy to grow into a new household and form new, lasting bonds with their new family.
  • Do you adopt dogs to people who live in an apartment, a townhome, or who don't have a fenced yard?"
    Yes. So long as your name is on the property as an owner or a renter, you are eligible for adoption provided that, if you are a renter, you have permission from the landlord to have the type and size of dog you are applying for.
  • What does "Coming Attraction" mean?"
    A "Coming Attraction" dog is a dog that we have taken into our rescue and who will be up for adoption in the future after we have completed our evaluation. We may accept applications on dogs that are Coming Attractions, however, those applications will not be reviewed until we receive the full evaluation on the dog from the foster home. The evaluation is critical in our assessment of the best home for the dog.
  • Do you adopt to students living in dorms?
    Unfortunately, we cannot adopt to students in dorms at a university or university-managed apartments. Fast changing as well as strict regulations regarding pets at most universities have been challenging for us to navigate. For the safety and comfort of our dogs, we prohibit adoption to students in dorms.
  • Do you adopt to people who don't reside in the same state as the dog is fostered in?
    Yes, we do out of state adoptions. Please be prepared to come visit the dog at or near their foster home if the foster family selects your application to proceed with adoption.
  • Do you adopt to all states in the United States and Canada?
    Yes. Our only caveat is that the prospective adopter must be ready to come meet the dog at or near the foster's home in order to be eligible for adoption as well as transport the dog in a humane manner back to their home (not as cargo on an airplane or through a third party transport service).
  • I submitted an adoption application but haven't heard anything yet. How long does it take?
    We make every effort to get back to applicants individually, but we are not always successful due to the volume of e-mail and applications that we receive. Some days, we receive between 150-200 inquiries on our dogs and each dog receives anywhere from 5 to 50+ applications. We do the absolute best we can to make sure that each applicant is treated with respect but are not able to respond individually to every e-mail, especially multiple e-mails from the same person.
  • How do you determine which applicant is eligible for potential adoption of the dog?
    Much of the evaluation of applications takes place around our evaluation of the dog. We trust our foster homes to provide us with a guide for the type of home that their foster dog will have success in. We use the information provided in your application to determine if this is a good fit for the dog, and do further research as well as interviews on the application before moving on to reference checks, a home visit, or setting up a meeting with the foster family.
  • I received a copy of my application by e-mail. Does this mean I am approved?
    Our coordinators and team leads will let you know personally, by e-mail, when your application is approved.
  • I submitted an application but wasn't chosen to adopt the dog I applied for. Do I have to submit a new application if I'm interested in another dog?
    No. Please fill out our ADOPTION TRANSFER REQUEST to have your application moved to another dog.
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