Frequently Asked Questions

Is Saving Grace a “no-kill” shelter?

Saving Grace has an open admission philosophy, which means we accept every animal surrendered to us regardless of health, age, breed or behavior. Open admission is essential to providing shelter and care to the thousands of animals that would otherwise have no safe refuge. Many “no-kill” shelters limit their admission by the number of animals allowed into the shelter or by the age, health or temperament of the pet.

Saving Grace is the only animal shelter in Douglas County. We have a contract with Douglas County Sheriff's Department that required us to house and care for any animal brought into the shelter from Animal Control. We are also contracted with Animal Control to accept stray dogs found in Douglas County. We often receive feral (meaning wild) cats and dangerous dogs, and animals with very serious medical conditions. Some pets have behavioral issues that require more professional intervention than we can provide or afford.

Because of our open admission policy and our commitment to placing only healthy, treatable, and safe animals in the community, we are sometimes faced with the difficult decision to euthanize animals with severe or untreatable illnesses or issues of aggression.

Saving Grace receives approximately 3,000 animals each year. We are very proud of the success our adoption center has in placing pets. For complete statistics on intakes and outcomes see our Statistics page.

If you are reading this, you must care about the welfare of unwanted and mistreated animals. Please help them by committing to the following:

         Make the choice to adopt from a shelter rather than buying a pet.

         Have your companion animal spayed or neutered; it is the only way to win this battle.

         Encourage everyone you know to do the same.

         Be an advocate for the animals; share your knowledge. Make a difference!


How long does an animal get to stay at the shelter?

Many animals can be placed in our adoptions programs immediately, and we provide medical treatment and foster care to many others as space and funding allow. There is no time limit placed on animals in our adoption center. As long as an animal remains in good health and temperament, it is available until it is adopted.

Some highly adoptable breeds or cute kittens and puppies will be adopted almost immediately after being made available for adoption. Other animals, particularly older ones, have stays for several months before finding the right family.


How do you decide which pets go up for adoption?

We take the following into consideration: stress level, sociability, health, age, appearance, behavior and special needs requirements. These elements are collectively referred to as the “adoptability” of an animal.

Pets that are surrendered by their owners are evaluated for heath and temperament immediately.

A dog that enters our center as a stray is held for 72 hours as state law requires. This time period is provided to give the animal’s owner time to locate the pet before we consider it for placement. If the owner does not reclaim the dog, it is evaluated for health and temperament. If the dog qualifies for adoption, and we have room, we will put the dog up for adoption.

Cats are evaluated for adoption typically within 24-48 hours. If the cat qualifies for adoption and we have room, we may put the cat up for adoption. If the cattery staff identifies an apparently friendly, healthy and truly lost cat, we will try to hold that cat a little bit longer in hopes that an owner comes forward to reclaim their pet.


I want a "??" breed. Can you put me on a list and if one comes in, hold it for me?

No. Adoptable animals are available only by coming to the shelter. Maintaining such a list and notifying people would take staff time away from working with adopters in the shelter. It could also cause missed matches for the animal. If we held an animal for you and you chose not to adopt, we might miss opportunities for a match with someone who had come to the shelter while the animal was unavailable.

Our website is updated daily and all available animals are posted immediately. offers a registration that allows you to receive e-mail notification if a specific breed is available. searches databases from many shelter and rescue groups, including Saving Grace, to give you alerts on pets within your selected radius.


Do we have to pay a fee if we surrender a pet?

Effective July 1, 2015 Saving Grace charges a small surrender fee for owned animals and stray cats.

The money that you will be charged when you bring an animal to Saving Grace helps cover the cost of care for our animals. Saving Grace will vaccinate, deworm, flea treat, and provide basic medical care for all animals brought to the center. Animals that go up for adoption receive a microchip, spay or neuter, booster vaccinations and upper respiratory or kennel cough treatment, if needed.

The money that is collected at the time of surrender helps to keep our adoption fees as low as possible. Monetary donations help keep our doors open.  All surrender fees are due at time of service.

For current surrender fees and more information about surrendering a pet, see our page on Surrendering a Pet.


If I bring in an animal and it doesn’t get adopted or it might get put to sleep, can you call me?

The staff members at Saving Grace will ask you upon time of surrender if you would like a call back if the animal is to be humanely euthanized and not placed for adoption.  If you choose the option of having a staff member call you back, you must leave us a phone number where you can be reached right away.  You will only have until 5 pm the next business day to come and retrieve your animal.  Saving Grace will not continue to try to contact you and will not continue to hold the animal past the time allowed to pick up your animal.


How can people just leave their pets here?

There are many reasons and unforeseen circumstances in which owners bring their pets to us. For most folks, we are their absolute last resort when it comes to having to give up their pets. We are here to receive these pets, even if it means that they will have to be euthanized. We would rather that these pets come to a safe place like us than to be abandoned, left exposed to the elements, predators or starvation. We are compassionate towards all animals and humans.


Where does Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center get its funding?

Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center gets it’s funding from various sources including:

16% Douglas County Animal Control Contract    

26% Fees-for-Service (adoptions, return to owner fees, spay/neuter, etc.)

15% Grants & Foundation Gifts

10% Special Events and Fundraisers

33% Donations, Sponsorships & Bequests from generous people like you!


How many animals does Saving Grace care for?

Saving Grace cares for over 3,000 animals every year.  On average we receive 3 dogs and 5 cats coming every day of the year!


Why does it cost so much to adopt a pet from Saving Grace? Why don’t you just give them away? Why would you deny a potential adopter?

Please remember that Saving Grace was founded to champion and promote the human-animal bond through responsible pet ownership. Saving Grace would not be a responsible pet owner if it adopted out animals that were full of parasites, unvaccinated and unaltered (not spayed or neutered). Allowing our pets to go back into the community without a health and temperament assessment or to families that are not ready and able to care for the animal properly would be irresponsible! Imagine how many (potentially ill) puppies and kittens would be born to all of those pets!

Caring for the animals costs a lot of money! Imagine what the veterinary bill would look like if you did all this for the pets that we care for in just one day, then consider the boarding fees and food bills – wow! Saving Grace is a non-profit organization, anything “extra” only goes to help us grow and provide better service to our sheltered pets and the community.

Higher fees on our younger and “highly adoptable” animals help subsidize the cost of care for older and needier animals who might have to wait weeks or months to get adopted and whose fees are much lower.


Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get a free puppy or kitten?

Actually, it can be a lot more expensive to get a “free” dog or cat. Examine the following list – these are the services we provide that are included in your adoption fee, then find out what a local vet would charge.

Veterinary Exam

First Vaccinations


Flea Control

Microchip & Registration

Spay or Neuter

And for some pets add:

Upper Respiratory or Kennel Cough Treatment

Second Vaccinations

Booster Deworming

Booster Flea Control

Rabies Vaccine

Dog License

Cardboard Cat Carrier

Up to 45 days free pet health insurance


Why do the adoption fees vary from pet to pet?

Our adoption fees are customized for each pet. Our younger pets, smaller dogs, purebreds and especially popular pets will have higher adoption fees. This allows us to reduce the fees for older animals, larger dogs, mixed breeds and pets that have been at the center for a longer time.


Why is there so much paperwork?

We put a lot of care into our pets and want to make sure that they are going into homes that are able and willing to make them a priority. Our moderate amount of paperwork allows us to collect and share vital information about the animals and the people that care for them.


Why do I have to get it spayed or neutered? What if it’s a purebred?

Spay and neuter is the only effective means to reducing euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets. The vast majority of our euthanasia is the direct result of overpopulation. There are more puppies and kittens being born than there are homes for them – and this includes purebreds! Heartland Humane Society found that for every human born, there are 15 dogs and 45 cats born. This means that every human family of four would have to adopt 60 dogs and 180 cats to ensure that every pet had a home!  More than 25 percent of the animals we receive are purebred; some of them even come with their “papers”. Take look at all of the animals currently in purebred rescue groups. It would be unfair and irresponsible of us to make just one exception to the spay and neuter rule.


Can we please take our new pet home today and bring it back for surgery?

No.  All adopted animals must be altered before leaving the building.  This is how we ensure our 100% spay & neuter compliance rate.


Can we make payments?

Full payment is due at time of adoption.


Do we get our money back if we return our new pet?

Our adoption contract allows for a partial refund if the pet is returned within 5 days of adoption.


Can we bring our dog to visit the one we want to adopt?

Absolutely!  We encourage a meet and greet with your current dog(s). Adoptions of some dogs actually require a dog to dog introduction before the manager can approve the adoption. Please be sure to schedule your meet and greet with the staff since assistance is required.


Can Saving Grace come and pick up an animal?

Douglas County Animal Control is the only organization currently authorized to retrieve and transport animals for the public. They will pick up stray dogs as their schedule and location allows. The public is allowed to bring pets or stray animals to the shelter Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  Special appointments can also be made for Mondays, when we are normally closed. Saving Grace is not allowed to pick up or drop off animals.


Who should I call when I see animal abuse, neglect or abandonment?

Douglas County Animal Control has the important responsibility and legal jurisdiction to investigate cases of animal mistreatment. Please make sure you make detailed notes of your observations and call Animal Control at (541) 440-4471.


How old do you have to be to volunteer for Saving Grace?

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age with parental consent.Youth ages 10-15 may volunteer alongside a parent. Arrangements for special volunteer projects for organized youth programs may be made by calling our Volunteer Coordinator at (541) 672-3907 ext 111. 


Can I just come sometime to walk dogs?

Only trained volunteers and staff members may walk our dogs. Having consistent handling as well as a regular schedule helps our animals deal with the stress of being sheltered.


I’m not sure I would be able to work at the center. What else can I do to help?

Working at the Adoption Center is hard, and it’s not right for everyone. You can also transport animals to other shelters for us, help at off site events, help out with fundraisers, foster a litter of kittens or a dog that’s recovering from surgery, donate money, help with outreach and education events and so much more!  Just call us our Volunteer Coordinator at (541) 672-3907 ext 111.


Do you feel sad working here?

There are times and cases when it is easy to become sad, but you quickly learn to focus on the positive. Look how much we do for these critters! What would happen to them if our shelter did not exist?


One of the most important things that you can do to help the pets in Douglas County:

Remind everyone you know to spay and neuter their pets! 

Are you ready for a challenge? Become a Lion Tamer! Foster parents are needed to turn little lions into purring kittens. Apply here.

Looking for a specific type of pet? Want to receive an email alert when matching pets become available? Check out!

Thinking of surrendering your pet? Get your questions answered on our Surrendering a Pet page. And try re-homing your pet to a new family without the shelter! Great advice to walk you through the process, plus your pet's profile will be included in listings!