Adoption Procedure

Due to the current situation and following both government guidelines and those issued by the Association of Dogs & Cats Homes we want to keep you updated with our current situation and our current adoption procedures.

The Sanctuary is still not open for the public to meet our animals, but we do invite prospective adopters in to meet an animal following a successful application, and maintaining social distancing to protect both visitors and our staff from coming into direct contact with each other to minimise risk.

We continue to run with a dedicated team on site, ensuring all our animals continue to receive the highest level of care. Our reception team continue to answer phones and emails 7 days a week and are responding to enquiries as soon as possible. We are continuing to rehome our dogs and cats to the Bristol and surrounding area, with the aid of virtual home checks, using photos and videos and our usual checks and application forms. We would ask that all potential adopters please visit our animal rehoming pages and if they see specific dogs or cats who could be the right fit for their family, please email our rehoming team on: [email protected] for more information and to assess whether your chosen animal(s) may be the right match for you.

Once we have received your email, we will send you the access details so that you can submit the online application form to begin the rehoming process.

Please bear with us as we continue to navigate through these procedures and know we’ll treat all adoptions on a case-by-case basis. We care about our dogs and cats deeply, so of course we want to find them their forever home, but we must be thorough as having our animals come back to us due to an incompatible match would be devastating for them and for you.

Please only call or email if you see an animal/animals that you feel could be the right match to determine whether we can go ahead with an adoption. This will be based on multiple factors such as your location, whether you have had a dog/cat before, the home set up, height of fence etc, whether there are other pets and children in the home who will need to meet prior to adoption etc. Please note that an after check will also be carried out.

During these continued difficult and challenging times, please know that we need your support more than ever, as Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on our finances. We have continued to rescue throughout the Covid-19 crisis despite dwindling funds, and never once closed our doors to animals desperate for help. We urgently need to raise vital funds to continue to be their lifeline and keep them safe from harm. Please consider making a donation or supporting us monthly by becoming a PawPal by clicking here. Our PawPals are our everyday heroes and knowing what is coming in monthly helps us make life saving decisions for our animals every day.

Thank you all for your support and understanding as always.

Our re-homing policies have been set, with the benefit of years of experience, to maximise the chances of the animals staying with their new owners for life.

Some of our rescues have been ill-treated and their lives are just beginning, others are sad to be apart from their owners and are broken hearted. They all need the security of loving homes where they can rebuild their lives and find happiness once more.

Each animal is different and therefore our adoption procedure can vary from animal to animal. The following steps can be used as a general guideline for our adoption procedure:

  • The whole family needs to come in and visit to ensure compatibility. Please discuss any animal that you are interested in with a member of staff – it is very important to match the prospective owner to the right cat or dog to prevent the animal being unnecessarily returned.
  • As we will require landlord’s permission if you are renting, please get this before placing an interest to enable us to speed up the process of rehoming.
  • All other pets in the home must be fully vaccinated and neutered, except when advised not to do so by a veterinary surgeon.
  • You will need to complete a ‘prospective adopter form’, preferably online, by telephone or in person at reception by appointment.
  • Once you and the Sanctuary have chosen a suitable pet a home check will be carried out.
  • Subject to all the above being successful, you will be able to adopt the animal (usually within 7 days after the home check).
  • Sometimes it will be necessary to visit your chosen pet on several occasions if he/she is nervous.

When you decide to adopt an animal from Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary, we ask you to pay a minimum adoption Fee. This helps us to ensure all of our animals are micro-chipped, vet checked, given any medical treatment necessary, wormed, de-flead vaccinated and neutered – although we rarely come close to meeting the amounts that have been incurred to us whilst they are in our care, the fee is the minimum we require to help cover our costs, but we would always be extremely grateful for any donation over and above the fee that could assist towards our ever increasing overheads, the advantage is that this added extra can also include gift aid making your donation go even further!

  • Dogs, micro-chipped, vaccinated and neutered*: £195.00
  • Puppies, micro-chipped, vaccinated and neuter voucher: £300.00
  • Cats, micro-chipped, vaccinated and neutered*: £110.00
  • Kittens, micro-chipped, vaccinated and neuter voucher: £150.00

*Please note that where an animal has not been neutered this will need to be arranged at a later stage when the animal is old enough. It forms part of our adoption agreement that you do so – failure to comply may result in your animal returning to the Sanctuary. It is vital that animals are neutered at the appropriate age to help stop the cycle of unwanted kittens & puppies. You will be given a voucher for Vale Vets at Portishead which will cover the cost. If you prefer to go to your own vet’s, you may have to pay extra if the charge is more than the voucher.

We aim to carry out all of our home visits within 7 days. We rely heavily on our dedicated team of volunteers to carry out our home visits, so please do be patient if your home check takes a little bit longer, it may be that we have limited volunteer resources in your area. If you haven’t heard from your home visitor within 7 days, please do contact our Rehoming team on 01275 474719 or email [email protected] (11am – 4pm daily).

For puppies and adult dogs, a fully enclosed private garden with direct access will be required. The minimum height of the wall/fence required will be as given in the rehoming details for the individual dog.

We have a non-crating policy for puppies and adult dogs. To do so will result in the puppy/dog being returned to Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary. The only concession would be if the animal needed cage rest due to a medical condition.

In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of dog trainers and behaviourists that recommend the use of a crate to solve behaviour and training problems.

The idea is that you introduce your dog to the crate, which they should come to regard as their den. The theory follows that you then lock them in their “den” when you are out so that they can’t do any damage and feel secure while they are alone.

This may sound like an excellent theory until you examine it in greater detail. Firstly, when the door is locked, the status of the crate is changed from a den to a very small prison. Secondly, it is very unlikely that any behaviour problems will be solved, they may in fact be made far worse.

The trouble with making the behaviour worse is that a vicious circle will be generated that is very difficult to get out of. As the problem gets worse, the crate is used more often leading to a worsening of the problem and more use of the crate and so the circle is never broken. The crate is used as a matter of course and the dog continues to suffer.

Crates were originally intended to be used rather like playpens for children, somewhere that the puppy/dog could play safely. Recently crates have developed into an instant crutch for owners. Using the crate means that there is no need for owners to understand their dogs, they simply lock the dog away when they can’t cope with their behaviour.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t do anything for the dog, it doesn’t teach them anything other than when they are alone, they must be confined. Once resigned to their fate, dogs can become depressed and lethargic, leading the owner to believe the crate has quietened their dog down.

There are many more humane ways to solve problems other than crating. The big advantage of humane methods is that they tackle the cause of the problem rather than the effect of it. This means that once the problem is gone, it is gone for good and you won’t make the problems worse or risk subjecting your dog to depression through confinement in the process.

Courtesy of Animals in Mind Charity

The well-being of all the animals in our care is one of our top priorities. Some of our animals need that little bit of extra love, care and attention that a home environment can provide, these include our very young, elderly and sick animals.

If you would like to offer a foster home for our animals, please complete a Volunteer Application form form or if you require further information, please contact our Rehoming team . Fostering is also subject to a homecheck.

Small animals are occasionally available to adopt, either on a home from home basis or here at the Sanctuary.

  • Small animals have very special requirements, they will need regular medical check-ups with your vet, plenty of enrichment and suitable housing.
  • Sadly, many pet shops still sell unsuitable accommodation which doesn’t provide for their needs at all. Some of the best accommodation can often be handmade, by converting sheds and playhouses etc for rabbits with access to an outside run and vivarium or bookcases used to create fantastic hamster homes. Cages with levels are not always best, although any cage should ideally be at least 2ft x 2ft in length. A long space where hamsters can run is usually far more fun than lots of tubes. Take a look at some of the images below to see what amazing spaces can be created.

A good buy is similar to The Hamster Heaven available at Pets at Home, Amazon and other pet suppliers…

The Hamster Heaven Metro Hamster Cage by Savic is an extra-large cage which comes complete with:
Tunnels, Platforms, Slides, Housing, Exercise Wheel, Toilet, Food Bowls and Drinking Bottle.

Approximate Dimensions (Product): 50 x 80 x 50cm

Hamster, Gerbil

Rabbit Run

Rabbit House

  • We require potential new owners to send in pictures of their accommodation set up ready. These pictures can be sent to [email protected].
  • We may also require to arrange a home visit before they can go to their new homes along with a vet reference for previous pets.