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Adoption Process & Fees

If you're interested in adopting a pet at ARL Main, you can now get in our virtual line prior to your visit

Get in our Virtual line

We are excited that you're considering adopting

Thousands of animals come through the Animal Rescue League of Iowa's doors every year, but no matter how they got here or where they came from, they're provided with shelter, nourishing food, individualized medical treatment, behavioral rehabilitation when necessary, and most important: love.

You are the next step in their journey to finding their forever home, and we are here to help.

Before Your Visit

  1. Get started by looking through our online adoptable pet listings, which are updated every 15 minutes.
  2. If a pet's profile shows ARL Main as the location, you will need to get in our virtual line prior to your visit. **
  3. If the animal's profile shows ARL West, Ankeny fun88体育Smart, or other partner locations, walk-ins are welcome. **
  4. If a pet has specific contact info in their profile about how to schedule a visit, please reach out directly to that contact.
  5. Please allow one to two hours to complete the adoption process.

    ** fun88体育s are adopted on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be placed on hold for your visit.

    Schedule a visit to ARL Main

What to Bring

  1. Valid Driver’s License or picture ID, and proof of address (such as a utility bill or bank statement). You must be 18 years or older and sign an adoption contract.
  2. Children and dogs that live in your household (if applicable). If you would like your child to meet an adoptable pet or your dog to be introduced to an adoptable dog before adopting, please bring them with you. We recommend dogs meet any resident dogs before adoption. All adults living in the home must also know about the pet and agree that it can live there.
  3. Leash and collar (dogs) or carrier (cats and small pets). Required when taking a pet home for safety reasons. If you don't have these items, you can purchase them at a discount from our Animal House pet supply shop at ARL Main.
  4. Face mask or covering. Required as part of safety protocol for Covid-19.

The ARL may require other information or require other steps be taken prior to adoption to ensure a pet is the right match for your family. The ARL only adopts animals as family pets, not for consumption or research. The ARL reserves the right to deny any adoption for any reason.

Adoption Fees


Adoption fee includes:

  • A general physical exam by our medical staff, spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchip, deworming, fecal testing, heartworm testing, dental surgery/cleaning (if needed).
  • Free behavior and training advice.
  • 10% off ARL Animal House store purchases for the life of the pet and 10% off ARL training classes.
Puppy under 6 months $450 — not eligible for discounts
Dog 6 months to 5 years, under 25 lbs $200 — If Bonded Buddy, then $225 for both
Dog 6 months to 5 years, over 25 lbs $125 — If Bonded Buddy, then $150 for both
Dog 6+ years old $60 — If Bonded Buddy, then $85 for both
Dog in the Shelter Dog Getaway Program $60


Adoption fee includes:

  • A general physical exam by our medical staff, spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchip, deworming, fecal testing, feline leukemia testing, dental surgery/cleaning (if needed).
  • Free behavior and training advice.
  • 10% off ARL Animal House store purchases for the life of the pet.
Kitten under 6 months $125 or $200 for same-litter pair, or kitten + mom
Cat 6 months to 7 years $100 or 2 cats for $125
Cat 8+ years old $50 or 2 cats for $75
Cat in the Shelter Cat Getaway program $50 or 2 cats for $75
Cat in the Camp Purr barn cat program $25 each, must adopt at least 2

Small fun88体育s

Fees vary. The ARL cares for hundreds of small pets every year, including rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, and more. We also care for a variety of reptiles, amphibians and fish, as well as birds of all sizes, from parakeets and cockatiels to large exotics such as Amazons and parrots.

Browse Available Small fun88体育s

Horses & Other Barn fun88体育s

Fees vary. Horses and other barn pets are adopted through the ARL's Kruidenier Second Chance Ranch.

Learn About Second Chance Ranch

Adoption Programs & Discounts

fun88体育s for Seniors

Individuals 60 years and older. Cannot be combined with other offers, dependent on available funds through fun88体育s for the Elderly Foundation

$50 off adoption fee for dogs 6+ months and cats of any age
Paws for Patriots All U.S. veterans

50% off adoption fee

25% off ARL training classes

Happy Cat Prescription Program All cat adopters Adopt one cat, get second cat for $25. Cats must both be at least 6 months old.

fun88体育s for Seniors

The fun88体育s for the Elderly Foundation believes in the positive power of pet companionship for seniors, so they have partnered with the ARL to make pet ownership more affordable. Through the PFE program, individuals ages 60 and older can get $50 off the adoption fee of a dog or cat of any age. The ARL's normal adoption process still applies, and adoptions cannot be combined with other offers. This program is offered at ARL Main and ARL West as funds are available.

Paws for Patriots

Through this program, all U.S. veterans can adopt a dog or cat for half the normal adoption fee and get 25% off ARL dog training classes. Thank you to all who serve and have served our country!

Happy Cat Prescription Program

Take two and you won't need to call us in the morning! Through the Happy Cat Prescription Program, adopters can adopt one cat for a regular adoption fee and adopt a second cat for just $25. Both cats must be 6 months or older and live in the same household upon adoption. The ARL has historically encouraged adopting cats/kittens in pairs or multiples because it is emotionally healthy for them to have feline friends. We have found some behavior issues can easily be solved or never occur when a cat has another cat to bond with. 


We know that when adding a new pet to your family, you intend to give your pet a home for life, but you also want to make sure it's the right fit before you fully commit. The program gives the pet and all human and animal family members time to get to know each other to ensure that everyone is set up for success.

If after adopting, a family finds within the first 30 days that the pet is not a good fit, they can either bring the pet back for a full refund or exchange the pet for another of the same age group and species. If it's not going well at first, our team can help. In the end, if it ends up not being a good match - no problem - the pet still got to enjoy a break from the shelter and the additional information you'll be able to share with us upon their return will allow us to find a better fit for the pet the next time around. Plus, you can choose another pet to try!

Note: An even exchange is valid for pets of the same age group and species on the date of return of the first pet. Adopters have the option to pay the difference if they choose to adopt a pet of a different species or age group.