Adoption FAQ
Adoption process – take your friend home the same day!
Consider our adoption process a great conversation. We will ask you several questions. We (us and your chosen friend) want to get to know you, and it’s also a chance for you to get to know your prospective pet. If you are interested in adopting a cat and express a desire to declaw the cat, our adoption counselors will discuss alternatives to declawing with you including Soft Paw claw caps and adopting an already declawed cat instead. If after this conversation, you still wish to declaw your new addition, we will decline your application to adopt.
Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Please consider carefully the time and money required to own a pet before you make the decision to adopt. All animals that are available for adoption have passed an evaluation based on their known history and our assessement of health and temperament.
Are you ready? Check out our adorable shelter guests here on our website. Call us at 608-752-5622 to speak to one of our highly qualified, friendly adoption counselors who can give you all sorts of great tips and guidance for the ideal match.
Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an appointment to adopt?

You do not need an appointment to meet with an animal on our website, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to stop by anytime during our open hours to visit with the adoptable animals.

What is included in the adoption fee?

All of our animals come spayed/neutered, up to date with age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipped, given a flea/tick treatment, and dewormed.

Do you accept or deny based upon an application?

Our approval or denial process is not based off the adoption application, but instead based off of the meet and greet with the animal and conversational-based counseling with our adoption counselors!

What do I need to bring with me to adopt?

We require all adopters to provide a valid ID at time of adoption. If adopting a dog, please remember that all canine companions will need to leave the building on their own leash and collar. If adopting a cat, please remember all feline friends need to leave in a carrier! If you do not have leash, collar, or carrier, they can be purchased at HSSW for an additional fee.

I saw an animal on your website – is it good with kids?

While we try to give you a pretty good first description of an animal’s personality based on our assessments here at HSSW, we always recommend a family introduction for every adoption. HSSW life is very different for an animal than a home.

I saw an animal on your website – is it good with other animals?

This is definitely a pet-by-pet basis. Some animals prefer to be in a one-pet home whereas some pets are very social and love to be around other pets. If you are adopting a dog and you have a resident dog in your home already, we will have them meet at the shelter before finalizing the adoption. For any adoption, our adoption counselors will counsel you through the acclimation period of introducing your new pet into your home.

Why do I see an animal listed both on your Lost Pet Page and on your Adoptable Animals page?

At our facility, we will place our animals on what we call “Available – Open Selection”. This just means that the animal is available to be met with and placed on an adoption hold; however, would not be available to go home until after the five day stray period. The animal will stay in our facility the entire time. If the animal was reunited with their original owner, we would refund the adopter that placed the pet on hold. We do make our adopters aware of this so they know there still may be an owner out there. Open Selection is a process that is recommended and recognized through UW Shelter Medicine to help length of stay (the amount of time pets are spending in shelters). It has become one of the best practices of animal sheltering!

What happens if my adoption doesn’t work out?

Adopting a pet is a big commitment that requires a lot of time and patience and, of course, an acclimation period. Transitioning from the shelter to a home is a big change. In the rare case that a relationship doesn’t fit a match, we do not require that you bring the pet back to HSSW, but it is an option. Within the first 30 days of adoption, we ask that adopters that are having any troubles with their newly adopted pet get in touch with us as a little guidance and assistance often goes a long way, however if it is truly just not working out, the pet can come back to HSSW for any reason. After that 30 day period, we will still work with adopters to return adopted pets to HSSW, we just ask that adopters schedule an appointment with us to do so.

Because we are a non-profit, the adoption fee isn’t refundable. Depending on circumstances, we may grant an adoption voucher toward another adoption. We want to work with you to make this a beautiful relationship for both of you. Many times, just some advice and guidance can make a big difference.

Is there anything sent home with pets when they are adopted?

At times, pets that are adopted from HSSW may have items from their previous home or foster home to take with them. 

Plus, everyone that adopts a cat or dog from HSSW can head to Mounds Pet Food Warehouse in Janesville and pick up a FREE Adoption Kit!

Also, all dog adopters receive a FREE 30-minute dog training session and 20% off a lifetime membership to GoodPup! Membership includes personalized weekly training sessions, trainer and medical support via chat, and online training library access.

What are Home-to-Home Adoptable Pets?

Home-to-Home Adoptable Pets are pets that our fellow community members are rehoming independently. These pets have not been evaluated by our staff medically or behaviorally and are not located at HSSW.

What is a Cat Test?

A Cat Test typically refers to introducing a dog to a cat in the shelter setting. Sometimes this may mean walking a dog past a windowed room with a cat in it, walking a dog past a cat’s enclosure, etc. This is something we have moved away from at HSSW.

Does HSSW Cat Test for Dogs?

Cat testing dogs in a shelter environment is not predictive of how a dog will react to a cat in the home with a proper slow acclimation. Not only is this testing in the shelter stressful for both the cat and the dog, but it is also nearly impossible to re-create their home environment in the shelter, where the dog’s reaction to the cat could be different. Instead, our Adoption Counselors will walk you through introducing and acclimating your newly adopted pet to your home and any resident pets.

You can read more about Cat Testing here:

What does SGN or FGN next to a pet's name mean?

SGN stands for Shelter Given Name and FGN stands for Finder Given Name. Each acronym indicates that the pet was given that name by someone who has recently met the pet and it may not be the name they know. We leave the acronym in until the Stray Period is completed.

Adoption hours

Adoption hours at Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin

4700 S County Trunk G
Janesville, WI
Link to Google Map

Telephone: (608) 752-5622

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and

Friday: Noon – 7pm

Wednesday: CLOSED

Saturday and Sunday: Noon – 5pm


Adoption hours at Petco – satellite
adoption site

2900 Deerfield Drive
Janesville, WI
Link to Google Map

Morning Hours: 9am – 11:30am daily

Afternoon Hours: Monday – Friday 5pm – 7pm 
Saturday & Sunday 2pm – 5pm