(Effective for applications submitted after July 31, 2008)

Q:  Do you charge an adoption fee?

A:    Yes.  The adoption fee is needed to cover a portion of the vet bills incurred.

Q:  How much are the adoption fees?

A:    Adoption fees are based on the listed age of the dog, as follows:
             $400 - Babies (under one year) 
               350 - Young (one year to three years) 
               300 - Adults 1 (four years to six years) 
               200 - Adults 2 (seven years to nine years) 
               150 - Seniors (over nine years) 
                 75 - Seniors for Senior Citizens (65 or older) 

Q:  What is meant by "energy level"?

A:    Energy levels, as provided on the website for each dog, is a subjective measure
        of the amount of energy expended by that dog in a typical day.  It is intended to
        provide a general idea of the amount and type of exercise required by that dog. 
        The foster home will discuss the dog's routine with the potential adopter.

        A lower energy level rating indicates fewer hours and less strenuous exercise,
        such as leash walking.  A higher rating indicates significant amounts of highly
        strenuous exercise is required, often through playing with other dogs for hours
        on end.  In human terms, a couch potato would be a Level 1 ("I might set one
        paw off the couch if there is a really good reason"), and a triathalon participant
        would be a Level 10 ("Gee, Mom.  I'm sorry about the muddy pawprints on the
        ceiling!").  Puppies are given an energy level rating of "puppy" due to the
        increases expected as the puppy matures, and the fact that most puppies can't
        quite reach the ceiling... yet!

Q:  May I reserve my dog by paying in advance or providing a deposit?  I don't want
      to adopt for several months due to previous obligations/vacation/schedule

A:    Not usually.  We cannot hold dogs for "several" months, and we will continue to
       actively seek to place the dog in a suitable home.  Once deemed adopted,
       transport should occur within two weeks.  For delays of more than two weeks
       caused by the adopters' schedule conflicts, SOS will assess a $25 per week
       "care fee" to offset the expense of providing for your dog while other
       arrangements are being made, not to exceed four weeks.  Delays in excess of
       four weeks due to the adopters' schedule conflicts will result in the forfeiture of
       the adoption, and we will issue a refund of the adoption fee less the "care fee".
       Adopters will not be assessed a "care fee" for delays caused by professional
       transport scheduling, road conditions, and other factors beyond the control of
       the adopter. 

Q:  Is there a minimum age for adopting?

A:    Yes.  We require an adoption contract.  Therefore, adopters must be of legal
        age to enter into a contract, usually eighteen years of age.

Q:  May I meet the dog(s) before completing an application?

A:    No.  Only approved applicants may meet a dog.

Q:  May I speak to the foster home before completing an application?

A:    No.  Only approved applicants may speak with a foster home.  Like you, they
        have families, careers, extra-curricular activities, and dogs to tend to.  If they
        were to speak with everyone who wanted to chat about their foster dog(s),
        they'd have no time for their own furkids!

Q:  How do I get to your shelter to meet the dogs?

A:    The dogs are not in a shelter, but are in foster homes in many locations across
        the country.  Meeting all the dogs in one location is not possible.

Q:  Will you help me choose the right dog for my family?

A:    Absolutely!  We will work with you to make sure that the dog selected is the best
       possible match for your family and lifestyle.

Q:  Are all of the adoptable dogs spayed or neutered?

A:    Yes.

Q:  Are all of the adoptable dogs microchipped?

A:    Yes.

Q:  I don't have a fence.  May I still adopt?

A:    Yes, but the selection will be limited.  The majority of the dogs do require a

Q:  My dogs are outside only dogs.  Will you adopt to me?

A:    No.  Setters are human-oriented, and do not do well as outside only dogs.

Q:  I live in Canada.  Do you adopt outside of the United States?

A:    Yes.  However, we will not adopt to those states or countries that require a
        lengthy quarantine.

Q:  What happens if the dog doesn't work out?

A:    Per the adoption contract, the dog comes back to SOS.

Q:  I've submitted an application through ISCA rescue, and am interested in one of
       your dogs.  What is the next step?

A:    We require our own application.  ISCA rescue is not part of SOS, and does not
       usually share applications with SOS.

Q:  I've been approved by ISCA, but they don't have anything that would be suitable
       for my family and lifestyle.  Would you transfer the dog I am interested in
       adopting to their local volunteer so I can meet and adopt him/her locally?

A:    No.  We do not move dogs for the sake of "meeting" them.  They are sensitive
        to change, and uprooting them from a familiar environment is done as little as
        possible.  Additionally, we take our obligations to these dogs very seriously, and
        once we commit to a dog, we honor that commitment for the life of the dog.

Q:  I've been approved by SOS and have received notification of this, but haven't
      spoken to anyone yet.  Why not?

A:    We will be in touch as soon as a suitable dog for your family and lifestyle comes
       into our program.

Q:  I've been approved by SOS, and a suitable match has been determined.  How
      soon will I get my dog?

A:   That depends on the mode of transport.  Please see Transportation FAQ below.

(Effective for applications submitted after July 31, 2008)

Q:  How do I become a foster home?

A:    Please complete an application.  After approval, you will be notified when a dog
       in your area is in need (assuming the dog is a good match based on what we
       know about the dog.  Obviously, we will not place a foster dog who is known to
       be cat aggressive in a foster home with cats.)

Q:  I saw a dog on your site that I would like to foster-to-adopt.  How do I get the dog
       to me?

A:    Any dog already in foster care is not eligible for foster-to-adopt, as we will not
        move dogs around for the potential adopter to try it out.  Foster-to-adopt is only
        available for dogs that will be coming into our program in the future.

Q:  I'm interested in fostering, but can't afford large vet bills.  Do you help with the

A:    We ask the foster home to provide food, water, shelter, love, and more love.  All
       vet bills are paid by SOS unless the foster chooses to do otherwise.

Q:  What do I have to do once I become a foster home?

A:    The goal is to get the dog ready for adoption.  You would be responsible for
        taking the dog to the vet, evaluating the dog's personality and behavior,
        grooming the dog, and working on basic obedience with the dog.  Additionally,
        pictures and profiles are necessary to let potential adopters know about the
        dog.  Copies of all vet records and periodic updates are also required to be 
        emailed or faxed to SOS.

        In order to make sure your foster dog is placed in an appropriate home, you will
        be involved in the selection and adoption process for your foster.  No one 
        knows your foster better than you, and we rely heavily on your input to help 
        ensure a happy, permanent placement!

Q:  What happens if I fall in love with the dog I am fostering?  May I adopt?

A:    Of course!  The foster home has the first option on any dog they foster.

(Effective for applications submitted after July 31, 2008)

Q:  What transport options are available?

A:    Transport options are governed by the location of the dog and the location of the
       adopter.  For dogs in the south heading to adopters in New England, we
       recommend a professional transport service (see for more
       information).  Adopters on the west coast are encouraged to have the dog flown
       to a nearby airport.  Dogs on the west coast heading east are also typically
       flown.  We also utilize truckers whenever possible.

       If we happen to have a ground transport set up for a dog coming into our
       program, we will move as many dogs as possible by that means.  For those
       inclined to do so, you may pick up the dog at or near the foster home.

Q:  Is there a fee for transporting?

A:    Yes.  We charge a $25 fee to off-set the cost of getting the dog to the airport or
        professional transport service.  The transport service or airline also charges a
        fee, which is the responsibility of the adopter.  We strongly encourage a
        monetary gift to truckers who transport dogs.

        Ground transports are difficult to set up and fill.  In some cases, folks are willing
        to drive, but cannot afford the cost of fuel.  The adopter would be asked to 
        cover any fuel costs (if requested) for volunteers who drive on longer ground
        transports.  The $25 transport fee assessed by SOS will be used in cases of
        shorter ground transports, with no additional contributions from the adopter.


Q:  How do I contact you to surrender my Setter?

A:    Please complete an Intake Reservation Form.

Q:  Do you accept mixes?

A:    Usually not, as there is no shortage of purebreds needing our assistance.

Q:  Do you accept older setters?

A:    Yes, in most cases.

Q:  Do you accept Setters that have bitten?

A:    In many cases, yes.  Biting is an unusual behavior for a Setter, and can be the
        result of a treatable medical condition such as Hypothyroidism or Lyme

Q:  How much will you pay me for my dog?

A:    We do not buy dogs.  Our funds are better spent in treating the medical issues
        of the dogs that come into our program.

Q:  May I call to check up on my dog?  What about after he/she is adopted?

A:   We encourage you to follow your dog on the website rather than call or email so
       that we will have more time to do those things we need to do, like vetting, finding
       the best possible match, scheduling transports. and learning about your dog.
       Feel free to contact us if no updates have been posted, or if you forgot to tell us
       something important about your dog.

       After your dog has been adopted, if requested and agreed upon by both the
       owner and adopter, you will be introduced via email so that you may
       communicate with the adopting family.  One former owner still sends a birthday
       card to her former Setter every year!

Q:  Why does the person who contacted me live so far away from my area?

A:    Different volunteers serve different functions based on the needs of the
        organization and the volunteers' skills, talents, desires, and resources.
        Segregating duties based on function has worked well to prevent duplication of
        effort and wasted resources.

Q:  Why can't my dog be adopted to someone in my area?

A:    The ultimate goal is to place each dog in the home that will best meet the needs
        of the dog.  Local adoptions can and do occur.  However, when placing each
        dog in the best possible home is the goal, one must look further than his own

Q:  Why do dogs have to go to foster care?  Why can't they go straight to their
      forever home?

A:   There are several reasons.  Some level of vetting is required in order for the dog
       to be deemed ready to be adopted, and we like for our vets to determine
       whether the dog meets our high standards of health.  Our familiarity with the
       breeds affords us the opportunity to recognize signs of illnesses that are
       inherent in the breeds, such as hypothyroidism and PRA.  We also take every
       precaution to avoid passing disease on to other pets.

       Not all owners are forthcoming with behavior issues, and we cannot, in good
       conscience, place a dog that we have not assessed ourselves.  In most cases,
       the owner's situation is far removed from the potential adopter's situation, and
       assessing how the dog would do with cats or with children may not be known by
       the owner, and we don't want the owner to merely guess how the dog would do.
       Furthermore, some behavior issues such as separation anxiety and
       thunderstorm phobia are the result of the owner's schedule or location.  In order
       to work on resolving behavior issues, we need to place the dog in a different

       We also work with the dogs on leash-training, crate-training, housetraining,
       house manners, and basic obedience.  We utilize universally accepted basic
       obedience commands to train the dogs, which helps in their transition to their
       new forever homes.  We also test the dog in various circumstances to help
       ensure that there is no "trigger" that could result in serious behavior issues.
       Some dogs are aggressive towards motorcycles, and the potential adopter may
       plan on leash-walking the dog several times daily as opposed to allowing the
       dog to exercise exclusively in the backyard.  Such information would be useful in
       determining whether the dog would be a good match for the adopter.

       With the goal of matching the dog to the adoptive family, it would be difficult to
       determine what type of adopter would be best suited to a dog if we don't know
       much about the dog!

Q:  Why do you request the dog's pedigree?

A:    In some cases, the dog is from a reputable breeder, and was surrendered to
        rescue in violation of a purchase contract.  We do notify reputable breeders that
        their dog is in rescue.  Dogs have been known to be stolen, and reuniting them
        with their rightful owners is always a pleasure!

        We do get dogs in with heriditary issues, and knowing which lines have these
        inherited diseases is very helpful not only in placing the dog, but also in safely
        vetting the dogs and in determining medical reasons for behavior issues.  It is
        also helpful to know which breeders are breeding for profit as opposed to those
        breeding to improve the breed.  The latter group can provide results of genetic
        testing as well as help us determine potential health issues such as a
        predispostion to epilepsy and/or hypothyroidism.  This information is passed on
        to the adopters so that they and their vet can be made aware, and will watch for
        and be able to recognize symptoms early on, should they appear.

Q:  I plan to list my dog with several rescues in order to get them rehomed as fast as
      possible - is that ok?

A:    We do not recommend it, as it often results in duplication of efforts and wasted
        resources, not to mention confusion!  Select the one rescue you feel will best
        serve the needs of your dog, and stay the course.  You, too, will be less 
        confused as to which rescue is calling, what you told to whom, and so forth.

Q:  Are you affiliated with the Irish Setter Club of America?

A:    No.  We operate independently of ISCA rescue, but we do work with many of
        their rescue volunteers, in the best interest of the dogs.  Among our ranks (and
        our friends) are several former ISCA rescue volunteers and some current ISCA
        rescue volunteers.  SOS volunteers hold to a single standard, while ISCA 
        rescue volunteers generally operate independently of one another under the 
        guidance of a handful of written rules at the National level, and their own 
        standards at the local level.


Q:  Where do your dogs come from?

A:     Many come from shelters.  We do get some that are picked up as strays by 
        Good Samaritans who tried but failed to locate the owner.  Others are 
        surrendered to SOS by professional and/or hobby breeders who could not sell 
        the puppies they produced.  A few are purchased at dog auctions by Good 
        Samaritans who then surrender the dogs to SOS.  We also accept Setters 
        turned over to us by other rescues.

Q:  Will I get a history on the dog I am adopting?

A:    You will receive a copy of everything we have.  In many cases, a history is not

Q:  Are donations to SOS tax-deductible?

A:    We are a 501(c)3 organization.  We issue acknowledgement letters for 
       donations received, in accordance with the tax laws.  Your tax advisor knows 
       your tax situation, and can advise you what tax benefit you will personally derive 
       from making charitable donations.

Q:  I made a donation to sponsor an SOS dog through the ISCA website.  Why has
      the acknowledgement not been posted?

A:    ISCA and SOS are independent of one another.  We receive no monetary
        support from ISCA for any of the dogs in our program.  We have, however,
        received support from ISCA members as well as from local Irish Setter Clubs. 
        SOS has also provided both monetary and other support for both ISCA and
        GSCA rescue dogs as we are able, though not at the National Club level.  We
        like to ensure that the funding we provide is being used as intended, so we pay
        shelter and vet fees directly rather than sending in a cash donation to the breed

Q:   I'd like to donate, but want to know that the money is actually being spent on the
       dogs and not on salaries, benefits, and advertising.  Where can I find a copy of
       the tax return for SOS?

A:     Go to and search for "setters".
Save Our Setters, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions