Does NorthStar WI adopt outside of Wisconsin?

Well, yes and no.  We are based in Madison, WI with foster homes scatter about 1 hours drive around this fine city.  Our current range is pretty much southern Wisconsin and the northern suburbs of Chicago.

We are an all volunteer organization and we rely on our members to transport our dogs, make the required home visits for applicants and sometimes drive to a home to take a dog back into rescue.  If you live within this radius, please apply for one of our dogs.  If you are outside this range, send us an email – we might still be able to help


Does NorthStar require adopters to own their homes?

No!  Renters are encouraged to adopt from NSWI. We’ll just check with your landlord to make sure dogs are allowed in your rental unit.  We’ll also check on any weight, size, or breed restrictions. This is particularly important if you are adopting a puppy because we cannot guarantee what size or weight a puppy will grow to be.

Does NorthStar Adopt to families who live in apartments?

Yes! We will need to discuss an exercise plan, including daily walks/runs and perhaps visits to a fenced in dog park. Every dog has different exercise needs and some dogs are a better match for apartment living.  We will work with you to find a dog suitable to your living situation.  We also call your landlord to verify that you are allowed to have pets and determine if there are any size or breed limits.

Does NorthStar require adopters to have fenced yards?

It depends on the dog.   As with dogs living in apartments,  we will need to discuss an exercise plan, including daily walks/runs.  Every dog has different exercise needs and most dogs do just fine with daily walks.  We will work with you to find a dog suitable to your living situation. However, we strongly advise that you not to let your dog off leash in unfenced areas.  This is particularly important as many of our rescue dogs were picked up as strays, so they can be in the habit of wandering away from home!


If I am the first one to apply for a dog, will I get him?

Maybe.  We are not a first-come, first served rescue.  We try our very hardest to find the best match for our dogs and our adopters. Being first doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a guarantee.  We commit to being as open and honest about the selection process as we can be.


If the dog I like is adopted, will you help me find a different dog?

Yes! We love to help approved adopters find the right dog for them. There is no need to reapply or to start the process over again.


Can I apply to adopt without knowing which dog I want?

Yes!  You are the type of adopter that rescues love!!!!!  You show patience, thoughfullness and willingness to wait for the right dog for your situation!  Again, after your application is approved, we’ll keep our eyes open for a good match for your situation.


Can you guarantee a dog’s breed?

No.  Unfortunately, for most dogs we cannot guarantee a dog’s breed. Many dogs end up in shelters because they are strays.  And many more are turned in by owners who don’t know or don’t share their pet’s history. Even when we know the puppy’s mom, we only know half of the mix. The best we can do is make an educated guess based on the dog’s appearance and temperament. Occasionally, we receive dogs that are owner surrendered with pedigree documentation, but these dogs are few and far between.


Can you guarantee the size a puppy will become?

No!  Because we usually don’t know either of the puppy’s parents, we have no idea what lies in his or her gene pool!  We try to make an educated guess based on the puppy’s size, age, and estimated breed.


Do dogs have to be spayed or neutered?

YES!   Dogs over the age of 4 months will be spayed or neutered before they are adopted out.  Puppies adopted under the age of 6 months MUST be spayed/neutered by their adopter by a date agreed upon in the adoption contract (usually within 6 months). Puppies under 4 months of age may go to adoptive homes before they are spayed/neutered, but adopters who choose to adopt a puppy that has not yet been spayed/neutered are subject to an additional deposit of $100 (refundable upon proof of spay/neuter.) Included in the adoption fee, the rescue will arrange spay/neuter by a partner vet at the adopter’s convenience when the puppy is between 4-6 months of age. It is the responsibility of the adopter to bring the adopted puppy back to the rescue vet for spaying/neutering or to send verification from another vet that the puppy had been spayed/neutered.


What do I do if my dog is having trouble?

Let us know – the sooner the better! Small problems that start early-on become big problems as time passes.  We have trainers on call and lots of resources to share with you. Moreover, our volunteers have been working with dogs for a long time, so we probably have experience dealing with whatever issue you may be facing. Let us help!


What do I do if I cannot keep my dog?

If for any reason, you cannot keep your dog, let us know as soon as possible.  We will do our best to help it find a new home.  This may include a courtesy listing where you keep the dog, but we help you find a new family if we don’t have any current space in our foster homes.   If you have problems – no matter how small – let us know before they become big! We can then provide you the advice and support you need to fix the problems before they get out of control.