Thank you for your interest in rescue and choosing a homeless German Shepherd to be your new best friend.You must be 18 years or older to fill out an application. We do not adopt dogs to minors.

By choosing to adopt through our rescue, you are agreeing to our adoption procedures and requirements. Those families who live outside of Urbana, Illinois, will have additional requirements.If at anytime you do not agree with our procedures or requirements, please feel free to adopt a dog from any of the hundreds of other animal welfare organizations that may better suit your needs.  If you are not interested in adopting a dog currently available through this rescue, please fill out an application with specifications for your desired  dog and some information about yourself and we will notify you first if a matching dog comes into our program.  We work will several German Shepherd Rescue organizations and may be able to play matchmaker for your needs.

Small Children and German Shepherds
German Shepherds are great dogs, but they are also extremely active and rambunctious when young. They need a lot of training and can easily knock over little ones. If your kids have not been raised with big dogs, We would suggest adopting an older, calmer pet that has already gone through the puppy stage.We usually recommend against a puppy with new owners and young kids because puppies grow up fast and stay babies for a long time, even with consistant training. This is a huge reason why 9 -24 month old dogs are given up into shelters. They grow out of the cute fuzzy stage and into the large "destroy the house" stage and inexperienced pet owners dump them because they can't handle the dog, the house, and kids.The best thing would have been to not get the young dog to begin with. Please take a weekend day to go to a local shelter and see how your kids will interact with a calm, large dog. Often the first time kids even meet a dog is at our rescue home and they scream, cry, hide, and spend a lot of time not liking even any large dog.This is not the appropriate venue to "trial run" your kids around large dogs. We are a family home with our own family chores to attend to. We are not an amusement park or visit center for you to spend a day with.Home rescues encourage education and desire adoption of great pets, but we can only reasonably handle serious inquiries. Try your kids out first, then look for the right dog for your family. Go to a local shelter and let your kids meet a calm, well behaved dog, or visit a friend's house with a nice, large dog. If the kids are not ready for a large dog, a smaller pet or smaller dog may be a better option. Don't push the wrong pet at the wrong time into your family's life. The animal will ultimately suffer.

The Rescue is All-Volunteer
We are an all-volunteer group. No one is paid a salary or compensated for their time. All of our volunteers work 40 hours a week, have families, and our own pets. The website, emails, appointments to meet dogs in our program, daily care of the animals, and free postings on our website for Community Dogs are all provided in volunteers' spare time. Please respect that time and keep your appointments or call in a timely manner to reschedule. We are not a shelter.

There is no facility and no browsing hours. Foster homes or the original owner retain custody of the dogs until we can help rehome the dogs. Appointments are crucial and necessary to have the dogs at the meeting location.

From beginning to end, each adoption takes multiple hours for us to complete. This includes email, telephone, initial visit, and adoption completion time. We thank you for respecting all of our volunteers' time and energy spent to save homeless German Shepherds.

Application & Adoption Fees

Adoption Costs

$400.00 for dogs under 1 year old
$300.00 for dogs over 1 year old
$250.00 for dogs over 6 years old (negotiable, depending on age and health)

$200.00 for mixed breed dogs in rescue


Of this total, $50.00 is a non-refundable application fee. The application fee is paid only if an adoption is completed (ie: you sign, in person, a paper version of an adoption contract and pay).The Adoption fee may be refunded if the dog is returned to the rescue for legitimate reasons that made the relationship not work out.
In such a case, the adoption refund will occur as follows:

0-7 days: No Refund
8-14 days: Full adoption fee refund
14 days and after: No Refund

 These fees include the following:

an initial exam
Rabies vaccination
DHLPP-C vaccination
Bordetella vaccination
heartworm blood test
skin scrapings or ear swabs (if necessary)
fecal tests
heartworm treatment (if necessary)
other medication (if necessary)
five day treatment of Panacur intestinal worming
heartworm prevention medication
flea prevention medication, spay/neuter (if not already done), dewclaws removed (with spay/neuter)
dental cleaning (with spay/neuter)
hernia repairs or other medical procedures (if necessary)
pre-anesthesia bloodwork (on dogs having a spay/neuter or other medical procedure requiring anesthesia)
nail trims
thorough ear exam
range of motion exam of joints
AVID identification chipping

We spend a very large part of our personal time reviewing applications, making appointments, and meeting with potential adopters. We also spend at least 2-3 hours to complete an adoption.Once an adoption is completed, we fully expect the new home to allow the dog the time to adapt to a new home that is necessary for a successful relationship. Any less time is an exploitation of the dog's and the rescue’s time.
We require our adopters to be very serious about adopting a rescue dog. We expect the new family to treat our dogs exceptionally well and spoil them more than we ever could.This especially means that the dogs are allowed the time needed to learn their way around a new family and home, and time to adapt to the new schedule.

Costs to this Dog Rescue
Some of the medical costs that are encountered when we rescue a dog and prepare it for adoption include the following:

an initial exam
Rabies vaccination
DHLPP-C vaccination
Bordetella vaccination
heartworm blood test
skin scrapings or ear swabs (if necessary)
fecal tests
heartworm treatment (if necessary) other medication (if necessary)
five day treatment of Panacur intestinal worming
heartworm prevention medication
flea prevention medication
spay/neuter (if not already done)
dewclaws removed (with spay/neuter)
dental cleaning (with spay/neuter) hernia repairs or other medical procedures (if necessary)
pre-anesthesia bloodwork (on dogs having a spay/neuter or other medical procedure requiring anesthesia)
nail trims
thorough ear exam
range of motion exam of joints
AVID identification chipping

If you add feed costs, kennels, bowls, leashes, collars, and tag fees, each dog costs between $125-$650. As you may guess, the fees charged for our dogs may not always cover expenses.

There are benefits that come with adopting from the Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue, such as:

knowing your dog has been behaviorally evaluated around people, cats, and other dogs before he was made available for adoption.

knowing that, if for any reason, you can no longer care for the dog you adopted from the Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue, you may return your dog to us (regardless of age or how long it has been living with you). 

Who Adopts
Our adoptions are very specific to each dog. We test our dogs extensively and have spent a lot of time with the animals to determine their needs. We look in detail at the applications to find good matches for the individual dog.

Some of our dogs come from rural areas and enjoy farm life.

Others need the high energy of agility classes or an owner who jogs.

Some dogs hold our couches down for us, and others adore children.

Not all of our dogs will be happy in a given situation.

Those adopters who live rurally and would like a dog to spend the days outdoors with them may provice excellent homes, but require the right dog.Those who live in town and don't have a yard, but love to jog, may be excellent placements, but need to find the right dog.Those families with children will have a loving protector; however, they must understand German Shepherds and be willing to wait for the appropriate dog.Our descriptions of our dogs usually include this information, but interested adopters will received further email on a specific dog.Suggestions may be made for a dog that would suit your family better.Please make sure your application answers are complete and detailed.

First Week's Expectations
Your new dog will have a lot of adjustments to go through in his/her new home. It would not matter if you spent $10,000 on an imported show dog or adopt a shelter dog; the adjustments are the same. We will try to outline in the most detail possible to allow you some understanding prior to adoption.

All the dogs in rescue have been crate trained. They eat and sleep in their crates. If you would like to allow them more freedoms, or if they are only dogs, work your way up to those freedoms. Do not give the dog free roam of the house right off. If you do, you are asking for housetraining problems, anxiety issues, panic attacks, chewing, etc… The crate is their consistency and provides some comfort and calm, especially during their first couple of weeks in a new home.

The dogs have been around our cats, our home, our children, neighbors, veterinarians, and volunteers. We know our dogs very well and love them. We will let you know their behaviors as we have observed them. When a dog goes into a new home, new and different behaviors can emerge that never happened before. Usually, owners call when they have ignored us and the dog wasn’t kept on his crate-training schedule or was over-fed. 

When dogs go into a new home, they will be very nervous. Nervous dogs drink as much water as is offered and will eat a lot also. You absolutely must monitor their intake. This will help them to maintain their crate and housetraining. Things to watch out for are open bathrooms (toilet) and other water sources. Water bowls should only contain a couple cups of water at a time. Food should be light for a couple days. As we all know, stomach butterflies go along with nerves. Basic intake/output is the rule. We expect a couple of accidents in the house until the dog figures out who and how to let you know they need to go out, and also until they figure out what door to go to, to be let out. 

If you have another dog or multiple pets of any kind, there will be adjustments. Dogs can take a couple of weeks to adjust as they feel each other out and create boundaries. They usually do not “hit it off” right away. It is more of an aloof acceptance, and then a bunch of little squabbles when they get home and the first dog has to explain his territory to the new dog. Our dogs are tested with our cats. Our cats have lived or been raised since kittens around dogs. This does not mean that your cats will like a new dog. This doesn't mean that a new dog will not chase your cat. If they do not chase our cats, they have probably already been swatted by them. Please be fully aware of the feline/canine relationship before you blame the dog for anything.

If you have small children, we are one of very few German Shepherd Dog rescues that will adopt to families with children. Most of the rescues have had to deal with people lacking common sense and decided it wasn’t worth it to adopt to younger than 12 year old children’s families. Dogs are children, children are children. They should never be left together without very strong supervision. Dogs play with their mouths and batting their paws. A large breed animal can easily accidentally scratch a child’s tender skin without meaning to hurt the child. The only person to blame is the adult. You should never, ever leave a child around a new animal of any kind. As the dog and child live together and bond, they will probably be inseparable and very protective. Until the time has passed though, neither the child nor the dog is predictable in this new situation. Your child must learn how to behave and treat the animal properly, and the dog must gain trust and understanding of the child. The crate becomes a blessing for parents everywhere. If the dog needs down time, it can go into its “bedroom” (the crate). The child can easily be instructed not to bother the dog at all, if it is in its crate. If you need to have some down time, the dog can be crated without anxiety, because it is used to having its “bedroom”.

We have a no aggression policy. We have a 2-week holding period of observation and health care to review the dog’s mental and physical health. Again, the dogs have been around our home, children, dogs, cats, and volunteers. We can only account for their behavior while they have been with us. Dogs that show aggression issues that cannot be resolved are euthanized. This means that we have provided a stable environment for the animals and had them consistently around environments we expect them to act appropriately in. In order to maintain such behaviors, you must also expose them to the environments you would like them to behave well in. You cannot adopt a new dog, isolate it in your home for three months, and then expect the dog to make fast friends with another dog. The dogs in rescue HAD to get along with other dogs, it was mandatory! However, German Shepherds are very protective of home and family, and if playing with dogs is not established as an immediate normal behavior, they would become very home centric. Obedience classes and play dates are strongly advised. Otherwise, do not call us in six months complaining of dog aggression. 

Out of Town Adoptions
Persons living more than one hour away from Urbana, Illinois are welcome to adopt, but they must be prepared to provide their own transportation to visit the dog and pick up the dog. In place of a required home visit, applicants must provide at least one letter of recommendation from a pet professional (ie: veterinarian, animal trainer, or local humane organization) on letterhead. If you have other pets, copies of vaccinations and proof of spay/neuter is required prior to adoption. If you have children and/or other dogs, it is recommended that you bring the whole family to the appointment. In the case of other dogs, prior arrangements for a neutral meeting place will be made.

If you do not live in the Urbana, Illinois area, you will be required to provide:

a letter of recommendation from your veterinarian on letterhead or a written evaluation from a local rescue/animal welfare organization.

Those Who Rent or Lease
Persons renting or leasing must provide a copy of their lease, along with a letter, on letterhead, from their landlord, stating they may own a large German Shepherd Dog.
A telephone number the landlord may be reached at must also be provided.
This information is most useful ahead of the time of the appointment in order to complete the adoption.

Persons will also be required to have a backup plan should they have to move. There is no excuse to give up a dog because you couldn't find a place that would allow a large German Shepherd.

Back up plans may include a family home that is willing to take yourself and your dog in , should you lose your apartment or have to leave suddenly.

Other Family Pets
We require ALL cats and dogs in the adoptive home to be spayed/neutered in order for any adoption to be completed.

Veterinary paperwork showing that dogs and cats are current on vaccinations/heartworm tested, on preventative (dogs only), and are spayed/neutered is mandatory.

Families with dogs are strongly encouraged to bring their dogs to the appointment.

After the Application
Within two weeks, our rescue volunteers will personally respond to your application. At this time, please review their comments and respond promptly as they must make appointment arrangements and handle several applications for the same dogs at the same time.

If you do not receive a personal response, please email us, as we handle anywhere from 40-200 emails per week regarding the dogs. Given this volume, emails with non-descriptive subject lines can easily be accidentally overlooked. Also, due to the email viruses out there and virus protection software in use, some emails may never be received by you or by us.

Important: Please add to your email address book to ensure that you will receive our reply to your application. Due to the many viruses on the Internet, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will not deliver email from addresses that are not included in a customer's email address book.

Please be ready to make an appointment to visit your prospective dog in Urbana, Illinois.Most appointments may be made every other weekend and several weekdays are open at an agreed upon day and time. Again, you must make and confirm a specific day and time and cannot just stop by. These are private volunteers in their homes or offices.Promptness and courtesy are expected. Any delays or changes should include telephone calls to allow for proper and timely adjustments to people's schedules. Specific telephone numbers will be given at the time the appointment is made.
The appointment, should a match be made, takes at least 2-3 hours for the visit, interview, and paperwork. Please be prepared for this extended visit.

Application Form
You must be 18 years or older to fill out this application. We do not adopt dogs to minors.

Note that incomplete applications will not be responded to. Download the following application available in Adobe PDF: Application Form

You may mail, fax, or attach completed application to an email.  It will not automatically send.  You must copy and paste to your own document program, save, then fill out, save, then attach if you choose to email.  Please check your sent email to make sure you application processed properly to avoid sending a blank form.  Thank you!


Get Adobe ReaderIf you aren't able to view the application, you may need to download the free Adobe PDF Reader