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Wishing Well, an adopted rescue kitty from Motley Zoo

"The experience has been the most wonderful experience -  everyone was so caring and very informative, and made sure to ask lots of questions. The foster family was very loving - I would so go back!"

- M.S., Adopter

Adopting with Motley Zoo: A Foster-Based Rescue


The following will help you get a better idea of the Motley Zoo adoption process which is similar to most foster-based rescues- however, is different from that of an animal shelter (although since COVID started, most shelters are now operating this way too).

Rescues and shelters are fundamentally different types of organizations and cannot operate as the other does. Just as libraries and book stores both have books but cannot serve you in the same way, neither can rescues and shelters. What one does the other doesn't- and vice versa.

Click here to find out more about each, so you can determine which organization will work best for you!


Click any question below to jump down to the corresponding answer.  

This page is frequently undergoing changes.


These are the most common questions we hear:





Where are you located?


  • Like most foster based rescues we don't require a facility to have a rescue as they operate virtually, utilizing volunteer and the internet to coordinate efforts.

  • Motley Zoo does have a facility called the Mission Center Studio, which is located in Redmond, WA. We are unique that we have a facility at all- but it does not make us an animal shelter. 

  • Our facility helps connect us to the community, but is not a single location where our animals to stay or can be visited casually. Rather, our animals are in volunteer foster homes throughout the area

  • Since the animals are in foster homes, if you stop by to see a specific animal, there is a 99.9% chance they will NOT be there because they are home with their foster family.

  • Prior to COVID, we did have adoptable cats residing in our Cat Lounge and in partnering pet stores (both which cated like foster homes), and who were available to meet casually.

  • We also have cats in foster homes who have yet to be debuted.

  • As our animals are in multiple locations and our operation is volunteer- run, it is impossible for us to entertain casual inquiries or meetings, nor perform same- day adoptions.

  • Adopting is with an approved application & appointment only.


Where can I visit MZ's adoptable animals?


  • OUR ANIMALS ARE NOT IN A CENTRAL LOCATION like an animal shelter.

  • The animals live in private, volunteer, foster families' homes, where they are treated like one of their family, until they are ready for adoption.

  • As we must coordinate with volunteers to have animals available for meetings, adoption meetings are coordinated only after applicants have been approved and matched with an animal.

  • Since screening and scheduling are required to establish an adoption meeting, we cannot do adoptions same-day.

  • Our adoptable animals are listed here. You must apply first, then once approved we ensure you will meet with an animal that suits your needs- which saves you time and effort.

  • Prior to COVID it was possible to meet our animals at one of the many community events we attended- however, this is not possible currently.

What is Rock Star Treatment Services & the Mission Center Studio?


  • Our Mission Center Studio is a 7,500 square foot facility in Redmond, Washington (on the eastside of Seattle) which hosts our Rock Star Treatment Services (RST) and helps centralize our rescue efforts.

  • The Rock Star Treatment is collection of services such as dog training, daycare and others offered to the community at large, that helps us support the rescue.

  • RST and extension of the rescue, but is not the rescue itself - which means that the volunteers and staff there may be able to help you understand the process and structure of our organization, but don't have answers to rescue queries such as about the animals specifically, the application process or other details. 

  • The Animal Care Director and coordinators who can answer rescue specific questions typically work remotely and may not be on site to assist you.

  • Adoption queries can only be answered through coordination with these principle individuals via email email, text or calls- therefore most questions about adoption or applications cannot answered immediately. As a result, we do not suggest stopping by to inquire about animals or adoption applications. Rather, you can find answers to most questions by mailing or checking out the information on this website about the adoption process.


How can I find out the status of an animal?


  • This is impossible to answer accurately before you have been approved.

  • Any animal online is still in our care and therefore, available.

  • Animals are removed from our online database when they have gone home with an adopter- and not a moment before.

  • Things change by the second behind the scenes and an animal's availability can change multiple times in a day:

    • An animal may be in the process of being matched with an applicant ahead of you at any point 

    • We must await approved applicants make up or change their minds about their choices

    • An applicant may find an animal elsewhere

    • An applicant may withdraw their application due to a sudden change in personal circumstances 

    • An adoption meeting may not yield the anticipated adoption

  • This rescue process is a machine of many moving parts, many times amplified by “if / then” scenarios- therefore, trying to keep up would be a wasted effort and immensely frustrating for all

  • We receive many casual inquiries and fewer actual applicants. When there's not enough time in the day as it is, we cannot focus our time and attention on the majority of inquiries which will not yield adoptions.

  • Instead, we must focus our service efforts on those who have committed to adopting by submitting their application and $5 processing fee.

  • Even as we focus on applicants, prior to COVID, we received 5 applications for every 1 animal. During COVID it's been 10 applications for each animal.

  • Although finding homes is a priority, it is exceptionally hard to keep up with public demands as a volunteer-run organization.

  • We work around the clock with no time off, but can still only do what we can. If we fail to do things quickly or well, it is not because we don't care or try. If we fail to excel it's because we don't have a person / enough people to do the work in a timely manner.

  • Patience and respect are critical in working with a foster-based rescue. Being pushy, rude or otherwise demanding will never get you what you want, nor will it speed up the process. 




What does “Foster-Based” mean?
  • Foster-based means we do not have a centralized location- or shelter- with rows of kennels full of animals awaiting visitors to adopt them.

  • We do not have the option for anyone to “just look at” the animals for adoption, as it requires extensive coordination to produce an animal for an adoption meeting.

  • Foster-based rescues typically don’t have a physical facility at all.  Motley Zoo is a unique hybrid of a  foster-based rescue and a shelter - and is the first of its kind in the nation!!

  • Foster-based rescues (including MZAR) exist virtually - through a network of volunteers and foster homes, all working over the internet to coordinate operations.

  • Due to the utilization of volunteer foster homes, we cannot offer casual nor same-day meetings with our animals.

  • An approved application and scheduled adoption appointment is required to meet an animal.

  • The adoption process is never bypassed (not even by our closest friends, family or rock stars and  celebrities).

  • Adoptable animals can be viewed here and our application can be found here.


Who are Your foster families?


  • Foster families are those just like yours: people with jobs, kids and other pets who volunteer their time to look after an adoptable animal until a forever home is found.

  • As fosters are volunteers, there are limitations of what we ask of them and what they can and will do.

  • Fosters' limitations define the types and number of animals we are able to accept- as well how quickly we can produce animals for adoption meetings.

  • We can only take in animals for which we have foster homes experienced, available, ready and willing.

  • As this changes often, we are unable to provide blanket rules about what animals and or situations we can take in.

  • All vet care, food, equipment and supplies are provided to fosters (if desired) by MZ- it costs nothing to foster an animal.

  • Fosters are required to provide photos, videos, basic necessities and take our animals to vet appointments and events (prior to COVID).




When and where are adoption events?


  • Prior to COVID we did events nearly every weekend. Since COVID however, we do not do public events in general.


Do you require an application?
  • Yes. All applicants go through the same application process and this process cannot be changed or bypassed.

  • The adoption application is a necessary step to being matched with the right animal. We must get to know adopters just as we do the animals to make accurate, lasting matches.

  • The application process is in place for your benefit- changing, bypassing or otherwise fighting the process will contradict and undermine our capacity to help you.

  • Please remember we are volunteers giving our spare time to work with you and match you with an animal.

  • Please manage your emotions and words, remaining calm and kind to our volunteers. JUST BE NICE.

  • We hope to (even remotely) like the families we adopt to- and our fosters would quit if we handed over animals to people who act badly.

  • We are not required to give out animals to anyone, especially to people who have been rude or abusive to our team. This kind of behavior is the quickest way to be denied approval.

  • All other factors being equal among applicants, the nice person will get the animal


How does the application process work?


Please see below for an extremely in-depth, step by step break down of the application process.

  • Applications can be requested via or accessed here.

  • Please ask us for help if you have technological limitations. Please do not assume we don't care about those who are not savvy with technology. 

  • We do provide assistance and alternative options for applying when it is an absolute need. 

  • Applications that are not done through our online link are likely to be delayed as they fall outside our specific system and processes, requiring additional effort and attention (of which we have little to spare).

  • The application process is much like that of applying for a job, including an initial "dark" period while we work behind the scenes before we can re-connect with you to discuss matters further or to confirm your approval.

  • We will be in touch with you when we have questions or need more information to proceed with approval.

  • Please remain patient during this time- although feel free to inquire, express your enthusiasm or ask any further questions you may have.




I applied with a different organization:
can I use that application?


  • An application for a different rescue or shelter, unfortunately, will not work.

  • As an example, you cannot apply for a loan with one bank and have it translate to a different financial institution. Each bank has its own rules, requirements & processes; so do rescues and shelters, which are also individual, independent businesses.

  • The information contained in our application becomes a part of the Adoption Contract once an adoption occurs.

  • The Adoption Contract is legally binding and must be complete, as well as consistent from applicant to applicant.

  • Rather than filling out "so many" other applications, we suggest you slow down and work with one organization at a time, so the process will be a lot less frenetic for you.

  • This is also required during COVID times when being on a waiting list is likely required to find a pet.

  • Focusing your attention on one organization at a time will likely yield a more productive, beneficial relationship as well as a more accurate match in an animal.

How long does the adoption process take?


  • The application process from start to adoption is of varied length, based on many factors including season, desirability of the animal you are interested in, overall demand for adoptions (high during COVID), the age of the animal and more.

  • The REVIEW process takes approximately 3-5 business days from the time you submit the application to review completion and/ or approval.

  • It is estimated to be approximately 1-2 weeks from the time you first apply until you will likely go home with your animal.

  • This will likely be longer if you are seeking a kitten or puppy as we take applications in advance of their "go home" date- which may be 2-3 weeks out yet. In these instances you may be approved in days but have to wait weeks for your animal to be ready for adoption.

  • Estimated "Go Home Dates" are subject to change based on factors like foster availability and veterinary scheduling (particularly delayed during COVID), as well as animals not reaching this milestone as expected due to illness, other health or behavior matters.

  • If the application is incomplete, otherwise confusing or inaccurate, completion will take longer.

  • We are not responsible for missing information or the extra time it takes to track it down.

  • We will inquire with you if we have questions or need more information, and then the ball is back in your court. 

  • We can only make two attempts to contact vets and landlords and then we must ask you to provide the necessary information to us.

  • We will make you aware that we are awaiting information when applicable, but please inquire if you feel you have not heard anything within 5 business days.

  • It's the responsibility of the applicant to provide accurate information that paints the overall picture you desire for yourself. 

  • We work as quickly and efficiently as we can to process applications.

  • While speed cannot be our primary focus, our goal is to adopt out animals efficiently and save the lives of the next in need.

  • We will always err on the side of quality and thoroughness as it serves both the animals needs and adopters best.

  • In assessing matches between applicants and our animals, our mission is to fulfill the animals' needs and requirements first and foremost; thereby also satisfying those of the compatible applicant as a result.

  • When working with live animals (and the human animal!), there are no guarantees and things do not always go as we hope or plan for. 

  • While we appreciate an applicant may become frustrated or upset at any sudden changes we might make, it should be understood and appreciated that we are absolutely 100% transparent and that this new information may alter both yours and our perception of compatibility.

  • Our experience guides us to err on the side of caution rather than take risks.

  • In any case, we will not be pressured or swayed to make unwise decisions in an effort to appease the applicant or mitigate emotions.

  • Any such decisions could lead an adopter to be satisfied in the moment but subsequently become dissatisfied with or end up unprepared for the animal's new situation, condition or behavior.

  • We do not want to see animals returned for very preventable reasons as it is heartbreaking for all involved.



What information do you need for the application?


  • We must have all parts of your application (including pictures and proof of residence) and the $5 processing fee, in order to begin a review.

  • We ask for information about your family so that we can get to know you and your lifestyle so that we can match you with a suitable animal:

    • Ages of responsible guardians

    • Ages of children/ visiting children

    • Occupation/ hours away from home

    • Type of home (own/ rent) and yard/ fencing if applicable

    • Any pending/ anticipated changes to current situation (moving, having a baby, divorce, etc)

    • Hobbies and interests

    • Hopes and expectations for the new pet

    • Current pets in the home- including vaccine and spay/ neuter status

    • Past experiences with animals 

  • We perform a "virtual home check", where our goal is to determine that you are a legitimate resident of the residence you have applied with including:

    • Pictures of your home: front, including the number; yard (for dog adoption) and inside where the animal will dwell

    • A piece of mail (not handwritten) that indicates the same address you have applied with

    • If you rent, we require your landlord's contact information to corroborate that you are legally authorized to adopt a pet

      • We can't allow our animals to be bounced around/ returned unnecessarily if adoption is not legitimately an option

  • If you have current pets, we require confirmation of their vaccine and spay neuter status

    • Although small (especially with the extensive vetting we provide) there is a slight risk in bringing new animals home to your existing ones. We don't want the happy occasion of adoption to turn ugly if your pet(s) fall ill

    • We care about the wellbeing of your animals as much as our own

    • We require confirmation that your animals are protected from such risks

    • We believe as a fundamental principle, all animals in the home must be spayed/ neutered so they do not contribute to the problem of pet overpopulation and unwanted litters

  • Please make every effort to provide all information in as great of detail as you can initially so we get an accurate picture of your family and desires.

  • We can only base our decisions and matches on the information you provide us.
  • We want to believe that every family who applies is a wonderful family, however, we have to be realistic, especially based on the situations we see our animals come from.
  • There is no reason to be offended that we can't trust you implicitly. Just be yourself and your colors will shine.
  • Incomplete applications may cause delays which may affect your ability to adopt the initial animal of your choice. 

  • We process applications in the order in which they came, however, those with missing information will be deferred to those which are complete.


Why do you ask for a $5 nonrefundable processing fee? 


  • We don’t have enough time in the day for everything we need to do as it is. Even with more volunteers or staff, it would still be hard to keep up with the demands placed upon us, especially since COVID.

  • We need to make every effort count! This means ensuring EVERYTHING we do, yields some kind of positive result for the animals.

  • The $5 fee ensures our time spent reviewing applications- no matter the outcome- yields either an adoption or a small amount of funds raised for the animals.

  • We believe this negligible fee helps applicants become more invested with us- ensuring more applications will yield adoptions than won’t.

  • This fee does NOT guarantee an approval- though it does guarantee your application will be reviewed. 

  • This is a FEE, NOT A DONATION. It is not tax deductible and everyone must pay it.

  • If you are denied or do not get the animal you want, your $5 was not wasted. If you cannot adopt with us, your funds still helped animals in need. If you don't get the first animals- as most people don't- you can still adopt with us.

  • We will work with you to find the right match- many times an animal you don't even know we have available.



What are you looking for in an adopter?


  • Quite simply, the right match in a family that will provide the animal in question all of their needs without question and without exception.

  • Our goal is to match you with the animal that is right for you- which may or may not be the animal you are first interested in. Please understand that your preferences may not be your needs- but what never changes, is that the animals need us to find that match…not the simply the first person who comes along.

  • Please trust our efforts. Through our extensive experience of placing more than 3,800 animals, we are skilled with our methods and have very few returns. All of our adopters provide glowing, 5 star reviews- though applicants may not. If the adopters are happy, then we are doing things right- however, we cannot possibly make all applicants happy.

  • This process is about the animals and what is best for them- they are the clients first. What you need as an adopter is fulfilled when the animals' needs are served.

  • Naturally, this is where things get tricky, and people can get hurt or offended unnecessarily.

  • What adopters requests and what they need, can vary greatly. We try to bridge the gap and provide a match we believe will be successful. 

  • If we do determine an animal is not a good match for you, this is not personal by any means and we are trying to spare you heartbreak. We are also trying to spare the animals undue stress and trauma, which could cost them their life…neither is anything to be upset about.

  • Trust in the matching process and you will end up plenty happy as an adopter.


Can you tell me where I am in the process? 


  • This is a pretty difficult answer to give as this is a process of moving parts and extremely hard to define or explain.

  • We cannot even consider answering this with anyone who does not have a completed application.

  • This is because you are not in line at all without an application. Just as you could see an item on the shelf at a store, you cannot lay claim to it until you’re checking out.

  • We must focus our time on people who have committed to being customers- those who have paid the $5 and are in the process already.

  • Being in process however, also doesn’t mean we can answer all your questions, specifically- until the process is done.

  • Few people adopt the animal that first brought them to us- most times, they are matched with a different, better suited animal.

  • All things being equal with applicants, we adopt to those with best matching application that was approved first- however things are rarely so cut and dry.

    • Applications come in all the time and the first app in may not be the first approved based on the level of accuracy/ completeness on behalf of the applicant.

    • Application processors are going through multiple applications at a time and a handful for the same animal may become ready at once.

    • The animal you may be interested in may not be a good fit, but another may be.

How old do you have to be to adopt?
  • You must be 21 years of age to adopt, or have the approval/ confirmation of someone over 21 yrs to be approved.
  • We require this confirmation in writing and that individual will be required to be at the adoption meeting as well. Ultimately this is the person who will be legally responsible for the animal.
What if the animal I wanted gets adopted?
  • It is very common that people do not adopt the first pet they saw- neither do you often marry the first you dated, nor get the first house you put in an offer on. This is normal- do not despair!

  • The first pet you saw, may simply be the pet that leads you to your dream pet.

  • Many times, you may not be first in line for your first choice in a pet.

  • Whether you did not get the first pet or your first choice, please remember:

    • YOUR pet is still out there looking for you- and the only way you won’t find them is if you stop looking!

    • You WILL go home with your perfect match and will never again think about any animals you didn't adopt.

  • Once approved, our goal is to work with you to find the right match in time. We will offer suggestions and possible matches.

  • Please exercise patience if you are still awaiting a match. Finding the best animal for you and your family can take time, especially if your needs or interests are quite specific. 

  • Feel free to keep in touch and see if there are any new options and we will keep your application "active" and proactively seek animals that match your needs.

  • If your matches did not work out, you are certainly welcome to look elsewhere (other rescues or shelters) as we understand that they may have the pet you desire.



The adoption Process- step by step


Application Process

  • See an animal online, or with a foster family

  • Email us at for an application or start one here.

  • Tell us about you! Let us know about your family, what you’re looking for, your past experiences and future hopes. 

  • List which of our current animals you’re specifically interested in or put "ANY DOG" or "ANY CAT" if you are unsure.

  • Please DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE to complete the application. It will be glitchy for reasons we cannot determine, nor fix.

  • SAVE AS YOU GO, so you can leave and go back to it if need be- or so we can access it later. If you do not save, the information is in cyberspace, inaccessible to either of us.

  • Submit the application and you will receive a confirmation that it was fulfilled.

  • Once you submit your application, it takes approximately 3- 5 business days to approve.​


Review Process

  • We will start reviewing your application as a volunteer becomes available. We have a handful of people processing applications, but we are not able to provide 24/7 support.

  • If we have any questions, we will inquire- and your application will remain on hold until we hear back.

  • We cannot be expected to go on "wild goose chases" for information and answers regarding your application.

    • Incomplete answers are the responsibility of the applicant

    • Delays in approval due to incomplete/ confusing information are the responsibility of the applicant.

    • Delays in incomplete applications may cause applicants to miss out on the first animal requested.

    • We will make every effort to complete a review, communicating with as needed.

    • We are not responsible for a lack of response from the applicant.

    • We cannot be required to continue to prompt applicants when we hear "crickets".

  • When your application is complete, we will contact you, notifying you of the following:

    • "Congrats- You have been approved to adopt!"

      • This may be for the first animal you selected, your second/ third choice or an animal we may suggest that we believe better suits your needs.

      • We may not have the specific animal that suits your needs, in which case your application will remain "Active" and we will continue to work with you to find a match, in time.

    • "We are sorry but we must decline moving forward."

      • This is relatively rare, though does happen on occasion - typically when the applicant does not share the same fundamental principles of Motley Zoo.


Adoption Meeting

  • Once approved, we will request a $25 non refundable deposit to "hold" the animal you seek until a timely meeting can be arranged

    • This deposit goes toward the total adoption donation and is non-refundable if the applicant cancels repeatedly, is a no-show for meeting, or otherwise leaves the animal in limbo.

  • We will request your availability (the next 3-5 days; maximum 7 days), to schedule an adoption meeting.

  • When scheduling, we must abide by the rule: "The best home is the one ready and available, in the timeliest manner."

    • Every animal in our care occupies space that prevents another from entering

    • Once a suitable home has been identified, we must act efficiently to place the animal in that home, thereby creating a space for the next animal in need

    • Families who cannot accommodate a timely meeting will be asked to decline and contact us later when it would be a more suitable time for them to adopt.

    • We cannot hold animals for extended periods of time or for extended scheduling requests for matters of mere convenience.

    • If you are not ready to adopt (i.e. going on vacation), we may be able to board the animal for $25/day in your absence, so that you can still adopt.

      • At any time, we must either be saving animals directly or raising funds for them

      • We cannot hold the animal free of charge

      • If you do not desire to board, we will decline the adoption and you can contact us when you return/ it's more convenient for you and we can see what animals are available at that time.

  • We request all family members be present during the adoption meeting, including any dogs in the home (when adopting another dog). Dogs and cats already in the home do not need to attend cat adoption meetings.

  • The adoption meeting is comprised of the applicant's family, the foster family (when available) and an MZ Adoption Coordinator.

  • Adoption meetings take place at MZ's Mission Center Studio​.

  • Adoption meetings are typically between 30- 60 minutes.

  • The meeting ends when:

    • The animal is a good match and it is agreed between the Adoption Coordinator and the applicant that the animal will go home with the applicant.

    • The animal is not a good match and the applicant will be provided the opportunity to meet another animal who may better suit the family.

    • The Adoption Coordinator witnesses actions or behavior that call into question the match, including but not limited to:

      • The adoptable animal growls, snaps, bites or otherwise appears to be unhappy or uncomfortable with the applicants

      • The applicant's own animal growls, snaps, bites or otherwise appears to be unhappy or uncomfortable

      • The applicants themselves act in ways considered to be inappropriate or otherwise appear unhappy or uncomfortable

      • The applicants seem unsure

        • This usually simply means, no. The Adoption Coordinator will help determine if "sleeping on it" is an option of if they feel the answer is just no.

        • "Sleeping on it" is not meant to accommodate general indecisiveness or lack of willingness to commit

        • Multiple meetings are not an option unless suggested by the Adoption Coordinator due to the adoptable animals' limitations or for accommodating specific needs otherwise.

  • When an adoption is mutually agreed upon, the applicant will sign the Adoption Contract, pay the (remainder of) adoption donation, and finalize the adoption.

  • Adopters are provided a tour gear bag which contains:

    • A folder containing coupons, brochures and other "new pet parent" information

    • Appropriate accoutrements for your new animal such as martingale collar & leash

    • When available: toys, food samples & other goodies

  • Adopters will be provided records for their new animal

    • Adopters are always provided an e-copy, on occasion paper

    • On most occasions, vet records will be provided after the adoption has been processed through our database, via e-mail.

    • Our post-adoption e-mail will provide a link which outlines the "next steps" including:

      • Registering your new animal's microchip

      • Getting appropriate pet licenses 

      • Dog daycare & training information

      • Employee matching

  • You will also receive:

    • Copy of the adoption contract

    • Receipt for your taxes

    • Any pictures we have of your new animal, including adoption day photo (when applicable)



We certainly don’t want to keep you - or our pets- waiting - but with all the work we do behind the scenes, sometimes the days are long - and time flies!


We try our best to keep you informed of the latest information, as we’re working through approvals. Please be patient and know we are here to serve you and our animals as best we can!

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