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.

Rescues and shelters are fundamentally different organizations, despite both caring for animals in need.


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 what is best for you!


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

This page is frequently undergoing changes.


The adoption process explained in-depth: step-by-step



Where are you located?

Where can I visit adoptable animals?

What is Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare & the Studio?

How can I find out about the status of an animal?

What does “Foster Based” mean and how is this different from a traditional animal shelter? 

Who are the foster families?

When and where are the adoption events?

Do you require an application?

How does the application process work?

I applied with a different shelter, can I use that application?

How long does the adoption process take?

What information do you need for the application?

Why do you ask for a $5 processing fee?

What are you looking for in an adopter?

Can you tell me where I'm at in the process?

What if the animal I first selected is adopted by another?





Where are you located?


  • Like most rescues, our rescue effort is a virtual operation, using the internet to coordinate our efforts.

  • We are a volunteer-run team in the greater Seattle and Eastside areas, working together via the internet to adopt out animals.

  • Although most foster based rescues have no facility, we do have one. Called "The Studio" in Redmond, WA, it does many things, however, it is NOT a shelter.

  • This facility helps connect us to the community and centralize operations, but is not a single location for all our animals to stay. Rather, our animals are in multiple foster homes throughout the area

  • The Studio is where we operate Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare- a fundraising program for our rescue- and the first of its kind in the nation

  • Adoptable dogs do not live at the Studio although may attend daycare on random occasions. If you stop by to see a specific dog, there is a 99.9% chance they will NOT be there.

  • In contrast, we do have adoptable cats who reside in the Cat Lounge at the Studio until adoption- and unlike the dogs, you can meet them casually.

  • Cats also reside in partnering pet stores (acting as foster homes) within the community.

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

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

  • Adopting is therefore with an approved application & appointment only.


Where can I visit MZ's adoptable animals?



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

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

  • Adoptable animals are listed here.

  • Cats are an exception to the rule where they may be casually visited prior to applying.

  • If you are interested in a specific cat, you must first identify its location in their online profile.

  • You are eligible to visit cats at our partnering pets stores during their regular business hours- or our Studio between 9am- 6pm Monday- Friday ONLY (we are not open on the weekend for public viewing).

  • It is possible to meet our animals at one of the many community events we attend.

  • Animals can only go home from an event only with a pre-approved application.

  • In order to coordinate an adoption meeting, it requires screening and scheduling which cannot be done same- day.


What is Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare & the Studio?


  • The Studio is a 7,500 square foot facility in Redmond, WA which hosts our Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare.

  • The Rock Star Treatment is a service based, fundraising program for the rescue- where we care for dogs (adopted out by us or from community dog owners) during business hours. This is a separate operation from the rescue in terms of structure and staff.

  • Although these different departments work together, the daycare staff does not have answers to rescue queries.

  • The Studio is not the place to get answers about adoption- but these FAQs and e-mailing, are!


How can I find out the status of an animal?


  • This is impossible to answer 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.

  • We can never vouch for the exact status of an animal at any time. Rescue literally changes by the second.

    • An animal may be in the process of being matched with an applicant at any point, therefore our response to you indicating availability may instantly be out of date

    • An animal's status may change multiple times in a day

      • As approved applicants make up or change their minds about their choices

      • An adoption meeting did not yield the anticipated adoption.

      • An applicant found an animal elsewhere

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

  • This process is a machine of many moving parts, many times amplified by an “if / then” scenario, trying to keep up would be a wasted effort on our part and immensely frustrating on your end

  • We have many inquiries and fewer actual applicants.

  • We must focus the majority of our service efforts on those who have committed to adopting by submitting their application and $5 processing fee.




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

  • There is nowhere the public can come to “just look at” the animals for adoption.

  • Foster based rescues typically don’t have a physical facility at all.

  • MZ is a unique hybrid and the dog daycare the first of it's kind in the nation.

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

  • Due to the private nature of our structure of utilizing volunteer foster homes, we cannot offer casual meetings with our animals.

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

  • Due to the nature of the foster based structure, you cannot find an animal TODAY and get it TODAY.

  • Adoptable animals can be viewed, here and an application requested here.


Who are the foster families?


  • Foster families are those just like yours: people with jobs, kids and other pets.

  • Foster families are entirely volunteer

  • 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

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

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

  • Animals live with them as one of the family, until a permanent home is found.

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

  • Fosters are required to provide basic necessities for our animals, as well as take them to vet appointments and events.

  • Fosters are asked to be at one event per month and to have their animals attend as many events as possible otherwise (drop off, carpool, etc) 




When and where are adoption events?


  • Adoption events are those where we congregate in one place with some of the animals we have in care, so people can interact with them.

  • We cannot have every animal we have in care at every event.

  • Adoptable animal attendance varies based on foster participation and availability.

  • Adoption events and Meet & Greets are held approximately twice monthly at various pet stores and various other locations and businesses throughout the community.

  • Events provide an opportunity to meet animals casually, without the obligation of applying first.

  • Interested applicants that have met animals at an event must still go through the application process, which is not done that same day.

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



Do you require an application?
  • Yes. All applicants go through the same application process. This includes friends, family and even rock stars & celebrities.

  • The adoption application is a necessary step to being matched with the right animal.

  • We must get to know the adopters as we do the animals to make accurate, lasting matches.

  • You can not- and should not try- to speed up the process.

  • The process is in place for your benefit, which you will recognize and appreciate once you take an animal home, even if you cannot now.

  • Bypassing the application and our process would undermine the integrity of the matches we make.

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

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

  • We hope to (even remotely) like the families we adopt to- we are not required to give out animals.

  • Applicants may be denied based on bad behavior we feel is abusive and inappropriate. 

  • All other factors being equal among applicants, the nice person gets 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 are done online and go through

  • Please ask us for help if you cannot apply online or have technological limitations. Please do not assume we don't care about those with limitations.

  • We do provide assistance and alternative options for applying when it is an absolute need- this effort is not intended for matters of convenience.

  • Applications from other sources 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.

  • Please remain patient during this time, although feel free to inquire, express your enthusiam 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 for us.

  • 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.

  • 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 (see below).

  • 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.

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

  • We are not responsible for missing information.

  • It's the responsibility of the applicant to provide accurate information, rather than necessitating us to inquire or otherwise "extract" details we need.

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

  • While speed cannot be our focus, we are well aware we are working under the premise that an animal adopted makes room for another.

  • Our goal is to adopt out animals efficiently and save the lives of the next in need.

  • As our priority is compatibility and accuracy, we must balance this with how fast we go (quality vs quantity).

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

  • In times of high volume, holidays or with other unforeseen issues that may come up for our volunteer team, the application process may take more time.

  • Even once approved, the animal you are interested in may not be ready for adoption at the same time.

  • Typically this regards the youngest, baby animals who must reach a specific age/ level of maturity before they can go home.

  • We debut baby animals online approximately 2 weeks prior to their estimated "Go Home Date" so that we can likely have homes ready the minute they are. 

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

  • 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 theirs 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 their emotions.

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

  • We do not want to see animals returned for such very preventable reasons as it is heartbreaking for both parties.



What information do you need for the application?


  • We must have all parts of your application 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 this with a suitable animal.

    • Ages

    • Ages of visiting children

    • Occupation/ hours away from home

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

    • Any pending/ anticipated changes to current situation

    • Hobbies and interests

    • Hopes and expectations for the new pet

    • Current pets in the home- including vaccine 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

    • We ask for:

      • Pictures of your home: front, including the number; yard (for dog adoptoin) 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 status

    • Although small- especially with the extensive vetting we provide- there is a risk in bringing new animals home to your existing ones

    • 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 don't want the happy occasion of adoption to be the cause of a bad on if your pet(s) fall ill

  • 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 may inquire with other questions or to clarify a matter of which we are unsure.
  • We want to believe that every family who applies is a wonderful family, however, we have to be realistic as well- 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 will cause delays which may affect your ability to adopt the animal of your choice. 

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

  • We need to make every moment count!

  • This means ensuring EVERYTHING we do, yields some kind of positive result for the animals.

  • We ask for a non-refundable, $5 fee, so that our time spent reviewing applications- no matter the outcome- yields a small amount of funds raised for the animals.

  • We believe this fee, although negligible, helps people become more invested in the process with us- ensuring more applications will yield adoptions than won’t.

  • People who have paid for something, usually want to see it through.

  • 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.



What are you looking for in an adopter?


  • Quite simply, the right match in a family that will love that animal like family.

  • 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 first person who comes along.

Please trust our efforts. Through our extensive experience of placing more than 3,000 animals, we are skilled with our methods and have very few returns for unsuitable pairings.

This process is about the animals and what is best for them first- and about what you need as an adopter, as a result of serving the animals’ needs as our priority.

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 bring the two together in an adoption we believe will be successful. 

If we do deem an animal not to be 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 animal's situation, which could cost them their life…neither is anything to be upset about.

Trust in the matching process and you will be happy in the end. Period.


Can you tell me where I am in the process? 


This is a hard answer to give. This is a process of moving parts and extremely hard to define or explain.

First off, we cannot even consider responding to anyone who does not have a completed application. We can’t- 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 in line at the checkout.

This is where we try to spend our time: with people who have committed to being customers. Those who have paid the $5 and are in the process already…but that also doesn’t mean we can answer all your questions, specifically- until the process is done.


There is no clear “line” at all. It is not as though one app comes in and gets reviewed and told yes or no and we move onto the next. That would be really impersonal and not what we’re trying to do with “making- matches”. Each app that comes in gets reviewed- while others are still coming in. It’s less about who’s first and more about who’s right for the pet.

Here’s the best way we can think of to describe this: We are sommeliers, and you are waiting on a suggestion for a paring with your meal…only with many more moving parts that change every few minutes. You however trust the sommelier to give you good advice- after all that’s why he or she is there at the fancy restaurant (that required reservations), to help you.

Let us help you find the right pet in a similar way. You might wait for your reservation date (to adopt), but you signed up for the personal, gourmet food and experience- not fast food. Both would fill your belly, but you do not have the same expectations of a fancy restaurant that you do of a fast food place.

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 thinkkn 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.

  • 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 now, or more quickly than we can accommodate.

  • On occasion, this may happen- especially if your needs or interests are quite specific. 



The adoption Process- step by step


Application Process

  • See an animal online, at an event, or with a foster

  • Email us at for an application.

  • 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" if you are unsure.

  • Please SAVE your application as you proceed, so you can leave and go back to it if need be.

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

    • We are a volunteer team working as quickly as possible to process applications.

    • If we must make reference calls to landlords or vets, this is usually done during business hours.

    • We are often inundated, especially for "popular" animals such as puppies, kittens and certain breeds.

    • As well, some seasons may be considered a time of high demand (before holidays, spring, etc) 

    • Some babies may not yet be ready for adoption when you apply. Please check bios for a "Go Home Date".


Review Process

  • We will start reviewing your application. 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 MZ.


Adoption Meeting

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

    • 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 on the applicant's part.

    • If you are not ready to adopt (ie. 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 usually take place at:

    • MZ's Studio

    • A partnering pet store

    • At an event

  • Adoption meetings are typically a tyically between 30- 60 minutes, though can last longer if there is some uncertainty, lots of information to relay or the applicant has more questions.

  • The meeting ends when:

    • The animal is a good match and 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

    • The applicants cannot decide at the meeting and will "sleep on it".

      • This is extremely uncommon and usually simply means, no.

      • This 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 unspecified.

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

  • Adopters are provided a tote bag which contains:

    • An envelope 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

    • When we have paper records we will provide them

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

    • Our Post-Adoption Email will provide a link to our website which provides the "next steps" including:

      • Register your new animal's microchip

      • Get 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 try our best to keep you informed of the latest information, as we’re working through approvals. 


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!


Please be patient and know we are here to serve you and our animals as best we can!



Adoptions are by appointment only with approved applicants!

General Inquiries:

Dog Adoption:




Event Inquiries:

Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare Mission Center Studio:

16725 Cleveland Street, Redmond, WA 98052

Main Entrance is around back - NOT on Cleveland Street!

Hours: 8AM to 7PM Tuesday - Friday

Dog Daycare:

Voicemail: (206) 453-8480

Contact Us

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 26-4338166

@2020  by Motley Zoo Animal Rescue


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