top of page

Pre-Adoption Information

We are excited to help match you to your new family member.

Please check below for some critical information to review and or attend to before your

adoption meeting.



cat face icon_edited.png
dog face icon_edited.png

Puppy BasicS

wire crate.jpg
travel crate.jpg

We highly recommend crate training your new dog. This is true for a dog of any age- but especially true for a puppy. Not only will this ensure your dog's SAFETY and WELL-BEING but this is the key to YOUR SANITY when TRAINING and raising a puppy.

All of our dogs stay in crates in our foster homes- and we recommend continuing this process during their transition into your home. They have come to rely on this as their SAFE PLACE and TRAVELLING BEDROOM. Their crate helps them feel like they have a place to "be" in your new home which is full of new noises, smells, people and pets all vying for their attention. Just like you can retire to your bedroom and have some time to yourself, so must your dog have a place to call their own.

This is NOT a prison- it's an OASIS for your dog.


The crate should be respected as and treated like a bedroom, especially if other pets or young kids in your home. You can rest easier knowing your new dog can be safely "at home" in their crate while other things are happening outside- especially if these are things your new dog may not be ready for yet (having a party, kids coming and going, etc).

Crate training can help significantly with POTTY TRAINING! The four walls around them help them LEARN while they are in there. They not only learn that is not the place to potty, but also learn this is where they go to calm down and be quiet. Learning to self-soothe is a gift you can give your dog when you're gone and they have a place they can be safe, comfortable and have boundaries.

A dog that is crate trained is also a dog your friends and family will be far more willing and excited about looking after when you want to travel. If someone needs to let your dog in their bed, it will be much harder to find help. But when you can say, "Hey, my dog comes with his own traveling bedroom", it's a much easier sell.

Types of crates

There are both PLASTIC and WIRE CRATES available for your dog. Your dog likely doesn't have a preference, so this may be up to you and your aesthetic- or based on your specific need.


For example, plastic crates can be great in the car- and (crates) are the safest way to transport a dog. If your are in an accident not only could your dog escape if not crated, but the EMTs won't help your dog if they are not in a crate. Plastic crates tend to stay together in an accident and can more easily fit in most back seats.

On the other hand, wire crates can be great as they can fold up and store easily- or travel from place to place- even in the car, especially in the back of an SUV. The one downside is if really tossed about (or a dog thrashes inside) they can collapse on themselves.

Plastic crates can see more enclosed and "den-like" which your dog may like- while a wire crate may help them feel less crated and more visible. If we know your new dog has a preference, we will tell you- but otherwise it's probably not going to matter which you choose as long as you use it reliably.

Crate Sizing

It is critically important your dog's crate be sized properly- not too big or too small. Too big and your dog may learn to use the other half as a toilet area, defeating the purpose of crate training. Too small and clearly this is a health and safety issue.

Your dog should be able to STAND UP, TURN AROUND and LAY DOWN comfortably with just a little room around them. Many crate sizes are based on weight and or height of your dog so you can shop pretty easily that way.


We can also make suggestions- and on occasion have crates to sell for a discounted rate so if you want to consider this, please ASK BEFORE YOUR MEETING to determine if we have an appropriately sized one for purchase.

Ex-Pens & Gates
pop up playpen.jpg

Ex-pens and gates can be a great tool to have for new dogs also. 


Expens or playpens can offer a space for your dog to keep from running amok while you're home but perhaps not 100% engaged, but they have room to bounce about and play a bit too. This should not take the place of a crate, but can be an option in addition. 

Both types fold up and store well, but the fabric kind can be hard to clean if using for a dog that's not potty trained. The metal can be picked up, moved and set up on any surface- but the dogs can also sometimes move them too. The playpens have a zipper lid to keep them from escaping- but they can also chew the walls apart too. 

Dogs should not be left alone in ex-pens or playpens as they can get caught on things, jump out (or get stuck half way), and may have toys and potty pads, etc. they can chew and choke on. So crates are for safe play, not as a replacement for the crate where they should be if you are sleeping or away from the house.

Baby gates are great to use when you're eventually able to expand your dog's access to the house. Your new dog SHOULD NOT BE ANYWHERE YOU ARE NOT any time soon. Just like if you let a stranger in off the street, you'd not just let them wander and explore your home alone. The same is true for a new dog: DO NOT TRUST THEM UNTIL YOU KNOW THEM and their habits. Chances are you will be asking for trouble otherwise!

Baby gates can keep dogs from going up or down stairs, from entering the living room or even from running out the front door. These can be good to use especially if you have cats who need their own space as you integrate the new dog or to keep young kids from going into the room with the crate when unsupervised.

We have a significant number of baby gates available for sale if you are interested. Please ask during your meeting.

firstmate can.jpg
taste of the wild.jpg

We prefer to feed our dogs HUMAN GRADE food with quality ingredients. Not only can this be more cost effective, but is healthier and produces smaller excrement. Other foods that have less quality ingredients have fillers, which your dog cannot digest and absorb, creating more waste. So while healthy, high-quality food is more expensive inititally, it has immense benefits. There are many great brands available and it will mostly be up to your and your dog's pallete when determining which type to use, but we will tell you IF your dog has specific needs- and will provide a sample of that food for you to take home. GRAINS OR GRAIN FREE? This has been a health controversy for a while now. Grains can be a source of allergens and your dog may need a grain-free type. But grain-free diets were also linked to a heart issue due to a lack of TAURINE in those diets. You can safely feed your dog a grain-free diet, just be sure to allow a way for your dog to have taurine- which is a requirement in cat food (or cats will die). So you can choose a supplement or provide your dog some cat food a few times a week to combat this potential problem. CHICKEN is also a common allergen, so if your dog is itchy, their coat is dry and skin flaky, they may have an allergy- and food is where you'd start. LAMB, RABBIT, BISON and FISH can be alternative proteinse for those with allergies. Many of these already some with sweet potato or rice vs grains anyway. Ultimately you will feed your dog what you prefer and can afford. This is just our best advice based on our experience with thousands of dogs and many different health conditions.

Food & Water bowlS
stainless bowls.jpg
slow feeder.jpg

We don't have much to recommend in regard to food and water bowls except that usually the water bowl will be bigger than food. If your dog requires a slow-feeder (for example they have a history of gastric distress from eating too fast) we will explain this and if possible, we will provide one. They can in general be considered for dogs that eat fast (even if they don't get sick), but there is no specific requirement otherwise.

Treats & Chews
tricky trainers.jpg
treat ball.jpg
dont feed.png

There are a variety of treats and chews you can give your dog. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND REAL ANIMAL PRODUCTS that are not consumed in one sitting. What we mean are bones, rawhides, pig ears, hooves, ect- a real piece of animal that is intended to be chewed on over time and will lay around your home. These items are the #1 CAUSE OF BITES AND FIGHTS. Even if a dog may not resource guard a toy, food or otherwise, they may be inclined to guard these items and it will NEVER BE WORTH IT if you have young kids or other pets around. Keep in mind, the dog with the problem may not be your NEW dog- or YOUR dog(s) at all, but perhaps that of a friend or family member coming over/ you're visiting. PICK UP these items when you have dogs come over, or you go to another's house where they are out. There are plenty of chews for your dog that are less likely to cause problems. Hard rubber toys like KONGS are always great and safe for chewing. There are treat dispensing toys which can entertain dogs more than eating from a bowl. Rope toys can also be a good chew product but keep an eye that your dog is not unravelling it and it is still pretty solid- and therefore, safe. NYLABONES can also be a good subsititue for real animal pieces but with the FLAVORING, DOGS MAY STILL TREAT THEM LIKE A REAL ANIMAL PRODUCT. TRAINING TREATS should be very small, soft bites do your dog doesn't have to stop their flow to chomp a biscuit. ZUKES and TRICKY TRAINERS make great, soft training treats that you can break into halves and even quarters. Your dog doesn't get rewarded by the amount of treat, they get rewarded by the action of you giving one- so keep in mind these treats are a supplement to their daily mail and should be GIVEN SPARINGLY.

Martingale Collar & Leash
martingale fabric.jpg
martingale chain.jpg

We recommend MARTINGALE collars which have an extra loop of fabric/ chain that cinches evenly around your dog's neck which safely and humanely prevents injury and escape. We highly suggest that you utilize this collar for walking and training and DO NOT SWITCH out for a flat collar or harness- neither of which are safe and can actually injure your dog. We provide all dogs with a properly fitted martingale from Max & Neo- who makes high-quality products and also donates some to Motley Zoo. Their buckles have a unique lock that prevents the buckle from popping open and has a special loop for their ID tag. NEVER HOOK A LEASH TO ID TAGS. The ring can bend and pop open, allowing your dog to run off and potentially get hurt. We also provide each dog a leash. Currently we have a 1' wide black, nylon tpye branded with Motley Zoo's logo. This may not be adequate for walking a bigger dog or one that pulls heavily. You may need to invest in a wider one- or choose one made of leather which can he very friendly on your hands. Clearly, with training, the point is to get the dog not to pull, but you need appropriate tools for your dog's skill level nonetheless.

Other tools & supplies
squirt bottle.jpg
poop bags.jpg
dog shampoo.jpg

We also recommend utilizing a SPRAY BOTTLE to help teach your dog the word "NOPE". By pairing your words with the water, dogs think your words are touching them and they wonder how you have the power to manage them from across the room! The key is to hold it close to your body- not out like a gun. When it's close to your body, they can't see when you have and when you don't (due to poor depth perception). Once you start holding it like a threat/ gun, they will know when you can squirt them or not. You will need POOP BAGS as well. Lots of poop bags. We recommend getting BIODEGRADABLE ones to avoid single-use plastics which are harming our environment. Sadly, many pet supplies (even pets themselves) are significant contributors to our planet's waste- so everything we can do to reduce impact is critical. Also have some DOG SHAMPOO on hand. We don't have a particular type we prefer, but do consider one that's VEGAN, NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS to further support the larger humane animal care/ treatment movement.

bark box.jpg

WE LOVE THIS TOOL! This bark box makes a high-pitched, ultrasonic noise that your dog can hear but (most) people can't. When your dog barks, it goes off and corrects them- until eventually they learn to heed the warning. This works best when your dog is crated and you can put it in front of the crate so they quiet down when you're trying to get to sleep! There are collar types (NOT shocking) and whole room versions as well. They are a trick of the trade in animal rescue.

Kitty BasicS

litterbox _edited.png
litterbox high sides_edited.png
litterbox with lid.jpg

One of the most important things your cat will need is a litterbox. There are a few different types- and it is mostly your prerogative on which you choose. However, knowing that changes in the type/ style can affect your cat's behavior- so if it's not working change it...or change it back! For example, some cats love hooded/ lidded boxes while others hate them. So if your cat is experiencing trouble, the first thing would be to remove or add a lid. It's important to only make one change at a time! So don't change the box AND the litter, just one or the other.


After the litterbox, litter is the next most important thing to choose for your cat. There are a few types of litter such as clay, walnut, corn, pine, paper, silica and more. We prefer the biodegradable versions such as walnut (our ED's personal fav), pine, conr and paper as a first choice. They are not only renewable, biodegradable resources but they are healthy for your cat- without harmful dust. They are often less messy in many ways. Clay is not very environmentally sound and can be very messy, especially if it gets wet. It literally turns to goop. It also is NOT very healthy for young kittens and cats as the dust can be harmful. Silica (such as "Pretty Litter") is unique and can have benefits of helping determine urinary issues, but the jury's out on whether there is harmful dust. Silica cannot be ingested (as per the packets you get in shoes, vitamins etc that say Do Not Eat), and inhaling it could be harmful too. The companies say they have less dust, but it's not "no" dust, so be aware when choosing them. Perhaps consider them when you think there may be a problem with your cat's health- and that can be the test but not what you always use. Clearly cost will be a big factor also in determingin the type of litter you select. You can ask your foster coordinator what type of litter was used for your cat so you can remain consistent. Also, when experincing troubles with litterbox issues, changing the litter may help- but don't also change other factors like the box type and it's location.

action items
dog info
cat info

See Adoptable Animals

bottom of page