When you adopt a pet,
you save lives

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HSCTX's ADOPTion process

We have made the adoption process simple by removing roadblocks like lengthy paperwork, and invasive questions about your housing and income. We believe that every family who wants a pet should have a pet, barring animal welfare issues, of course! Here's how the adoption process works:

  1. Bring everyone from your household to the Waco Animal Shelter (roommates, family, etc.), including your kids and dogs, during operating hours. Remember that our last kennel walk-through is 45 minutes before we close! Please note, if you come to the shelter without everyone from your household, including kids and dogs, we can walk you through the kennels but we will not be able to send you home with a pet. We need to make sure that the animal you choose is a good match for everyone!
  2. Meet with a Pet Matchmaker. They will ask you about your home, family, activity level, and lifestyle, and then walk you through the kennels to see which pets interest you. Tell the Pet Matchmaker if there are specific animals that you saw on our website that you want to meet. 
  3. The Pet Matchmaker will bring you to a play yard so you can meet each animal that interests you. They are experts in animal behavior and will be able to assess which animal is a good match.
  4. Know that every pet is not right for every home. Just because you like a specific animal doesn't mean it will be a good fit. We match families and pets based on energy and personality, not on breed, appearance, and other baseless labels. If our Pet Matchmakers believe you are choosing a pet that is not actually right for you, they will kindly tell you why, and make other suggestions. For your safety and for the safety of the animals, we will not send an animal home with you that we believe is not a good match.
  5. After making a final decision about the pet you want to adopt, you will be escorted back to the Adoption Center where an Adoption Counselor will go over the complete medical and behavior history of the animal to make sure you understand any special needs or medical conditions that the animal has. We believe in full transparency. It's important to note that we do not know much about some of the animals in our care because they came in as strays, but we will tell you everything we do know.
  6. You will provide the Adoption Counselor with your email, cell phone number, and ID, and she will email you the adoption contract, which she will go over with you, and you will sign on your phone.
  7. Once the adoption is complete, we will take a photo of your family and your new pet to put on our Facebook page!
  8. If your new pet is not yet spayed/neutered, they will need to stay at the shelter, and you can pick them up after surgery.
  9. We will provide you with an escape-proof collar and sturdy leash to take your pet home, thanks to Greg May Honda!
  10. An Adoption Counselor will call you within a few days after adopting your pet to make sure everything is going well. She will be able to provide you with advice and direct you to resources if you need them to help your pet's transition into your home. Note that if you adopt one of our more challenging dogs, you may be offered professional training to ensure a smooth transition!


  • Shelter pets need up to 3 months to truly settle into their new homes, and may need even more if they have a history of abuse or neglect.
  • Give your new pet space, and gently correct behaviors that you do not approve of using a water bottle or shaker can. Don't pull on their collar or try to force them into a kennel or room - you need to build trust.
  • If your new dog is scared, they may be a flight risk. Do not leash walk him/her until s/he settles in and bonds to you, which could be months. Be sure your fence is super secure, and do not allow them in the yard alone because they may dig out or jump over, even if the fence is 8ft tall.
  • Do not rough-house or play tug-of-war with your new dog, even if s/he is playful because this could establish unwanted dominant behavior.
  • At least for the first few months, feed and give treats to your new dog separate from your current dogs, even if they are getting along.
  • Do not touch your new dog or his/her food bowl while s/he is eating, and don't try to forcibly take toys away until you learn if the dog has food aggression or resource guarding issues.


  • Under 1 yr old: $75

  • 1+ yrs: $50 

  • All pets are spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and vaccinated BEFORE leaving the shelter.


Who We Are

We are contracted by the City of Waco to provide adoption, rescue and foster opportunities for the homeless animals at the Waco Animal Shelter, as well as community education regarding responsible pet ownership. Donate today to support our lifesaving programs!

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