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Requirements For Adoption


Big Cypress German Shepherd Rescue appreciates your interest in adopting one of our rescued dogs.
German Shepherd Dogs circle1are a strong working breed in need of experienced and active families and we take care that our dogs are placed in homes compatible with their personalities and activity levels. 

Areas Served:

  • Our primary area of adoption is in SW Florida, but we do adopt to other areas.
  • The adopter is expected to travel to us to meet the dog.
  • We will not ship a dog and do not offer delivery services for adoption.

Adopting a Puppy:

  • If you adopt a puppy less than six months old, the puppy may not be spayed or neutered and the required vaccinations may not have been completed, which will need to be done per adoption agreement.
  • A $250.00 spay/neuter deposit will be required and you will be required to spay/neuter your puppy at six months of age or soon after if waiting is medically required by veterinarian. Your deposit will be refunded upon proof of spay/neuter.
  • Regarding the amount of time you must have for puppies: All puppies are different, but a puppy can usually only hold his waste for the same number of hours as his age in months. (In other words, a four-month-old pup should not be left alone for more than four consecutive hours without an opportunity to go outside.) He can last longer at night, however, since he’s inactive (just like we can). By the time your pup is about four months old, he should be able to make it through the night without going outside.  If you do not have the time required for a baby puppy, you may want to consider a pup over six months old or a mature dog over two years old.

Adopter’s Minimum Age:

  • You must be 21 or older to submit our adoption application and adopt one of our dogs. 

Current/Past pet care requirements


  • Required - Spay/Neuter*
  • Required - Vaccines against Rabies (required by law)
  • Required - Annual Heartworm testing
  • Required - DHPP/DHLPP/DH2PP (Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis)**
  • Required - Preventatives for Heartworm and fleas/ticks
  • Recommended - Annual wellness visit
  • Optional - Bordatella, Lyme/Borrelia, Leptospirosis (recommended)


  • Required - Spay/Neuter*
  • Required - Vaccines against Rabies (required by law)
  • Recommended - Annual wellness Visit
  • Optional*** - Annual Heartworm test, Feline Leukemia (FeLV) test, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) test, FVRCP combo shot (Feline Distemper Panleukopenia, Feline viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus)**

* - Unless advised against by a veterinarian
** - If vaccines are declined by the owner, annual titer tests are required
*** - Optional for indoor cats, required for outdoor cats

Adoption Donations:

  • Puppies under 11 months - adoption donation is $500
  • Dogs 1 - 2 years - adoption donation is $450
  • Dogs aged 3 - 4 years - adoption donation is $350
  • Dogs aged 5 - 8 years - adoption donation is $250
  • Seniors (over 8 years old) - adoption donation is $150
  • Spay/Neuter deposit is $250 for intact pups, refundable upon proof of spay/neuter

This donation helps defray the cost of veterinary care given to your dog prior to adoption. This care includes some or all of the following (but not limited to): all vaccinations, heartworm testing and treatment if needed, preventatives for heartworms, intestinal worms and fleas, fecal testing and deworming if needed and surgery for spay/neuter. Your adoption donation also helps feed and care for other dogs waiting for an adopter and is NON-REFUNDABLE. 

There are five steps in our adoption process.

STEP 1:  Submit an Application

The Adoption Application will let us know a little bit about you, your home, your lifestyle, and what you are looking for in a canine companion.  The application will ask for several kinds of references. Please let your veterinarian and/or landlord and references know that we will be calling, and they have your permission to speak with us.

***Please remember, we are all volunteers working around our schedules. The approval process can take up to a month to complete and there may be periods of time you do not hear from us. Please be patient while we are working to process your application.***

Please note:

  • Personal references should not be related to you in any way, nor be anyone who has any stake in your approval such as a spouse or domestic partner.  In order to avoid delays, please let your references know we will be reaching out to them and ask them to check their phones for missed calls and/or their spam folder for emails.
  • The vet reference is for any current or deceased (within the past three years) pet for which you have had personal ownership or responsibility. If you have multiple veterinary sources, such as a mobile vaccine clinic or the like, please provide these records to your primary vet.

STEP 2:  Perform a Reference Check

Once you have submitted your application a BCGSR volunteer will call your landlord (if applicable) as well as your personal and veterinary references.

STEP 3:  Conduct a Home Visit

Following a check of your references, a BCGSR volunteer will contact you to arrange for a Virtual Home Visit.  During this visit, the volunteer will need to meet all members of your household, your pets and will virtually walk through your home and yard.  We will discuss the adoption process with you, answer any questions you may have, and discuss the dog in which you are interested.

After the home visit is completed, the volunteer will submit a Home Visit Report to BCGSR.  At that time, a decision will be made to either accept or deny your application. BCGSR is a breed specific rescue and reserves the right to be particular about the homes that are selected for our rescued GSD's. 

Please note:  

  • If approved, your approval will be good for  one year from date of approval. 
  • If there is a change in your address or family status, please notify us.

There are no guarantees you will adopt the dog for which you submitted an application.  There may be multiple applications for that dog and the dog may have been adopted by the time your application is approved.  Or, that dog may not be a good fit for your family situation, e.g., the dog may not be good with children or other dogs, not handle houses with stairs, or one of many other situations. We want each dog to go to a home best suited to that particular dog to assure a lifetime, loving home that is trouble free.

STEP 4:  Find the Right Dog

Once you have been approved as an adopter, arrangements will be made to put you in touch with foster parents to arrange meetings with a compatible dog or to meet the dog at Shelzsmide K9s dog training facility in Naples, FL to see if you and the dog are compatible.  A great way to meet more than one dog is to attend a local adoption event.

Foster parents know their foster dogs better than anyone. Communicating with the foster parent of the dog of choice is appropriate. If the dog in which you are interested is not local, you are expected to drive to meet the dog. That could result in you bringing the dog home the same day but is not a guarantee. Most meetings will take place at Shelzsmide K9s, Naples, FL.

STEP 5:  Introduce the Dog in Your Home

We understand that you may not be sure how a dog will work out to fit your family’s needs, without bringing it home first. We offer suggestions to make sure the dog becomes a suitable family member.  Training is necessary for German Shepherd Dogs. If for any reason you cannot keep your adopted dog, you must return the dog to Big Cypress German Shepherd Rescue. If you have traveled to obtain your dog, it is expected that you will return your dog in the event that it does not work out. Our goal is to place the right dog in the right home, but there is an adjustment period for every adoption and is referred to as our Two Week Shutdown.

The foster parent of your dog or a BCGSR representative will contact you to find out how things are going.

If you have any questions about our process please contact us.

You can apply online through this link