Our Adoption Process
The first step is all about asking good questions, finding the right dog and submitting your application.
Download and read our safety equipment protocol to ensure that you and your dog stay safe and secure.
Here’s the fun part. Browse our list of available dogs to find a pooch that’s the right fit for you.
Next, we review your application, book an interview, check references, sign the agreement, and pay the fee.
Our adoption team will review your application to determine eligibility. Due to a high number of applications, we will only respond to applicants meeting our selection criteria.
If your application is selected, we will invite you to book an appointment for an interview and virtual home visit.
Pending a successful interview and home visit, we will check your provided veterinarian and personal references.
The last step of the verification process is to sign the adoption agreement and pay the adoption fee for your dog.
Time to get ready. Grab all the gear, study the manual, ace the exam, and pick up your new best friend.
Download and study the adopters’ manual, explore our adoption resources, then complete the quiz to confirm you’re ready to adopt.
To prepare for your dog’s arrival, we ask you to purchase the equipment outlined in our safety equipment protocol.
Next, we search for a flight volunteer to accompany your dog. Once we secure a flight, we send you the travel details.
The big moment is finally here! Time to pick up your new best friend at the airport and welcome them home.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Residents in or around the following cities can apply to adopt:
In Canada: Greater Toronto Area & surrounding cities/towns, Ottawa, Greater Vancouver Area & surrounding cities/towns, and Vancouver Island.
In the US: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
Our organization, Free Korean Dogs / Free Korean Dogs US, is based on a tight-knit network of volunteers and adopters. As we are run by volunteers, we rely on them for essential tasks like conducting home visits, providing transportation, and offering post-adoption support when necessary. In unfortunate circumstances, like when a dog needs to be surrendered, it’s vital that we can quickly and efficiently bring the dog back into our care. Being within our designated network of cities enables us to manage these situations effectively.
No, we only send our dogs to the previously mentioned cities. We strive to remain within reach to ensure that if the dogs need assistance at any point in their lives, we can promptly be there to support them.
Unfortunately, no. If a dog’s profile indicates a specific destination, it can’t be altered. Numerous factors influence our dogs’ destinations, including flight availability, cost, synchronizing flights for dogs from the same shelter, time sensitivity, and others, some of which we can’t control. If the situation changes, we’ll update the dog’s profile. Unless this happens, the dog is only available for adoption in the city mentioned in the profile.
Our adoption fee varies from $280 to $780, based on the dog’s age and other factors. Please refer to the dog profile for specific fees per dog.
The fee to surrender an adopted dog is $280.
The adoption fee is non-transferable and non-refundable once the dog is handed over to the adopter. The adoption and surrender fees are the same in CAD and USD due to higher costs for dogs entering the US.
Our total cost to rescue a single dog averages between $2,000 to $5,000. The adoption fee assists in covering these costs, which include:
Medical expenses: These cover vaccinations, completed deworming and heartworm tests, flea/tick/heartworm prevention, spaying/neutering, microchip implantation, and any additional medical care needed to prepare the dog for adoption.
Ground transportation: This includes the cost of transporting the dog from the shelter to the airport in South Korea.
Travel crate: The fee covers the cost of the crate used for the dog’s transport.
Quarantine inspection and certified health certificate: The fee helps cover the cost of mandatory quarantine inspections and the issuance of a certified health certificate.
Flight-associated costs: These include the cost of the flight itself and any related boarding fees, if applicable.
Import taxes and border service fees: The adoption fee also offsets the costs of import taxes, inspection fees, and any other charges associated with border services.
In Canada: Free Korean Dogs is a registered charity, but according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the adoption fee isn’t considered a tax-deductible expense. This is due to the nature of the transaction, which involves a payment in exchange for “goods” (the adopted dog). Therefore, we can’t issue tax receipts for the adoption fee. However, tax receipts can be issued for all other direct donations above $20.
In the US: Free Korean Dogs US is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to IRS regulations, donors can only claim a tax deduction for the contribution amount that exceeds the fair market value of the goods or services provided. In this case, the fair market value of the goods (the rescue dog) is the adoption fee. For further details, please refer to the IRS guidance on the topic: Can I deduct my charitable contributions?
The term “Free” in our name stands for “liberating” or “freeing” Korean dogs from suffering and harsh conditions. It doesn’t refer to a financial aspect or mean that the dogs are available without an adoption fee.
A lot of the rescue dogs that come to us have an unknown history, and it’s likely that they’ve had little to no interaction with children. These rescue dogs usually need a tranquil environment and a consistent routine during their adjustment period in their new homes. This could be difficult to maintain in homes with young children. Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of everyone involved.
Owning a dog, especially a rescue dog, involves significant personal and financial commitments. Common reasons for surrendering a dog often revolve around the inability to provide ongoing care due to changes in financial situation, time availability, or living circumstances. Through our experience, we’ve found that applicants at least 25 years old generally exhibit the level of stability needed to cater to these commitments effectively.
If the dog’s profile still shows “adoptable,” it means the adoption process hasn’t been finalized, and you’re welcome to apply. Even though some dogs may be in the adoption process with other potential adopters, situations can change. If the dog you’re interested in is adopted by another applicant and you’ve indicated on your application that you’re open to adopting other dogs, we’ll reach out to you if we find another dog that could be a good match.
The current location of each dog is listed on their individual profiles. We operate using a “direct adoption” strategy, where most dogs remain in Korean shelters until a permanent home is found in Canada or the US. Once an adoption application is approved, we start coordinating necessary travel arrangements either through flight volunteers or airline cargo services. If a dog is in a foster home, this information will be specified in the dog’s profile. Following a satisfactory adoption application interview, you’ll be able to meet the dog and its foster parent(s).
Most of our dogs come from boarding houses or shelters; hence, they usually don’t have any prior experience with cats. At best, we can provide insights based on observed prey drive.
Some dogs living with foster families may have had exposure to cats, but it’s important to note that each dog-cat relationship is unique. Therefore, a period of integration and proper introductions should be expected.
Does this mean I can’t adopt a dog if I have a cat?
Not at all. Having a cat does not disqualify you from adopting a dog. However, we do require our adopters to have adequate space in their homes to allow each pet their own personal space if needed. Additionally, we expect potential adopters to be ready to integrate the dog and cat safely. Our primary aim is to ensure the comfort and safety of all pets in the household.
If you’re considering adopting a dog, we suggest learning how your cat might react to a new canine companion. You can do this by arranging slow, brief interactions with a dog belonging to a friend or family member. Some cats can be territorial, and bringing a new dog into their space may cause stress or fear. Thus, it’s essential to consider the perspectives of both pets.
Unfortunately, we don’t provide foster-to-adopt options. From our experience, we’ve found that letting the dogs transition directly into their permanent homes results in the most stress-free adaptation process. Shuffling dogs between various foster homes can trigger anxiety as they have to adjust to sudden changes in their environment and caretakers.
We understand that some individuals might feel hesitant about direct adoption, and we acknowledge that it might not be the best fit for everyone. If meeting the dog prior to adoption is a crucial factor for you, we suggest getting in touch with a rescue organization that offers a foster-to-adopt program or, at the very least, an opportunity for a meet and greet.
Securing a successful adoption is one of our top priorities, and this begins with ensuring a good match. During our adoption process, our adoption case managers will discuss and assess various factors with you, such as your expectations, the characteristics you’re looking for in a dog, your lifestyle, and your level of experience with dogs, to ensure compatibility.
We maintain regular communication with our partner shelters to thoroughly understand each dog’s behaviour, temperament, likes and dislikes while they’re in the boarding house. However, we’re aware that a dog’s behaviour can vary depending on the environment and circumstances.
We’re committed to providing as much post-adoption support and education as possible. We request our adopters be patient and dedicated to assisting their dogs during the adjustment period, especially if any challenges come up. Using our direct adoption model, we’ve successfully facilitated the adoption of hundreds of dogs and have a very low surrender rate.
While we strive to ensure the best possible match between our dogs and adopters, we acknowledge that our system isn’t perfect and that sometimes things don’t work out despite everyone’s best intentions. According to your adoption agreement, if you decide to return the dog, it must be brought back to the care of Free Korean Dogs / Free Korean Dogs US. You’ll need to sign a formal surrender agreement, and a surrender fee of $280 will be charged.
Once all the necessary documents have been completed, we’ll start arranging a foster placement for the dog. During this time, we’ll request you keep the dog in your care until a foster placement can be secured. Depending on our foster availability, this process may take up to two weeks, but we’ll try our best to expedite it as much as we can.
Please remember, as stated in your adoption application and agreement, if you decide to surrender the dog, it must be returned to the care of Free Korean Dogs / Free Korean Dogs US. The dog must not be rehomed with friends or family members, or handed over to other rescue organizations or shelters.
The response time can vary, but typically, you can expect to hear back within two days to a week after submitting your application. Completing the adoption process, which includes checking references and conducting a home visit, may take 1 to 2 weeks. Please bear in mind that we are a small team running on volunteer efforts, and we receive a high volume of applications and inquiries every day. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.
Our rescue dogs originate either from dog meat farms or high-kill shelters in Korea. We also collaborate with three partner shelters in Korea. The dogs rescued by our partners have diverse backgrounds; they may have been part of the dog meat trade, faced euthanasia, or been strays. Unfortunately, the chances of successful adoption for dogs with these backgrounds are extremely low within Korea. Our organization is dedicated to locating suitable forever homes for these dogs in Canada and the US.
In collaboration with our partner rescue groups and shelters, we select dogs that are healthy and sociable for potential adoption. If needed, these dogs are placed in foster homes or sent to training schools in Korea. We also give the dogs a considerable amount of time in the shelter to decompress, which allows us to gain a thorough understanding of their health and temperament, including their interactions with people and other dogs.
Some dog profiles may indicate that they’ve been in the shelter for an extended period. Does this suggest something is wrong with them? Why haven’t they been adopted?
Actually, these dogs are perfectly fine. The main issue is the difference in perspectives and preferences regarding dog ownership between Korea and countries like the US or Canada. Many excellent dogs are overlooked in Korea simply because they are deemed too large, belong to less desired breeds, or face discrimination due to their shelter background.
Sadly, it’s not rare for dogs in Korea to live their entire lives in shelters without attracting the interest of potential adopters. This is where our organization steps in; we arrange for these dogs to be adopted in countries overseas where loving homes are eagerly available.
Before adoption, all dogs receive comprehensive veterinary care. This includes:
Spay/neuter: All dogs are sterilized to prevent unwanted breeding.
Microchipping: A small chip with a unique identifier is inserted under the dog’s skin. This can be used to trace the dog back to its owner if it ever gets lost.
Vaccinations: Dogs are vaccinated against various diseases. This typically includes Rabies, DHPPL (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis), Canine Influenza, Corona, and Kennel Cough.
Heartworm tests: Dogs undergo both the 4DX and Microfilaria tests to ensure they do not have heartworm, a potentially life-threatening disease.
Parasite prevention: Dogs are given monthly treatments to protect against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other common parasites.
Upon adoption, you will receive a health certificate outlining the veterinary care your dog has received. This ensures that the dog is in good health and has received all necessary medical treatments prior to joining your home.
We believe compassion knows no boundaries, and every life deserves to be saved, irrespective of its geographical location. Each year in Korea alone, an estimated 2 million dogs are killed for their meat. While some dogs lead pampered lives as pets, others suffer unimaginable cruelty.
Shelter dogs in Korea often struggle to find local adoptive homes due to the prevalent stigma labelling them as “broken” or “damaged.” Consequently, these dogs are frequently at risk of euthanasia or falling back into the dog meat trade. However, the recent increase in international adoption programs has given renewed hope and inspiration to local Korean dog rescuers in a field where their relentless efforts previously seemed futile.
This newfound hope has ignited a movement towards more local rescue initiatives. When you adopt a rescue dog, you may feel like you’re only adopting one dog, but the impact of your action is far-reaching and profound.
Rescue organizations like ours are dedicated to addressing the issue of dog overpopulation, which results in countless dogs not having access to suitable homes. Even if the dog you’re adopting from us is already neutered, it’s crucial that any other dogs in your household are also spayed/neutered. This aligns with our mission to control overpopulation, and we hope that our adopters share this commitment to responsible pet ownership.
Unless indicated in their individual profiles, it’s prudent for adopters to anticipate and get ready for a transition period. This period often involves training the dog on house manners, basic obedience, and leash etiquette.
Adopting a rescue dog from Korea is not dissimilar to adopting locally, with each dog possessing a unique past, personality, and set of experiences. Like all dogs, they’ll require some time to acclimate to their new environment.
We ask for your understanding, love, and patience for our rescue dogs, and we’re confident you’ll find their love and loyalty reciprocated. With Free Korean Dogs and Free Korean Dogs US, you join a solid network of adopters, and we’re committed to offering support, whether it’s two days or two years post-adoption.
We also have an excellent online community, the FKD Adopters Network, and a host of resources to ensure a smooth transition for you and your new companion.
Free Korean Dogs partners with SMACK Pet Foods to nourish rescued dogs, enhancing their health with quality food and supporting adopters.
Experience Johnny’s path to rescue adoption with Tavvi, an abused Jindo dog. A tale of compassion, bravery, and second chances in canine healing.
Follow Dori’s transformation from a Korean dog meat farm to a loving Toronto home. Overcoming skittishness, his inspiring journey to happiness.