The ‘why’ and ‘how’ of post-adoption follow up

In this article we will cover why post-adoption follow up is necessary, what you should include in that communication, and how to make follow up part of your team’s daily tasks.

Why you should follow up

Get ahead of problems. Very rarely does someone bring a new animal home without any issues. Maybe they are having a hard time litter training. Maybe their new dog is having a hard time with the crate. Creating a line of communication can help you provide resources to your adopters before these smaller hiccups become big problems. This will reduce your return rate and help keep animals in their homes.

Help create a community. We all love to talk about our furbabies. Use a follow up as an opportunity to share your adopter community so you can continue to provide resources and see happy updates of the animals you worked so hard to save! If you do not already have an adopter community, take look at our Guide to Creating and Adopter Community.

Continue to engage adopters. Your adopters are a great resource for future adoptions, foster recruitment, and fundraising. Keeping that line of communication open, keeps adopters engaged and helps grow your rescue or shelter.

What does follow up look like?

The timing of your follow up is just as important as the content. If you follow up too frequently, adopters will start to ignore your emails. If you follow up too infrequently, you may miss key milestones. So what’s the sweet spot?

Follow up following the decompression timeline.

This means following up at 72 hours, 3 weeks, and 3 months post-adoption.

The content of your follow up should hit these key categories:

  • Milestones the animal should have reached at this time
  • Encouragement
  • Resources / action items for the adopter to work on
  • Ways to ask for help

For examples and copy/paste templates, head over to our Email Templates.

How to implement

With everything the day brings you in rescue, post-adoption follow ups can fall through the cracks. The best way to prevent this is to set up a procedure and make it part of your routine. There are many ways to accomplish this, here are a few:

  • Create a volunteer position! This is an easy role that only takes a few minutes a day that a volunteer could do from home.
  • Automate the emails through google sheets. For help setting this up, contact us
  • If you use shelter software, this may be a feature you already have access to. If you aren’t sure, reach out to the software company or contact us

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that adopters may respond with problems they are facing. Make sure to have a plan in place to have someone help them through those issues.


With these tools, you can quickly increase your successful adoption rate as well as expanding your community. Happy rescuing!

Is this article missing something? Have questions? Want help applying what you learned to your organization? Send us a message!

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