We take pains to ensure a happy, permanent fit for you and the dog you adopt. That’s what our process is all about. If you have any questions, please contact us. 

Application Process  ♥ Key Criteria ♥ Other Things to Know

 Application Process

  • To adopt a Desert Harbor Doberman, first you must fill out our application, providing a veterinarian reference and two personal references, and information about your home, family, and yard. We will call you to talk in more detail about your wishes and needs, and to ask for clarification additional information.
  •  When your application is accepted, we’ll visit your family at your home at a mutually convenient time.  We aren’t coming to rate your housekeeping or to find fault. We visit to ensure that you are who you say you are (we’ve learned from hard experience that this isn’t always the case), and to look at the dog’s future residence from his or her point of view. We are on your team.  Our mission is to help you prepare for a happy, lifetime partnership with a Dobie.
  • Once you’re approved, we’ll work with you to select the dog who’s right for you. One of the reasons we utilize foster homes instead of boarding kennels is to have the chance to learn our dogs’ habits and temperament first hand. We use this information to help you make a good match.
  •  Finding the right dog can happen immediately, or it can take some time, depending on the dogs in rescue when you contact us.  Whatever the case, patience always pays off.
  • When you’ve chosen the dog you’d like to meet, we’ll introduce the dog to your family and any existing dogs, on neutral ground.  This is to prevent your existing dog from going “territorial.”  We want to give these guys the best possible first meet-up to help prevent disagreements in the future.
  • Assuming there’s a good match, the adoption’s a go. We’ll ask you to sign our adoption contract and request an adoption fee based on the dog’s age, health, condition, and “curb appeal.”  Our fees begin at $250, and help us offset the cost of your pet’s extensive vet intake exam. Not one cent is profit, and any portion of your fee exceeding our costs for the dog’s care  may be tax deductible. Please see your tax advisor.
  • You will have 30 days from the date you sign your contract to return your Dobie for a full refund. This trial period gives you and your dog plenty of time to adjust.  If for any reason the placement isn’t working, you can return your dog to us.
  • We will always accept our dogs. on return. However, if you decide to return your rescue after 30 days,  there will be no refund.The money will have been spent on the next dog in the line!
  • We make no guarantees, implied or explicit, about our dogs, and when you sign our contract, you waive and indemnify us against all liability claims.
  • It is in the nature of rescue that we can’t know our dogs’ pasts in detail. But we disclose all we know to you, up front–including any history, documentation, medical records, or information we have observed. We want to make sure you know as much as we do because we want the dog you adopt to fit your home for life. 


Before you apply, please be sure you meet all of these criteria:

  • You are 18 years of age or older and legally able to enter into binding contracts.
  • You can afford to care for your dog independently. (Expect to spend at least $500 a year on food, medical care, supplies, grooming, treats, toys, bedding, etc., not counting emergency care needs.)
  • Your yard is completely fenced, your fence is in good repair and is at least 5′ and preferably 6′ high, and your outside gates are always securely locked.
  • You will house your Doberman in your home and not outdoors.
  • If you live in an apartment or a home owners’ association (HOA), you have a letter from your landlord or HOA Board authorizing you to keep a Doberman Pinscher at your residence. (This is an insurance policy for you in case of a change in management.)
  • You are truly ready to adopt a rescue Doberman at this time, assuming the right Doberman is available, of course.
  • You are not currently working with another rescuer or breeder. (We are an all-volunteer organization.  Please respect our volunteers’ time and attention.)

Thank you!

Other things to know

  • Generally we prefer to place dogs within a day’s drive of Phoenix. If you’re an exception and we drive to you to do a home visit or to transport a dog, you’ll pay reasonable out-of-pocket costs related to the dog’s transport and your home visit. These may include overnight room and board for our representative if driving time and distance warrant it.
  • We rarely place dogs into homes with children under the age of 8.
  • We  won’t place a dog that will be left alone for 8 or more hours 5 or more days a week.
  • We rarely place a male with another large-breed male dog, or a female with another large-breed female dog.
  • We’ll visit with your family, including your pets, before we agree to adopt to you, and we may revisit your home at any time to ensure the dog’s wellbeing.
  • Any violation of the adoption contract or the requirements on this page will result in our repossessing the dog.
  • We are not and will not be held liable for anything related to the dog or its actions once the dog is in your possession and the adoption contract has been signed.
  • We will refuse to adopt to anyone when we believe that’s in the dog’s best interests.
  • By contract, you are adopting from us, not purchasing a dog. The dog we adopt to you remains the legal property of DHDR and must be returned to DHDR if at any time you wish to relinquish him or her.
If you have questions or need clarification about our process, please contact us. We’d love to talk with you.