Snapshot of the screening, evaluation, matching and placement process:

  • In-shelter screening - DITR and shelter associates work together to identify a dog that will thrive in the applicant’s household. An 'Ideal Dog Profile', developed by DITR and based on an in-depth questionnaire, home visit, and follow-up interviews with applicants and their families, is used to guide this search.
  • In-Home Evaluation (IHE)  - DITR associate fosters dogs for up to 30 days
    • Shelter provides food, monthly preventatives, and medication if needed.
    • Dogs are evaluated, trained, and socialized. 
    • Dogs and shelters are promoted through the use of social media and community-based outings.
  • Matching - Based on the results of the In-Home Evaluation dogs are matched with pre-screened and approved applicants that can best meet their health and wellness needs.
  • In-home orientation and placement:
      • DITR trainers set dogs and families up for success by:
        • Reviewing individualized plans for supporting health and wellness developed during the dog’s IHE period.
        • Demonstrating commands and routines with the dog.
        • Coaching family members as they learn and practice commands and routines with the dog.
        • Providing detailed reference materials including written plans to support health, wellness, and training specific to their dog.  As an added step to ensure that adoptive families communicate clearly and set fair and reasonable expectations for their dog’s level of knowledge and behaviors from the outset, we include links to a video library of their dog performing commands and routines with the dog’s trainer. 
    •  Applicants submit customary shelter adoption fees.  Some shelters offer special discounts such as a veterans discount to support those we serve.
  • DITR provides weekly check-ins for the first 30 days, including drop in support as needed followed by ongoing follow-up services to support the placement long-term. 

Summary of Our Process:

Dog wearing "adopt me" kerchief

Diamonds in the Ruff of Virginia, Inc. (DITR) is committed to improving the lives of dogs in need by reducing barriers to adoption through screening, evaluation, and training and by carefully matching them with individuals and families that will provide happy, healthy, and loving forever-homes. Dedicating ample time and effort to getting to know applicants and dogs is our first step toward honoring this commitment. 

DITR thoroughly screens individuals and families wishing to be matched with one of our Diamond Dogs. Each applicant is required to complete a multiple-step screening process for approval which includes submission of a detailed application, personal and veterinarian reference checks, and a home visit and interview with all members of the household. As part of the matching process, dogs are also taken to applicants’ homes to meet all family members, including pets.  

In order to give dogs the time and attention they require to show us who they are and what they want and need in terms of an 'ideal home' we work closely with knowledgeable professionals and volunteers in our local shelters, rescues, and animal control organizations.

Collaboration with these organizations and DITR begins with sharing what we refer to as an 'ideal dog profile'.  This profile contains detailed information about the type of dog that we feel will thrive in the household of one of our pre-approved applicants and is based on a thorough assessment of our applicants’ needs and desires related to an 'ideal dog' as well as their lifestyle, household dynamics, and their ability to manage a dog’s needs.

dog sittingOnce a dog is identified as a potential match, DITR representatives will perform a brief in-shelter screening to assess traits such as temperament, energy level, and the response of the dog to various people and animals.

Dogs that successfully complete in-shelter screening are accepted into our program to begin a more in-depth period of evaluation, socialization, and training referred to as the In Home Evaluation period (IHE).  The IHE takes place in the home of a volunteer foster arranged by DITR and lasts for up to 30 days. During this time dogs remain in the legal custody of their shelter organization and fosters complete any required applications for these organizations prior to accepting dogs into their home. Collaborating organizations provide a 30 day supply of food and monthly preventatives and remain responsible for veterinary care for dogs if needed.

DITR places equal importance on the needs of dogs and applicants throughout the matching process. In order to ensure that dogs in our program have every opportunity to find the best possible home DITR promotes dogs and our collaborating partners throughout the IHE period through use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, adoption sites such as Petfinder and Adopt A Pet, and through use of 'adopt me' apparel which dogs wear during regularly scheduled community-based outings. These efforts result in positive advertising for our collaborative partners and help to generate 'wait lists' of interested adoptive families for dogs, enabling us to quickly and easily broaden our search for the right home for each dog.

Dogs successfully completing IHE are matched with approved applicants. As part of our overall strategy of setting up dogs for success the dog’s foster and/or trainer will schedule an in-home orientation and placement visit with the adoptive family. During this visit the dog’s foster/trainer will provide written plans for supporting the dog’s health and happiness based on their time with the dog. This includes a plan for meeting the dog’s needs in the areas of exercise, grooming, feeding, and routine and preventative health care. Details about games and activities the dog enjoys and any cute or endearing quirks will be shared as well.  In addition, the foster/trainer will review and demonstrate commands and games that the dog has learned and will provide a video library of the dog performing these activities for future reference.  

dog wearing graduation cap that says #1 gradOur goal is to set our Diamond Dogs and their people up for long-term success through careful screening, evaluation, matching, placement and follow-up support. Each dog’s Foster Trainer will check in with adoptive families on a weekly basis and will provide telephone or in-person support as needed during the first 30 days of placement. DITR associates will remain available for consultation thereafter. 

Following orientation the adoptive parties complete and submit adoption agreements for the dog’s shelter and submit customary adoption fees both of which will be delivered to the shelter by a DITR representative.