Shopping for pets is out. Pet adoptions are in! (Photo: Gary - Rafael Alamilla + Adriana Miltko)

Pet Adoption in Memphis

Guest post by Katie Pemberton, Community Engagement Specialist for Memphis Animal Services.

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to procure a new pet through pet adoption, there are many local places you can go to begin the search for your new friend. Adopting from a shelter like Memphis Animal Services (or one of our many rescue partners) not only saves a life, but gives these animals a second chance at finding happiness.  

mas pet adoption fees are very affordable

Adopting a pet at MAS will cost anywhere from $0 (if you take advantage of one of our fee-waived events) to $80 (if you adopt a puppy, kitten, or small dog under 30 lbs). Our average adoption fee is $40.

Elizabeth Owens adopted her cat Crybaby during our 12 Hours of Christmas adoption event in December 2021 when adoption fees were $12 and included a $50 Hollywood Feed gift card.

“She wasn’t afraid of me, and let me pet her with no problems,” Elizabeth said of meeting Crybaby for the first time. Although Elizabeth got a great deal on her adoption fee, she says she adopted from MAS “to save a life.”

That affordable pet adoption fee packs a whopping value that can’t be beat anywhere in town

The adoption fee includes:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchip
  • Vaccines
  • heartworm test for dogs (and treatment meds if needed)
  • FeLV test for cats
  • Collar/leash
  • Customized ID tag

Plus, there are hundreds of pets to choose—so you’re bound to find your match made in heaven. 

Pets of every size, age, breed, and temperament enter shelters and rescues every day.

William Sullivan was looking for a lab mix with a specific temperament, as his family is made up of a toddler, cat, and other dogs. They found Remi to be a perfect match.

“Remi has impressed us with how quickly he picked up basic commands and potty training,” William said. “We always adopt! There are too many pets that need a loving home.”

But don’t be surprised if you come to the shelter with one idea of who you’re looking for and leave with someone totally different! We encourage adopters to be open-minded about their criteria.

“We were originally looking for a puppy, but as we walked by Randall he put his paw up and whimpered at us,” said Karissa Stuart. “I knew we needed to learn more about him! He was so sweet during our meet-and-greet and was fabulous with my kids.”

Eight months later, Karissa says 3-year-old Randall has been the best addition to her family.  

“He loves pretending he’s a lap dog, keeping me company while I work from home, and has become our children’s fiercest protector.”

You can meet pets until you make a connection

Our staff and volunteers are there to help! We want to match you up with a dog or cat who is going to be a perfect fit for you, and we understand that when you know, you know.

John Webb was looking for a medium to large sized dog who was fairly calm and somewhat trained. He spent time with six dogs before finding “the one,” a 4-year-old, 52-lb brown and white male dog, who now answers to “Memphis.”

“Memphis is a velcro type dog, so he goes wherever I go in the house,” John said. “He’s my sidekick, so I take him to as many pet-friendly stores and restaurants that I can. Also, he helps me pick up my dry cleaning, and they pet him and give him treats!”

It’s the most ethical choice

Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats lose their lives in U.S. shelters every year simply because there’s nowhere for them to go. Pet overpopulation is a human-created problem, so it stands to reason that humans are also the solution. 

I beg you: at least LOOK at shelters, rescues, and to see if you can find a pet before going to a breeder or pet store.

“The cost associated with buying from a breeder/pet store was a big deterrent for us,” said Rafael Alamilla who adopted his dog Gary with his fiancee. “Not to mention the dodgy breeding practices that some of them have that makes identifying a reputable breeder difficult.”


I’ve heard so many stories from people who gave up on rescuing a pet because they were denied an adoption by a shelter or rescue for some arbitrary reason. Fortunately, things are changing as national best practices now recommend “open adoptions,” an approach that doesn’t have automatic “no’s” or “must-haves.” This is the approach we take at Memphis Animal Services, meaning that we won’t deny an adopter for not having a fenced yard, for being a first-time pet owner…the list goes on. While there are often specific pets with certain adoption criteria, we don’t have blanket policies that completely write off whole categories of adopters. Our adoption process is conversational—we want to learn what you’re looking for and what your lifestyle is like, and we’ll work together to determine what pet would be the best fit for you.

One pet currently reaping the benefits of the “Adopters Welcome” approach is Shiulla, a cat who was adopted by truck driver Ulise Petties. Sometimes nontraditional lifestyles or work situations can cause an adopter to be denied by shelters and rescue groups that don’t practice an “Adopters Welcome” approach. But Shiulla the truck cat lives a life many pets would dream of—she’s right there with her person all day every day on the road.

“I believe that animals are healing and spiritual beings, and I needed that in my life,” Ulise said. “What made me choose Shiulla, in particular, was the kind and endearing energy emanating from her. I’ve never felt anything so pure.”


To adopt from Memphis Animal Services, you can just show up seven days a week from 12-4pm at 2350 Appling City Cove. You can also check out available pets online. Questions? The best way to get in touch is to email us at or DM us on Facebook or Instagram

If you want to open your search up a bit further to other shelters and rescues, go to and put in your zip code to see all available pets in your area.

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