Thank you for your interest in adopting a Labrador Retriever. We are always happy to help! SCLRR is a non-profit rescue, adoption and referral organization, dedicated to placing unwanted and abandoned Labradors in new homes. We are 100% volunteer-run. Our goal is to match each of our rescued Labs with just the right family in the hopes that each new home will be a permanent one.

Currently we serve most of Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties. We also serve the coastal communities of Santa Barbara County from Goleta south to the Ventura County border and, in the southwestern corner of San Bernardino County we serve the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga—dependent on volunteer availability. Sorry, but SCLRR is unable to accept applications from residents of Riverside, San Diego, Kern, or San Luis Obispo Counties, or cities in San Bernardino County that are not listed above. We also cannot accept applications from residents of other parts of California or from out-of-State residents.

For more information and other resources, including a list of Lab Rescue groups that operate in areas in which we do not, please see our AREAS WE SERVE page.

Nearly all of the Labs that become available for adoption are adult dogs. We rarely have dogs under a year old. Most of the dogs we place are between two and six years of age. We often have older dogs, too—and we think the seniors are simply the greatest companion animals! Click Adopting an Older Dog and read the benefits of choosing a senior Lab. BTW, young yellow female Labs seem to be most frequently requested; if this is what you want, be prepared to wait.

No service, therapy/comfort, hunting or other working dogs. We are very sorry but we cannot accept applications from individuals, families or organizations seeking a Lab that would be ANY type of service, therapy/comfort, hunting or other working dog. We are also unable to accept applications from group homes or other institutional settings. We expect of our Labs only to be family pets/companion animals.

Puppies? Since SCLRR so rarely has puppies under 6 months of age, we do not accept adoption applications from individuals or families seeking only to adopt a puppy. By far the best place to find a rescued puppy for your family is your local animal shelter.

We want you to be aware that we do charge a $450 adoption fee for our younger foster dogs (age 6 years and under) and $150 for our more senior ones (dogs 7 years and up). Adoption fees are necessary; without them, we would not be able to continue our rescue work.

The adoption fees help us cover the following costs (this is just a small sample of possible expenses we incur):

  • taking a dog out of the shelter
  • transporting it to a foster home
  • temporary boarding
  • spay/neuter
  • microchipping
  • immediate veterinary expenses such as vaccinations, worming, antibiotics for kennel cough, treatment of ear infections, etc.
  • occasionally we provide very expensive procedures and diagnostics such as orthopedic surgeries, skin grafts, x-rays, blood tests, emergency treatment, behavioral training, etc.

Of course, not all dogs in our care incur $450 in expenses, but many others go well over this amount before they are considered adoptable.

Dogs being placed through their owners or directly from the shelters may involve their own fees and do not incur our adoption fee.

Our mission, besides rehabilitating and rehoming Labradors, includes educating the public about Labradors, and any funds left over go towards meeting this goal.

While every effort has been made to evaluate the dogs we place for good health and non-aggressive dispositions, we do not have the manpower to assess each dog in all situations. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the temperament or the physical soundness of the dogs placed through SCLRR. Most Labradors have been examined by a veterinarian and all have been evaluated in home-like settings. All should be handled carefully until their new owners better know their dispositions and until their reactions to stressful situations (such as thunderstorms, holiday fireworks, off-leash exercises) have been observed. In any case, no dog of any breed, age, or disposition should ever be left alone with a child.

You are under no obligation to accept any dog referred to you by SCLRR. If you feel a dog is not right for you, we will continue to refer other dogs that we feel may be suitable. We may also refer you to a local shelter to see a dog. You would then need to go through the shelter’s adoption process, and pay any required fees. If you are notified about a dog in the shelter, please respond promptly. They don’t keep them very long, usually less than a week.

Please be aware that we expect nothing more of the Labs we place than to be good companion animals/family pets. For this reason, we cannot accept applications from individuals or organizations seeking a Lab expected to perform as any type of service, therapy, hunting or other working dog. And, since it is our intent to place dogs where they will permanently bond with an individual or a family, we cannot accept applications from persons or facilities seeking a dog to live in a group home setting such as a retirement home, nursing home or halfway house.

There are 4 basic categories of dogs that SCLRR handles:

  1. Foster dogs – We foster a limited number of dogs at a time. These dogs are typically from local shelters. We keep each dog in a foster volunteer’s home for a minimum of a week, ensuring that the dog is spayed or neutered and vaccinated during this time. This period of fostering also allows us to evaluate the dog more thoroughly. These dogs are owned by SCLRR and there is a fee to adopt. We have limited funds for boarding other dogs that we rescue. We move these dogs out from boarding kennels and into foster homes before adopting them out. SCLRR does not operate nor own a kennel or adoption facility for viewing dogs.
  2. Owner Listed Dogs – There are owners who wish to place their dogs, but need help in finding families. We refer only our approved families to these people for potential adoption. However, the adoption itself is a third party contract between the owners of the dog and the potential adoptive home, and SCLRR is not involved except to help bring families together for potential adoptions. Owner Listed dogs are not SCLRR dogs so the SCLRR adoption fee does not apply to them. Important: Please note that in some cases, an owner might refuse to take the dog back in the event the adoption does not work out. Also, please understand that SCLRR is under no obligation to take a former Owner Listed dog into rescue.
  3. Courtesy listed dogs – These are dogs with other agencies and individuals, both public and private. They may include, but are not limited to, dogs in shelters as well as dogs found by individuals willing to do the rescue themselves. SCLRR provides contact details for these dogs, but is not in any other way involved—SCLRR does not perform a first-hand evaluation of any courtesy-listed dog. Essentially free ‘want ads,’ courtesy entries are automatically deleted two weeks after being posted. Unlike with the foster and owner-listed dogs above, is not necessary for you to complete an adoption application with us to meet a courtesy listed dog.
  4. Shelter Listings – Our volunteers perform shelter checks throughout Southern California. Sometimes we have taken the dog out of the cage and evaluated the animal to the best of our abilities, but sometimes we can only make assessments from outside of the cage. Oftentimes, there is some information available if the dog was an owner turn-in, but most of the time these dogs are strays without a known prior history. If you see a dog that interests you on our shelter listings, please act quickly as the shelter is only guaranteed to keep a dog for 5 days and then the dog is on ‘borrowed’ time. As with courtesy dog entries, it is not necessary for you to complete an adoption application with us to meet a shelter-listed dog.

The Process: If you desire to adopt a Labrador Retriever from SCLRR, you must fill out and submit an Adoption Application online. Shortly afterward, a copy of your completed application will be emailed to you for your records. You’ll then be contacted by one of our Family Coordinators, and the next step will be scheduling a homecheck for you. During the home visit we need to meet everyone in the family, see your home (and yard if you have one) and, when necessary, provide guidance on changes that would make the home safer for your new dog. (Note: If you rent your home, you will need to send the Family Coordinator your landlord’s permission to have a dog the size of a Labrador Retriever before a homecheck can be scheduled). Once your homecheck has been approved, you would then be able to meet and adopt a Lab from SCLRR.

At this time, we accept applications from residents of most areas within Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties and coastal Santa Barbara County. For more information, please see our AREAS WE SERVE page. We also serve, dependent on volunteer availability, a few portions of San Bernardino County—if you live in San Bernardino County please contact us before applying to see if we currently have a volunteer in your area.

Once a family has had their homecheck approved, they are added to the database of SCLRR-approved families. It is from this database that the Foster Parents select the match for the Lab they are fostering. If you are interested in a particular Lab, please notify your Family Rep who will contact the Foster Parent with your approved application and homecheck notes. Foster parents read through these applications and will likely call for a phone interview if they feel your family is a potential match for their foster Lab. If a Foster parent sets up a meeting for your family to meet their foster Lab, you will travel to their home. It is at this meeting that the adoption process may be finalized and you can take home your new addition!

It is the foster parent’s sole decision when placing a SCLRR foster dog.

Some important things to remember about the adoption process

  • It is important that you communicate as much about your family to the family rep as possible. Tell the rep what you want in a dog and why. The more the rep knows, the better the match; also, keep in mind, the more stipulations you put on color, gender, or age, the longer your family could wait for that ‘perfect’ Lab. It is our mission to educate families about Labs in general and we will share our experiences and knowledge about the breed during the adoption process.
  • The people who volunteer for SCLRR give their time freely. They do not receive pay or gratuities for the work they do. SCLRR volunteers are committed to showing respect to families throughout the adoption process and believe in helping families with their new dog regardless of where the dog is adopted from. In return, we ask families to respect our volunteers by communicating when requested, remaining friendly and open to information we pass on and keep appointments with foster/family reps when made.
  • Please remember that every day a foster dog is in one of our foster homes, there is another dog somewhere not getting saved. Please do not ask our foster homes to hold a dog for you while you are on vacation, etc. You must be prepared to adopt any dog you visit at the foster home on that day.
  • Many SCLRR volunteers have been doing this work with dogs and families for a very long time — perhaps over a decade. As a result, the volunteers have a good amount of experience with matching dogs and families. You may not agree with the suggestions that a family/foster rep gives you, but realize that these suggestions are based on years of experience. For example, you may want a dog less than a year old, but after the family rep hears about how your family situation is, the available time for training/exercise, and the experience at owning young Labradors, the family rep might suggest a dog closer to the age of 2-3 years of age — in other words, a more mature Lab. Labs are puppies until the approximate age of three. This recommendation is not to be taken as an insult, but rather an educated assessment on the probability for a successful adoption in your home.
  • We often hear families say that they want a Lab a year or younger in order for them to bond to the new family. This age limitation not necessary as Labs will bond to you at any age and they will act like they have always lived in your home. So, trying to force fit a young Lab into your home for this reason only, will normally only create misery for the dog and the family. Please remember that the average life span for Labs is approximately 12 years of age. If you get a dog at the age of 3, you will not think back when they are 12 years old that things would have been better if you had adopted him when he was one year of age. You want it to be a good match — not a force fit. Young Labradors can require excessive amounts of training, exercise and your attention. They usually give their foster families a run for their money! From our extensive experience, this time commitment is just not suitable for a lot of busy families — especially families with children under the age of 5. These families really need to concentrate on raising their kids and not try to train an active dog as well. Please take our word on this — your new Lab will bond to your family extremely quickly no matter how old they are. Maybe you’re an empty-nester and/or retired—please consider adopting one of our fabulous senior Labs—there are so many advantages to Adopting an Older Dog.
  • Our volunteers are often overextended in their time commitment to SCLRR. As a result, you have to be assertive and actively looking to get a Lab — do not depend on your family rep to call you with every newly-available dog. If you see a Lab on our site that interests you, contact your rep ASAP to get the contact information and set up an appointment to meet the dog. Often, Labs remain with our group only for two weeks, and some dogs are adopted after just one week. Please note that for this same reason, it is important that you submit an application to adopt, and have your homecheck approved, even before you see a Lab that interests you — so you will be already eligible to adopt when the right dog comes along.
  • You have to be willing to drive to meet a potential foster dog at the foster parent’s home. For example, you could potentially reside in Santa Barbara and be asked to drive to Anaheim to visit the Lab you are interested in. There are no exceptions about the potential travel you might be asked to do. We do not hold adoption events nor do we have a facility where you could visit several dogs at once. We do want to point out that 95% of our families do this drive only once and they go home with the dog they meet that day. Your time is almost never wasted because of the extensive conversations you will have with the foster before the appointment. These conversations will uncover any potential problems and we normally just think of the actual visit with our foster dog as a ‘love at first sight’ test. People usually comment that upon meeting their new dog for the first time, ‘it was like they already knew them.’
  • If you meet a foster dog and both you and the foster rep think it is a good match, you are free to adopt the dog at that time. You do not need any further approvals for this process.
  • We normally have several families looking to adopt from SCLRR at any given time. The foster parent will always choose the best matched family for their foster dog. If all things are equal among families and what they can offer a dog, the age of the application will then be considered. The decision for placement of a foster dog is up to the foster parent only.
  • The normal wait time for a family to adopt from SCLRR can be anywhere from 1 week to 2-3 months. Please have patience with the process! Your patience will not be in vain. The wait time could be due to wanting a specific age, color or gender or your family might have variables that need to be matched to a dog such as cat friendly, young children in the home, first time dog owner, and other characteristics that will require a specific type dog. We will never set up a dog or family to fail in adoption. We are not overly picky, but we are careful with our adoptions. We don’t believe in the idea of getting the dog into a home at any cost. We believe in quality placements at all times.

If you have any questions about our rescue program, please Contact Us.

Thank you for considering applying with Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue.