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Adopting a Border Collie

So, you think you want to adopt a rescued Border Collie? Please read this ENTIRE PAGE before going on to our adoption application, as rescued Border Collies are not right for everyone, and the process takes time and patience.

Our Adoption Process

Adopting a dog from NEBCR is a process that takes time. We recommend that you submit your application even BEFORE you find a dog on our website that is a potential match. We often have approved adopters waiting for some time for the right dog to come along, and you may miss out if you wait until a dog appears to submit your application.

The 3 items below are required for ALL NEBCR adoptions:

Please read ALL the information below BEFORE completing an application. Your application will be reviewed by our committee, and you will be notified as to whether you have been approved or not.

NOTE: we will NOT accept applications from people under the age of 18. If you are 18 year old or younger, you MUST ask your parent or guardian to fill out the application for you and be the person that interacts with us. We will not place a dog with a child that does not have their parents' or guardian's complete cooperation.

The application we receive must be submitted by the person adopting the dog. We will not adopt dogs to third parties, or to be given as gifts.


PLEASE NOTE: At this time our policy is to only adopt dogs to people within our coverage area of ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT and eastern NY state. Please see below for more information.

Once your application is approved, it will be kept on file and made available to NEBCR rescue contacts*. Once a suitable match comes into rescue, you can feel free to contact that dog's rescue person for more information and to express your interest. If the rescue person believes that you are a good potential match for that dog, he/she will request that a home visit be conducted by one of our volunteers.


Fences are required on a CASE-BY-CASE BASIS, depending on your living situation and most importantly, the individual dog. Those that DO require a fence, will be noted as such in their bios.

If you do not have a fenced yard (and are not willing to install a fence), please do not inquire about these particular dogs. You should also note that not all dogs requiring fences are good candidates for invisible (electronic/radio) fences. Please discuss this with the dog's rescue contact.

If you are planning to fence your yard and are interested in a dog that we have noted requires one, we will not schedule your home visit until your fence is fully installed.

For more information on why a fence is a great idea to help keep ANY canine companion safe and happy for years to come, read our article "Why a Fence".

If you have any questions about the type of fencing required, or if your particular situation meets the criteria, please feel free to contact us for more information. If your question pertains to a particular dog, please address your question to that dog's rescue contact.

*While we do occasionally receive requests from other rescue groups to share home visit reports (and will do so with the applicant's permission), we feel that it is the responsibility of each individual rescue group to properly screen their own adopters according to their specific policies and operating procedures. Any application submitted to NEBCR is kept private to the group, and your information will not be shared elsewhere.

Sometimes a dog will be available right away that is the perfect match for you. But more likely, you will have to wait for the right dog to come along. New dogs are coming into rescue all the time, but if you are not willing to wait, please consider another option.

So... is adopting a Border Collie from NEBCR right for you and your family? Read on and find out...

Border Collies are a difficult breed, and are not suited to everyone

Border Collies are not your typical household pet that is willing to lie about and be a couch potato. They require a lot of exercise and attention. Before you consider getting this breed, please learn about what it is like to live with a Border Collie.

You may find information about the breed on our web page IS A BORDER COLLIE FOR YOU? and Carole Presberg's Border Collie Museum

What are the typical rescued Border Collies like?

Most dogs in rescue tend to be between the ages of about 10 months and 3 years. We very rarely get puppies. We often have older dogs between the ages of 4 and 10. Please be aware that the Border Collie is a very slow-maturing breed, and dogs between 4-8 are still VERY active. In fact even dogs of 10 or 12 years of age are usually still willing and able to fetch, go for long walks and race around the yard. Furthermore, this is a very long-lived breed, generally averaging 12-15 years or more. When you rescue a Border Collie, you are not only getting yourself a companion, but you are doing a good deed and helping a dog in need. So please, consider an older dog.


We believe that rescue dogs should not be bred under ANY circumstances! There are more than enough Border Collies being bred by responsible breeders, and FAR too many being bred by irresponsible backyard breeders and puppy mills - which the large number of dogs that come into rescue each month will attest to. We spay or neuter EVERY dog before placement unless s/he is too young. However, if we should place a dog with you that has not been spayed or neutered for any reason whatsoever, you will be required to sign a spay/neuter contract and have the operation done yourself within a short time of the adoption. Dogs placed with a spay/neuter contract will be required to pay an additional deposit over and above the adoption fee, which will be returned to you when we receive a copy of the spay/neuter certificate.

WE DO NOT HAVE A LIST OF "GOOD BREEDERS" THAT WE CAN REFER YOU TO. One hallmark of ANY good breeder is that s/he considers themselves responsible for every dog that they bring into the world, and will take that dog back at any time, for any reason. Therefore, it is the nature of rescue that we hardly ever come into contact with breeders that we can feel comfortable referring anyone to.

We recommend that you do extensive research before purchasing a puppy from ANY breeder, and it is our opinion that you should NEVER purchase a puppy from a pet store or one of the many online "puppy mills" that are producing far too many poorly bred dogs that go on to have myriad physical and behavioral problems and are flooding our shelters and rescue groups.

We hope that you will really consider all the benefits of adopting a rescued border collie, but if you have your heart set on buying a puppy, contact us for tips on everything to look for in a good breeder.

Training and Socialization

We believe that all dogs need to be trained in order to be good citizens. Adopters will be required to enroll in and participate in a basic obedience class with many of the dogs that we place. We will refund $50 of your adoption fee once this requirement is met and you return a copy of the graduation certificate to us.

Acquiring a Dog

WE DO NOT SHIP RESCUE DOGS. At this time our policy is to only adopt dogs to people within our coverage area of ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT and eastern NY state. We do occasionally make exceptions for special situations - typically very hard to place dogs that require a very specific type of home. For those situations, we must be able to get a Border Collie rescue worker in your area to do a home visit, AND you must be willing to come to New England to meet/pick up the dog yourself. If you are not sure if we can adopt to you based on your location, please contact us at before completing an application.

Please note that there are Border Collie rescue organizations located all over the U.S. and Canada. We encourage you to adopt a dog from a rescue close to you. If you are having trouble finding one, please contact us, we would be happy to help.

Matching Dogs with Owners

It is our responsibility to place each of our dogs with the home best suited to them, regardless of the order in which applications are received. Rescue is not a "first come, first serve" situation, and we appreciate your understanding that our goal is always to provide the best possible home we can for each dog we have, so that they never have to come into rescue again.

Contrary to what many may think, not every dog is suited to every home, no matter how good or loving a family is. That is why our goal is to get to know both you and our dogs as well as we possibly can, to make sure that EVERYONE lives happily every after.

While we completely understand how easy it is to fall in love with a photo or a sad story (we all do it ourselves!), we hope that you will also understand our commitment to our dogs is our sole purpose for doing this work, and that we must do what we feel is in the lifelong best interest of each and every dog. Please also understand that you are likely not the only applicant for a particular dog and it is often our difficult task to try and make the best match for that dog. That is no reflection on you as an adopter, and these are not decisions we take lightly. We thank you for your understanding.

Home Visit

Once you have an approved application on file (see above), if a dog comes along that seems right for you and that you are interested in, please contact that dog's rescue person. If they believe you are potentially a suitable match for that dog, we will schedule a home visit. One of our volunteers will come to your home and meet with you and your family to make sure that this will be the best of all possible matches, both for you and for the dog. We require that all people living in the home are present for the home visit.

Adoption Fee

THERE IS AN ADOPTION FEE FOR EVERY NEBCR DOG AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION. The one exception is Senior dogs eligible for our Senior to Senior program. Currently our base adoption fee for adult dogs is $250, but please ask the rescue contact for the particular dog you are interested in what the fee is for that dog.

PLEASE NOTE: If you adopt a puppy from us under 6 months old, there will be an additional $300 spay/neuter deposit required on top of the adoption fee. This will be returned to you upon confirmation that the spay/neuter has been done within the agreed upon timeframe.

This fee allows NEBCR to make sure that ALL our rescue dogs have been spayed, neutered, microchipped and are current on all vaccines and ongoing heartworm and flea/tick prevention. It also helps us to provide medical care as needed while the dog is in rescue, beyond just "the basics" - such as hip surgery and other special cases where a dog's quality of life is directly affected by his/her physical health. While some vets do offer our volunteers a somewhat discounted rate on their foster dogs (and we thank them VERY much for this!) vet care is expensive, and contrary to what some may think, NEVER free.

The adoption fee also allows us to provide much needed training for our volunteers, as well as for our adoptable dogs when needed. This can be anything from a basic obedience class to a herding test to determine if a dog has true potential as a working dog, allowing us to place that dog in a suitable home. It is a fact that our adoption fees alone are not enough and we conduct many fundraisers throughout the year (as well as our online store and donations) to ensure that every one of our rescue dogs that needs help and care, receives it. (Please see above for circumstances under which you will be refunded a portion of your fee)

Adoption Application

Pet ownership is a major responsibility and a lifelong commitment, and not to be taken lightly. In an effort to make the best possible match between you and a dog, we ask that you take the time fill out our comprehensive questionnaire and expect to spend time discussing it before the adoption is complete. If you find this process too involved or invasive, then adopting a dog from NEBCR is probably not a good fit for you and you may want to pursue other avenues of obtaining a dog.

Congratulations for making it this far!

If you have decided that, despite everything we said above, you still want to adopt a dog from us, we welcome you FILL OUT OUR ONLINE APPLICATION.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE 800# TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION unless you do not have internet access.

If you wish to check on the status of your completed application, please email us at Do not call the 800# unless you do not have access to email. This phone line is intended for emergencies and dog relinquishments only.

Please note that we are an all-volunteer organization, and do our best to keep up with the sometimes dozens of applications we receive each week. Applications review can take a week or more, so please be patient. If you do not hear from us after that time, please email us at to make sure that we received your application - as internet technology is not always reliable.


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