If you’ve ever wondered how to adopt an animal in Berlin, it’s time to get to know the Tierheim [Animal Shelter]! So many sweeties are waiting for love and their forever homes. With a bit of time and patience, the caregivers at Tierheim Berlin can match you up with your best buddy.
Although the Tierheim has this lovely information sheet in English, the other downloadable resources are only in German. It will be necessary to enlist a German speaker at some point, as the German-speaking staff are the ones who decide if it’s a good match. But not to worry, a lot of the essential information you can convey via text in your initial application form. Here’s a step-by-step guide through the process so you can properly prepare and plan.
Step One: Browse profiles for a match
Don’t let your dating app trauma deter you – these are the most honest and genuine matchmaking profiles you’ll come across. It is 100% in the animal shelter’s best interest to match an animal with the best-fitting owner and home. Each animal has a profile with a picture outlining its personality and needs. You can even set filters for things like animal size and what kind of home. IMPORTANT – animals are adopted every day and new animals are taken in every day. So check daily and keep an open mind for animals that haven’t been listed yet.
Step Two: Tell them you’re interested
Each profile has a form at the bottom to submit if you’re interested. This is only in German so we took the liberty of translating the questions into English. Read them through and take time to prepare your answers. This is more about you than the specific animal you’re inquiring about.
The caregivers will review your answers and tell you if they need more information. If you don’t hear back within a few working days, you can give them a call any day between 1-3 pm with a German speaker on the line with you to interpret. They’ll ask you about yourself and what you’re looking for in a pet. From there, you can set up an appointment to meet in person.
Step Three – Meet and greet
If you find an animal and want to visit them, the caregivers will ask that everyone in your household comes to meet the animal – also your dog, if you have one already. For this visit, you should plan 1 – 1.5 hrs. They do charge a fee for meeting the animal for the first time – this is to encourage only serious adoptions and prevent impulse purchases. This is where it’s crucial to bring a German speaker!
Step Four – Paperwork and terms
If you’ve met and are ready to adopt, there’s paperwork to fill out and an adoption fee. Some animals require multiple visits before they are ready to come home with you. Every animal is different and their caregivers know them the best! Don’t forget to bring proof of permission from your landlord as well if you rent.
Your new buddy will come with a complete health check, all vaccinations, a microchip and registration with the pet registry. If cats are not already sterilized, the cost of the surgery is included in the adoption fee and you can bring them back for that appointment at a later time. Dogs come home with you for a week-long trial initially. Only after that week is the adoption finalized.
If your animal has a pre-existing condition, the medication/treatment is provided for free by the shelter’s veterinary practice only. You can choose to go to a different vet, but it won’t be paid for by the Tierheim. This is something that I find especially lovely. All of these animals deserve love and care and the shelters really try to make that happen.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!
After reading through the whole website, I really get the feeling that they want to help you. You are not alone once you’ve adopted your animal and they want to help you make it work. Especially with special needs and older animals. They too deserve a loving family and home. But again, since most of the workers don’t speak English, it’s important to have a German-speaking friend with you to interpret for visits.
We are super happy to help you out with filling out or understanding paperwork and interpreting for you and your household. We can be on the line with you for the initial phone call. Set up a time with one of our coaches to make the call and book a translator to come with you on the day.