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Here are common questions you may have about our process

  • Where are you located?
    We are based in San Antonio, TX and have been conducting online adoptions since 2012. In that time, we have placed more than 5,200 dogs with their forever families using a model that has been proven over time. Applicants can see photos and videos, and once approved, they will speak with an Adoption Counselor who will match them with the right dog. In fact, 40% of the individuals that apply adopt a dog other than the one they listed on their application. That’s because we aren’t trying to adopt out dogs, we are trying to find the best match between dogs and adopters based on lifestyle, experience, personal preferences, and a host of other criteria. Our re-home rate (when a dog is returned) is less than 2%. We spend a great deal of time making sure our dog is the right fit for an individual or family.
  • I live in Texas. Can I adopt from EmBark? It looks like all your destinations are outside Texas.
    EmBark is a unique nonprofit that rescues and transports dogs from high-kill shelters in South Texas in order to help reduce the overpopulation problem in our state. Therefore, we do not conduct adoptions in Texas, but prefer that Texas residents who are interested in adopting a dog work with local shelters and rescues. Many of the local rescues in the state save dogs from the same shelters as EmBark, but do not have the resources to transport animals out of state. As a Texas resident, you are actively helping to reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned pets in our state by adopting from a local rescue or shelter.
  • Can I meet the dog before adoption?
    We do not hold same-day, in-store adoption events where you can come to meet and select a dog. We only transport dogs that have been pre-adopted and have families waiting to pick them up. For any of our dogs to make the trip, they must be adopted prior to leaving TX (so there is not an opportunity for an in person meeting prior to adoption). We understand our program is unique and many applicants want to meet a dog before adopting so we make our staff, previous adopters, pictures and videos available as a substitute for a hands on meeting. We encourage you to look at our website and Facebook page. We have videos and information about our process and adoption events, so you can see what it is like to adopt from us.
  • Are the dogs housebroken?
    We cannot guarantee any of our dogs are housebroken. Most of these dogs were strays and have not had to good fortune to have lived in a home prior to their arrival at Embark. They are outside in play groups during the day at our roam free rescue and only crated for lunch/nap and at night to sleep. All adopters should expect to have patience and work on housebreaking and basic training.
  • I'm looking for a hypoallergenic dog or a dog that does not shed much.
    Because we rescue our dogs from local shelters, we cannot guarantee their breed and thus, cannot guarantee whether they shed (and it sometimes depends upon the climate in which they live). While some may appear to have coats that are hypoallergenic or that don't shed much, they can still be mixed with a breed that will cause a reaction and/or shed. Based on the way our program works, it is not possible to meet the dog before adoption and test for an allergic reaction. As a courtesy and out of fairness to the dog, we ask that you be completely honest about your tolerance level with a dog to whom you are allergic or that sheds more than you would like. Applicants with a low tolerance for shedding and potential allergies to a dog are encouraged to adopt locally so they can meet the dog prior to adoption.
  • Do the dogs get along with cats?
    We do not have cats at our rescue, so we can't guarantee how any of our dogs will react. Like any introduction, it may take time, so we expect adopters with cats to have patience. Unfortunately, we have had far too many returned dogs due to the introduction/interaction with cats even though the adopters indicated throughout the application process that they would work through any compatibility and transition issues. As a courtesy, and out of fairness to the dog, we ask that you be completely honest about your tolerance level working through issues with a dog that chases or otherwise doesn't get along with your cat. If compatibility between the dog you wish to adopt and your cat is highly important and must be without issue, we encourage you to adopt locally so a meet and greet can be conducted locally or in your home prior to adoption.
  • What size will the dog be once s/he is full grown?
    Nearly every dog we save is from a city/municipal shelter, and therefore rarely, if ever, do we know their backgrounds, including breed, so we cannot guarantee their size once full grown.
  • Can we meet the transport along the route to pick up the dog?
    Transports are extremely time-sensitive with a scheduled destination and time determined long in advance. Weather, road conditions, traffic, and other unforeseen delays do occur, which makes arriving at a particular location along the way nearly impossible. In addition, any stop along the way reduces the amount of time available to do potty breaks and rest for the travel team, and jeopardizes our on-time arrival at the transport destination where 55-70 families are waiting for their dogs. Adopters must pick up at a scheduled transport destination.
  • There’s a transport scheduled in the future that I am interested in – when can I apply?
    We process applications for each transport 4-5 weeks prior to a scheduled trip.
  • Do you hold dogs for future Transports?
    No. We want our dogs to be adopted and join a family as quickly as possible. Therefore, we do not hold a dog for a future Transport. If you are interested in a particular dog, you must be able/willing to travel to our next scheduled destination. By the way, we typically see adopters from 8-10 different states each Gotcha Day.
  • Do you ship dogs?
    The only way our dogs travel is via our own trailer to a scheduled Transport destination. We do not ship or fly dogs – travel for any animal can be stressful and we prefer that our dogs are surrounded by familiar faces and cared for as they are at our rescue.
  • Can you help save a dog I found at a shelter in another state and transport him/her to me?
    EmBark is not a transporter. We are a rescue that personally transports our own dogs to the adopting families across the country.
  • How do I go about adopting one of your dogs?
    Please go to the How to Adopt page that appears under the Adoption tab on the menu bar above for specific details about the adoption process.
  • I need to find a home for my dog – can you help?
    EmBark is a rescue dedicated to saving dogs from high-kill shelters in South Texas. Over the last eight years we have saved more than 5,200 dogs who faced the imminent danger of euthanasia at a city/municipal shelter. That is, and will always be, our mission – to help those high-risk dogs who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, and mistreated. And while we understand there are those who need to give up a pet due to a variety of circumstances, Embark reserves its space for those who are in jeopardy of being euthanized due to the lack of space and/or resources at a city/municipal shelter.
  • I don’t see any Pit Bulls being adopted on Gotcha Day?
    EmBark rescues all breeds – Chihuahuas, Terriers, Bully Breeds, and everything in between. At any one time, you can find Pit Bulls in our program and available for adoption. The average length of stay for one of EmBark Dogs at our rescue is 35 days… the average length of stay for our Pit Bulls is 11 months. And while we understand that a Pit Bull is a very misunderstood breed, we cannot force or compel approved applicants to adopt a specific breed of dog. We do, however, encourage Pit Bull fans to share and promote our website in order to help locate a forever home for those Pit Bulls in our program.
  • When are you coming to (fill in the blank)?
    Our schedule is posted conspicuously at the bottom of our homepage ( and you can quickly see all our Transport destinations, both previous and forthcoming. We post our schedule for the upcoming year in December. If your application is approved, you would need to travel to a scheduled destination.
  • What should I bring with me for Gotcha Day if I’ve been approved for adoption?
    If your application is approved, and you have paid your adoption fee, you will receive a detailed email from EmBark about “Gotcha Day” a few days prior to our arrival. The email contains information regarding arrival times, contact numbers, registration at the event, introducing your dog into his/her new home, behavior following transport, etc. If you have any additional questions after reading the email, please contact your Adoption Manager.
  • What brand of dog food do you use at the rescue? I want to keep them on the same brand.
    We feed all our dogs Kirkland Brand from Costco. It’s a high-quality, high-protein kibble that all our dogs seem to love. If you do not have a Costco nearby, or if you do not have a membership, you can purchase a bag of Simply Nourish at PetSmart on Gotcha Day.
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