Wolf Trap Animal Rescue

Merrifield, Virginia

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About Wolf Trap Animal Rescue

Operating since 2015, Wolf Trap Animal Rescue focuses on rescuing high-risk animals from euthanasia, neglect, and abuse. These animals primarily come from Mississippi, where hundreds of young animals are euthanized daily due to overpopulation. Lack of spay/neuter laws and large sections of rural land allow free-roaming animals to reproduce. Starving puppies and kittens are found and brought to local animal shelters, which simply can't provide the care or homes these pets need to survive. Ultimately, they get euthanized for space or due to illnesses contracted at the shelter. There simply aren’t enough people to adopt.

Wolf Trap Animal Rescue helps these animals by operating a life-saving transport, foster, and adoption program. Each week they relieve the shelters and communities from overcrowding and needless euthanasia by redirecting the intake of young, at-risk animals from the other shelters to Wolf Trap Animal Rescue. They're one of the only veterinarian-led animal rescue organizations with the primary focus being on the health of their animals. There’s an extensive 21-day veterinary quarantine in specialty-trained foster homes that allows for any potentially life-threatening illnesses to be immediately detected and screened out.

The foster program is designed to ensure the health of the pet and allow people to experience life with an animal before making the life-long commitment to adopt. Foster caregivers not only have priority in adopting, but also get to interview and select which home they feel would be the best fit for the animal in their care.

Contact Info

(703) 638-2531
Website: wtarescue.com

Hours of Operation

Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat - Sun: Closed

Adoption Process

Wolf Trap Animal Rescue’s adoption process is as follows:

  1. Have a look through all the lovely animals waiting for adoption on the website.
  2. Complete an adoption application, which includes a non-refundable $25 fee.
  3. Your application will be reviewed, and you might be contacted with a few more questions.
  4. Submit a meet and greet request that specifies the name of the animal you’re interested in adopting. This request is sent to the foster carer, who’s currently caring for the pet.
  5. The foster family will be in touch within 24-48 hours.
  6. Be patient. The process can take up to 2 weeks as foster families often have a meet and greet with several applicants. Adoption is a lifetime commitment, and having all members of the family on board and present at the meet and greet (including the four-legged ones!) can be essential to a smooth transition into a new forever home.
  7. Time to finalize the adoption? Complete the paperwork and pay the adoption fee.
  8. Finally it’s time to move your new furry friend from its foster home to its forever home.

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at Wolf Trap Animal Rescue are as follows:


  • Adults/Puppies: $475


  • Adults/Kittens: $225

Your adoption fee covers spay/neuter surgery, appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, deworming, flea/tick control, heartworm prevention for dogs, and 30 days post-adoption insurance.

This fee isn’t meant to cover costs incurred on a per-pet basis, but to cover the costs of all overhead expenses required to rescue these animals. This includes transport, personal protective equipment, employee expenses, medical expenses for critical care pets, food, and all foster supplies provided while in foster care.

Adoption Process & Fees

Our writing team is hard at work researching this shelter's adoption process and fees, so this page will be updated soon!

In the meantime, here's some nice-to-know info that applies to nearly every animal shelter, humane society, and rescue.

Why Rescue A Shelter Dog?

Because shelter dogs are full of love!

Is it because they know you saved them and love you harder for it?

I can't say for certain, but yes.

Jokes aside, there are three things all shelter dogs need to thrive in their new home:

  1. Love
  2. Patient
  3. Training

Older shelter dogs, generally 1+ years old, may have experienced a lot of trauma, which often results in one of 8 common behavioral issues:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Aggression toward people & pets
  3. Resource guarding
  4. Destructive behavior
  5. Housetraining regression
  6. Poor social skills
  7. Leash reactivity & barrier-related aggression
  8. Constant whining

These issues are correctable! Your dog isn't broken, they're just damaged. You can fix them with enough love, patience, and a good training plan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, finding good dog trainers can be hard. Like everything else, dog training is moving only. but there are great online dog trainers that are proven to work and can help get your new pup on the right path.

Animal Shelter vs Humane Society vs Rescue: What's the Difference?

You can learn a lot about an animal welfare organization just by looking at their name.

Animal Shelters

  • Most Animal Shelters are city or county-run organizations, often operated by the local Animal Control department, that manage strays and handle owner surrenders.
  • They usually have kennel facilities you can visit to adopt animals, and they usually have less stringent adoption requirements, lower adoption fees, and same-day adoptions (because their goal is to get animals out of the shelter).
  • Unfortunately, they usually know very little about each animal, including their true personalities and any behavioral problems.

Humane Societies

  • Most Humane Societies are non-profit organizations, many of which are no-kill shelters.
  • Some (but not all) are affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States.
  • They exist to improve animal welfare in the local community and often partner with city or county-run Animal Shelters that often euthanize animals due to capacity restraints.
  • They usually have kennel facilities, sometimes at multiple locations, and usually offer other services to the community such as low-cost spay/neuter clinics, community education programs, and more.
  • They may also have some animals in foster care.
  • There's a lot of variation in process and fees among Humane Societies, but they usually have really good websites that detail everything for you.


  • Most Rescues are foster-based organizations that don't have physical facilities.
  • They usually have websites and contact emails, but not all of them have phone numbers.
  • Because they don't have a physical facility, you need to view animals in their foster network online, usually on their website but sometimes on their member pages on either PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.
  • If you see an animal you'd like to meet, contact the rescue using the process listed on their website or via email. They'll help you through the application process and set up a time for you to meet the animal at the foster's home.
  • Adopting from a rescue generally is the most expensive option here and takes the longest, but you get an animal that's been cared for in a loving home environment and their foster can tell you a lot about their personality.

6 Tips to Improve Your Adoption Experience

Adoption processes vary drastically from organization to organization, but here are some general tips that apply in most instances. Note that we'll use the term "shelters" here for simplicity but it includes all types of rescue organizations.

  1. See an animal online that you'd like to meet? Call the shelter before your visit to make sure the animal is still available. This especially applies for puppies, which are adopted out quickly.
  2. Usually, you'll need to get some paperwork in order: a photo ID, vaccination/medical records for any pets you currently have, possibly your vet's contact info and a couple of personal references, and (for renters) proof you're allowed to have a pet (copy of your lease or your landlord's contact info).
  3. If you need to provide contact info for your vet, let your vet know ahead of time. Otherwise, they may not release your information.
  4. Many shelters require your current dogs to meet adoptive dogs. Your current dogs need to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Some shelters require you to schedule a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment for the new animal.
  6. Adoption fees may seem excessive, but they're actually amazing values. Truthfully, caring for a pet is expensive. Most adoption fees include required medical care to get the animal ready for their new home including (but not limited to) spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, general vet exams, flea/tick treatment, deworming, heartworm testing/treatment for dogs, and feline leukemia and feline AIDS testing/treatment for cats. In general, your adoption fee is less than the cost of this care, so you're saving money in addition to your new animal's life!

If you have any questions about adopting an animal (what you'll need, what to expect, etc.) feel free to contact the PetLists team!

For more information about what's included in your adoption fee, or any other questions about the adoption process, reach out to
Wolf Trap Animal Rescue
directly using the contact info above.

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All information on this page is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge. If you spot an error, please contact us using our contact form.
Note: Hours of operation and other information on this page are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.