After you adopt your pet(s) from North Star Rescue, we are still here to help you if you have any questions that arise about your new pets. Below you will find information to help you get off to a good start with your newly adopted animals.

Bringing Your New Pet Home


Habitat Set Up

If at all possible, we recommend having your pet's habitat set up and ready for them before you pick them up from one of our rescue's locations. This way when you get home with your new pet(s), you can move them directly into their new habitat and start letting them get acclimated to their new home, instead of waiting inside the carrier while you build their cage.


We recommend bringing along a chew-proof carrier of a suitable size for the animals you are adopting from our rescue. For rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and adult rats, a small cat carrier can work very well. For smaller animals such as baby rats, hamsters or mice, a secure wire carrier with very small bar spacing, or a plastic carrier such as a critter keeper that provides ventilation can be a safe carrier to use for your new pet. We recommend covering the flooring of the carrier with either fabric that won't slip and slide, such as a small scrap of carpet, or enough bedding to absorb any fluid in the carrier.

If you are travelling a short distance (less than one hour) from the point where you have adopted your pet to your home, your pet will likely be fine without any food or water until they get home with you. If you are travelling a longer distance (more than one hour), we recommend bringing some food and water to keep your pet full and hydrated. Never hook up a water bottle to a carrier when it is being moved, as the motion will cause it to leak and soak your animal's carrier. Instead, you can offer them water from a bottle at rest stops on the road, or you can provide fruits or vegetables for hydration such as cucumbers, romaine lettuce, carrots, apples or tomatoes. Remember to take your pet's dietary needs into consideration when feeding a hydrating food, for example a chinchilla with a very sensitive digestive tract should not have large amounts of fruits and vegetables and should instead be given plain water.

The First Day Your Pet Comes Home

Remember that the first day you have adopted your pet has been a very long day for a small animal! We recommend giving them some quiet time to get aquainted with their new habitat and that you keep handling to a minimum to allow your pet to settle in at home. While it can be very exciting to have a new pet at home, it is also important to remember that a majority of small animals are nocturnal and the first day often greatly distrupts their sleeping schedule. Allow your new pet a quiet day to rest, relax, and get to know the sights and scents of their new home.

Introductions to Other Pets

If you have other pets of any species in your current household, we recommend that you temporarily quarantine your new pet away from others until they have acclimated to your home. Quarantine needs vary from species to species, so if you are unfamiliar with quarantine needs for the species you are adopting please be sure to discuss it with one of our volunteers at the time of adoption or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

If you are introducing your newly adopted pet(s) to animals of the same species, it is VERY important to be sure that the animals are of the same gender, or that at least all animals of one gender (male or female) have been neutered/spayed. Rabbits, Chinchillas, Guinea Pigs, Rats and Mice can be introduced to each other, and some social species of dwarf hamsters can be introduced to each other, but syrian hamsters should ALWAYS be kept solitary. Never introduce your animals in a cage that is already territory for one of the animals involved, instead you should always introduce your animals in a neutral territory where neither animal's scent is dominant. Introduction techniques vary from species to species, if you are unfamiliar with doing introductions of small animals please discuss it with one of our volunteers at the time of adoption or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

If you plan to introduce your new small animal to an animal of another species, it is important to determine if it will be a safe introduction first. There are several special considerations to remember before planning an introduction. Remember that your small animals are prey animals, and larger animals such as cats and dogs may seem them as a possible toy or food item. Pet rats are also omniverous and will prey on animals smaller than them, so it is not safe to introduce your pet rat to a hamster or another smaller animal. Never leave your small animals unattended where another animal can reach them, or potentially knock over their cage and injure them. If you are not sure if you can introduce two animals of other species, please discuss it with one of our volunteers at the time of adoption or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Continued Support from the Rescue


14 Day Trial Period

When you adopt an animal from our rescue, we give you a 14 day trial period to take the animal home and see if they are the right match for you and your household. If for any reason you do not feel like you have found a good match in your new pet, you may contact us at any point during the first 14 days to request to return the animal for a refund of your adoption fee, or to exchange them with another animal you feel is a more suitable match for you at our rescue.

30 Day Trial Period when Bonding Animals

If you have adopted from our animal from our rescue to bond with an animal you own of the same species, we will extend the trial period to 30 days. This is to provide time for you to set up any necessary quarantine for your new animal coming in, and see if the animals are getting along well after you introduce them. If at any point during this time your newly adopted pet and your previous pet are not getting along, you may return your adopted pet to the rescue to exchange with a more suitable match, or request a refund of your adoption fee.

14 Day Health Guarantee

We provide a 14 day health guarantee for each animal adopted from our rescue, which covers any non-genetic illness that occurs. Please note that this health guarantee does not cover your newly adopted pet if they are injured in your care, or contract an illness from another animal you own or bring home after the adoption. If your pet becomes sick within 14 days after adoption, you may contact the rescue for help. At our option, we may request that you return the animal to our rescue for treatment through one of the veterinary offices we work with, or we may authorize you to take your adopted animal to one of our vets. Please note that we will not reimburse any medical fees if you take an animal to a vet without prior written notice from our rescue that we are agreeing to cover the medical expenses. Remember that any illness is best caught and treated as early as possible, if you have any concerns make an effort to contact us immediately so we can get you and your pet help quickly.

This health guarantee does not cover genetic disorders, such as cancer, epilepsy, megacolon, pituitary tumors, heart defects, and other genetic conditions.

An Open Door at the Rescue

If for any reason during your adopted pet's lifetime you are not able to keep them in your care, you may return them to the rescue. If your animal is healthy at the time you return them, there is no fee for returning them to the rescue. If the animal is sick when you return them and you are outside of the 14 day health guarantee, there may be a surrender fee to help offset the rescue's costs of treating your animal. This is to discourage people from adopting animals and returning them when they do not want to pay veterinary fees. We may waive a surrender fee with proof of financial hardship, but this will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

If you are not able to keep your pet and need to return them to the rescue, please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There may be a waiting period to return your pet to our rescue if we do not currently have an open space available for them. Please allow at least two weeks so that we can stop intake of animals from shelters to allow a space to open back up for the animal you are returning.

Other Questions

If you have a question about health, behavior, habitats, care, or anything else about your newly adopted pet, remember we are here to help! The best way of contacting us is to send an e-mail to your local coordinator, visit our Contact Page to find the nearest foster home that can assist you with your questions.

Category: Adopt a Pet