Below are some of the common questions we get asked and hopefully you'll find the answer to your query here. If not, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you with an answer as soon as we can.
How do I adopt a dog?
- Complete an adoption questionnaire which can be found here
- A member of the Rehoming Team will be in touch to discuss your application
- If we have a match we’ll arrange an appointment to meet the dog
- If that goes well the adoption process can start which may include a home check
- We’ll need you to provide a photographic ID, proof of address, and to sign an adoption contract
- A donation of €190 for adult dogs and €245 for puppies (up to six months old) is recommended
I really love pit-bulls, can I adopt one?
There are a number of breeds on the restricted list in Ireland and it is important to familiarise yourself with legislation before considering this breed or others on the restricted list. A rigorous home check would be required and the adopter must have prior experience of dealing with one of these breeds. MADRA have policies that certain dogs must complete training classes with their adopter as a condition of the adoption being processed.
If my MADRA dog becomes sick, what should I do?
Contact your local veterinary clinic for advice. If the dog has only been with you for a week or two, please do contact MADRA to inform us and in order that we can provide the vet with any relevant medical history.
What if the dog is on medication?
This would be discussed with you prior to us placing the dog with you. If you are not comfortable dispensing medicine, we would delay the adoption until the course of medication has been completed.
Can I walk my new MADRA dog off-lead?
We would not recommend that a new dog be allowed off-lead at any time while outside for the first month. Many of these dogs have ended up in kennels because they have run off and there are far too many unknowns for it to be safe. Try to keep them out of situations like parks where there may be other dogs running off-lead as this can create frustration and aggression. If you feel your dog needs some free running then there are training leads available to cater to this while keeping the dog safe. Contact your trainer or MADRA if you are unsure.
Can I bring my MADRA dog on the Prom or to other busy areas?
Salthill Prom and other busy areas like town, or anywhere there are large volumes of people (e.g. events such as festivals, children’s parties, etc), can be very stressful for your new dog (or any dog) and, for this reason, it is not recommended that you bring him there for at least a month. Your dog may be gentle and relaxed indoors but may react fear-aggressively when confronted with a stressful situation.
What if I have to leave for work or holiday for a while?
It is important to have kennels or dog minder at your disposal should you need to go away. Please find one that suits both you and your dog in plenty of time as last-minute bookings are usually difficult at busy times (Summer holidays, Christmas, etc). You will need to check the vaccination requirements of your chosen kennels or dog minder. Many require kennel cough vaccination which MADRA does not routinely vaccinate against.
What does it cost to adopt a MADRA dog?
All MADRA dogs are vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms, microchipped and neutered. Our recommended adoption donation is €190 for an adult dog and €245 for a puppy (up to six months old). This helps us cover some of the costs of rescuing and caring for each dog which also includes kennelling, food, and vet bills. We are a non-profit organisation and are always in real need of extra funds so you are also welcome to make a larger donation if you wish and are able to.
What can I expect from a home visit?
We would be contact with you beforehand to arrange a time that suits you. When we visit we view the planned sleeping and living area for the dog as well as seeing how the dog can be kept safe and secure on the property. It is a great chance to meet a new family to be sure the fit with the dog is right.
How do I become a fosterer?
Complete a fostering questionnaire which can be found here and a member of the Rehoming Team will be in touch to discuss your application. Please note that you will have to provide photographic ID and proof of address to enable your application to be processed.
How long will I be fostering for?
Fostering requirements vary from a few nights to a few months – it really depends on the dog and your personal circumstances, but this can be discussed prior to the dog moving into your home. Ideally the minimum fostering period is two weeks as otherwise it is very disruptive to the dogs to be transferred between homes and kennels, and results in them finding it harder to initially settle in their forever home.
I live outside of Galway, can I foster?
Because of the logistics involved in transporting an animal long distances, it is not always possible to foster dogs outside of Galway. However, in the case of long-term fostering or fostering animals with particular special needs, it may be possible.
If I have my own animals, can I foster dogs?
Absolutely! However, it will totally depend on the temperament of your own animal(s) and how they behave with other dogs. We will try our best to match you with a dog that can settle comfortably into your home.
We are extremely vigilant with the health of the dogs in our care and vaccinate all of them on arrival at the kennels, however, occasionally a dog may become ill. We do our very best to ensure that sick animals are not transferred into a foster home but, bear in mind that it is always a risk to expose your animal to other animals, whether it’s out walking, at the vet, or in other common areas. The risk of either your foster dog or your own animal becoming ill is minimal but, should the situation occur, please contact MADRA.
What supplies do I need to foster?
We ask our foster parents to provide bedding, food, exercise, basic training, socialisation, and love. Anything else we will help you with. MADRA pays for all vet care and medicine for the foster dog while it is in your care.
What should I feed my foster dog?
We always recommend feeding your foster dog the best quality food that you can afford, bearing in mind that supermarket foods, while cheaper, are not always of good nutritional value.
Should I crate-train my foster dog?
It’s not essential but, it is an effective way to house train a pup or re-train an older dog. If your own dog is already crate-trained, we suggest you do the same with your foster dog. Some dogs just don’t like crates and most of them, even pups need to be trained to use one. Being crate-trained can give both you and the dog a certain amount of peace of mind. It can be a safe place for them to be calm and comfortable and it means that, if you need to leave them alone for a while, they won’t be able to do any damage to your house or themselves.
If my foster dog becomes sick, what should I do?
MADRA cover all vet bills for any dog you are fostering. If the dog becomes sick, you must contact MADRA so that the vet visit can be pre-approved and you will be given the name of the vet closest to you that we use. However, if it is an emergency, you should take the dog to your own vet and have them contact us directly for payment.
What if the dog is on medication?
This would be discussed with you prior to place the dog in foster with you. If you are not comfortable dispensing medicine, we would not ask you to foster such an animal.
How much time is needed each day to foster?
This depends on the individual dog and their situation. It is essential to understand that rescue dogs may be stressed and being moved from kennels to foster can create additional anxieties initially. Patience will be required and the same level of commitment you would give to your own dog. Depending on the age and nature of the dog, exercise required could be a 30 to 45 minute walk/run in the morning and afternoon with lots of playtime in between. Older dogs may just need a shorter morning and evening relaxed stroll.
Can I walk my foster dog off-lead with my own dog(s)?
No. We have a strict requirement that no foster dogs are allowed off-lead at any time while outside. Many of these dogs have ended up in kennels because they have run off and there are far too many unknowns for it to be safe. Try to keep them out of situations like parks where there may be dogs running off-lead as this can create frustration and aggression.
Can I bring my foster dog on the Prom or other busy areas like this?
No. This is for similar reasons as not walking your dog off-lead. The Prom and busy areas like town, or anywhere there are large volumes of people, can be very stressful for your foster dog (or any dog) and, for this reason we ask that you do not bring your foster dog there. Your dog may be gentle and relaxed indoors but may react fear-aggressively when confronted with a stressful situation.
Can I adopt my foster dog?
If you feel your foster dog is the one for you, you can certainly apply to adopt him. While he is in your care, we will still be actively looking for a forever home for him so, if you feel you’d like to adopt him, please do let us know as soon as possible as there may be other interested families.
How do I adopt my foster dog?
Let your MADRA contact know that you are interested in adopting your foster dog and they will advise if it’s possible and what the process will be. An adoption contract will need to be signed.
Am I responsible for finding my foster dog its forever home?
No, but we do value your help. Your assessment of the dog and its personality will help us with matching him to the right home and once we’ve done this, you may be asked to schedule a meet-and-greet with your foster dog and the potential adopter. To do this we will need to pass on your phone number to the potential adopter so they can call you to find out more about the dog and to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. You may also have found a perfect match through your own contacts and this is really appreciated. They must still go through the adoption application process, however, and be approved by MADRA.
Can I return my foster dog to MADRA if I am unable to foster any longer?
Of course. Please contact us and we will arrange it. We will usually try to find an alternative fosterer rather than returning the dog to kennels so would appreciate as much notice as possible.
What if I have to leave for work or holiday for a while?
If we have enough notice, we can try to find an alternative foster home for the dog and bring them back to you again when you have returned. Alternatively, we will return them to the kennels.
What can I expect from a home visit?
We would be in contact with you beforehand to arrange a time that suits you. Then we visit to view the planned sleeping and living area for the dog as well as seeing how the dog can be kept safe and secure on the property. It is a great chance to meet the foster family including any other pets.
View or download our foster handbook here
How can I become a volunteer?
Fill in the registration form on this site and a member of our team will be in touch to chat with you about your area of interest.
I do not see an area of interest that suits me?
You can email us on email@example.com to see if we can add you to our volunteer list in your area of expertise.
I want to volunteer but don’t have much time?
An hour is a valuable one if you are willing to share it with us. Whether it’s at an event, helping with administration or in the shops – we welcome your help!
Do I need to be Garda Vetted?
No, not for any role in our organisation for volunteering.
What items can you accept
- Clean clothing
- Clean shoes
- Clean handbags
- Jewellery (not damaged)
- Clean bed linen
- Homeware and household items
- Bed linen
- Artwork, paintings, framed pictures
- Cushions, throws
- Furniture (must be pre-booked with our shop manager and photo sent beforehand to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Delph, cutlery, ovenware
- Children’s toys (not damaged, chipped, with parts missing or damaged from leaking batteries)
- Jigsaw puzzles (must have all pieces in box)
What items are you not able to accept?
All electrical items due to health and safety regulations
- Car seats
- Prams, buggies, pushchairs
- High chairs
- Stair gates
- Travel cots
- Moses baskets
Items that are damaged, stained, torn, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc as they cannot be sold, and then we have the cost of disposing of them
How do I donate large pieces of furniture or large quantities (Full House) of donations?
Any large pieces of furniture need to be pre-booked with the shop manager and a photo sent to email@example.com. Due to space restrictions, there is a waiting list, however certain items might have already been requested by customers so we may contact them to let them know that there is an item due in that they might be interested in.
How do I reserve an item I saw on the Charity Shops Facebook page?
You can message the page and request the item to be held for you. It must be picked up within three working days.
Can I reserve an item in the shop?
Yes. If you would like to hold an item when you are in the shop for pick-up another day, then a deposit must be paid, your name and number provided and the item picked up within three working days.
Can I visit the shelter to meet the dogs?
We love to have visitors at our Shelter. Our ‘Date with the Dogs’ visitor programme is available on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer months. Please click here for more information and to make a booking.
Please note that visits to our Shelter do not include a tour of the kennel block as this can be very stressful for many of our dogs. We have a dedicated indoor area for the visit along with our beautiful walkway.
Visits to meet dogs with a view to adopt are not included in our ‘Date with the Dogs’ programme. If you are hoping to adopt a dog, please complete an Adoption Questionnaire and a member of the Rehoming Team will be in touch. Most of our dogs reside in the shelter but some may be in foster homes and some are being rehomed from their existing home so an appointment is necessary.
Can a group of us from work volunteer at the shelter?
Large groups are very welcome but need to be arranged with at least a month’s notice.
We ask that large parties consider a fund raising effort to help cover the extra staffing and insurance required for coordinating and looking after large groups. A donation of around €20 per group member is recommended we can suggest fun ways to fundraise.
How do I get to the shelter?
Please note that visits to the shelter are by appointment only. Please complete a dog walking booking form or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eircode: H91 AK38
From Clifden drive to Maam cross and take the road to right towards Carraroe. After about 5 miles, take the 1st proper road left going towards Casla. About 3 miles down that road we are 3rd turn right, just after small primary school on the right (not left) brown sign for MADRA on right too. Take the turn, come over the hill and keep an eye on telegraph poles for a sign. After half a mile it’s 1st boreen on the left. We are the last house.
From Castlebar go through Ballinrobe and Clonbur, Cornamona and continue on to Maam cross. Then drive straight through Maam cross towards Carraroe. After about 5 miles, take 1st proper road left going towards Casla. About 3 miles down that road we are 3rd turn rite, just after small primary school on the right (not left) brown sign for MADRA on right too. Take the turn, come over the hill and keep an eye on telegraph poles for a sign. After half a mile it’s 1st boreen on the left. We are the last house.
From Galway city, come out the coast road past Spiddal, through Inverin, past TG4, around a bad bend until you get to Casla village. You will see a cafe on left and take a right turn along the R336 going towards Clifden. After 3 miles take 1st left (brown finger point sign for MADRA) come over the hill and watch the telegraph poles for MADRA sign. After half a mile take 1st boreen on the left and we are the last house. Postcode is H91 HK25. Address is Camus, Casla, Co Galway
From Westport you drive to Leenane, go Left towards Maam bridge (Keanes pub, shop and petrol stn), take a right towards Maam cross. Then drive straight thru Maam cross towards Carraroe. After about 5 miles, take the 1st proper road left going towards Casla. About 3 miles down that road we are 3rd turn rite, just after small primary school on the right (not left) brown sign for MADRA on right too. Take the turn, come over the hill and keep an eye on telegraph poles for a sign. After half a mile it’s 1st boreen on the left. We are the last house.
Can I donate duvets and pillows for the dogs?
We can’t take duvets or pillows for the dogs as they may shred them and the stuffing is a choking hazard.
How can I make a donation to you?
You can donate by credit card, paypal, bank transfer or text; all details are on our Donation page.
We have a cheque to give you from a fundraiser we held. What do we do?
Thank you so much! If you would like one of the team (human and canine) to visit for a photo and cheque presentation please call us on 091 577 813 or email email@example.com and we can make the arrangements. Alternatively, you can post it to MADRA, Cinn Mhara, Camus, Connemara, Co. Galway. Please ensure to include your address so we can send you a receipt.
I’m visiting the Shelter to walk the dogs; what can I bring?
We have been instructed by our residents to pass on that we are delighted to accept donations of dog food and especially dog treats. We also have a donation box if you’d like to make a monetary contribution to the running of our Shelter.
What items are needed by the Shelter and the dogs?
Sheets, blankets and towels are always useful; we can’t take pillows and duvets though.
Dog crates in good, safe-to-use, condition.
Tinned dog food, dog treats, collars, leads, dog toys.
My dog has died, what do I do?
Contact your vet. If it’s during normal business hours, your vet’s office can help talk you through the steps. They may also have a way of getting you in touch with someone who can pick up your pet’s body (like a pet crematory or mobile vet service). In some cases, your vet’s office may be able to store your pet’s body for a day or two while you make a decision about aftercare arrangements, such as cremation or burial. Your vet’s office should also be able to put you in contact with a local company to handle cremation or burial. Fortunately, most vets have a relationship with at least one local business that offers these services.
Can I do work experience at MADRA?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and the type of work you’re interested in and one of the team will be in touch.
How do I surrender my dog to you?
Our shelter is usually full and there may be a long wait before we have a space. Please email email@example.com for a surrender application form and one of the Rehoming Team will be in touch. Please note a donation of €100 is requested to cover the costs associated with rehoming a dog.
I need to report a cruelty case – what do I do?
Animal cruelty cases can fall into several categories: general neglect; gross, cruel or malicious neglect; intentional abuse, torture; animal hoarding; organised abuse (i.e. dog fighting), and animal cruelty on the Internet (sharing content that depicts or encourages animal cruelty). As these are all illegal acts, anyone who witnesses them does right in notifying the competent authorities.
Unfortunately, MADRA does not have the legal authority to investigate possible cases of neglect or cruelty. We recommend the following:
- If you feel the dog is in immediate danger, please ring your local Gardai. Every member of An Garda Síochána is authorised under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
- The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has inspectors who cover a large proportion of Ireland and can deal with cruelty cases. You can contact them on 0818 515 515 or you can complete a form on their website to directly report a case of animal cruelty. A list of the counties currently covered by ISPCA inspectors can be found here: https://www.ispca.ie/ispca_inspectorate/
- If you are in the Dublin area, you can report to the Dublin Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) using their online form here: https://www.dspca.ie/report-animal-cruelty-form
- The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has a dedicated helpline to report incidents of Animal Cruelty: 01 607 2379 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact the vet department of your local council and ask for the dog warden to investigate.
A useful resource is the Animal Law Ireland website: https://animallaw.ie/report-an-incident-or-concern/
Whichever contact(s) you use, the more evidence you can provide the better for the person investigating (photos, videos, a daily log). In all of the above cases, you can ask to have your name left out of the investigation and this will be respected.