Dog Adoption Certification Program

Start Off Right

Become Happy Hearts Certified!

So, you want to adopt a dog? Bringing a dog into your home will change your life. The Start Off Right program will help you to determine the type of dog that best suits your lifestyle, and will prepare you for the changes ahead.

Completing this program successfully will result in a Happy Hearts Certification. It tells rescue organizations, individuals re-homing their dogs, and breeders that you’ve taken the adoption decision seriously and the likelihood of successful adoption is very high. A Happy Hearts Certification is raising the standard of dog adoption.

Want to take the surprise out of new dog ownership?
Let’s get started!

Be Prepared! Online Training Sessions

The Start Off Right Program begins with our online training sessions. At your own convenience, you will complete our video series that covers everything to prepare you for bringing a dog into your home. Each online session is accompanied by written materials.

Topics Include:

1. Am I ready?

2. Why getting the right dog is so important

3. Understanding breed descriptions and adoption profiles

4. What to expect in the first few months

5. Preparing a budget

Discover The Right Type Of Dog For You

Once you have completed the training sessions, you will complete an in-depth questionnaire that looks at your lifestyle, preferences, and home environment to find the type of dog that will fit in perfectly. This will result in our Happy Hearts Match Profile providing a custom profile that includes breed and age recommendations, and a summary of the characteristics that suit your lifestyle best.

Happy Hearts Match Profile

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire and training sessions, we’ll schedule a consultation to review your Happy Hearts Match Profile and we’ll answer any further questions you have about bringing a dog into your home.

Happy Hearts Certification

If you wish to become Happy Hearts Certified you’ll complete a short online quiz to test your understanding of the information received in our training sessions. Don’t be scared! The quiz is meant to ensure you really are prepared for dog ownership. No matter how much experience you have, each dog you bring into your home is different. However, if you feel you don’t need the information presented in the online sessions because you are not new to dog ownership, you may skip them and simply complete the quiz. A successful quiz is necessary to become Happy Hearts Certified.

At the completion of the full Start Off Right Program, you will receive a Certificate detailing the information you’ve learned and type of dog we’ve determined is your best match. This Certificate may be presented to any organization or individual that you are applying with to adopt a dog. In addition, we will act as a reference on your behalf in your adoption journey.

Start Off Right!


The Right Dog For Your Family

“We knew we needed another canine companion. We considered purchasing a bred puppy but our hearts are with rescue and so we began scouring websites and reaching out to friends involved in rescue. Cheryl was one of those friends. Our needs were particular, and on our own, we were not coming up with the right fit. Then one happy day Cheryl called and said ‘I think I know the right guy for you.” Through her business and her contacts, and knowing our dog and us, she knew of a dog who did not meet exactly what we THOUGHT we needed, but turned out to be exactly who we needed.

Cheryl has all the knowledge, experience, understanding, care and instinct to matchmake, even with the most challenging of particulars, for people who want to add a dog to the family. Working with Cheryl, you will find the RIGHT dog for your family, and the dog will get the RIGHT family for him/her. We are so grateful to you, Cheryl”

– Kasi and David, Ottawa

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Become a Happy Hearts Insider

In-Depth Guide

Cheryl's insights on What to Expect when Adopting a Dog.

Exclusive Discount

Happy Hearts Insiders get $10 off the Start Off Right program