Thinking of adopting a VIP animal? Read the FAQs about VIPs

by | Interesting |

If you’ve been thinking of adopting an animal from the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, you may have noticed the VIP status on some of the animals on our adoption page. VIP stands for Very Important Paws and these furry friends make very amazing friends!  

You may have questions about our VIP program, and we have answers! Here are some FAQs about our VIPs. 

What does the VIP designation mean? 

VIPs are animals in the care of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society who may need a little extra help. Using evidence-based training and Fear Free® techniques, our Animal Behaviour Coordinators and dedicated animal care teams across the province help prepare these animals for loving homes. 

Why are animals given the VIP status? 

Animals who come into our care who need extra support before they are ready to find a loving home are candidates for the VIP program. Animals with a VIP designation could include a puppy needing help learning new behaviours and getting acquainted to the world around them, an adolescent dog going through the terrible teens, or an adult buddy who may be unsure of new and difficult changes in their lives. Cats can also benefit from the VIP program.  

Do VIP animals receive different care? 

When entering one of our facilities, each animal is given his/her own animal care plan. The animal’s best interests are always at the forefront of all decisions we make. VIP animals need extra support to put their best paw forward. Our Animal Behaviour Coordinators use evidence-based training and Fear Free® techniques in conjunction with dedicated animal care teams across the province to set these buddies up for success. 

What does this mean for bringing home a VIP friend? 

Very Important Paws means Very Important People and a Very Important Placement for these animals. We want to create matches that last a lifetime, so we set these VIP friends up for success!   

Our animal centre staff will offer a more individualized care plan, including information sheets and a training and enrichment plan that has been implemented and proven successful. Our goal is to empower new adopters to set their adopted animal up for a long, happy life. Some of our VIP friends will still need additional training and extra love once adopted into a home. Others may just need the relief of a comfortable and supportive environment.  

Do VIPs need special homes? 

Every animal is an individual, and their ideal home is one that fits their unique needs. If you are interested in adopting a VIP animal, the adoption team will take the time to learn more about you and your lifestyle to ensure the animal you are considering adopting is a good fit. 

What these VIP friends have in common is the need for a loving home that will show them love and patience. Adopters receive a training and enrichment plan to help set them up for success with their new furry family member. 

What do I need to consider before adopting a VIP? 

Welcoming an animal into your life is a big responsibility. Before adopting, do your research on what type of animal might be best suited to your lifestyle and make sure you understand what that animal will need for care throughout its life.  

If you’re interested in adopting, visit our adoption site, and keep your eyes open for the VIP badge that many of the animals proudly wear on their profile photo. 

Does the Ontario SPCA offer training for family pets with behaviour challenges? 

The Ontario SPCA has many great training resources on its blog to help pet families. Whether you’re dealing with separation anxiety, trying to learn how to socialize your puppy, or trying to incorporate a new dog or cat into your home with existing pets, you will find tips on the Ontario SPCA website. Visit to learn more. 

If additional training is needed, we encourage you to find a positive based reinforcement trainer in your area who can offer one-on-one support. 

Learn more about the VIP program  

To learn more about the VIP program, and the Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre, visit  

Not in a position to adopt? Please consider making a donation to support the VIP program. As a registered charity that does not receive annual government funding, the Ontario SPCA depends on the generosity of donors to change the lives of animals. Please donate today. 


I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift

I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift. I am so happy there are folks like you to care for those who can’t help themselves.  My family and I have had animals all our lives and know what a comfort they are.  Thank you SPCA.