Many of the dogs that come into MHS are strays with no known history. When owner surrendered dogs come into the shelter, we often can get a good idea of their likes, dislikes and personality from the owner (which is why we created Enhanced Open Admissions to get detailed information on a dog). With a stray dog, we know nothing.

All of our dogs go through a medical and behavioral evaluation before being placed up for adoption. This evaluation is not a “pass/fail” evaluation – it’s a “getting to know you” time for the dog and staff. The evaluation process has been designed to help the dogs show their best selves and to help us decide what kind of family would be best for that dog.


This is where our color code system comes in. When people are looking for a new dog, they’ll tell us what they’re looking for in a dog and how much experience they have, and we will suggest a “color” match for them. We assign all our adoptable dogs a color and potential adopters can find a great pet by coordinating their color with the color of the dogs they are looking at!

For example, a family with multiple young children who has never had a dog before is going to want an “easy-going green” dog. These dogs usually have some experience under their coats and can easily adapt to your basic house rules. Very often, green dogs are the right dog for first time dog people. In contrast, a person looking for a dog that will go running 10 miles a day with them might be a good match for a “high-octane purple” dog that require some extra time, patience and attention.

Our staff can help you figure out what “color” might be the best match for you – or you can take our “Right Dog” quiz to get an idea of breeds/mixes and the color that is perfect for you!