To some, there are only a few very select scenarios in which it would be acceptable to rehome a dog.
We believe that ALL dogs should be wanted, loved, and happy and we realize that not every dog is the right fit for every family.
Whatever your reason for wanting to find a new home for your dog, here are some tips to help you ensure that you find the best home possible (in no particular order):
Post EVERYWHERE: vet offices, community billboards at coffee houses, laundromats, community centers, pet stores, groomers – ask everywhere you go if you can hang a flyer and keep a stack in your car so you always have them available. Even if the place is not pet related, they may still be willing to help you spread the word that your dog is looking for a new home.
Make eye-catching flyers: flyers should contain 2-4 photos of your pet looking their best. Photos should be well lit and in focus. Try to capture photos that show off your pet’s personality. Do not include photos of other pets which may confuse the potential adopter, or photos of children or other people in the home – the focus should be on the pet you are trying to find a home for, and that pet alone. Make sure all relevant information is on the flyer, including contact information, age/weight of pet, any personality quirks, whether your pet would be good with other pets or not good with them, if your pet is good with small children, any vetting – spaying or neutering, shots, microchip, etc.
Utilize the internet: There are thousands and thousands of pet-related facebook pages that are happy to share your pet, you can even create your own facebook page just for your dog. A facebook page is different from your personal profile. With a page, you can have an unlimited number of people who like and follow your posts, and no one needs to “friend” you to have access to your personal profile to learn more about your pet.
If you are going to use your personal facebook profile (this is the one that has your friends – pages have “likes”) to network your dog on facebook, follow these tips:
(1) Make sure your post is set to PUBLIC – the upper right corner should show a globe. This means anyone with access to the internet can see your post
(2) Include CITY AND STATE in your posting. You never know where in the world your post may end up and folks that may be interested in offering your pet a loving forever home definitely need to know where you are located.
(3) INCLUDE A PHONE NUMBER!!!! Do not rely on people messaging you through your fb inbox. First of all, if they are not on your friends list, their message will go to your “other” inbox which you cannot access on most apps or fb mobile. You might not even realize you have an other inbox (you do though). Someone might see your post who doesn’t have facebook but if you provide your ph#, they can still reach you.
We have our own album of adoptable dogs “Adopt Us” which you can submit to by emailing Pit Bulls Against Misinformation. Some other sites to post on are Muffin’s Pet Connection, PennySaverUSA.com, craigslist, and Pit Bull Rescue Central. This is a list from RescueGroups.org of pet adoption listing directories. Some may allow you to post as a private party, rather than a rescue group, but you will need to check each one to see what their posting guidelines are.
SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PET: Although most people looking to adopt a pet are good and decent people, some are not. Making sure your pet cannot be used for irresponsible breeding will go a long way to weed these undesirable, and possibly abusive and neglectful homes, out. Also make sure your pet is up to date on all recommended vaccines for your area, and has a current microchip and license (if required in your area)
HOME CHECK, HOME CHECK, HOME CHECK: A stipulation of adopting your pet should be a home check. NEVER allow a potential adopter to pick up your pet from you. ALWAYS deliver the pet yourself to the potential new home; this allows you to see where your pets will be living. If you do not drive, enlist the help of a friend, neighbor or coworker. Your local rescue may even have volunteers that can help. For your own safety, avoid going by yourself to do the home check.
Things to look out for (and ask about) at the home check:
Is the yard secure (fence high enough to discourage jumping, locks on gates, fence completely around property and nothing near the fence that the dog could use to climb up and over)? If the area is not fenced or the fence is inadequate, what is the potential adopter’s plans for potty breaks and exercise?
Where will the pet be sleeping at night?
Is the home fairly clean and safe for a pet to live in?
Is the rest of the family there to meet the dog, and do they all seem excited to be getting a new pet?
How does your dog react to the new people?
Are there other pets in the home? If so, how do they react to your dog, and how does your dog react to them?
Verify that the address matches up! Ask to see a utility bill or driver’s license, rental/lease agreement, mortgage statement – be sure you see something “official” that has both the potential adopter’s name and the address you are visiting on it.
Interview potential homes: a home that is truly interested in your pet and ready to make a commitment will welcome questions to show you that they will be the best fit for your pet.
TIP: don’t be afraid to ask for identification! Honest people who are wanting to provide a good home for your pet won’t hesitate to prove to you that they are who they say they are!
Some questions to ask:
Who is your vet and do you mind if I contact them?
Why do you want to adopt a dog?
What was it about my dog that made you think this will be a good fit?
How many hours each day will the dog be home alone?
Where will my dog be spending time when you are not home?
When you go on vacation, where will my dog go?
Where do you work and how long have you been working there?
Do you own your home or rent? If you rent, do you mind if I contact your landlord?
Do you have homeowners or renters insurance which will cover my dog?
If my dog gets sick, how will you pay for vet bills?
What will you feed my dog?
How will you exercise my dog?
Contact all of your local rescues: ask if they can do a “courtesy listing”. Some rescues will let you bring your dog to their adoption events for exposure, they may post your dog on their website or adoptable directories, share your dog on their various social media sites, and have suggestions for you as well based on their experience with the area in which you are trying to have your pet adopted.
Obedience is a great thing: If your dog is already well-behaved, consider getting their CGC certificate. If your dog needs training, sign up for a 6-8 week obedience course to get them up-to-date on their manners. Remember, you want to market your pet in the best way possible so the more good things you have to say about your pet, the better. Conversely, if your dog has any issues do be honest and upfront so the potential home can make a decision on whether or not they can handle your dog. If your dog has ever expressed aggression towards humans, we highly recommend that you NOT try to rehome the dog yourself.
Rehoming Fee: While some people feel a rehoming fee helps to ensure a good home, that point of view is debatable. A reasonable rehoming fee may help to show a commitment, but a home check and interview questions and reference checks are far more valuable. If you feel more comfortable asking for a fee, we suggest you keep it in line with adoption fees of the local shelters in your area. You can find their fees by visiting their websites. You can also ask that a rehoming fee be donated to your favorite local rescue or shelter to help other pets find their forever homes.
Make an Adoption Contract: A quick google search will give you lots of options for pet adoption contacts and you can read through them and pick the one that fits your situation best. You can also ask your local rescue group if they have one you can use. Common things included in a contract are a place to record the adopter’s information, a clause that releases you of liability, a description of your dog, a promise from the adopter to care for your pet properly, and instructions on what to do if the adopter can no longer keep the dog (typically they are asked to return the dog to you).
Don’t wait until it’s too late: As soon as you know that you may need to rehome your pet, start taking the steps above. Pit Bulls especially can take a long time to find a home for, please let your pet benefit from as much time as possible to find a forever family.
Follow up with the new family! Once you’ve found a new home, let them know that you will be following up with them at a later date. Make sure your adoption contract states that you can do a home check in 3-6 months and maybe even a year after that. Make sure to keep the adopter’s contact information including phone number, email address, and reference list. Most new adopters will be perfectly happy to show you how happy their new pet is in their new home after the adoption is final, if they hesitate on this point, move on.
NEVER surrender a family pet to a shelter as a stray: If despite your best efforts you have not been able to find a home for your dog and you need to take him or her to your local shelter, do NOT surrender the animal and tell the front desk that you just found him or her. You may be asked to pay a small fee (generally less than $50) but if you are honest about your situation, they have paperwork that you can fill out to let them know all about your dog’s previous household and their likes and dislikes. This may be the difference between whether your dog is euthanized or put up for adoption so please make sure that the staff knows that your dog belongs to you. Note about animal shelters: shelter euthanasia policies and practices vary widely by region. Be sure to research the facility and ask them about their intake, adopti0n, and euthanasia policies. Once you surrender an animal to a shelter, you sign away your rights to the pet and he/she becomes property of that organization.
We hope our tips have helped you work out a plan to find the perfect forever home for you pets. Our suggestions are not all-inclusive, if you have a great idea to get your pet some exposure, try it! With all things, simply having some common sense and trusting your instinct goes a long way. If you get a funny feeling from an interested potential adopter – never be afraid to walk away! Remember that your pet cannot speak for him or herself, they are completely dependent upon you to make good choices for them. It’s a huge responsibility, but you can do it, and both you and your pet will be reap the rewards of all of your hard work.