Rehoming Dogs Responsibly

When we adopt, we make a lifetime commitment to an animal, honoring that commitment for the life of the animal is important.

Do You Really Have to Rehome Your Dog?

Before ever considering rehoming a dog, if you have behavior issues, food supply issues, or medical issues, we recommend you seek help first before attempting to rehome. Many organizations try to help keep dogs in their current homes. If you have diligently tried and exhausted all your options, then the best way to make sure your dog gets the right home is by rehoming your dog yourself. This process can be challenging and take time, but if you love your dog, are a committed owner, and want the best for them, you will take the time to make sure the perfect home is where your dog ends up. Dropping them off an a shelter should not be an option, they never understand why they are left there or why you never come back.

Think about how scary that is for them.

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You do not want to find just any home; you want to find the right home where your dog can thrive. Your dog deserves a good home.

Things to Keep in Mind

Pit Bulls are the majority of dogs found in shelters and rescues today. There are too many Pit Bulls and not enough good solid, committed homes. They are also the number one dog euthanized in shelters every single day. Many time surrendering Pit Bulls to shelters gets them euthanized, sometimes without even a chance. And, they die scared, stressed, and alone. Shelters can be loud, scary places for dogs. Your dog won't understand why you left them there, just that you left them, and they will always wait for you to come back. Visit ASPCA Shelter Statistics.

Steps to Rehoming

Adoption Applications

Applications are a window to an adopter, and you want it to be thorough enough to learn about the potential adopter and then verify what the potential adopter tells you.

Talk to them on the phone asking any questions you may have that were not answered satisfactorily through the adoption application. Having a list of questions and being prepared to follow through with a well laid out plan is vital. This will help ensure your rescue dog and everyone involved has the best possible experience. Try to envision what type of person/home you would like your rescue dog to go to.

A List of Requirements

Make your list of questions to fit those desires or requirements. Have a separate list of the things you are not firm on and will be more flexible. Take time to get to know the potential adopter(s). Asking questions and having conversations with them before you physically meet them will help you decide whether the applicant will be a good fit for your rescue dog. If you have an uneasy feeling about an applicant, remember the saying "better safe than sorry.” Don’t be afraid to gracefully walk away. Remember to always use your good judgment and the Buddy System when doing a home check or meet and greet. Listen to your rescue dog. Your rescue dog has instincts and will tell you if they like a person, or if they are not comfortable with a person.

Perform a visit to the potential adopter's home and speak with the other family members. Are there other pets in the home? Who will care for the dog? Does anyone have allergies? Where will the dog live? If there are children, make sure that the adults know that they should be responsible for the dog, not the children. Everyone in the household should be on board about the adoption.

Before an Actual Adoption Takes Place

if there are other pets in the home, your dog should get a chance to meet them to see how acceptable your dog is and their pets are to a new family member. We frown on long-distance adoptions for many reasons, but sometimes they do happen. If you can’t do a home visit due to distance, ask someone else to do it for you. Thanks to today’s social networks, the perfect guardian for your dog may be miles away, even in another state. If the potential adopter doesn’t live near you, ask a rescue local to where they live to visit the home. Rescues often have volunteers to help you facilitate long-distance adoptions and put your mind at ease. 

Personal References

Call personal references and ask if the adoptive family has taken good care of their current or past pets. See if you can find out what happened to the pets they previously owned. Did previous pets die of natural causes after so many years, or did they seem to disappear after a few weeks? 

Veterinary References

Call their current or past veterinarian and ask about the family's other pets and how were they cared for. The vet may not give you very detailed information, but confirm that they have a relationship with a vet and ask whether they recommend the family as good pet guardians.

Google the Person

Google is a wealth of information and may help find information on people. And, whether or not someone has a history of animal abuse; an internet search might turn up past crimes or brushes with the law.

Check Animal Abuse Registries

Animal abuser registries are growing rapidly in response to public pressure. If you live in an area with such a registry, be sure to take advantage of it. Listed are past animal cruelty convictions of local people so that shelters and rescue groups can avoid them.

Be Prepared to Take Your Dog Back

Keep in mind that it is not good to have dogs skip around homes use due diligence in finding the right home. You may have taken all the essential steps, but the pet may not be a good match for this family. Maybe your dog doesn't get along with its current dog. Perhaps a family member has a previously unknown allergy. To keep your animals safe, prepare to be able to take them back and let the adopter know that you will take the animal back if it doesn't work out. Have the adopter sign an Adoption Contract (PDF) that states this in it.

Breed Rescues

You can also reach out to breed rescues in your area and ask if they would be willing to help you place your dog. Inundated with dogs, many rescues may not take owner surrenders, but if you can keep the dog until a home is found and if the dog passes their behavior evaluation, they may help place your dog.

A Dog Showing Human Aggression

Never adopt a humane aggressive dog to another family. If you know you are having human aggression issues, seek help through certified training instructors or a certified behaviorist familiar with aggression before making any rehoming decisions about your dog.

Never Offer Free to Good Home

Suppose you are still not convinced giving away animals for free is bad. Please be aware that dishonest people routinely obtain animals for profit by fraudulently answering "Free to Good Home" ads. They know all the "right" answers to your questions because they do this sort of thing regularly; they appear friendly and honest. Some will bring along their family or children to make it look like it's a loving family. If a person cannot afford or is not willing to pay an adoption fee for a pet, how will they afford the routine expenses of veterinary care, food, and supplies? And how will they ever afford vet bills if the pet gets sick?