Re-homing your Dog - Important Resources
It's not an easy decision, and one that is generally avoidable, but if you must relinquish your pet, take these steps to ensure he / she finds a new loving forever home.
People in these situations often unload their pet at a shelter because it is the quickest way to do an uncomfortable thing. Remember, many are over-crowded and usually between 66% – 95% of the animals taken in are euthanized. Yours could be one of them. Pets that are surrendered to shelters often suffer terribly from loneliness and confusion from being abandoned into a harsh environment. Some shelters do not have adoption procedures, and others are so overrun with unclaimed pets, that they screen potential adopters poorly, if at all.
Taking the time to find a new home for your pet yourself is the best, healthiest, most responsible thing you can do. It will give your pet a much smoother transition to its new life without you. Do NOT be naive, though. Your pet loves and trusts you and this will be a terrible setback both emotionally and physically for him/her. Because your pet sees you as his/her family, this IS a betrayal…even though in the long run it may be for the best.
See below for a list of questions to ask potential adopters. Try contacting a local rescue group to help with the interviews. They are good at it and are usually willing to help! Never offer your animal for free. If you choose to give it to the new family after the adoption screening, that is your choice, but advertising “FREE” is just asking for trouble (yes, pet collectors–for animal research–are a real problem, as are people collecting for purposes of training for dog fights, meals, and other horrifying things to pet lovers).
Have you ever had another pet? What happened to it? The best answer is “Yes; It died at age 17.” What you really don’t want to hear is that their last pet was hit by a car, died of a preventable disease, ran away, or worse… was turned in to a shelter.
Do you have a pet now? Already having a pet is good. It demonstrates that they already know what is involved in pet ownership.
If yes, then how long have you had it? In general… the longer, the better.
What size is your current pet? The best answer is a size that is close to the one they are trying to adopt.
If you have another dog, is it altered? Will you be altering (spaying/neutering) the dog when it reaches sexual maturity? The good answer is yes: spay/neuter prevents unwanted pet births, decreasing the euthanasia happening in shelters every day. Also spay/neuter prevents cancer and decreases the likelihood that a pet will run away from home or get into fights.
Do you own your home or rent? Do you have a fenced yard? Ask to see a copy of their lease allowing pets if they rent. Or ask to use their landlord as a
reference. Fenced yards are best, but aren’t always possible. In some parts of the country they aren’t always necessary (very rural farmland). Make sure the potential adopter is interested in exercising their new pet. Some dogs should get up to three or four miles of exercise a day. “My apartment doesn’t allow pets” is one of the top three reasons that pets are taken to shelters.
Will the pet be a member of your family or a gift for someone else? It is important that everyone who will be living with the pet meet it first. This minimizes the chances of the pet being returned to you, winding up at a shelter, or being abused or neglected.
Are you willing to allow a home check?
Some rescue groups always do a home check. This verifies the individual has given you a real address. You might consider taking your pet, to see his/her reaction to the home and the people. If one of the family members never gets off the couch or turns the TV down to meet you and your pet, it is probably not going to be the best home. Some organizations also go back to the home one week after adoption. This gives them an opportunity to see that the pet is happy. It also gives the adopter a chance to return the pet if there is a problem. NEVER DO A HOME CHECK ALONE! REMEMBER THE BUDDY SYSTEM!
Do you plan on crating the dog? For how long each day? Some people feel that crating is a good way to introduce a pet to its new routine and to avoid accidents due to confusion and perhaps depression. On the other hand, 12 hours a day alone in a crate would signal a neglectful situation. Use your judgement here.
If the pet has an accident in the house, what type of correction do you plan to use? Rubbing their nose in it and screaming “bad pet” is no longer accepted as an effective correction. Many training methods exist. An answer you’d like to hear is one that suggests patience, consistency, and perhaps even a hint that they’ve read a book (or would like to) about training. It is NEVER EVER appropriate to hit, spank, slap, poke, kick, or humiliate a pet that has had an accident. Many dogs in shelters exhibit urination shyness (they roll over and act submissive every time they urinate). This psychological damage is a result of stupidity on the part of an abusive owner who didn’t know how to house break a pet.
How many hours per day will the pet be alone? Think twice before you adopt a young puppy or kitten to a home where they will be alone for more than four hours a day. New owners should be willing to adopt on a weekend or on vacation time to allow the youngster to adjust to new conditions. Older dogs and cats can withstand being alone for a normal working day. Eight to 10 hours is possible but should be followed by a good excersize/play time, which is difficult for people that have themselves worked a 10 hour day.
Do you have children? How old are they? Have they ever been around pets? Children should not be expected to be responsible for the pet. If that is suggested, think red alert! Very young kids may be hurt by or may hurt the new pet. This is a personal issue, based mostly on the type of family you are talking to. Tread carefully, here. Some organizations have a strict policy regarding adoptions to families with children under five. Others judge on a one-on-one basis. This is where your people skills come in. Make sure you meet the kids!
Will the pet be going outside at all? Outdoor/indoor is okay for dogs, but remember, dogs are pack animals and want to be where you are. Leaving a dog outside when the rest of his family is inside may be a lonely experience for the dog.
**Article Source: Petfinder.com