Chances are if you are considering re-homing your pet, you have had pet care or behavior issues that you have not been able to solve. I get emails everyday from people in these situation, and my job is not to judge you, but to help you figure out the best possible solution for you and your pets.
I understand this is a very personal decision and not one to be taken lightly. My goal is to empower pet owners to come up with a plan to modify behaviors and keep their pets, or re-home their animals, ultimately keeping them out of the stressful shelter environment where they can deteriorate quickly and sometimes end up being euthanized.
You can never be sure of the care your pet will receive in a new home, however there are some things that you can do to help ensure the best possibility of a happy healthy new home for your pet.
PREPARE FOR REHOMING:
You know your pet best, so documenting all the necessary information you have on them. Such as name, age, breed, spayed/neutered (if not please ensure your pet is spayed/neutered as soon as possible to prevent more unwanted pets). Your pet will be much more appealing if they are clean and healthy, so take them to your vet for a check up and make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and also talk to your vet about any behavior problems so they can rule out physical causes.
Please keep track and include any and all character traits they have, while disclosing any behavior issues you may be having with your pet. Not giving a new adopter all the necessary information on your pet, will set both of them up for failure by not knowing how to deal with your pet’s issues. Set up a interim modification/training plan to help increase your pet’s chances in finding a home. Contact a trainer or behaviorist to help you with this.
Take the best possible pictures of your pet and make the time to get these pictures right. Their life is depending on it. Get the best possible lighting, close face and full body snapshots. Try to capture their best features, as this is the first thing most adopters will be drawn to and looking at.
Create a flyer and an email that can be circulated among friends, family, co-workers and rescue groups. You can do this in Word, PowerPoint or Publisher if you have any of those programs on your computer. If you can’t create a flyer, simply create an email and attach pictures.
This flyer can be distributed to vet local veterinarian offices which you can also look up online or in the phone book to get addresses. A letter asking them to post in their offices is a nice gesture, or personally taking the flyer in person works as well. Hanging this flyer (or email) around town at local supermarkets, pet stores, coffee shops, etc. is a good way to get your pets information into high traffic areas.
Petfinder.com is a great way for owners to post their pets that are looking for homes. Local and national people who are looking for a pet search this site. Again they ask for all the necessary information you collected before plus pictures to upload. There are other sites you can list them on as well by doing a google search and you can circulate these links in emails also. You can also utilize classified ads and work bulletins if done right it is a good way to reach a large number of people.
Along with your local newspaper, you can advertise in all major papers within an hour and a half's drive. Schedule your ad so that it appears in Sunday's paper - the issue that's the most well-read and widely circulated. If your budget is limited, you can run your ad in only Sundays rather than throughout the week. Nearly every community also has small, weekly "budget-shopper" newspapers that offer inexpensive classified ads. Take advantage!
Newspapers are just one way to advertise. Post your flyers anywhere you can find a public bulletin board. If you have friends in a nearby city, mail them a supply of flyers and ask them to post them for you.
Don't be discouraged if your phone isn't ringing right away. Most people give up too soon. It can take a month or more to find a new home, so plan on advertising for several weeks. Put a phone number in the ad where you can be easily reached or use an answering machine. People can't call you if no one's home to answer the phone.
ADOPTION SCREENING PROCESS:
Always state that references are required. This tells people that you're being selective and that you're not going to give your pet to just anybody. This statement will do a lot to keep people with bad intentions from dialing your number.
It is recommended not to use "free to good home" in your ad even if you're not planning to charge a fee. If possible, don't put in any reference to a price at all. The chance at a "free" pet will bring lots of calls, but most of them won't be the kind of people you're looking for and many of them will be people you'd rather not talk to at all.
Adoption applications are important, and you can find templates online or contact me directly for a copy of one. Along with the adoption application you should require a home visit. During the home visit, ask lots of questions, and observe how your pet is acting there. If you don’t feel comfortable in this person’s home with your pet, it’s likely your pet will not adjust well there either. Ask how they feel about following up in a few months to see how the adoption is working out. Keeping in touch with the new adopter, is a wonderful way to see how your pet has adjusted to their new life.
Rescue groups are another option for pet owners, doing a search based on the breed of your dog or cat will help to locate local and national rescue groups. You will have to decide how willing you are far to drive to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being depending on available rescue space.
Here is a link to the rescue groups by type of breed in the Nebraska Area:
Be sure to do your research to find ‘reputable’ rescue groups that do not take on more animals than they can handle and your pet ends up sitting in a kennel at a shelter anyway until a home opens up. The ideal situations are rescue groups that have available foster homes, however they too are often times full, so you actually make the best “foster” home until you can find your pet a forever home.
Before you decide to put your pet up for adoption, please remember all the animals currently in shelters and rescue groups across the country are in dire need of a home. Many come from abusive homes, neglectful situations, or homelessness. These companion animals face death everyday and in many cases will not receive placement in the time they are allowed.
If you provide love, a daily walk or exercise, playtime, companionship, some space (which doesn't have to be a lot, just enough), proper training, and food and water, your pet has a much better home than most of those looking for placement. I know that you may feel that you don't have what it takes to properly care for your pet, but there are options for you in today's world of pet service providers and I would be honored to help you come up with a plan for you and your pet, whatever that may be.
I recommend that if you need support or any assistance in caring for, modifying the behavior or finding a new home for your pet, please contact me directly to discuss options.