TIPS ON HOW TO REHOME YOUR PET
Has something happened in your life and you can no longer take care of your pet? Maybe a friend or relative has died, leaving one or more pets to be placed in a new home. You want to be able to do something to help find a new and loving permanent home, rather than turning the pet over to the local shelter or humane society, where the animal may be put down.
Get The Word Out
If you do need to find a new home for a pet, you’ll want to advertise as widely as you can, in as many places as possible. Creating a flyer is a great way to start. Here’s what to put on the flyer:
Describe the appearance, size, and age of the animal
Include the pet’s name and a good photograph of the pet
If the pet is spayed or neutered, include that information
Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities
Define any limitations the pet might have (e.g., not good with cats or small children)
Don’t forget your phone number and the times you can be reached
Add “No Bunchers” to your flyer. Bunchers are people who pose as prospective adopters, pretending to be loving and concerned. The pets they obtain are then sold to dealers who in turn sell the pets to research laboratories.
Post the flyers throughout your community, wherever a good prospective adopter might see them. Ask to put them up at veterinarians’ offices, pet supply stores, and the workplaces of your family and friends. Places like health food stores, supermarkets, libraries, churches, and health clubs often have community bulletin boards where anyone can post flyers.
Use of Photos
Since photos really help people make a connection to an animal, you’ll want to use a good-quality color photograph.
When you take the photographs, use a background that is in contrast to the animal, to highlight his/her best features. Keep the photo simple and clear, with few background distractions, though you might want to use a person, a hand or some other means to show the scale of the pet.
Before snapping the photos, take the time to get the pet as calm and relaxed as possible, so the photos don’t show an animal who looks anxious or scared. Ideally, the photo you choose for the flyer should have the eyes of the animal in focus.
Contact Shelters and Rescues
Most agencies will be overloaded, but they might allow you to bring your pet to one of their adoption days. They might be able to put you in contact with someone who is looking for the kind of pet you are trying to place, or they could have some other suggestions. You can find local shelters and rescues by searching the listings on the Best Friends Network.
Contact breed rescue groups if you’re trying to place a specific breed. If you have a pug or a Persian cat, for example, there may be rescue groups or clubs that have lists of people looking to adopt that particular breed. Some breed rescue groups might even be willing to place a mix, as long as the animal is close to purebred.
You can find local listings of breed rescue groups by doing an Internet search on a search engine such as www.google.com.
Here’s a sample search combination:
Siamese + breed rescue + California
Place a classified ad in your local paper, craigslist, and Nextdoor. When you write the ad, be creative. (See the sample ads below) Try to make the animal as appealing as possible, but tell the truth. If you’re trying to place a dog who absolutely can’t be around cats, put that in the ad. Run the ad as many times as you can afford – you are looking to reach a wide audience.
It’s a good idea to mention in the ad that an adoption fee will be required. This will help detour "bunchers” Asking for a fee will discourage these people from following up on your ad. If you feel uneasy about asking for a fee, you can always donate the money to a local animal rescue. Hopefully, you will keep FAR Side Journey in mind if you go this route so that we can continue to provide information and act as a community resource.
Post your pet on adoption websites. There are general adoption websites, as well as specific sites for certain types of animals (for example, FIV-positive cats, disabled pets, or senior dogs). Wagaroo and Pet Bond are good examples of general adoption websites.
Attention Grabber Sample Classified Ads
Betty Lou has a new pair of shoes and she is ready to walk right into your heart! Betty is a two-year-old spayed female terrier mix. She loves to dance, prance and play. She is a doll! She is good with cats as well. Call Kelly or Doug at 555-3576 after 7 p.m. weekdays or all day Sunday. Adoption fee required.
. . . .
Joe Cocker is coming to town and wants to sing for you. Joe is a three-year-old neutered male cockapoo with a great personality. Loves kids and dogs, but isn’t as keen on cats! He has had all his shots. Call Morris after 6 p.m. at 555-4674. Adoption fee required.
. . . .
Persian cat with attitude. Martha thinks she rules the world! She is gorgeous, and knows it. She loves to sit on laps and be petted. She would prefer a home where she is the only cat. Adoption fee required. See her at the Petco on Broadway, Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ask for Beth.
. . . .
SHAMBU is the kind of companion that we all long to have. Loyal, playful, tender and kind best describes this beautiful orange tabby. He is 3 years old, neutered, and has had all his shots. He prefers an adults-only home. Call Jeremy at 555-2189 before 11 a.m. any day. Donation for my favorite animal charity required. No bunchers.
Another option is Adopt-A-Pet's Rehome program. The site allows pet owners who cannot keep their pets to find new loving homes in their own community.
Rehome is a free service for pet owners that need to rehome their pet. The new adopter pays a small adoption fee that is then donated, in full, to a rescue group of the original owner’s choosing. Hopefully, you will keep FAR Side Journey in mind if you go this route so that we can continue to provide information and act as a community resource.
Other Networking Ideas
Use any and all of your community contacts. Ask friends and family to mention the animal in their church or community newsletter; send an e-mail about the pet through your office memo system; post a notice and photo on your Facebook page; or share some flyers with members of clubs or associations to which you belong.
Don’t underestimate word of mouth. Tell anyone and everyone about the pet who needs a home, and ask friends and family to help with spreading the word. You never know – your father’s neighbor’s daughter could be looking for just the pet you have to offer.
Get the pet out there. (This works especially well with dogs.) The more your pet interacts with people, the more likely he/she will charm the right person. If you’re trying to place a dog, take him/ her on walks, to pet supply stores, to the local park. Put a colorful bandana on the dog that says, “Adopt me.” Here's a link to buy a bandana.
Prepare Your Pet for Adoption
First and foremost, spay or neuter the pet or the stray you are trying to place. Without this procedure, no reputable humane rescue group will help you. Pet overpopulation is an overwhelming problem and we all need to do what we can to prevent more unwanted animals from being born. If you want information on low-cost clinics in your area, click here.
Next, make sure the animal is up-to-date on vaccinations. Prepare a complete medical record that you can give to the adopter. If you’re trying to find a home for a stray, you’ll need to bring the animal to a vet for a thorough checkup.
You should also prepare a general history of the pet. Include as much information as possible about the pet’s likes and dislikes, current food preferences and favorite treats, relationship to other animals, and preferred types of toys. All this information will help the adopter get acquainted with the pet and make the transition easier on the animal.
To show the pet’s best side, groom and bathe him or her before taking your flyer photos and before showing the pet to a prospective adopter. If it is relevant, talk to a trainer about your pet’s disposition. The help of an experienced and caring professional can often help you resolve quirky or destructive behavior, making it easier to place the pet in a new home.
The Adoption Process
Screening potential adopters
When someone responds to your flyer or ad, you’ll want to interview them over the phone before introducing them to the animal. By doing so, you can eliminate unsuitable potential adopters early on. If the caller is a child or a teenager, ask to speak to an adult. If the caller sounds young, but isn’t a child, ask for his or her age.
Interviewing the potential adopter
The following is a list of questions to ask the prospective adopter. You might want to take notes as you talk to the person. (There’s an adoption screener’s worksheet below that you might find useful.) From the answers to these questions, you can start to build a profile of the person. Try to ask the questions in a conversational style, so it doesn’t sound like you’re conducting an interview. To start, you might say: “This dog/cat is very special to me, and I am looking for just the right home for him/her. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about yourself and your home?”
A few questions you should ask potential adopters:
“Do you have other pets at home? Would you tell me about them?”
Their answers can help you to determine whether the pet you are placing will fit into this household. For example, if you are trying to place a dog who hates cats, and they have cats, this is obviously not a good choice.
“Do you have children? If so, how old are they?”
Children can be either a blessing or a curse to a pet. Small children often do not know how to differentiate between a live animal and a stuffed one. And even the most vigilant parent can’t be watching the child all the time. Of course, if the animal you are placing has had any kind of biting or nipping incident around children, it would be irresponsible to place that animal in a home with children. Even if the prospective adopters have no young children, they need to be aware of the history of the animal, since adults-only homes may receive visits from grandchildren or neighbor kids.On the other hand, an adult cat or dog who is used to being around small children can make a wonderful family pet.
“Will the dog get regular exercise?”
Dogs need to get off their home turf at least once a day, to sniff and explore and get some exercise. If the animal you’re trying to place is a young, energetic dog, you might want to find out if the prospective adopters are realistic about how much exercise the dog needs. Letting the dog out in the yard a few times a day is often not enough.
“Will the cat be an indoor or outdoor cat?”
Cats who go outside live, on average, for about two to three years. They are vulnerable to traffic accidents, attacks by dogs, and accidental or deliberate poisonings. A cat who stays indoors can live up to 20 years. Cats do very well as indoor pets, but some people like to add a cat enclosure onto the house, or screen in a porch so that their cats can enjoy the open air and yet remain protected.
“Would you consider declawing a cat?”
Declawing is a cruel and unnecessary procedure. Most people just need to be informed about how to accommodate a cat’s need to scratch: getting a scratching post that is the correct height (as tall as the cat when fully extended), clipping the cat’s claws regularly, and giving the cat lots of toys for play and stimulation.
Meeting the potential adopter
Once you are comfortable with the answers to all your questions, you will have a pretty good idea about whether the prospective adopter will provide a good home for your pet. Let your instincts guide you in this area.
You should conduct the meeting on neutral ground, like a park. Make sure to observe the interactions between your pet and the potential adopters. Again, let your instincts guide you.
Hopefully, you will be as impressed with them in person as you were on the phone. If there are any doubts in your mind, you can either talk to them about your doubts or simply decide not to adopt to them. Don’t feel uncomfortable about having doubts – it’s fine to be concerned about your pet’s well-being, and any reasonable person understands this. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. To make a graceful exit without confrontation, you could mention that there are other people interested in seeing the pet and that you will get back to them.
Finalizing the adoption
If you decide to go ahead with the adoption, you may want to use a contract. A contract can be a safety net for both you and the adopter. Make two copies of the contract, one for you and one for them, and both of you can sign them.
When you give up the animal, collect your adoption fee and remember to hand over any medical and vaccination records, and any special food, bowls, toys or bedding.
Once you have made a match, stay in touch, particularly at the outset. Be careful not to bug the adopters, though. There is a time to let go and allow them to form their own bond with the animal.
Final Words of Encouragement
You are your pet’s best option for finding a good new home. Since you know your pet very well, you can provide the most information to prospective adopters and you can best determine the appropriateness of a new home.
Keep in mind that your dog or cat has been a faithful companion to you and they deserve the best new home you can find. You will sleep better knowing that your pet is happy, healthy and safe in a wonderful new home.
Whatever you do, don’t just turn your pet loose or leave your pet tied up to a fence with the hope that someone will find the pet. Domestic animals cannot fend for themselves in a strange environment.
We hope that this advice helps you to place your pet in a new loving home. We understand that this may be a difficult and stressful time for you, but we hope you will be patient and give our suggestions time to work. If you have any questions please click here to contact us.
Sample Adoption Contract
Name of person adopting out the animal (referred to as “Guardian”)____________________________________________________________________
Adopted Animal’s name________________________________________________________ Sex_____ Age_____ Spayed/neutered? ____________
Color and description_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Name of person adopting the animal (referred to as “Adopter”)_______________________________________________________________________
AS THE ADOPTER, I AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:
1. I agree to keep an identification tag attached to a properly fitted collar that will remain on the Adopted Animal at all times, whether inside or outside of the house, and to obtain all city licenses required by local authorities.
2. I agree to provide the Adopted Animal with necessary inoculations at the intervals advised by my veterinarian.
3. I agree to have the Adopted Animal under my control when he/she is not within the confines of my property. A secure fenced area will be provided for dogs, including shelter from the elements. If the Adopted Animal is a cat, I agree to keep the cat as an indoor-only pet. The Adopted Animal will not be tied or chained.
4. I agree not to abuse or neglect the Adopted Animal and I authorize the Guardian, at his/her sole discretion, to determine whether or not the pet has been abused or neglected.
5. I understand that any failure to perform the foregoing agreement will constitute a breach of contract. In the event of any such breach of contract, I authorize the Guardian to reclaim both possession and ownership of the Adopted Animal.
6. I understand that the pet covered by this adoption contract is, as far as can be determined by the Guardian, in good health and that the Guardian is not responsible for any medical fees incurred after the adoption date.
Signature of Guardian______________________________ Date______________________________________
Signature of Adopter_______________________________ Date______________________________________
Sample Medical Record
Name of pet____________________________Breed_____________Color_________________Markings____________________
Date of birth: ________________ Approximate __ Exact ___ Sex: ___ Male ___ Female Neutered or spayed? ___ Yes ___ No
Veterinarian’s name_________________________________________________ Phone__________________________________
Date of FeLV test (feline only) ___________ Results: ___ Pos ___ Neg
Date of FIV test (feline only) ___________________ Results: ___ Pos ___ Neg
Date of heartworm test (canine only) __________________ Results: ___ Pos ___ Neg
Date of last rabies vaccination _____________________ Tag #________________________________
Other vaccination__________________________________ Date______________________________
Other vaccination__________________________________ Date______________________________
Sample Adoption Worksheet
Date call received________________ Date of interview______________________________Time of interview_________________
Name and address_____________________________Address______________________________________________________
Phone numbers: Day___________________________ Evening_______________________________Cell____________________
Record the prospective adopter’s answers to these questions:
How did you hear about the pet?_______________________________________________________________________________
What type of animal are you looking for?_________________________________________________________________________
Who will be the primary caregiver?______________________________________________________________________________
Do you have other pets at home? ___ Yes ___ No. If yes: Please tell me about them._______________________________________
Do you have children? _____ If yes: How old are they?_______________________________________________________________
Do all members of the household know about and want a new animal? ___ Yes ___ No. If no, please explain:____________________
If you’re trying to find a home for a dog:
Will the dog get regular exercise?_________________________________________________________________________________
If you’re trying to find a home for a cat:
Will the cat be an indoor or outdoor cat?____________________________________________________________________________
Would you consider declawing a cat? ___ Yes ___ No
After the interview, record your impressions:
Does the prospective adopter seem responsible?_____________________________________________________________________
Flexible and compassionate?_____________________________________________________________________________________
What is your general impression of this person? (Go with your gut feeling.)__________________________________________________
Any doubts that this will be a good home?___________________________________________________________________________
HELPING TO SAVE FOUR PAWS AT A TIME
What To Do If You Find A Stray Animal
You Think You Found a Lost Pet
If you see a dog roaming around your neighborhood, you may be wondering if it's really lost and if you should try to help. There's a chance the owner is close by, but there is a greater chance the dog is actually lost. Cats can be a bit more complicated since they are often seen outside and most communities have feral or community cat populations. If you decided to help, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Always use caution when approaching an unfamiliar animal. Frightened or possibly injured animals can behave unpredictably, so approach the animal slowly, speaking calmly.If you’re at all concerned about the animal’s behavior (if he seems aggressive or won’t let you get close), call your local animal control for assistance (links below).
Try to entice the animal with food and lure him into your car or a carrier, or restrain him with a leash if possible.
If you take the animal to your home and you have other animals, make sure to keep them separated for the health and safety of your pets. The stray may have fleas, ticks, or other conditions that can be transferred to your pets.
Check for Tags and Microchips
Does the stray have a tag? If there is a number on the tag, call and find out who you are speaking with. If it's the owner then arrange to have the animal picked up. If it's someone else, get the owner's contact information from them and then contact the owner or have them contact the owner and provide your information to the owner.
No tags? Don't worry yet, the animal may have a microchip. A veterinarian can scan the animal and determine if there is a microchip.
No tag and no microchip? Make a temporary tag with your name and phone number on it. You can use a luggage label or even tape the information on the collar with some duct tape.
Notify Your Local Shelter
There are different laws in each city regarding stray animals. In some communities, finders of lost animals are legally required to either surrender the animal to the animal shelter or to report to the shelter that they have a stray animal. Here are links for the local animal shelters:
Check the local animal shelter's Facebook Page to find out if they allow posting of lost animals.
Even if you’re not legally required to notify the shelter, you’ll still want to let them know that you have a stray. If the owners of the animal are looking for their pet, they will most likely start by calling the shelter, so it’s very important that the shelter knows that you have found the pet.
You should post a photo of the pet on the bulletin board at your local shelter. These books are used by people looking for their lost pets that aren't at the shelter.
If you must take the animal to the shelter, and you wish to do everything you can for the animal, be sure to claim last rights or first rights. Claiming last rights gives you adoption privileges if the animal is not claimed within a given time period and is due to be put down. It is a good idea to call the shelter daily to let the staff know that you are interested in the animal’s welfare. If available, claiming first rights gives you priority over other potential adopters when the animal's stray hold period is over.
Make Every Effort to Find the Owner
In addition to contacting the shelter, check lost-and-found ads in local newspapers and craigslist (link is to lost animals within 60 miles of La Mirada, CA) also check and post in apps like NextDoor.
You should also post flyers in the area the animal was found. Flyers should contain a general description of the type of animal, location found, and your contact information. It's a good idea to leave specific details out just in case someone calls claiming to be the owner, but in fact isn't. These people are called "bunchers" and are always looking for animals they can traffic to unscrupulous sources such as research laboratories. Examples of characteristics to leave out include the gender, unique color or marking details such as "white socks" or "brown patch on eye, any commands the animal knows, whether the animal is spayed or neutered, and any quirks the animal may have. " The true owner will be able to tell you all these details.
Other Resources for Lost Animals
Be wary of dishonest callers
Tips and questions for people responding to your add:
Have them text, email, or bring a photo of the animal with them
Ask for their veterinarian’s phone number, and make a follow-up call
If the animal reacts negatively to them, you may want to ask for additional proof of ownership
Get the owner’s phone number and address
Ask them to bring their photo ID. You can take a picture of it for your records
Thoughts, Advice, and Encouragement
As you go through the process of placing a homeless pet, keep in mind that creativity, persistence, and a positive attitude are necessary. Think about the best possible outcome for the pet and explore all the options you can think of. Try not to get discouraged and don’t give up after a few days. Finding a lost pet's owner can take some work and some time. Sometimes, the owner is never located and you will need to decided what to do next. Our advice is to work on rehoming the pet. Click here to get information on rehoming a pet. If you have a time limit and it expires with no home in sight, then consider finding a friend or neighbor to share the responsibility with which will buy some more time.