Humane Rescue Alliance

Advocating for animal-friendly communities. Strengthening the animal-human bond.

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Rehoming Resources

Life can take surprising and difficult turns for all of us. Loss of a job, having to move, allergies, divorce, and even death sometimes results in a wonderful pet needing a new home. For those families or individuals with no other options than to rehome a pet, we are here to help by offering guidance to you. We encourage you to devote at least a month to finding a new home for your pet before considering surrendering your pet to a shelter.


Tips for finding a new home for your pet

  • Talk to friends and family about adopting the pet from you. This is the #1 way pets enter peoples’ lives.
  • Use resources such as www.craigslist.org and www.petfinder.com to get the word out. Additionally, some rescue groups may allow you to advertise your pet on their website. 
  • Club newsletters: If you’re a member of a church, club or group ask if you can advertise in their newsletter or on their notice board.
  • Post flyers on bulletin boards of local businesses, veterinarians, your workplace and community centers. Email a flyer to your friends and ask that they put it up on their workplace notice boards.
  • Use the screening tools below and prepare your pet for a possible new home.


Preparing your pet for finding a new home

  • Prepare a history or “resume” of your pet including veterinary history, diet, exercise routine, experience with other animals, personality traits, favorite games/activities and behavior quirks or difficulties with certain situations (i.e. hides during thunderstorms). This will help you and the potential new owner determine if the pet is a good fit and ensures your pet is more likely to stay in their new home because challenges are understood in advance.
  • Have the animal groomed or give him a bath. People are drawn to clean, well cared for pets.
  • Take a good picture to add to flyers and advertisements.
  • Take your pet to the vet for a checkup and any overdue vaccines. A spayed or neutered pet will make him more desirable. Learn more about our available low cost spay and neuter and vaccination services.
  • If you adopted the pet from a shelter or rescue group, contact them and ask if they can take the pet back or have other options to help you rehome the pet. Some groups have contracts which require that the animal be returned to them if you can no longer keep the pet.


Things to include in advertising or flyer

  • Describe the appearance, size, and age of your pet. 
  • Include your pet’s name and a good photograph
  • Mention whether your pet is spayed or neutered
  • Describe his nature
  • Describe any limitations your pet may have regarding health and behavior (i.e., has lived with small children, not good with cats, etc.)


Rehoming Checklist

If you can’t answer “yes” to all of these, it is best to keep looking for a new home.

Have you talked and met with the potential adopter more than once?
If someone refuses to have more than one conversation and at least one in-person meeting before making the decision to try and adopt your pet, don’t move forward with the adoption.  Likewise, if you feel the interested person just wants to “move things along” without really getting to know your animal or more quickly than you feel comfortable with, keep looking for someone else.

Did you interview your potential adopter?
Use the adoption process page on our website as a guideline for making your own adoption interview questions. You should ask if they have other pets or children, if they have their own veterinarian, what their housing restrictions are if any, and if the pet will be mainly indoor or outdoor as a start.  Ask them why they want a pet, and why do they feel YOUR pet is the right one for them.

If you don’t know the adopter personally, did you ask for ID and personal references? 
Check at least two references and make note of the adopters driver’s license or ID number.

Did you put it in writing?
Require the adopter to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree.

Ask questions
You don’t have to give your pet to the first interested person; take time and choose who you believe will make the best guardian. Some possible questions to ask:

  • Is the pet for you or someone else? 
  • Is it okay to have pets in your home/apartment/condo? 
  • Have you had pets before? 
  • Do you have children? 
  • What do you plan to do if the pet does not work out for you? 
  • How much are you prepared to spend to take care of this pet?
  • Is there anything that would make you absolutely not keep this pet?

Once you've chosen a family (or families) who you feel are good candidates, make an appointment to meet you and your pet in a public location. You can help the new owners be prepared by providing information for bringing a new pet home.


Finding a Rescue Group

If your dog or cat is purebred or looks like they might be (some rescues will take breed mixes as well), try contacting a breed rescue organization. Many of these groups will allow you to post your pet’s picture on their website. Some may even offer to provide a foster home. Learn more at the American Kennel Club’s list of breed rescue groups.

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