Remember that your pet depends entirely on you to do what’s best for his future, even if you can’t keep him anymore. Finding the right home for him will take time, effort & patience. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth the persistence when you consider that over 200,000 of these adoptable pets are killed every year because homes can’t be found for them. That’s the harsh reality. So, give this next question some careful thought before taking the next step.
Be honest with yourself, is there something else you can do to help you keep your pet? The most common reasons for giving up a pet are:
I’m moving house
There are rental houses out there that allow pets; you just need to put in a little time & effort to find them. Don’t rely on rental ads, often landlords will consider pets if you approach them directly or find a real estate agent that will help you.
I don’t have enough time for the dog
Pets require time & effort, but probably not as much as you think. Dogs need minimum exercise, food & most importantly, time just being near you. Dog walking services are relatively inexpensive, but getting exercise is good for your health & well-being too. Cats & dogs can also benefit from environmental enrichment. Setting aside a few minutes each day to make their lives more interesting could make a big difference to their behaviour. Bones, kongs, laser points, scratch poles all help.
I’m having a baby
When introduced correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems with your pet & new baby. Here are some useful resources on bringing a baby into a home with pets. Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant – by Dr Lewis Kirkham & Cats and Bubs – Tips form Dr Katrina Warren
We have an allergy problem
There are some wonderful products on the market that will help keep you healthy & allergy free, so surrendering your pet for adoption should be the last option. Look for a doctor who will be sensitive to your feelings & do everything possible, within reason, to help you keep your pet & stay healthy.
My pet has behaviour problems
If your pet is badly behaved, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else is going to want to take it on. Most pet behaviour problems are easily managed & overcome with the right support & approach. Before you rehome your pet, get advice from a qualified trainer or speak to your vet or a behaviouralist.
My dog is aggressive
If your dog displays signs of aggression or behaviours that may lead to aggression, you must understand that you are putting others at risk. No matter how much you love your dog, if he has ever bitten anyone you need to take him to a professional trainer for assessment & rehabilitation. Never advertise your pet as a guard dog, as they may be neglected, abused or used for dog fighting.
To give your pet’s advertisement maximum exposure, make use of every resource.
Screening New Owners
You have every right to screen all potential new owners. Think of it as an adoption, not a sale. Choose the person you think will make the best companion for your pet.
To assist with asking the right questions you can email the potential new owner a form to complete. You can view adoption applications on most rescue groups websites which could help you with ideas.
Once you’ve chosen a family you feel are good candidates, arrange two meetings with the potential new owners – the first for them to meet the pet in a neutral place (like a local park) & the second for you to see their home. We strongly advise that you DO NOT hand over your pet until you’ve seen the adopter’s living arrangements. It is important to also ensure existing pets have a meet & greet with your pet.
Trust your instincts! If you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to discuss them or to reject them. To make a non-confrontational exit, tell them other people are also interested in meeting your pet & that you’ll get back to them.
Important Things to Mention to the New Owners
All rehomed pets go through an adjustment period as they get to know their new people, learn new rules & mourn the loss of their old family. Most pets adjust within a few days, but others may take longer.
Advise the new family to take things easy at first, avoiding anything stressful, such as bathing their new pet, attending obedience training classes or meeting too many strangers at once. Assure them this will give the pet time to settle in & bond with them.
Tell them not to worry if the pet does not eat for the first day or two, he’ll eat when he’s ready.
Some of the best house-trained pets can temporarily forget. Assure the new owners that it’s not unusual for rehomed pets to have an accident during the first day in their new home & it rarely happens more than once. Take all new dogs out every hour for the first few days, when the dog wee’s in the correct spot make a big fuss. Tell him he is a good boy & give a treat immediately.
Keep cats indoors for at least four weeks after a move but HAR recommends all cats to be 100% indoors. This prevents cat fights, being attacked by dogs, getting ran over or them hurting wildlife.
Always encourage the new owners to keep a ID tags on the animal at all times to ensure they can be returned quickly at any times.
Tell the family they should call you if the adoption doesn’t work out. Let them know you want to keep in touch & will call them in a few days to see how things are going.
Update your pet’s microchip details, council registration & change of ownership papers with the new owners details when you are sure the new home is going to work out. If paperwork isn’t completed you will remain the legal owner and potentially attract any fines.
At HAR our core focus is rescuing dogs and cats facing euthanasia in our local pounds and we are therefore unable to accept private surrenders. However, if you are unable to rehome your pet and wish to surrender the animal to the RSPCA, please visit the following link for further information.