Whether you rescued a pet from a shelter, one you found abandoned in the street, or from a home that could not or no longer wanted to keep him or her — you are a pet hero! Thank you for helping a pet in need and trying to find him or her a new loving home. (If you are trying to find a new home for your own pet, please click that link for an article that is written just for your situation.) Adopt-a-Pet.com is a service that lets shelters and rescue groups list their animals for adoption. We cannot post listings from individuals. There are, however, many excellent avenues for finding a loving home for a pet you have rescued. Please read our Tips if you find a stray pet before re-homing a pet you’ve found. The information below is not intended as a complete guide to rehoming a pet, but is a great way to get started. Thank you again for helping a homeless pet!
Surrender to a public shelter?
It is greatly preferable to find the pet a home yourself rather than taking him/her to a shelter. Even the best shelter is stressful for the animal, and you have only one animal to focus on while a shelter may have hundreds. Publicly run animal shelters are already overcrowded and, in many cities, a majority of the pets are not adopted, but instead are euthanized. Even purebred and friendly pets are routinely destroyed at public shelters to make space for new pets coming in. The extent of the overpopulation problem varies from area to area. For a list of shelters and rescues in your area, click here.
Surrender to a rescue or no-kill shelter?
There are privately-run shelters and rescue organizations that do not kill pets. But because they keep the pets for as long as it takes to find a new home, they are usually filled to capacity, so it can take weeks to get an appointment. If you do find a “no-kill” organization than might take the pet you rescued, offering as big a tax-deductible donation as possible will help. Remember, in the case of private shelters and rescue groups, they are just people who are doing their best because they care about pets, most are volunteers spending significant amounts of their own money to cover vet bills, and they all get far more legitimate hard luck cases than they can possibly handle each day. For a list of shelters and rescues in your area, click here.
Find your pet a new home yourself
More than likely, you will need to do the work yourself to find the pet a good home. If you cannot keep the pet in your home, ask friends and family to help, or look for a boarding facility or veterinary office where you can pay to house the pet. Don’t house the pet too far away or it will be hard to show him/her to potential adopters.
- Friends, family, coworkers and neighbors are valuable adoption resources. Not only are they potential adopters, but they can help spread the word to others as well.
- Have the pet spayed or neutered-you’ll have better luck adopting him or her out!
- Take a photo of the pet and make a flyer to post at your work, veterinary offices, pet supply stores, grocery stores, libraries, cafes, or anywhere around town. Be sure to talk to people about the pet whenever you can. Email all your contacts – include the pet’s photo and info, and attach the flyer.
- Place ads in local newspapers and neighborhood newsletters—be sure to make it catchy and mention a particularly cute or interesting quality the pet has.
- Post a photo album of the pet on Facebook, include “needs a home” in the title, and ask your friends to share. Add a new photo every day so it will show up daily in your friends News Feed.
Screen any potential new home
If you are considering giving the pet to someone you don’t know, you will want to screen them to ensure the match is a good one. Let your pet’s personality be a guide for what questions to ask. Is your pet good with cats, dogs, and kids? Does she have any characteristics that warrant a more experienced pet owner?
Other questions you should ask are: Will the pet be allowed inside the house? Have they had pets before? Did their pets die of natural causes or for reasons that make you suspect they were not properly cared for? Ask local shelters and rescue groups for copies of their screening forms and adoption agreements for more ideas.
After you’ve done some initial screening and have a good candidate, bring the pet and person together to meet. Visit the person’s home, and trust your intuition—you want to be sure that the adopter has your pet’s interests at heart. You may want to check identification and ask for references. Let the new adopter know they can call you for questions or advice. After a week or so, give them a call to find out how things are going.
Do NOT give away a pet for free
Free pets are much more likely to be abandoned, and in some cases, someone might be seeking to obtain a pet for free to use for an illegal purpose such as dog fighting. You should charge an adoption fee that is equal to or greater than the adoption fee charged by your local animal shelter for that type of pet. Don’t be shy to charge money for your pet! Having someone pay money for a pet is one of the most important ways to be assured that the person who is taking the pet is serious about wanting them, and can afford to pay for the food and veterinary care the pet will need throughout his/her life. If you do not want to keep the money you receive for the pet, you can donate it to your local shelter or rescue. You can also offer to hold it as a veterinary fund for the pet. That is a great way to ensure that the adopter is serious about wanting the pet, the pet has a small fund for veterinary care, and you will continue to be able to monitor the health of your pet.
Remember, this pet has NO ONE but YOU—The loyalty you show and effort you put forth to find this pet a new loving home, even if it causes inconvenience for you now, will be well worth it when you know that this pet is living out a healthy and happy life!
Thanks again for helping to find a rescued pet a new loving home!