If you have read all the information above and still need to find a home for
your pet, here are some options:
1. Return your pet to the shelter, rescue group or breeder you acquired it from.
Responsible adoption organizations and breeders contractually require
this, although some may allow you to rehome to someone you know that they
Caveats: If the place where you got your dog was less than reputable (for
example, with overcrowded, poor conditions), don’t return the dog there. If
you got her from a pet store or puppy mill (oh dear), returning is not an
2. Place your pet with a trusted friend or family member. Well-loved,
well-behaved, healthy dogs usually have a circle of admirers who jump at the
chance to adopt her.
Caveats: Even your best friend or favorite relative may decline to take on a
dog with major health or behavior challenges. You must be honest about these
3. Use social media to advertise to a trusted audience. People sometimes have
success with rehoming dogs by advertising on social media. Put together some
good pictures and a complete description of your dog (and the reasons you must
rehome her) and ask your friends to share. You never know: a friend of a
friend may have a perfect spot for the dog.
Caveats: Try to allow for plenty of time (weeks or even months) to network in
search of a perfect new owner for your dog. It’s not easy to screen potential
adopters – you risk placing your dog with someone who won’t provide the kind
of loving care you want for him, despite their assurances (this goes triple if
she has health or behavior issues). There have been recent news stories about
dogs placed in new homes free of charge by owners, shelters, and rescue groups,
only to have to purported adopters “flip” (sell) the free dogs. Always do a
home check to see where your pet will be going, and don’t give your animal
away for free to a stranger.
4. Take your pet to a good shelter or rescue. There are thousands of excellent
pet adoption services around the country. Many provide medical treatment for
at least some of the cats and dogs in their care that owners couldn’t afford.
The best have behavior departments or working relationships with qualified
professionals to modify difficult behaviors in order to make dogs more likely
to succeed in their next, hopefully final, homes. Not everything is fixable,
and responsible groups still have to make difficult euthanasia decisions, but
your pet might be one they can help.
Caveats: Be sure you research these groups diligently. Visit the facility to
see that it’s clean and well run. If you can’t visit, don’t leave your pet
there. If they won’t give you straight answers about their willingness to
treat medical issues or modify difficult behaviors, don’t leave your pet
there. If your pet isn’t adopted, she may suffer in a cage at a “no-kill”
shelter for the rest of her life, or worse, in the hands of a hoarder posing
as a shelter or rescue. Again, you must be brutally honest about your pet’s
health or behavior problems.
5. Have your pet euthanized. As painful as this, it may be the kindest thing
you can do if your pet has extreme health and/or behavior issues. It may not
be realistic to ask someone else to care for such a dog, and she could be
abused or neglected in the process. Dying peacefully in the arms of someone
who loves her is better than dying neglected in someone’s backyard, or after
spending weeks, months, or years in the stressful environment of a shelter.
6. List your pet on Adopt-A-Pet.com’s website. This is a search engine that
most rescues use to get their pets adopted.