Rehoming a pet is one of the hardest things a person might ever have to do in life.
Saying goodbye to one your best friends is heartbreaking. What makes it so tough is that not only are you losing a friend, but you’re worried about what might happen to them when you’re gone. Will they be loved? Safe?
While rehoming your dog is never easy, you can make the process better for both of you by putting in a little extra effort to ensure your pup goes to a good home.
Avoid Craigslist (and other anonymous online postings)
Craigslist might seem like the easiest option, but it’s also a breeding ground for scams, lies, and unscrupulous people looking to make an easy buck. People “adopt” dogs off of the site each day only to turn around and sell them for a profit, often to dog fighting rings. There’s no accountability or way to ensure that your dog will go to an honest person when you use a site like this, so avoid it when rehoming your friend.
Find a Rescue
A dog rescue is the best resource you have when it comes to finding your friend a new home. Even if you don’t want to leave your pet with one, they can still provide resources or place a courtesy posting to help you find someone worthy of giving your dog a home. While many rescues focus on specific breeds, plenty out there work with mixed breeds, too. A good rescue will have strict requirements for approval and will perform a rigorous inspection before sending your friend off to live with a new family. Even better, they’ll often draw up a contract that requires any new adopter to return the dog if anything goes wrong.
Ask for Help
Your friends and family are a great resource for helping to find your beloved buddy a new place to live. Put the word out on social media and ask if anyone knows of a good home. They’ll be able to vouch for a new family’s ability to care for a pet and whether or not they’d treat your dog the way he deserves. Perhaps you already know someone who could give your four-legged friend a great life, but just didn’t realize they were looking.
Charge a Fee
If you're embarking on a solo quest to find your dog a new home and feel you must post an ad online, be sure to charge a rehoming fee. A rehoming fee shouldn’t be ridiculously high, nor an attempt to recoup some of the costs you’ve endured while raising your dog. Rather, it’s a small charge to ensure that your pet isn’t going to be turned around for a profit, while also serving as proof that not only can the new family afford a dog, but are also willing to put forth the money needed to care for one.
You wouldn’t hand your child over to a stranger to babysit without references, so why would you place your dog in a new home without checking for competence, too? Ideally, these would be from a veterinarian who can confirm that this person provided excellent care for another animal, but if they’re first-time owners, then references from community leaders can show integrity and commitment.
Inspect the Home
Always do a visit of a potential adopters house before handing over your friend. No one knows your dog’s behavior, or his ability to jump a fence, better than you. A home inspection will allow you to verify that they can keep your dog safe and contained while also warning them about anything he might get into beforehand. It’s also the perfect opportunity to meet his potential new family and see that he’s going to feel at home.
Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible.