For many years, people were told to go to a shelter if they couldn't keep their pets. This was a way to keep pets off the streets, yet it resulted in and continues to result in euthanasia. As times have changed, communities are seeking out ways to save animals' lives and not treat them as disposable. This means that shelters need help from people to keep pets in homes and safe while they await their next homes.
We provide the following:
Giving up an animal is a serious decision. If you are considering this, please contact us for help before you bring us your pet. We can suggest training options, offer behavioral advice, provide options for pet-friendly housing, or help you and your pet in another way. Reach out to us so we can guide you toward a happy ending for both you and your pet.
Counseling and support
Many reasons people need to give up their pets are correctable. If you are at your wit's end due to litterbox issues, barking, puppy energy that hasn't been tamed, moving, having a baby, or need information about caring for your pet, we can help! We want you to be a part of your pet's life and believe you are the best option for your pet.
If you call us, our staff can help you directly or seek out another staffer to work with you.
An alternative to bringing a pet to a shelter is to have people work to find a new home for their pet. We encourage this, and to help we have a site where you can post an ad for your pet online. See Steps to Re-home a Pet below.
Steps to Re-home a Pet
It will take time to find your pet his/her next home. Plan to devote at least 30 days to the process. People like healthy animals that are already spayed and neutered. Take your pet to a veterinarian and save the records. Visit our low-cost spay/neuter page.
1. Friends and family are the number one way pets find new homes. Contact everyone! Use your social media connections!
2. Place an ad in the local newspapers and on pet adoption websites. Many people read them and usually it is FREE to place an ad.
3. Look into specific animal rescues. If you have a pure bred dog, look for pure bred rescues. If you have a senior pet, look for a senior animal rescue. There is a rescue for almost every type of pet.
4. Prepare a flyer/handout about the pet and include:
- Appearance, size, and age - use a well-lighted recent photo or use a few photos of your pet
- Describe his/her nature and positive characteristics about him/her
- Describe your pet's health status. See Groundwork above.
- Put your name and phone number and a time for people to reach you.
- Make it fun! For example: Felix is a fun 3-year-old tabby looking for a sunny window to sit in. He is good with other cats and dogs. I must give him up for adoption because I am moving into a retirement home. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx after 8:00 pm.
Screening Potential Adopters
You care that your pet makes it to a good, permanent home, so now you must screen potential adopters that contact you. Asking some key questions will help with this, but be sure you have a conversations with the person and not an "interview" because you will get more from the exchange! Here are some questions to ask:
- Is this pet for you or someone else?
- Is it okay to have pets in your home/apartment/condo?
- Have you had pets before? (Particularly the type of pet you are placing for adoption)
- Why are you interested in my pet?
- Do you have any children?
- Are you willing to let me visit your home prior to taking my pet?
- Will the pet be supervised outside?
Meeting Potential Adopters
You can meet people at their place or have them come to your home, but the safest way is to meet in a neutral spot. Bring the pet with you. Things to note during the meeting:
- How does the person interact with your pet?
- Did they bring additional family members, including children in the household? Is everyone there who needs to be?
- Ask additional questions - be sure they aren't going to sell your pet!
- If you aren't okay with the interaction, feel pressured, or have doubts, do not proceed! Continue looking for a better fit.
Completing the Re-homing
Once you have selected a new home for your pet, prepare the pet and gather supplies and materials for the new owner. Meet at an agreed-upon time and place to give your pet to the new owner. You are giving up ownership rights, so be sure the new home is a good fit.
- Provide the person with all veterinary records
- Take toys, beds, food, medications, etc. so the pet has these for comfort during the adjustment
- Get the person's contact information so you can obtain an update, if you'd like
- Provide the person with any behavioral information she or he will need
- Document that you have transferred ownership and materials
- The pet will need a new ID tag and, if microchipped, the new owner's information must be called in to the microchip company
If you don't have anyone step up who wants to be the new love of your pet's life, DO NOT abandon your pet in the woods, parking lot, or anywhere! Learn more about surrendering your pet to AWA.