Finding a New Home for a Rescued Animal
CARE is frequently contacted by people who rescue a stray animal, and need help finding a new home for it. In addition, due to medical, financial, or other reasons, some people will need to find a new home for their own pet. Unfortunately, CARE has a limited number of foster homes available, and they are usually completely full, as animals are transferred from the local shelter as soon as any opening is available. Such animals are high priority, since their days truly are numbered.
Thus, while CARE can inquire about available foster homes, in most cases individuals who contact CARE are encouraged to find new homes for the animals themselves, or explore alternatives that would allow them to keep the animal. The latter is especially true for people who feel they must give up a current pet who has shared their home and their love for years.
The goal of this page is to provide suggestions and aides to people looking for a new home for an animal.
Steps to Take
The first thing that should be done is to determine if a stray animal is actually a lost pet – someone may already be searching for it. If the animal has a name tag, that’s the obvious starting point. If the animal only has a rabies tag, contact the vet listed on the tag, as they can locate the animal’s owner. Contact your local animal shelter to report a found animal, and have the animal scanned for a microchip at your local shelter or vet office. More information, including lost and found pet web sites, can be found at our Pet Information Resource Center page.
If you are trying to rehome a pet because of conflicts or difficulties, be sure to investigate all possible solutions before giving up a beloved family member. What may seem hopeless under stressful conditions may actually have a simple solution when assessed rationally. See our Pet Information Resource Center page for helpful links.
Honestly assess the animal, whether it is a stray or a current pet. For a stray, take it to your vet to be sure there are no emergency medical problems to address, such as worms or parvo. Then, try writing up a description of at least several hundred words, highlighting what this animal can provide to its new home. The most important consideration is aggression. If the animal exhibits any aggression, you or the potential new home will have to understand and address this. Local animal control can help you if you are unsure. While an animal may be great in all ways, if it shows any aggression, it will be very difficult to place in a new home.
Put up flyers:
In your neighborhood, including community centers and area stores that allow such postings.
At your school or place of work, wherever such announcements are allowed.
At your vet, or other area vets, that allow you to put up such flyers.
Put an add in your local newspaper, which often allow free “pet found” ads for 1 or 2 weeks.
Submit a classified ad to Petfinder.com. Petfinder provides adoption resources and allows shelters and rescue groups to post animals. However, there is also a classified facility for individuals to post animals available for adoptions.
Take advantage of any other electronic options available. Your neighborhood or subdivision may have an Internet bulletin board, for instance. This also includes Internet newsgroups, such as the Triangle area newsgroups. Social media and Nextdoor are other great outlets.
Check with local and national breed-specific rescue groups. However, be aware that many breed-specific rescue groups are in a situation similar to CARE’s: too many animals, not enough foster homes.
When all else fails and you have no more options, you may be forced to take the animal to your local shelter. Yes, there are some ‘no kill’ shelters around, but they are often full and unable to take your animal. Don’t kid yourself about an animal’s future at the shelter, though – like rescue groups, shelters are typically full, and there are only two ways to make room for new animals: adoption and euthanasia.
Do NOT advertise animals as “free to a good home”. These ads often attract the wrong kind of people – people selling animals to research labs, people who will not pay to properly care for an animal, etc. Rather, phrase your adds to indicate that the animal is available for adoption to a good home. You should ask adopters questions, and check references if possible. For more information, see Free to a Good Home?.
Once you have found a new home for an animal, or perhaps placed it with a rescue group, please remove all flyers and electronic postings. The places that allowed you to use their resources in your search deserve this courtesy, and failure to do so may result in this avenue being closed for others in the future. It is also a good idea to include a date on any flyers, to provide some guidance should you forget to remove one.