Finding a new home for your pet often takes time, patience and effort. However, it can be less stressful on the pet, and you will be able to choose the new home. PAWS suggests these steps to make the process easier:
- Get your pet spayed or neutered. It’s much easier to find homes for altered animals. If cost is an issue, PAWS offers low-cost surgeries for qualified low-income households. You can also check our list of low-cost spay/neuter clinics or call 425.787.2500 x450 for information.
- Make a list of your pet's traits. Brainstorm your pet’s appearance, personality and behavior. Do include the good and the bad. This will help you develop a short biography for your pet to give to potential adopters. Be honest so the person giving a home to your animal will know what to expect.
- Take photos of your animal. Use the photos to make fliers to post at pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, places of worship, work bulletin boards, online bulletin boards, e-mails and in newsletters. Be sure to alert family and friends so they can tell the people in their community about your pet needing a new home.
- If the animal is a purebred dog or cat you may be able to seek help from organizations like Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue.
- When using social media or the internet, do not list the animal for free. Unfortunately, there are people who acquire animals to resell them to research laboratories or place them in illegal dog fighting rings or other abusive situations. By asking the adopter for an adoption fee (even if it is a small donation to your local shelter), you help to ensure that the person who is adopting your pet has his best interest at heart and can financially provide for your pet.
- Interview potential adopters. You want to make sure that the people adopting your pet are a good fit. Download and print this list of suggested interview questions (PDF 101KB).
- Talk to your veterinarian. Some veterinary hospitals can help place owned animals or may have alternate solutions to medical or behavior issues.
- Be patient and stay realistic. Older animals, sick animals, and those who have medical conditions or behavioral problems can be hard to place. Keep in mind that the very problem that is causing you to give up your pet may be the same reason someone else is reluctant to adopt her.
- Military? If you are in the military and going on deployment, consider contacting Dogs on Deployment. This non-profit provides an online network for services members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner's service commitments.
- Online posting service: Some guardians find it helpful to use an online posting service like Get Your Pet, which includes helpful forms to transfer legal ownership of your pet to a new home.
When a new home is not the solution
Sad as it is, there are times when medical conditions or behavioral problems cannot be resolved and you may want to discuss humane euthanasia with your veterinarian.
While this choice is not always necessary, it is much better to provide the animal with a humane death than have her end up on the street because the new guardian was not told about the behavior or medical problems.