Sadly, you may be faced with the heartbreaking decision of having to surrender or rehome your beloved pet.  Be assured you are not alone, there are many situations outside of your control that may lead to rehoming, such as rental restrictions, financial hardship, relationship breakdown, health issues or physical limitations.

As the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation is a research and advocacy group, we do not run shelters and cannot directly assist with surrendering your pet. Fortunately there are steps you can take to maximise the chances of your pet finding a new forever home.

Research shows that home-to-home adoption can be more successful than surrendering your pet to a shelter or pound. As pet shelters are often overwhelmed with homeless animals, there is no guarantee that your pet will be adopted to a new home. To help you find a new home for your pet, here are some suggestions and guidelines:

Give yourself plenty of time

To give your pet the best chance of a new forever home, it is important to give yourself enough time to complete the below steps. You will want to take a while to find the right home and family for your pet – one that is loving and suited to your pet’s individual needs and personality

Prepare a pet profile and a general history

Your pet’s profile needs to be positive, feature the best things about your pet and give people an idea of your pet’s personality:

    • -Accurately describe the appearance, breed, size and age of your pet
    • -Include the pet’s name and a high quality photo
    • -Mention if your pet is desexed, microchipped and has a vaccination history
    • -Include all medical history and veterinary paperwork
    • -Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities
    • -Define any limitations the pet might have (e.g. not good with small children)
    • -Include a fun story about your pet’s positive and quirky characteristics
    • -Don’t forget your phone number and the times you can be reached

Post your pet’s photo and profile online

Social media sites such as Facebook and websites such Gumtree are ideal resources. A good photo plays a big part in helping potential adopters connect with your pet. Before you take a photo make sure your pet is clean, relaxed, and doesn’t look anxious or scared.  Ideally, your pet should be looking at the camera, with a focus on the face and eyes.  Create a detailed advert or post using their profile information above and photo. Ask your friends and family to share your post or advert as widely as they can.

Identify the ideal home for your pet

Make a list of what you feel is most important for your pet. What kind of environment does he/she need? What kind of people would suit his/her personality and energy levels? Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, it will be easier to manage enquiries and get the results you want for your pet.

Arranging a meeting and home check

If you have time arrange two meetings with the potential new owners. The first one for them to meet your pet and see how they interact, and the second for you to see their home. Additionally, you could ask for references from the potential new family.

Keep in touch with the new owners

If possible, tell the family they can call you if the adoption does not work out. Let them know you want to keep in touch and will call them in a few days to see how things are going.

By following these steps you will give you and your pet the best chance to find them a new forever home. We wish you all the best in finding the best outcome for your pet and your family.

Sample descriptions for your pet

Betty Lou has a new pair of shoes and she is ready to walk right into your heart! Betty is a two-year-old spayed female terrier mix. She loves to dance, prance and play. She is a doll! She is good with cats as well. Call Kelly or Doug at 555-3576 after 7 p.m. weekdays or all day Sunday. Adoption fee required.

Joe Cocker is coming to town and wants to sing for you. Joe is a three-year-old neutered male cockapoo with a great personality. Loves kids and dogs, but isn’t as keen on cats! He has had all his shots. Call Morris after 6 p.m. at 555-4674. Adoption fee required.

Persian cat with attitude. Martha thinks she rules the world! She is gorgeous, and knows it. She loves to sit on laps and be petted. She would prefer a home where she is the only cat. Adoption fee required. See her at the Petco on Broadway, Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ask for Beth.

SHAMBU is the kind of companion that we all long to have. Loyal, playful, tender and kind best describes this beautiful orange tabby. He is 3 years old, neutered, and has had all his shots. He prefers an adults-only home. Call Jeremy at 555-2189 before 11 a.m. any day. Donation for my favorite animal charity required. No bunchers.

Examples provided by the Best Friend Animal Society