Rehoming Your Pet

Rehoming your pet yourself is an emotional and overwhelming task, and no matter how long you you put it off, sometimes it is unavoidable and nobody’s fault.  That is why sites like Adopt-A-Pet have created says for people to list their personal animals for adoption!  Check it out!  

Here are a few tips in rehoming your pet:


There are dogs and cats that have been sitting in shelters for months, waiting for the right home or waiting for a rescue organization to get them into foster care, so you have to accept that it can take a long time to find your personal pet a new home.  Rescue groups don’t have any sort of magic wand to be able to adopt an animal, we have the same resources (online, word of mouth, flyers, Facebook, emails, etc.) that you do.  And no matter how perfect or adorable you think your pet is, they can go unnoticed for months in the slew of overwhelming posts for animals needing rescued.  So give yourself plenty of time to place your pet responsibly, seeking out the right family that is willing to care for them for the rest of their life.  If you are interested in using an application process to help with placement, you are welcome to use our online application as a guide.  Please, however, do not include the Friends of Rescue logo or name anywhere on the app.  


Make your first call to the breeder, rescue, or person you originally got your pet from. Responsible breeders will either assist you in finding a new home, or take the pet back into their program if possible. Many rescues also state in their contracts that the pet can be returned to them, no matter how much time has passed, just like we do. However, finding a foster home can take time, as previously mentioned. 


When considering putting your pet up for adoption, you need to be realistic. If your pet is old, has health issues, is not housebroken, is unfriendly towards strangers, attacks other animals or children, or has a history of biting, you may need to consider an alternative to rehoming your pet.  It may be considered unadoptable to a lot of people.  We would be happy to give you our opinion as ‘an outsider’ with a bias perspective (and plenty of experience with animals) to help you decide.  But in reality, if you don’t want to keep your furbaby due to behavioral or health issues, why would you expect a complete stranger to?  All of our foster homes have other animals, some have children and full time jobs, and would not be able to provide the care and training required for a high-risk animal.  We will do what we can to provide you suggestions with training and can refer you to vets and trainers in our area to assist as well.  Just email us.  


Make a list of what you feel is most important for your pet. What kind of environment does he need? Is he ok with children? Is he good with other pets? What kind of people would suit his personality and energy levels?  Once you have a firm idea of what you’re looking for, it will be easier to plan your search and get the results you want for your pet.  As previously mentioned, feel free to use our adoption application to guide you.  There are certain questions you may not think to ask because they seem obvious, but you would be surprised!


It is IMPARITIVE that you NOT rehome your animal if it is not up to date on the rabies vaccine or has been spay or neutered.  If you have no records or knowledge of your pet being altered, make sure this is the first thing you do. Take it to your vet to confirm and have documentation.  Why? Because there are a million puppy mills that get their breeding stock by duping people like you out of their unsterilized animals to breed them for profit.

These breeding dogs receive little or no medical care, they’re kept small kennels, are over-bred until deemed unusable, and then disposed of. These puppy farms target both cross-breed and purebred dogs, but small breeds such as Maltese and popular breeds like Labradors are especially sought after.

Make sure your pet doesn’t meet this fate. Eliminate all bogus callers by having your pet altered and advertising it as such. If you’re unable to afford the cost of surgery, there are many organizations offering discount programs.  Check with the North Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic on North Memorial Parkway.

Also, remember that your pet will be much more appealing to adopters if it’s healthy.  Schedule an annual check up at the vet to get updated on vaccines, check for heartworms (feline leukemia and FIV in cats) and ask your vet for a printout of the medical history and start a folder of information about your pet to give to the adopter.  Testing, vaccines, and sterilization surgeries can be scheduled in one visit at North Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic at


Add a profile of your that includes details about food preferences, favorite treats and toys, relationships with other animals and other likes and dislikes.  All of this information will help potential adopters get acquainted with the pet and make the transition to a new home much easier for your pet too. Make sure the animal is clean, trimmed nails, and well kept then take at least 3 good, bright, clear photos to use online when listing for adoption.  




Charging an adoption fee ensures that you only receive inquiries from people who are genuinely ready to accept the cost of pet ownership.  Of course, people won’t be expecting to pay the same price for a re-homed pet as they would for a brand new puppy or kitten, but a reasonable range might be between $75 and $150, which helps offset your advertising and veterinary costs.

Most importantly, never include the phrase ‘free to good home’ in your advertisement – even if you’re not planning to charge a fee.  THIS IS DANGEROUS. Not to say all people that are willing to take a free animal are murderers or run a dog-fighting ring, but we can assure you, these types of people generally won’t pay a $75 adoption fee for one they plan to get rid of.

If a potential adopter isn’t willing to pay a fee, or complains that the price is too high, it’s likely they won’t be prepared to spend the necessary money to have the pet treated for minor injury or illness.


Some of the best homes are with people who already know and like your pet. Friends and family may be willing to offer your pet a new home, so ask around your immediate circle first. Then perhaps try posting a message on your Facebook page, or noticeboards at work and school.

Do you visit a dog park? Ask around to find out if anyone is looking for a new pet. If your pet stays at a boarding kennel when you go on vacation, call them to see if they can ask around for you or post a flyer in their waiting room or at the vet’s office. Dog washers and dog walkers are also good contacts to find out who’s looking for a new pet. Ask pretty much everyone you deal with on a daily basis – you never know who might come forward!

If you’re a member of a church, club or group, ask if you can place an advert in their newsletter or on their bulletin board.

Put up flyers in your local supermarkets, vets and community centers. Pet stores, too!  Email a flyer to all of your friends and ask them to add it to their break-room bulletin boards. Some rescue groups will also allow you to display a flyer at their premises for free, or in exchange for a small donation.

The internet is a wonderful place to reach many people looking for a pet and there are lots of classifieds resources online. Some rescue groups may allow you to place an ad on their website for free, or in exchange for a small donation.


 Accurately describe the appearance, size and age of your pet

 Include the pet’s name and a good photograph

 Mention that the pet is altered

 Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities

 Define any limitations the pet might have (e.g. not good with cats or small children)

 Don’t forget your phone number and the times you can be reached


You have every right to screen all potential new owners who inquire about your pet. Don’t let anyone rush or intimidate you. Think of it as an adoption, not a sale. Choose the person you think will make the best companion for your pet.

If someone responds to your advertisement, you should screen them over the phone before introducing them to the animal. This will help you rule out any unsuitable adopters early on.

To start, you might say: “This dog/cat is very special to me, and I am looking for just the right home for him/her. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about yourself and your home?”

Let all applicants know you will be checking references and need to speak to their vet (if they’ve had pets before).

Once you’ve chosen a family (or families) that you feel are good candidates, arrange two meetings with the potential new owners – the first appointment for them to meet the pet, and the second for you to see their home. If the first meeting goes well, ask them to fill out an application.  You are welcome to cut and paste our application into your own document, just please be sure to remove any references to Friends of Rescue, as we are  not affiliated with your adoption process in any way.

We strongly advise that you do not hand over your pet until you’ve seen the adopter’s living arrangements. It’s all too easy for people to tell you what you want to hear, rather than how it actually is. By seeing their home you’ll be able to gauge their suitability as an owner.

Trust your instincts. If you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to discuss them or to reject their application. To make a non-confrontational exit, tell them other people are also interested in meeting your pet and that you’ll get back to them.


All rehomed pets go through an adjustment period as they get to know their new people, learn new rules and mourn the loss of their old family. Most pets adjust within a few days, but others may take longer.

Advise the new family to take things easy at first, avoiding anything stressful, such as bathing their new pet, attending obedience training classes or meeting too many strangers at once. Assure them this will give the pet time to settle in and bond with them.

Tell them not to worry if the pet does not eat for the first day or two, he’ll eat when he’s ready.

Some of the best house-trained pets can temporarily forget the rules. Assure the new owners that it’s not unusual for rehomed pets to have an accident during the first day in their new home and it rarely happens more than once.


Have the new owner sign an adoption contract, including a waiver of liability, and keep a copy for your records. 

A contract will help protect the pet, while the waiver of liability helps protect you. But remember, it will not protect you if you have lied or misrepresented your pet to his new owners.

Tell the family they should call you if the adoption doesn’t 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. Tell them to call you if they have questions or problems. Be willing to take the pet back if things don’t work out the way you both expected.

Finding a new home for a pet can take some time, but the effort that you put in now will be worth it when you find a great forever home for him.


If you find a stray animal, first you need to find out if it has an owner. If you rehome a pet that isn’t homeless, you are effectively selling stolen goods. You need to take the animal to a vet, shelter, or rescue group to get it scanned for a microchip.  This will allow a call center to contact the owner to let them know their animal was found and information can be exchanged to get the animal back to it’s rightful owner.  You should put out flyers with a partial description of the pet you found and your phone number. The actual owner will be able to confirm a simple detail such gender, the color of the collar, or a particular marking on their body, as well as show photos to prove ownership.  You can list the animal on the the Huntsville/Madison County Lost and Found page on Facebook and contact the local animal shelter (Huntsville Animal Services) to start an in-home stray hold. There is also the NEXTDOOR app that allows people to post lost and found animals in their area.