At Dogwatch our focus is on rescuing and rehoming condemned Pound dogs and puppies and because we currently rescue from three pounds, (CCC, Waimakariri and Selwyn districts), we are constantly full. For every dog in our care there are many more at these facilities desperately needing our kennel space. For this reason we cannot take in privately owned dogs but we have posted the following information as a guide and resource for people who want to rehome their pet.
First and Foremost: remember that your pet depends entirely on you to do what's best for his future. Whether you are forced to give away a beloved companion due to moving, or you have come to the conclusion that you are ill-equipped to care for it, you must take responsibility to improve its life by finding it an appropriate new home.
Finding the right home will take time, effort and patience: Your dog is not alone, there are literally thousands of cute, smart and well-trained dogs looking for a new home every year in New Zealand so it may not happen overnight but it’s worth the persistence when you consider that hundreds of these adoptable dogs are killed every year because a home can't be found for them.
So, give yourself plenty of time to place your dog responsibly and take the following steps:
- Call the person you got the dog from: Make your first call to the breeder, rescue, or person you originally got your dog from. Responsible breeders will either assist you in finding a new home, or take the dog back to rehome themselves.
- Create a checklist of Homing Needs: The top priority is to assess your dog’s needs. You may want to write an all-inclusive list of requirements for your dog’s ideal new home. Go through your list and determine what is non-negotiable for your dog’s unique needs, and include the top "must haves" in the advertising (see Advertising your Dog further down the page).
- Get your dog ready to be rehomed by getting it desexed and make sure it has up to date veterinary care (vaccinations, wormed, flead).
- Prepare a general history: Create a profile of your dog’s history including details about food preferences, favourite treats and toys, relationship with other animals and other likes and dislikes. All this information will help potential adopters get acquainted with your dog and make the transition to a new home much easier.
- Take a good picture: While your dog is clean and freshly groomed, take a photo to place on posters and websites. A good photo plays a big part in helping potential adopters connect with your pet, so make sure your dog is relaxed and doesn't look anxious or scared. Keep the photograph simple. Ideally, the dog should be looking at the camera, with a focus on the face and eyes. Discard any photos with red eye as it makes the dog look possessed!
ADVERTISING YOUR DOG
To give your dog’s advertisement maximum exposure, make use of all the available resources. Start with pre-existing, trusted connections like your friends, neighbours, local veterinarians, and social communities. Once you’ve put the word out in these venues, you can also advertise in less familiar places by putting up flyers in local businesses and classified ads in local publications. Online you can use sites like Trade Me and Face Book.
Never include the phrase 'free to good home' in your advertisement – even if you're not planning to charge a fee. You may attract people looking for a free pet to sell on themselves for a profit.
Things to include in your advertising and flyers:
- Accurately describe the appearance, size and age of your dog
- Include your dog's name and a good photograph
- Mention that your dog is desexed
- Describe his/her nature, best traits and appealing qualities
- Define any limitations your dog 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 dog.
If someone responds to your advert, you should screen them over the phone before introducing them to your og. This will help you rule out any unsuitable adopters early on.
Here is a printable/downloadable list of Adoption Questions to ask prospective owners.
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 your dog, and the second for you to see their home.
We strongly advise that you do not hand over your dog 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 dog and that you'll get back to them.
Important things to mention to the new owners:
- 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 dog, attending obedience training classes or meeting too many strangers at once. Assure them this will give your dog time to settle in and bond with them.
- Tell them not to worry if your dog 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.