If you still decide that you must give up your dog

If you must place your dog in another home, you are in a better position to do this than most shelters or rescue groups. Knowing the dog's temperament, you can screen potential families and identify the best match for your dog. And you can ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, without any time spent in strange and traumatic circumstances.

Screening Potential Families for your Dog

You are in the best position to find your dog a new home that is right for him (and be sure his new family feels the same way). By being honest about your dog and asking a few questions, you'll be sure that your dog and his new family are a good long-term match.

Beware of running a "free to a good home" add in the local paper. Many cities have several individuals who abuse and neglect animals. There is an active network that funnels hundreds of pets from "free to good home" fliers and ads into laboratory research and dog fighting rings, where they suffer slow agonies and a painful death.

YOU OWE IT TO YOUR DOG to get him/her spayed/neutered before they leave your care. Don't add to the problem of overpopulation that rescues are fighting so hard everyday. And by spaying/neutering your dog, you decrease their health risks.
For anyone who is interested in adopting your dog:

  1. Visit their house, making it clear that this is just a visit. Do not plan to leave the dog! This allows you to see the conditions that your dog will be living in.
  2. Ask questions! Keep in mind that this not only gives you some additional information, but it also makes sure that they have made a thoughtful decision. Ask:
    • Have they ever had a dog before. If so, what happened to the dog(s)?
    • Do they have a fenced yard. If not, how will the dog be controlled when outside?
    • Where will the dog sleep? Where will the dog be when alone in home
    • Have they considered the costs involved (food, medical bills etc.)?
    • Give potential families a realistic picture of the dog's temperament and history, and be sure that you are comfortable with their ability to work with it. Consider:
      • Activity level (and any unusual habits like bolting or jumping)
      • Level of training
      • Health history (and be sure to provide a vaccination record)
      • Good with children? Other pets?
      • Other habits (chewer, likes to sleep in bed, etc)
  3. Verify their contact information. Try to get a home and a work phone.
  4. Ask potential families what veterinarian they have used in the past, and call him/her. Ask if the family has consistently provided required health care (vaccinations, spay/neuter, etc).
  5. If the family rents, contact their landlord to verify that dogs are allowed.
  6. Charge a fee (if you'd prefer, donate it to a rescue/shelter). This helps ensure that the potential adopter isn't a buncher (a person who collects free dogs and sells to research) and the person/family is willing to pay for necessary medical expenses, food etc.