Finding a good home for your dog

Finding a Good Home for Your DogYou will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love ....Henry Drummond “Life in abundance comes only through great love.” ...Elbert Hubbard “To love an animal truly, is to truly love, with no expectation other to delight in that love. ...Rachel Rosenthal and Jacki Apple from Tatti Wattles: A Love Story Do you feel you can no longer keep your pet and want to find a new home for him or her? Perhaps you are frustrated with a behavior problem. Or your child has pet allergies. Or you are having trouble finding rental housing that accepts your pet. Many pet-related problems can be frustrating, and you may feel that relinquishing your pet is the only solution. But before you take that drastic step, be aware of the wealth of resources available to help pet owners such as yourself deal with problems that can seem overwhelming.

Behavior Problems

If you are dealing with a pet behavior problem, consider first consulting with your veterinarian. Many problems may be due to a treatable medical condition. For example, a housetrained pet may begin urinating in the house due to a urinary tract infection rather than a behavior problem. Your veterinarian will be able to rule out any physical cause of the problem and may also be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist or trainer in your community who has the experience and expertise to help address your pet's behavior problem. There are also several sites on the Internet that offer helpful tips on solving pet behavior problems. See “common misbehavior problems” in our pet behavior section If you choose to find a home for your pet yourself, follow these guidelines:

  • Advertise through friends, neighbors, and local veterinarians first; then try the newspaper, if all else fails. Your chances of finding a good home are increased when you check references with someone you know.
  • Visit the prospective new home in order to get a feel for the environment in which your pet will be living. Explain that the pet is part of your family and that you want to make sure she will be cared for properly and that you want to see how the animal responds to the new home. Screen potential homes carefully.
  • Don't be fooled. If anyone refuses to allow you to visit their home, do not place your pet with them. Individuals known as "bunchers" routinely answer "free-to-good-home" ads, posing as people who want family pets when, in actuality, they sell pets to animal dealers. Dogfighters have also been known to obtain domestic animals for baiting through "free to good home" ads. These people are "professionals" who may even bring children or their mothers with them when picking up pets.
  • Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential adopters or if you allow a prospective adopter to enter your home.
  • Carefully consider all the elements of the new home: Will your pet get along with small children? Is the family planning to keep the dog chained outside as a watchdog? Will the cat be kept only as a mouser? Does the family have a veterinary reference? Do not be shy about asking questions. Your pet's life and happiness may depend on it.
  • Ask for a valid form of identification (preferably a driver's license). Record the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree. As part of the contract, require the new owner to contact you if he or she decides at some point that they must give up the pet.
  • Have your pet neutered or spayed before he or she goes to the new home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding.
  • If your pet is chronically ill or has behavior problems, it may be difficult to find him a suitable home. A new owner may not be willing or able to deal with these issues, and it may also be difficult for the pet to adjust to a new home. The decision to humanely euthanize such a pet should not be made without thoughtful input from a veterinarian, a behaviorist, and the family, based on how well they believe their companion would adapt to a new home.

Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal shelter has a qualified staff trained to screen and counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to your local shelter may be the best option for you and your pet.

What to do when you find a stray dog or cat

What To Do When You Find a Stray Dog or Cat"To be of use in this world is the only way to be happy. ...Hans Christian Anderson "Speak up for the animals who can't speak for themselves" You’re in your car, heading somewhere or other, a long list of things to accomplish and already running late.  Suddenly, you see a dog by the side of the road. With a sinking feeling, you realize he’s alone. Your car is coming alongside him now. You have only seconds in which to act. But what should you  do?  This is a wrenching scenario for all who care about animals. Once you’ve seen the dog or cat, it’s too late to avert your eyes and drive on.  After all, what if your own dog or cat were standing there? So before you pull over, good Samaritan that you are, here are some guidelines for assisting animals safely and effectively.

  • Be ready to rescue. If you know in your heart that you’re a rescuer, equip yourself to do the best possible job.  Have in your car at all times: phone,  phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter, cat carrier or cardboard box, collars, leashes, muzzles, heavy blanket, water and bowl, strong smelling food, such as canned tuna or dried liver, and an animal first-aid kit.
  • Consider the safety of the animal. A strange, frightened, sick or injured animal may behave unpredictably. A sudden move could spook him, causing him to bolt--possibly right onto the highway.
  • If possible, restrain the animal. If the animal is injured, and still on the roadway, signal approaching vehicles to slow down, or divert traffic around him until he can be moved.
  • Use caution when approaching the animal. If you succeed in getting close enough to capture him, you stand a good chance of being bitten.   Try to place the proper size muzzle on the dog. If you are bitten by an animal whose vaccination status is unknown, you will be advised to undergo preventive treatment for rabies.
  • When approaching the animal, speak calmly to reassure him. Make sure he can see you at all times as you approach, and perhaps entice him to come to you by offering a strong-smelling food such as canned tuna or dried liver.
  • Try to lure an animal into your car with food, and close the door. Before you take an injured animal to a private veterinary hospital for treatment, be willing to assume financial responsibility for the animal before treatment begins. If you take a badly injured stray dog to animal control, understand that that agency may be unable to provide expensive treatment for the animal, to relieve him from his suffering they may euthanize him. If you plan to keep the animal in the event no owner is found, notify animal control that you have the animal. You can place a “found” ad in your local newspaper.
  • Don’t assume you are dealing with an irresponsible owner. Accidents can  happen to anyone. The frantic owner may be looking everywhere for their beloved pet.

If you’re uncertain about whether to assist or keep an animal, here’s a final word of advice: first, think of what you would want the finder of your animal to do if he happened to find him injured and his collar missing. You’d want him to take your pet to a veterinarian, and you’d want him to try to find you. At the same time, be reasonable about how much you can afford to do if no owner shows up.

Preventing a lost pet/Finding a lost pet

Lost and FoundPreventing a Lost Pet Finding a Lost Pet “To love an animal truly, is to truly love, with no expectation other to delight in that love.” ...Rachel Rosenthal and Jacki Apple from 'Tatti Wattles: A Love Story'

Give your pet a ticket home, put ID on your pet.Preventing a Lost Pet Tips on How to Prevent Your Pet From Getting Lost

  • Always keep your pets indoors.
  • Make sure that your pet wears current identification tags, with your address and phone number.
  • Have recent photos of your pet.
  • Have written descriptions of your pet (size, color, weight, markings).
  • If someone else is caring for your pet in your Absence, leave them this information.

Remember, a pet - even an indoor pet - has a better chance of being returned if she always wears a collar with an ID tag with your name, address, and telephone number. Contact veterinarians about permanent methods if positive identification, such as microchips.

Give your pet a ticket home, put ID on your pet.

Finding a Lost PetFinding a Lost Pet

When your beloved dog or cat strays from home it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. Here are some tips to help you find your pet:

  • Check your neighborhood.
  • Take the time to walk around as you call your pet.
  • Carry some food to lure your pet out from a hiding place.
  • Ask everyone if they have seen your pet.  Carry a pet photo.  Make sure that everyone knows your pet is missing. A small reward will motivate people to help search.
  • Drive around your neighborhood at night.  Lost pets will hide during the day. They may even recognize the sound of your car.
  • Check the Animal Shelters in your area
    • We recommend you check for your pet by coming to the pound at least every other day.
    • Keep trying.  Some people will hold a lost pet at their house for several weeks before turning it in to an animal shelter.
    • DON’T GIVE UP! Some animals are found months after being lost!
    • Contact other animal shelters in your area.
  • Posters, Posters, Posters!
    • Place posters in shopping centers, on telephone poles, in vet offices, in pet stores, in grooming parlors, and with the animal shelters in your area.
    • Including your pet’s photo will attract attention to your Poster.
    • Be sure to include your pets’ name, a phone number (day and evening, a good description of your pet, and an offer for a reward).
    • For safety purposes, do not post your address.
    • PRINT A LOST PET POSTER NOW, before you need it.
  • Use the Newspaper
    • Place ads in your local newspapers.
    • Read the “found” ads and respond to anything that might possibly resemble your pet.
    • Remember, a white animal may easily turn into a gray or tan color after being outdoors for a few days.

Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your pet, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. Be particularly wary of people who insist that you give them money for the return of your pet.