Find a new home for your pet before you go

Sometimes families find themselves in situations where caring for a pet is no longer an option. Choosing to rehome a pet can be an incredibly difficult decision.

The Animal Welfare Department (AWD) is here to provide guidance and resources to people looking for a new home for their pet.

Increase its adoptability and spread the word

Here are some tips for trying to relocate your pet before bringing it to a shelter:

  • Give yourself time to relocate your pet. It can often take weeks to months to find him the best home.
  • Increase your pet’s adoptability by neutering or neutering and grooming. Make sure your pet is up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Your personal network is the best pool of adopters for your pet. Spread the word to increase your chances of finding the right home for your pet. Ask friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and local veterinarians to help you advertise. Ask your veterinarian if you can put up a sign announcing your pet’s need for a new home. Place flyers promoting your pet at work, school, church, and other public places you frequent. Attach a good quality photo and an attractive description of your pet.
  • Be transparent with potential adopters. Be prepared to share details about your pet’s personality and how it gets along with other animals and people. Share your pet’s favorite things and less favorite things. And share any medical or behavioral issues your pet is having so potential new owners have the information they need to determine if your pet is right for their family.
  • Take advantage of your social network. Post your pet’s photo and story and ask your friends to share it on their social networks. Social media can be a great place to share this information, in addition to neighborhood apps.
  • You can also use the Adopt-A-Pet Relocation Tool, giving pet owners the ability to get more involved, and it’s simple to use! Create a pet profile and interested people apply. Adopt-A-Pet has staff who review posts to prevent abuse such as breeder sales, making it a safer alternative to other online marketplaces, such as Craigslist.
  • Be careful when considering unknown people or families as your pet’s new owners. Hold the first meeting in a public place and ask questions to screen potential adopters. (Are there other pets in the house? Have you established a relationship with a veterinarian? Do you have a fenced yard? Share your expectations for your pet’s new home).

Contact breed-specific or foster-based rescue groups

Rescue groups that focus on the care and family support of a specific breed are available for almost all types of dogs. Organized by people who have in-depth knowledge of a specific breed, these groups offer a variety of opportunities for your pet, including the possibility of your pet remaining in foster care until a new home is found. Some rescue organizations may post your pet’s photo and profile on their website as a courtesy while your pet stays with you. Your local agencies may have other programs to help you find your pet. Visit to find rescues.

Before handing over your pet to the Animal Welfare Department (AWD)

There are instances where a pet needs to be surrendered to a shelter, but abandoning a pet should be your last option; not your first.

Never abandon your animal. AWD is an open membership organization.

If you are unable to personally find a new home for your pet, you can bring your dog, cat or critter to AWD. Review our redemption process

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