When welcoming a furry best friend into the home, the last thing anyone wants to think about is what if it doesn’t work out. But sometimes, due to finances, unexpected allergies or behavior issues, a forever home isn’t forever. (Excuse us while we grab a tissue really quick.)
Rehoming your pet can be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make as a pet owner ... yet the unthinkable may just be the best solution for you and your pet.
We've seen this on The Real Housewives of New York City where Sonja Morgan recently had to rehome not one, but two pets — her cat Kitty (now called Mercer) and her dog Rouge. Though a difficult decision for Sonja, Mercer now happily lives in Hell’s Kitchen with a doting owner thanks to the rehoming efforts of her make-up artist and Tinder. Rouge was placed with a couple living in Maine. (No word if Bumble or a dermatologist helped set that up.)
Since we have nary a makeup artist or intern to help us, we have compiled what to do if you have to do the unimaginable and rehome your pet. (Have we seen the interns lately? Has Sonja rehomed them too!?)
Decide if rehoming is necessary and research safety net programs.
While we know you would never consider rehoming your pet without great thought, you have more options than you might think. Many shelters have safety net programs in place to help you keep your pet despite experiencing a bump in the road of pet ownership. Services that are available include temporary fostering (where the pet is returned to you when your circumstances improve), pet food banks and financial assistance with veterinary care. If there are behavioral issues, some shelters can set you up with a trainer at reduced cost in attempts to keep your pet in home. There are even allergy resources if someone in your home has become allergic. To find shelters and rescues near you to inquire which programs are available, you can consult Petfinder's list of shelters, World Animal Net or do a standard Google search.
Prepare your pet for rehoming.
If you’ve exhausted all safety net options, your next step is to make sure your pet is ready for adoption. Being spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, well groomed and house-trained will enhance his or her chances of finding a new owner. If any of these proves to be a challenge, a local shelter may be able to assist you with any of these. Additionally, SpayUSA provides a directory of where to find a low cost spay/neuter clinic near you.
Advertise via word of mouth, your social network and the help of the Internet.
By the grace of a makeup artist and Tinder, Sonja was able to rehome Kitty/Mercer through the network of people she already knows, showing why asking your friends (and friends of friends) and advertising on social media is so helpful. If you’ve exhausted those leads, there are also websites made to make this difficult task slightly easier, such as getyourpet.com, rehome.adoptapet.com, Wagaroo.com and Petbond.com. These sites help you advertise the pet you are trying to rehome and match them with people looking for pet.
If you are still having trouble finding the perfect home for your pet, get creative. Putting a bright bandana or sign on your pet that says “Adopt me” and taking your pet on walks around the community is one creative solution. (This tip is more dog-centric, but you are welcome to try it with your cat/bunny/turtle.) If your local shelter has off-site adoption events, you can call them and see if you can bring your pet as well. You can also consult the tips available from Best Friends and try writing adoption listings for your pet.
Be transparent with potential adopters.
Make sure you are open and honest with potential adopters about why you are rehoming your pet. Share tips about your pet’s personality, quirks, and medical and behavioral tips so you can place your pet in a lasting home, not just a temporary solution.
Seek out help from shelters and rescue groups.
You don’t have to rehome your pet alone, there are networks of rescues and no-kill animal shelters that are just as dedicated to placing pets in loving forever homes as if it was their own. Think about what makes your pet special; are they a specific breed or a senior animal? There are specialized rescues that take specific breeds, seniors or pets in trouble, and reaching out could be the key to rehoming your pet. While this is an incredibly difficult decision, keep reminding yourself it’s what is in the best interest of you and your furry friend. ::Hugs::
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