Re-home Your Pet

Finding a Responsible Home for Your Pet

Giving up a companion animal is a very difficult decision. Make sure you have explored all of your options for keeping your pet before you make this difficult decision.

The Ottawa Humane Society has a very successful adoption program and will keep all adoptable animals as long as it takes to find them a new loving home. However, because the Ottawa Humane Society cannot guarantee that your pet will be adoptable, we encourage pet owners to try to find a responsible new home for their pet themselves, before they consider surrendering their animal to our shelter.

If you are able to try to place your pet into a new home on your own, the OHS recommends you take the following steps:

  • Advertise through friends, neighbours and local veterinarians first. You increase the chances of finding a good home when you can check the references with someone you know. If your pet is from a reputable breeder,  there is a very good chance that you have a contract that requires you to return your pet to the breeder if you cannot keep them.
  • Ask for a fee. This deters people who have made a spontaneous decision and may not be ready for the responsibility of a pet. In addition, people tend not to place as much value on something they have obtained for free.
  • Ask questions. Get a feel for the new home, and what the potential new owner is looking for in a new pet. You must make sure that your pet’s needs will be met. Here are some sample questions:
    • What are the new family’s expectations of your pet?
    • Has the family had pets before? What happened to them?
    • Are their current pets vaccinated and spayed/neutered?
    • How often will the dog be walked?
    • How often will the cat’s litterbox be cleaned?
    • Are the parents willing to supervise the children to make sure a small animal, such as a hamster, receives appropriate care?
    • Does anyone in the household have allergies?
    • Is anyone in the home afraid of animals?
    • Are the new owners thinking of moving soon? If so, will they arrange for the pet to join them in the new home?
    • Where will the pet stay while the new owners are vacationing?
    • Will the pet be kept inside, outside or both?
  • Be honest about your pet, and why you must rehome them. It is not fair to your pet to send them to a new home with false expectations of their behaviour or medical requirements.
  • Visit the prospective home. As the caregiver of an animal, it is up to you to ensure your pet goes to a responsible, caring home that is able to meet their needs.
  • Ask for valid identification. Keep a record, along with a contract signed by both of you, outlining the requirements you both agree upon.
  • Spay or neuter your pet before sending them to the new home. This makes your pet more adoptable and increases their chances of staying in the new home. You can ask the adopter for a fee to cover this cost.
  • Do not be afraid to say no. You have a responsibility to your pet to find them a good home.

Please remember that we are here to help you. If you have any questions concerning your pet or about finding your pet a new home, please contact us. If, despite your best efforts, you are unable to find a suitable home for your pet, you may surrender him to the Ottawa Humane Society. We will do our best to find your former companion the happy, healthy home they deserve.