Unlike many fervent animal lovers, I am the first to admit that when things don’t work out as planned, it is typical (and to some extent logical) to rehome your pet. In a perfect world, we would keep them forever. In a perfect world, people don’t get divorced, retrenched or fall sick.
So instead of laying the guilt on those who need to rehome their pets, here is a little guide on how to do it properly. Putting in this one last surge of effort is part of being the responsible pet owner that you want to be. An it sure beats having to put them to sleep.
First, ensure your pet’s health records are compiled. Collect proof of vaccination and desexing (I am assuming your pet is ALREADY desexed). If they have had or are having any issues, make a note of when it started, how long it lasted and if it is likely to recur. What medications were prescribed and how long was each course. Do you remember how much you spent? Having all this information will make it easier for his future owner. If you need to surrender him to a fosterer, then all the more reason to be meticulous.
Make sure your pet is free off parasites. If she has had any ticks in the last three months, get her tested for tick fever at the vets. While you are there, get a complete bloodworks so you can pick up any potential problems. If your 8 year old dog has the beginnings of any form of organ failure, the chance of rehoming her becomes extremely slim. You may have to consider having her put down.
Get pretty photos taken of your pet. A good photo of your pet in a situation that shows her off at her best will help her chances tremendously. If you want for her to continue having a nice sofa to sleep on, post a picture of her snuggled on a cushion on your sofa. This sends the message that you are looking for her to have a comparable or better home.
When you write her adoption profile for petfinder.my or the mass email, mention her preferences and dislikes. Explain your reasons for giving her up (as honestly as possible) and be specific about what you want for her.
And if you need to surrender her to a fosterer, remember that they are helping you. They do this because they want to help but sometimes they simply may not have the time or space. They are human too, like you. We are all here to do our best and help as much as we can. So if your fosterer asks a lots of questions or seems reluctant, try to also see it from their point of view.
And a final note on surrendering. Unless you have a healthy, purebred (or extremely attractive) young dog, surrendering your pet to a shelter is almost certainly a death sentence. Less then one in five dogs in shelters are adopted. You do the math. If your dog is older, sickly or has severe behavioural issues, the only responsible thing to do may be to have them humanely euthanised. I know this will incite strong negative reactions but I think that until we really understand that our choices can mean life and death for our pets, we cannot truly claim to be genuine responsible pet owners.