Making a decision to re-home your pet is very difficult, but if re-homing is the only option you have, this page provides resources that will offer alternatives to surrendering to a shelter. A majority of animals find their homes through private individuals, not animal shelters, and by by keeping your animal out of the shelter you not only minimize their stress, you can actually help the shelter save more homeless animals in need. If you are dedicated and creative, you can find a home for your animal. Best of all you can make sure that the adopter meets your qualifications and your animal’s needs .

We strongly recommend that you set your animal up for success before you start the rehoming process. Please make sure that your dog or cat is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and has had a recent veterinary exam. All potential adopters should feel comfortable that they are adopting a healthy animal or that they are made aware of any concerns ahead of time.

If you adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue, always check with them first to see if they will take the pet back. Many rescues require that you return a pet to them if you unable to keep it.

 The following websites are for local rescues that you can reach out to as a resource for rehoming:

Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue

Westside German Shepherd Rescue

 Leave No Paws Behind Senior and Special Needs Rescue


Old Yeller Ranch Rescue

Paw Works

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Humane Society of Ventura County

All About Dogs and Cats (all breeds rescue list)

Santa Barbara County Animal Services (can do same-day relinquishments)

Ventura County Animal Services (relinquishments in Ventura County)

If you are considering working with a rescue organization, we reccomend making sure that they are a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. You can confirm any organization’s nonprofit status here. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for references from local shelters or veterinarians. Any reputable organization will be glad that you care!

Promoting Your Pet

Promoting Your Pet

You can post your animals on the following websites. Please visit each site independently for rules and regulations.

Adopt A Pet

Rescue Me

Get Your Pet

PBRC (pit bulls and pit bull mixes only)

A picture is worth 1,000 Words

Remember that with all postings, pictures are key! Full body shots of your pet are great, but make sure that the potential adopters can connect with your pet’s eyes. We recommend leaving people out of the photo. If possible, provide multiple photos and/or videos of your pet. Make sure to showcase your pet’s best attribute, if he or she is super cuddly, post a photo with a stuffed animal or a picture of them snuggled under covers. If your pet is athletic and loves to play, post a photo of them with their ball, swimming, hiking,etc.

Help Your Pet go Viral, Online and Offline

Social networking sites like Twitter , Instagram, and  Facebook are a great way to spread the word that your pet is in need of a new home. Post the message to everyone you know with video and pictures. Enlist your friends to spread the word!

 Don’t forget to also reach out to everyone that’s already in your pet’s inner circle: veterinarians, groomers, neighbors, dog park buddies, and pet sitters are often anxious to help a friend in need. You would be surprised how often we get calls from neighbors wanting to adopt animals that were surrendered to us! Your dog or cat may already have admirers nearby who would be willing to open their home to your pet.

 Consider placing a classified ad in your local paper or posting an ad on Craig’s List or through your local Next Door account.

 Post flyers everywhere you can! Most veterinary offices, pet stores, and feed stores have bulletin boards with space designated for this purpose. Many employers, gyms, grocery stores, libraries, and Community Centers have bulletin boards as well. Leave tabs with your phone number so that people can contact you without having to remove the entire flyer.

Purchase an “Adopt Me” vest or make your own and make sure your dog wears it every time he or she is out in public! Go to places where you are likely to connect with other dog lovers, i.e. dog parks, popular hiking trails, pet stores, feed stores, etc.


Screening Potential Adopters

Once you have an adopter interested, we recommend that you screen that person carefully to ensure your pet finds a loving, permanent home. Make sure to ask them for a donation to your favorite animal charity or a “re-homing” fee to help ensure that your dog or cat is in good hands. Never give your animal away for free to someone you don’t know!

It is important that all human family members want a new pet, have the opportunity to meet your dog or cat, and that everyone interacts comfortably with your pet. If your pet is not comfortable with them request another meeting. If the potential adopter rents their home, confirm they have a lease that states pets are allowed.

Other considerations are the potential adopter’s lifestyle: Do they have enough time for your dog or cat? Do they have the resources to provide lifelong care? What is their previous history with pets? Can they provide as much exercise as your pet needs? What other animals are in the home and are they compatible with your pet? Do any family members have allergies or other health concerns? Don’t be afraid to ask a potential adopter for a personal reference or a reference from their veterinarian.  Anyone that is prepared to care for your pet as much as you do will understand and appreciate your concern.

We recommend doing an initial meeting in a neutral setting rather than your home so that you don’t feel uncomfortable if it is not a good match. If you decide to go through with the adoption, we recommend asking to be able to deliver your pet to his or her new home. By delivering your animal you can be sure that the information matches what you were told and that it is a safe and comfortable environment.

Follow up is an important part of any adoption! Let your pet’s adopter know that you’ll be calling them in a few days to see how everything is going and to see if they have any questions. The adopter will feel supported and this will give you peace of mind that your pet is settling into their new home.

Be prepared to take you animal back from the adopter if things do not work out, you can always start over in finding a new home for your pet.

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