Rehoming/Surrendering Information

Know your options.

Giving up a dog is a difficult and painful decision. We’re so sorry if you or someone you love is in this situation. Sometimes people can be very cruel and unfairly judgmental when someone is considering surrendering or rehoming their pet. If you’re experiencing that please know not everyone feels that way. We understand it’s not an easy decision and sometimes it’s in the best interest of the pet and owner.

The hard truth about not having your dog stay with you is that they’re not guaranteed a new family. There are millions of homeless pets but not millions of homes looking to adopt. Although it’s sad, it’s simple math. The supply surpasses the demand. That’s why, whenever possible, it’s truly best for a dog to stay in their current home. Would behavior modification or training fix the problem? Information on non-discriminatory housing or insuranceAssistance with medical bills?  If you can find a way to keep your pet, please do! Check other pages in our site for resources. But we know that’s just not always an option.

Once you’ve made the final decision that you must part with your pet, the first place to look for a new home is with family members, friends and co-workers. Don’t count anyone out. Someone may surprise you by being willing to take your pet or someone may have a friend that’s willing to. If you can’t find a family member, friend or co-worker to give your dog to, the next step will be deciding between surrendering or rehoming.


Rehoming means adopting the dog to a new home yourself. You put together the promotional materials, do your dog’s marketing and pick an adopter. This option gives you the most control and gives the overwhelmed shelter system a small, but very much needed reprieve from caring for one more homeless pet. The drawback is that rehoming takes time and effort. Depending on your situation, you may or may not have those luxuries.


Surrendering means relinquishing ownership of your pet to a municipal shelter facility of some sort within your community. Surrender policies and procedures vary greatly from shelter to shelter. Don’t value rumors as truths. Contact your local shelter and ask about their policies.

** If you think surrendering to a rescue organization is a better option, sadly that’s not typically the case. Most rescues cannot handle the sheer volume of surrender requests. Many rescues choose not to accept any surrenders, but instead pull dogs from shelters when they have resources available. Rescues typically make their surrender policy obvious on their website. Please respect it. If they say they don’t take owner surrenders move on with your search. Emailing them will be wasting both your time and theirs. This includes PBAOA.

How do you choose between surrendering and rehoming? 

You need to take an honest inventory of your situation to determine your best option. Why do you need to give up your dog?

If your situation offers you very limited time, such as financial difficulties or the death or incapacitation of an owner, then after exhausting friends, family and co-workers, you’ll probably be looking to surrender your pet.

If your situation, such as you’re having a baby or moving, allows you time and you’re up for putting in the effort, rehoming is likely the best way to go for your dog. This option gives you more control over the final outcome, even though it’s more work.

If your dog has severe behavioral issues such as human aggression, debilitating fear or anxiety or serious animal aggression, please enlist the help of professionals such as veterinary behaviorists or certified force free dog trainers. PLEASE DO NOT rehome the dog on your own. If you aren’t sure who to contact for counseling, please reference BEHAVIOR/AGGRESSION OPTIONS.

Prior to rehoming your pet: Make sure they’re up to date on shots and are spayed or neutered. This makes them MORE adoptable. Need help? Check for local low to no cost resources and let them know your plan. 

Think about if you were looking to adopt a dog. What type of ad would you be attracted to? What kinds of dog pictures and videos to you enjoy seeing? What information would you want and need? Put yourself in an adopter’s shoes when creating the promotional materials for your dog. 

Get your basic information together: Dog’s name, age, personality, medical history, and your contact information. 

Take your time writing an accurate and inspiring bio. Tell your dog’s story to potential adopters. You can write it in their voice if you’re really creative! People love that. Sad, sappy approaches don’t necessarily work better. Tell a happy story about your pet. Help the potential adopters picture your dog in their home. 

Take quality photos. Do you have a photographer friend that would do you a favor? Choose photos with good lighting. Take a variety of photos – up close, from a distance, sitting, snuggling, sleeping. Use props and costumes for some. Use peanut butter or spray cheese to help make funny faces. If your dog has friends, absolutely get photos showing that. Cats, dogs and children in photos add great value. 

Make a video. Use Magisto, Kizoa, or Smilebox to make a fun video showing your dog’s personality. Include family members and friends if possible. 

Create a short application. Look at rescue applications for ideas or simply type up the questions you want answered to pick the very best family for your dog. Have interested people complete your application before setting up a meeting. Consider asking for a professional reference. 

Consider a rehoming or adoption fee that covers the cost of recent veterinary care that you incurred to prepare you dog for adoption (if you need to recoup that investment). Explain what the fee covers in the basic information area of your adoption marketing. Don’t feel the need to charge a fee if you don’t want to. You’re choosing the best home for your dog. Money doesn’t make a family better or worse. 

Places to market your adoptable dog:

Facebook – Create a page for your dog

Craigslist – You get to pick the adopter. Don’t be afraid to use this resource.

Adopt-a-Pet – This site will post for you

NextDoor – Ask your neighbors for help

Get Your Pet – List your pet for adopters to find

What about temporary rehoming?

We don’t know of any temporary rehoming options other then friends, family or boarding facilities.