When you adopt a pet, you do so with the idea that the animal will become a part of your family. You expect that he or she will live the rest of his life in your care. That’s ideal, of course, which is why we stress the importance of making sure you are truly ready and choosing a pet that suits your lifestyle. There are some cases, however, where unexpected life events render you incapable of caring for your best friend any longer. When this happens, you owe it to your pet to find a new home that will pick up where you left off.

There are a number of options available to those wishing to responsibly rehome a pet. Unfortunately, Craigslist and other similar classified ad websites are not one of those responsible choices. A quick glance through the “pets” section will show that a heartbreaking number of unwanted animals are being offered free to the first taker, without any thought for the pet’s well-being. It’s absolutely true that some of these ads are coming from loving pet owners who are sending out a plea for help, but the majority of them are careless and simply wish to dispose of an animal.

If you have determined that you are no longer able to keep your pet, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your pet’s new home will be a safe, wise choice:

  • Before advertising that your pet is available for adoption, speak with your inner circle to see if anyone you know is looking for a new pet. Trusted friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors are a great place to start.
  • Consider speaking with your family veterinarian about your need to rehome your pet. He or she may know of a responsible family who is looking, or the clinic may have a place for you to advertise on-site.
  • If someone contacts you about adopting your pet, be sure to interview them. Ask as many questions as necessary to give yourself peace of mind. Allow them to meet the animal and watch how they interact. If they have other pets, ask if they are comfortable providing proof of adequate veterinary care.

Once you have found a good fit for your furry sidekick, make the transition slowly. If possible, allow the pet to become acquainted with his or her new family over the course of several consecutive days. Just keep in mind that the last goodbye should be exactly that. After your final visit, and once the pet has been completely transitioned into the new home, avoid repeat visits. This will only confuse the animal and may lead to anxiety (for both of you!).

Featured Photo Credit: xeno_sapien via Compfight cc