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FAM Rehoming, "Look At It The Way They Do"


One of the unfortunate facts of shelter life is that after an upswing in adoptions, there’s always an

upswing in surrenders. There are many reasons families have to relinquish us FAMs,

and it’s usually a heart-breaking decision to make. When it seems to come time to throw in the

towel there’s a few things to consider, most importantly our welfare.


Is Rehoming Necessary?

Think carefully, as surrender may not be the only option available to you! The good folks at the Animal Welfare League have resources covering a lot of different scenarios with solutions you may not have thought of or known were possible. It’s important to know that while you humans may find rehoming traumatic, for us animals it’s especially so because not only do we lose all sense of love and security, but we also suddenly find ourselves locked in a strange space with other strange, stressed animals with no explanation why beyond a feeling that something terrible has happened. So, do

consider your options carefully.


How Long Will I Need A New Carer?

The next thing to consider is whether the circumstances that are leading us down the surrender path are temporary or permanent, or whether you just don’t know yet. If it’s a temporary situation, or you’re not sure and don’t want to commit to surrender just yet, there are all sorts of options

available for people who need a reprieve while they sort things out – long-term pet boarding, pet sitters, fostering, and even asking friends and family whether they might be willing to open their doors to a loved one for a time. Try searching google for “crisis pet accommodation” options if it’s an emergency, you’re not sure where to turn, and you need help now.

Rehome Alone!

If you’ve thought everything through and you’ve committed to the letting someone else care for your furry fam permanently, there are still some options to consider. Again, it is worth asking friends and family whether they’d be able to adopt, or sending the word out on social media by writing up a pet CV. This way you have some certainty that the home we’re going to is a safe and stable one. And there’s the added bonus that you can visit and receive updates about how well we’re doing and how loved we are!

In these cases, it’s a good idea to have a meeting with the new family first. During this meeting you can ask questions about their ability to care for us, including whether they’ve cared for an animal before or have any other pets, what their approach toward animal care is, what their work hours are like, whether they go on holiday often? They can also ask you questions that they might need to know, including about our behavior, personality, and any specialist health or well-being requirements.

Where's My Stuff!

When you’re happy you’ve found a new forever family for us, make sure to introduce us to them first! Get as many visits in as possible before the official adoption, and have the new family bring over some toys, bedding, or blankets from their house to familiarize their smell as something safe. The opposite is true as well: when we do leave you, send us away with all our stuff. That will help ground us in our new environment. To finalize adoption, there is some paperwork to consider. At the very least our microchip details will have to be updated or you will continue to be consider our primary parent!

Need Help?

Alternatively, if you’re having difficulty with the process of rehoming us yourself, the RSPCA recommends contacting the breeder, vet, or shelter where you found us and fell in love in the first place. There may be a clause in any adoption papers stating the preferred option that you return us to these people who are a) specialists you know will treat us well, and b) familiar to us. They will then use their networks and processes to find us a new home.

If none of these options suit, then it’s time to consider a rescue shelter. It’s important to know that there may be a waiting period as shelters are often at capacity, and that there may be a fee to cover costs of our care. In these situations, you’ll still need to take care of the paperwork and ask if you can leave us with something that reminds us of home to help with the transition.

The rule of thumb when rehoming us is to put care into it, like you put into adopting, feeding, playing and training in the first place. It will be difficult, there’s no escaping that, but your heart and conscience will be better off knowing you did your best for us right to the end.


RESOURCES:

Animal Welfare League: Handing your pet to AWL for rehoming

RSPCA NSW, 2019: How to responsibly rehome your pet

PetRescue, 2012: Help! I need to rehome my pets

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