March 22, 2010,
H.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ on March 19, 2010
We no longer can keep our 6 months old shih tzu due to a new situation in our home. I looking into finding her a new home but want to ensure that she goes to a good home. My question is would it be over the line to ask to visit the home before I agree for the adoption? What other factors should I pay attention to indicate whether this person/family is a good fit for Bella (our pet)? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I meet one family which I thought was a great fit. She was so ready to bring Bella home the same day but I said I would like to visit her home first before handing Bella over to her. She had no problem with the visit. When I contacted her the next day to make arrangement for the visit, she told me that she already adopted another dog. I had mix feeling about giving Bella for adoption to begin with. I just hate to hand Bella to the wrong family. We decided that we will keep Bella as long as we can with our new situation. Maybe we can make it work out after all. Thanks again!
A.W. answers from San Francisco on March 21, 2010
T.C. answers from Bakersfield on March 20, 2010
Wow, I am sorry that you have to give up your pet. I work at an animal shelter where our focus is on rehoming pets. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the prospective new home. If the prospective new owners are offended by you asking questions, then it is probably not the right fit. Some of the things that we ask at our shelter are:
1. Will the pet be indoors and outdoors?
2. What do they plan on feeding the pet? You need to know that they will either be keeping the pet on the same diet as you or a comparable dog food in order to avoid any gastrointestinal problems.
3. Do they plan on walking the pet everyday?
4. Do they have a regular veterinarian and do they plan on keeping the pet current on vaccinations and licensing.
5. If the pet is not already spay/neutered, do they plan on getting that done? I would shy away from anyone that suggests breeding the pet.
6. Have they owned a pet before?
7. If there are small children in the home, are they educated on how to treat a small dog.
8. Who will be responsible for caring for the pet?
9. Do they have a secure fence around their yard so that a small dog cannot get out?
10. Are they aware of grooming issues for a Shih Tzu and are they going to keep her groomed properly?
I think a home visit is not too much to ask. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that your pet is going to be in the right place. Good luck with finding a new home for your pet and once again I am sorry that you have to
give her up. I know how hard it can be. I know the above questions seem like a lot, but you can pick and choose which ones to ask. Also, if you have a gut feeling one way or the other, listen to your instincts. Sorry for being so lengthy. Take care.
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L.A. answers from San Francisco on March 20, 2010
When we adopted our Siberian Husky mix a couple years ago, Norsled Rescue had us fill out a 5 page questionnaire AND take extensive pictures of our house, especially the backyard and fenceline. The pictures were in lieu of the home visit because the foster M. was north of Sacramento and we're in San Jose. We met her near Sac. to meet our potential new pet. Taking him home with us was predicated on the dog and her feeling comfortable with us since a home visit was not practible.
This is a long winded way of saying yes a home visit is certainly called for to ensure your beloved pet is going to a suitable home. Might I suggest you go to a rescue website and download a questionnaire to give you an example of questions to ask. Also, make certain you watch Bella interact with any potential new family.
We keep in touch frequently with Kula's foster M. and send pictures from time to time so she can see how he's doing.
J.M. answers from Kansas City on March 19, 2010
I agree with the rescue group idea also, and you're absolutely not out of line wanting to visit the home. You know your dog better than anyone else, so screen people as to whether they have other dogs/cats/other pets, and decide honestly if your dog would be a good fit. Ask about their kids ages and temperments, whatever you can think of to make the transition easiest for your dog, and the new family. And make sure they know that if they decide they can't keep her, they need to bring her back to you and not just give her away or take her to the pound. Good luck finding her a wonderful home!
A.W. answers from San Francisco on March 21, 2010
How sad. She's still just a pup. Pet rescue people regularly ask to visit in a person's home to see that everything is ok so there's no reason why you shouldn't if you want. I'd like to talk with you concerning this and maybe consider taking her myself. I am a senior and live alone in Oakland CA.
K.P. answers from San Francisco on March 20, 2010
I work for a Vet and we see a lot of people who can't afford ($$) to have a pet if it got sick let alone afford vaccines for them. if the people are renters, make sure their Landlord is ok with pets. Shih Tzu take a lot of time and money for grooming.
I'm sorry you need to get rid of Bella, that's going to be hard.
P.S. answers from San Francisco on March 22, 2010
The "pound" will not require a home visit, but if this is to be a "private" adoption, you can ask whatever you want. If people really want to adopt your dog they will agree to a home visit. If I were adopting a dog from a private party, I would feel really good that the dog came from a good, loving home if the family asked for a home visit. After all, this is a member of your family. Years ago when my brother's dog had puppies, he interviewed prospective families at length and required them to visit our home before allowing any pup to leave. He told each family that, if it didn't work out they should return the puppy to him. One family did because it wasn't a good fit for them.
M.J. answers from Sacramento on March 19, 2010
I agree with the pp. Consider a rescue group that could handle the whole process for you. If you do end up screening people yourself, find out whether she will be an indoor dog or outdoor. Eliminate anyone who says outdoor, as any animal shelter would. Also ask what they would do if they discovered your dog wasn't a good fit in their household -- what steps would they take? Find out about the family's history with previous pets.
J.O. answers from Chicago on March 19, 2010
I would talk to a rescue group as well. If you do place the dog yourself, it's not over the line to visit the home AND ask for references. Also ask if you can call or visit to see how the dog is doing in the future. If they are hesitant, they have something to hide. Charge a fair amount; never give away an animal to an individual as people look for free animals to sell to companies that do experiments or use for bait in dog fighting rings. There are good homes out there but you have to take the time to find one or let a rescue group do it . Good luck!