14 answers

Pet Adoption

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.


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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!

Featured Answers

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.

More Answers

Hello Sandra,

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.


1 mom found this helpful

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.

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!

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.

Hi Sandra,
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.

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.

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.

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!

I would definitely want to visit the home and make sure it is safe for Bella. Definitely see how the dog reacts to the adoptive family... if in your gut it doesn't feel right, don't do it. Dogs have a intuitive nature about them... see how she feels about the people.

I am sad for you. At 5 months, I got Brandy, the dog next door when I lived in Texas and I know it was difficult for her owner to give her up. Now I send her pictures occasionally of Brandy.

No I don't think it would be out of line to visit the home before you agree to hand over your beloved pet. As a child, we did not do that and I regret it to this day as our dog did not go to a good home. Also, do not post her for free. Even ask $50 to avoid people who get dogs for free for dog fighting. You can always decide not to charge them once you meet them. If you can't find a good home, send me a personal email message. I love dogs and will do whatever I can to help. I live in Sacramento. Only hand over your dog if you get a good feeling once you meet the family. Is your dog good with kids? Okay much luck and please email me if you need help!!

I just want to chime in on the idea of a rescue group. I used to work for the Samoyed Rescue Group in the SF Bay area, and I've never met such caring, careful people, so willing to do whatever it takes to make sure an animal finds a good home--including fostering until an adoption is available, and taking the animal back if it doesn't work out. You won't go wrong with them, and you can keep Bella with you until a suitable home is found if you want, or you can release her for foster and adoption.

Good luck, and thank the people with whom you come in contact--they're all volunteers (except the secretary sometimes.) You might also try Petfinders.com--they were usually the main route of contact for both rescues and for people wanting to adopt.

bets of luck,

There are breed-specific rescue/adoption groups. We got our black lab from Golden Gate Lab Rescue and she was a fantastic dog. We had to fill out a pretty extensive adoption form for GGLR but we actually picked Dixie up from her original owners who had to give her up. So we were able to ask them specific questions about Dixie which made us feel more comfortable too. This might be ideal for you, the new owners would be screened and you would also get to meet them.

No it isn't over the line to require a home visit but another suggestion is to Google shih-tzu or small breed rescue and find a group in your area.

Hi Sandra,

I'm so sorry you have to re-home Bella, it's never an easy decision. I am a member of a few rescues and everywhere here is right, talking to an all breed or preferably a shih tzu rescue group would be a great idea. We always do home visits and vet checks and some do lengthy phone interviews. A shih tzu rescue would be the best one in my opinion.

But to answer your question, no it is not out of line to want to visit their home, you absolutely should! If they have a fenced in yard, walk the whole perimeter to be sure there aren't any holes or spaces that Bella could get through. Check out their home for cleanliness and/or any dangers that could be a problem. If they don't have pets and do have plants, let them know that there are some plants that are very dangerous to animals. You should also do your own vet check if they currently have pets. You want to be sure they bring in their pets for routine care. Depending on Bella's personality, ask about the other pets in the home to be sure it will be a good fit. Bella's personality and likes and dislikes is really what drives the interview. If anyone has a problem with you meeting with them and checking out their home, consider it a red flag and do not let them adopt your dog.

Good luck and I wish you lived closer, I'd take her!

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