Tips for Adopting a Pet from Current Owner
Tips for Selecting/Adopting A New Pet
From A Current Owner
First of course it is good to know what YOU are hoping for and expecting in a good match for your own lifestyle. And, if renting, what your landlord/lease will accept.
Questions to consider asking at initial contact (while asking yourself if this is a good match for your own expectations)
How old is the pet? Is it male, female, spayed or neutered? If the pet is not spayed/neutered yet will the owner be arranging that before placement?
How long have they had the pet? And if they were not the first owner, what do they know about their past? Learn as much as you can about pet’s history as this may answer questions you have now and in the future. The conversation often leads to questions you may not have otherwise thought of.
Why are they choosing to re-home the pet at this time?
Pet’s medical history:
When was the pet last seen by a veterinarian?
Are vaccinations current? (for dogs that means they have been seen within the last year, cats may be longer)
Are medical records available? (they just need to provide the name of the vet(s) who have records and give the vet(s) permission to release the record to you and/or your vet.
Does the pet have any medical conditions? For example allergies?
Is the pet on any medications?
Pet’s behavior history:
If it is a dog, have they ever escaped?
How do they get along with (other) dog or cats?
Have they ever bitten a person? What are the details/how did it happen? Did it break the skin? (Was this a scenario you can confidently avoid ever happening once you own the pet?)
Are they afraid of anything? If so, what is it and how do they behave when scared?
Have they been around young children? Young children may not yet know or be able to be gentle with pets and respect their space or needs. If you have very young children, they need to be supervised, but also knowing the pets history or lack of experience with young children is very important.
Does the pet have any behavior annoyances or problems (eg chewing, scratching, destructive when not home, barking a lot, marking/urinating indoors)? What type if any training has been tried so far?
Pet’s daily habits:
Where does the pet spend most of their time- inside or outside? Where do they sleep?
Are they housebroken? Use doggy door? Need to be taken out? (how often?)
Do they play? If so what are favorite games/toys
What do they eat and how often/how much per day?
Is the pet licensed? Microchipped? You will need the info to change these registrations into your name. The owner may be contacted to give permission OR you may request an Owner Surrender Agreement in writing from the owner that includes: all identifying info about the current owner, name/description/ID #s of the pet, YOUR name and their authorization for YOU to be the new owner, and finally the current owner’s dated signature.
If this placement does not work out, is the current owner available to take the dog back?
Once you have determined the information reasonably meets your expectations it is time to meet the pet. Consider your safety if going to the owner’s home or inviting them to yours. Have someone with you.
If you are meeting a dog and have a dog yourself that needs to get along, consider bringing the dog with you and meeting on neutral territory (not your home or their home as dogs may be protective/territorial on first meeting).You may also inquire if the owner is willing for you to have a trial visit (1-2 weeks is advisable, do not expect to see what the pet will be like in just a few days as they are nervous and not behaving like they will once relaxed- for better or worse!).