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The best alternative to bringing a pet to a shelter is to re-home on your own. Even the best animal shelters can be extremely stressful to a pet in need. Often this stress can be eliminated by making the transition to another home directly from the pet's current one.  Below we provide a how-to guide on how to find a new home for your pet by posting an online ad on our website. We highly recommend you attempt re-homing on your own, if time and resources allow, before you make an appointment to surrender.

View Pets Available from Owners

Steps to Re-Home a Pet

Groundwork

Plan to devote some time to re-homing your pet. It can take a while to find a good home. People like healthy 

animals that are already spayed or neutered. Take your pet to a veterinarian and save the records.

Reaching Out

1. Friends and family are the number one way pets find new homes. Contact everyone!

2. Place an ad in the local newspapers. Many people read them, and many ads are FREE!

3. Prepare a flyer/handout about the pet and include:

  • Appearance, size and age – consider using a good photo.
  • Describe his/her nature and what you like about him/her.
  • Describe your pet’s health status (see Groundwork above!).
  • Put your name, phone number and a time for people to reach you.
  • Make it fun. For example: Felix is a fun 3-year-old tabby looking for a sunny window to sit in. He is good with other cats and dogs. I must give him up for adoption because I am moving into a retirement home. Please call XXX-XXXX after 8 p.m.

Posting Your Pet Online

You can post your pet through our Re-Homing program module on our Pets Available from Owners page. Remember the more information you provide during this process, the better the match is likely to be between your pet and a new owner.

Uploading a digital photo of your pet is required. The photo must be a low resolution JPEG. If your photo won’t load, it’s probably too large. Try photos under 200K.

Key Ingredients to Writing a Good Pet Profile:

With so many pets in need, an interesting and flattering description of a pet looking for a new home is extremely important in setting your pet apart from all the others. The description not only needs to be catchy enough to grab a potential adopter's attention, but thorough and honest as well. Matching families with pets ensures a forever connection. Connections that are of the "tried, but didn't work out" variety not only waste time and resources, but can also be traumatic to the dogs and discouraging for the adopter. Here are some useful tips and ideas for writing your pet's profile:

  • Try writing from the pet's point of view.
  • Encourage the reader to want to help the pet.
  • Be sure to include personality and stories. The form already takes care of the pet's physical attributes.
  • Be clear about restrictions or limitations.
  • Don't forget to include all relevant contact information and links.

In most cases, the MD SPCA will review your application to post your pet within 48 hours. If there are questions or concerns about your pet, the MD SPCA will contact you. Otherwise, you will receive an email that your pet has been verified, and your pet will be posted for the public to see. Once posted, wait for emails or phone calls from people interested in adopting your pet.

In order to keep the site up-to-date and fresh, each animal you post for re-homing will be removed from display after 30 days. In order to keep your pet's profile active or remove a post you must contact the administrator at adoptme@mdspca.org.

Screening Potential Adopters

You care that the pet makes it to a good, permanent home, so now you must “screen” the people who contact you. Asking some key questions will help with this, but be sure you have a conversation with the person and not an “interview” because you will get more from the exchange! Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is this pet for you or someone else?
  • Is it okay to have pets in your home/apartment/condo?
  • Have you had pets before? If so, why are you interested in taking ________?
  • Do you have any children?
  • Are you willing to have me visit your home?
  • Will the pet be supervised outside?

Meeting the People

You can meet people at their place or have them come to your home, but the safest way is to meet in a neutral spot. Bring the pet with you. What you want is to see:

  • How the person interacts with your pet.
  • Did they bring additional people (kids)? Is everyone there who needs to be?
  • Ask additional questions – be sure they aren’t going to sell your pet!
  • If you aren’t okay with the interaction, feel pressured or have doubts, don’t proceed! Continue looking for someone else.

Completing the Re-Homing

Once you have selected a new home for your pet, then prepare the pet and gather materials for the new owner. Meet at an agreed-upon time and place to give your pet to the new owner. You are giving up ownership rights, so be sure to:

  • Provide the person with all veterinary records.
  • Take toys, beds, food, medications, etc. so the pet has these for comfort.
  • Get the person’s contact information so you can obtain an update, if you like.
  • Provide the person with any behavioral information she or he will need.
  • Document that you transferred ownership and materials.
  • If you don’t have anyone step up who wants to be the new love of your pet’s life, DO NOT abandon your pet in the woods, parking lot or anywhere. This can lead to horrific outcomes. Surrender him or her to the SPCA.

*If you decide to surrender your pet, you need to call the adoption center at 410-235-8826, ext. 100, to set up an appointment. Please bring a valid photo ID and all veterinary records for your pet with you to your appointment. There is a $25 fee to surrender a pet. Note: The Maryland SPCA does not accept personal checks for surrender fees. We are a charity, and the fee helps cover our costs. Once you decide to turn over your pet, it is a final decision and we ask that you do not call for updates.