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Rehoming Service Featured FAQs

Help topics for adopters

Adopting a pet from private owners on Adopt-a-Pet.com

What is this rehoming program all about?

Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com & The Petco Foundation allows private owners to create pet profiles to post to Adopt-a-Pet.com and for you to adopt them!

Found the purrfect pet?! Pawsome!

Complete an adoption application located on the pet's profile to show your interest. The pet owner will receive a copy of your application to review. If you are a potential fit, they will contact you via a phone call or an email.

We know it can be hard to wait for a response. Finding the perfect companion is exciting! It is good to remember the pet owner will reach out when they can. If they do reach out and agree to meet your pack, the next step will be to do a meet & greet. We recommend a safe public place like a Petco store or Vet's office.

Next, meet the pet and owner. See if it is a good fit for you and the pet. They may need a day or two to think the adoption over. If it is a match and the pet owner thinks so too, congrats! The pet owner will send a contract to complete the adoption via email. You will pay the adoption fee (we will donate 100% of your fee to a local shelter or rescue), sign the contract and arrange to bring your companion home.

How long will it take to adopt the pet from an individual?

There is no definitive timeline for how long it can take to adopt a pet from a pet owner. Some things to consider that may slow down the process are:

  • The pet owner is slow to communicate.
  • The pet owner has received an overwhelming amount of adoption applications.
  • The pet owner’s schedule is hectic and can result in slow communication or a delayed amount of time before meeting in person, emailing or talking on the phone.
  • The pet owner lives far away from you. Depending on where you and the pet owner decide to meet, if they have to travel a far distance, they may need time in advance to plan their travel.
How do I apply to adopt the pet?

Near the bottom on of each pet profile is a section called 'About Private Adoptions'. You will find a button titled, 'Apply to Adopt'. This button will direct you to our adoption application. Completing the application only takes about 10 minutes and shows your interest in a pet. This is the only way an owner can view your contact information.

Meeting the pet

I’ve filled out the application. What’s the next step?

After you’ve filled out the adoption application, it will go to the pet’s owner, who will review your information with guidance from Adopt-a-Pet.com. If all goes well, the pet’s owner will be in touch to set up a time to talk on the phone. If both parties agree to move forward during the call, the next step is to set up an in-person meeting!

Sometimes pet owners can take longer than expected to respond to your application. You should get an update around 7-10 days from when you first apply. Fingers crossed!

The in-person meeting: Safety first

It is critical that you put your safety first when setting up an in-person meeting. Make sure you ALWAYS meet in a public place and, if at all possible, bring a friend! You and the pet’s owner will decide on a meeting location. A pet-friendly store, like Petco, is a perfect, safe place to meet. If you don’t have a Petco in your area, a veterinarian’s office can also be a good option, but make sure you make an appointment first.

Where should we meet?

If the pet you’re interested in is a dog, you may be tempted to hold your meeting at a dog park so you can see the dog run around off-leash, but this isn’t recommended. The dog will be so distracted by the sights, smells, and sounds of other dogs that he might not be able to concentrate on you. It’s important for you to be able to spend time with your potential new best friend, and it can be really hard to tell if it’s a love connection if you can’t get him to come near you!

Instead, we recommend meeting at a safe public place such as a pet-friendly store like Petco or making an appointment to meet at a vet's office.

If the pet is a cat, a pet-friendly store can also be a great place to meet. No matter what, the cat should always be safely in a carrier, and always indoors. A nervous cat can bolt. If you can find a safe, enclosed room to meet in, and the owner is willing, you can open the cat’s carrier and see if he or she wants to come out. As you know, cats are not always comfortable in strange surroundings, and may want to hide, so cat meetings are by nature more challenging than dog meetings. Do your best to balance your need to meet the cat with the cat’s need for safety.

What should I do at the in-person meeting? How do I know if this is a good match?

When you arrive at the meeting, spend a few minutes talking with the pet’s owner, allowing the pet to investigate you at his or her own pace. Some pets, especially friendly dogs, will want to give you lots of enthusiastic attention right away, and that’s fine. Timid dogs, or cats in carriers, may need a little while to warm up. Let the pet take the lead. If the pet likes treats, you might bring some to offer him or her. Treats can be a great ice-breaker!

Make sure you take some time to attempt to bond with the pet. You need to be able to picture this furry friend as your pet, so it’s in your best interest to have some quiet time with the pet. Of course, feel free to ask the pet’s owner as many questions as you have. Your questions also send a signal to the pet’s owner that you are a responsible owner who cares about the pet’s well-being.

The pet’s owner will most likely have more questions for you as well, and they’ll be watching closely to see how you and their pet respond to each other. Be patient, and understand that this is most likely a hard (and heartbreaking) time for the pet’s owner, and they just want to make sure they’re doing right by their pet.

So, how do you know if it’s a match? It sounds cliché, but you’ll know when it’s right. If you feel a particular chemistry with the pet, a desire to take care of this being who needs you, a potential for a loving relationship, that’s the best you can ask. However, this is a big decision, one you’ll potentially live with for many years to come, so we strongly recommend you take a night to consider it carefully before you leap. See the next tip for more on that.

Should I plan to bring the pet home right after the meeting?

We do not recommend this. We suggest that before the meeting, make sure the pet’s owner knows that you don’t plan on completing the adoption on the spot (we’ve given this same advice to the pet’s owner, by the way, so this shouldn’t be a problem at all). It can take the pressure off of both of you and helps you bring the meeting to an end gracefully. Also, if you decide during the meeting that you don’t want to adopt this pet, it’s often more comfortable for you to relay that to the owner via email or phone, rather than right there on the spot.*

At the end of the meeting, suggest that you and the owner both take the day to think about it, and make a plan to talk the following day. If you both decide the adoption is right, you can make plans to do the handover and sign the digital contracts together at the same spot where you had your meeting. If it’s at a store like Petco, this also allows you to shop for essential supplies and even sign up for a training class!

*Please note, while we recommend that adoptions not be made on the spot at meetings, each case is individual and there is every chance that you and the pet owner might decide to adopt the pet immediately. In these cases it is important to ensure that both parties are in agreement about adopting on the spot.

Finalizing the adoption

How to sign the contract, transfer pet ownership safely and submit payment

The adoption contract & transfer-of-ownership certificate

After the owner agrees to have you adopt they will sign an electronic document that will be delivered to your inbox. The subject will be 'It's Time To Finalize Your Adoption'. Inside that email there will be a button. You'll want to click the button to pay the adoption fee. After payment is submitted, a document will open to sign the adoption contract and transfer-of-ownership certificate (combined in one document) to complete an adoption.

The adoption payment

After payment has been received, you will receive an email to confirm your adoption and a link to view copies of your adoption paperwork. You will receive an email with your payment receipt and the signed contact.

Please remember to never hand over any money to the owner. 100% of the adoption fee will go to shelters and rescues in need

If you are asked to pay anything outside of the Rehome adoption flow please bring it to our attention ASAP at rehome@adoptapet.com.

What happens if the owner forgets to finalize the adoption?

We will follow up with the owner 1 week after they have received an application to confirm adoption. If their former pet has been adopted and they have not completed the adoption paperwork, we will prompt the owner to finalize the adoption.

However, if you would like to make us aware that would be great too! Email us at Rehome@adoptapet.com and we'll get the paperwork started ASAP!

How to bring my new pet home?

Congratulation on finding the purrfect pet! You will want to arrange drop-off between yourself and the owner. Please make sure you've paid the adoption fee and have signed the adoption contract/transfer of pet ownership document to finalize your adoption before the drop-off.

Also, take a looksie at the links below for helpful information on adopting a pet:

For cat adopters! https://www.adoptapet.com/blog/adopting-a-cat

For dog adopters! https://www.adoptapet.com/blog/adopting-a-dog

A tip from us:

Did you know there are certain ways to introduce pets into their new pack? Find out here:

Bringing home your new cat: https://www.adoptapet.com/blog/bringing-home-your-new-cat-or-kitten

Bringing home your new dog: https://www.adoptapet.com/blog/10-tips-for-welcoming-home-your-newly-adopted-dog

I am home with my pet, whats next?

Now that your new pet is home and getting settled in, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and if you do not have one ask a friend for a recommendation. It is always good to get a checkup to get a baseline on the health of your pet.

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