We can’t overemphasize how important this step of checking references is to the future well-being of your dog, and to your own peace of mind.
WHERE TO START?
Ask the adoptive family for references to call on as part of the Fido Love rehoming process. 3 references is a good number – one from a “pet professional” – like a vet, groomer or dog care professional.
And then 2 references from friends or family members, or neighbors who know the adopters well. (If you’re uncomfortable with making this request, please contact Fido Love and we would be glad to make this ask on your behalf)
As you call on these references, plan for about 3 questions you would like to ask in the course of a 10-15 minute conversation.
1. QUESTIONS FOR PET PROFESSIONALS
Begin your call by explaining about possibly rehoming your dog to the their client and request a few minutes of the vet tech or office manager’s time. Questions you might ask include:
- How long has “the Smith Family” been a client?
- Have you ever known them to delay reasonable care or treatment for any reason?
- Are their current pets fixed or microchipped (no judgments here, but generally shows good care and concern for their pets)?
- Describe your dog briefly… ask if they would consider their client’s home a successful environment for such a dog.
NOTE: If there are pets already (or previously) in the family’s life but no veterinary care reference of any kind, this should be a red flag.
For some families this may be their first pet, in which case you will need to rely on references from Friends and Family.
TO CONSIDER – FROM THE VET
The ‘bar’ on what’s reasonable for treating one’s pet at the vet is different for different people. For example, we personally, would probably not spend $2k – $3k on life saving measures for one of our older dogs. Nor do we believe people should feel obligated to do this – especially if times are lean.
But failure to care for a chronic skin condition, or an aggravated hot spot, or overall discomfort – this should be a red flag.
2. QUESTIONS FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Ask for 10 -15 minutes of the reference’s time to talk about whether your dog might be a good fit for the adopting family’s home and lifestyle. We have always had positive, good reception on the other end around these phone calls – and expect that you will too.
Questions that you might ask:
- Do you know where do their current pets sleep at night (indoors/outdoors)?
- Do you know if the Smith Family has ever surrendered a pet to a shelter, and if so do you know the circumstances why?
- Do you know if they travel a lot? When they do travel do they take their pets with them – or leave at a kennel?
- Do they have other pets now, or have had them in the past, and what can you share with me about this?
- Do they own their own home? If not, we strongly encourage you to phone to their landlord to confirm that a new dog is allowed.
TO CONSIDER – FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
These questions should help you to form an impression about the home that your friend might go into. In general, are their pets an integral part of their family? Will they have time and energy for a dog? What’s their dedication level to working through hiccups or potential challenges with their pets?
Every rehoming family will have different ideals of what’s the right fit for their Fido friend. Knowing your ideals before these phone calls – will help to guide you with the conversations.
NOW… GO FOR IT
Give yourself 30-45 minutes to make those phone calls. We’re most often pleasantly surprised how comfortable and insightful the conversations can be. Our experience is that folks don’t usually lie and will volunteer a lot of information that you hadn’t anticipated, but that will provide good insight whether the home is a good fit for your Fido friend.
Trust Your Instincts
At the conclusion of these important conversations you should feel encouraged and optimistic about the planned Meet and Greet – meeting the new family in person – that this is a family who will be interested and able to meet your friend’s need for a good long time.
If you have doubts or uncertainties after these conversations, you should consider ending the inquiry. Thank the family for their interest, and let them know nicely that knowing your dog’s needs as you do, that your dog just might not be a good fit for their particular home.