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How to find a home for a rescued friend


OK, you rescued an angel. There was no way you were going to walk away from the suffering of such an innocent life. What do you do now? The panic sets in. Maybe this is your first rescue from the streets, or from an abusive or neglectful pet parent. You can't possibly take in an animal or another animal, but you won't abandon the little one either. We are going to tell you how to not panic and be assured of finding a good lifetime home for your new rescue. 

1. First, you MUST get the rescued animal checked and updated vaccines and spayed or neutered. If you can't afford your nearby veterinarian's market prices you are welcome to come to the Low Cost Vet Mobile.


2. Second, you MUST use a dual advertising approach  and neither of the two methods includes a no kill shelter or a rescue group taking the animal from you. You will almost certainly be extremely disappointed and waste your time making calls if you have such an expectation. 

3. Dual advertising means the posting of hundreds of flyers and working with rescue groups to help advertise your newly rescued friend.

4. Flyers MUST have a color photo of the animal in an adorable pose. Do not offer the animal for free. You must distribute and continue to distribute flyers until the animal is adopted. Write a summary of how you rescued the animal, and his/her personality traits, age, breed, gender, weight. Offer to take the animal back if it does not work out by offering a "trial period."


5. Use an adoption contract which is enforceable in court. We have one which has been court tested and has been held by the Appellate Division to be enforceable. You can download it here.

6. Here is how to get help from rescue groups: Go to and put in your zip code as if you are looking to adopt an animal. All the rescue groups in your area who are advertising their rescued animals looking for homes will come up, showing their animals. Contact each rescue group in your area either by the email they provide or their phone number. Ask the local rescue groups if they would be kind enough to let you show your rescued animal at their adoption events. Many will, but some won't even respond. Also ask them if they would list your rescued animal on their web site for adoption. Many will. This is all free.

7. All this takes time, so you have to not be counting the days, weeks and months going by. Rest assured, you will eventually find a good home, but it may take a few weeks, months or even years. The key is to not let the length of time you end up fostering the rescued animal become the overriding factor of concern for you. That creates pressure which YOU are creating. Instead of enjoying the animal while he/she is with you, it will make you miserable. Once you enter the mindset that you will not be rushed into an adoption, and that you will find a home, the pressure comes off. But you must constantly be working on the dual advertising, replacing the flyers you postered in the streets which have been taken down or flown away, going to rescue group adoption events to show your rescued animal, etc. Choose high foot traffic areas which you regularly pass by to post the flyers. ie. a flyer on a laundrymat board is not nearly as effective as a flyer posted at the entrance of a busy subway station. Do not post more than one flyer at a location.

8. If worse comes to worse and several months or years pass without adopting out the rescued animal despite all the above efforts, by then the animal will have become an important part of your life. The important things are a) not to keep every animal you rescue, b) not to panic about getting stuck with another animal, c) and not to rush the adoption process. 

9. Once the animal is adopted out, it won't appear to have been so bad an experience. You'll be more disposed to rescue another one who comes along your path. Good will have won out, which is what we should always aspire to. 

Read "Bradley's Story" 

The impossible is possible at the AAVC !

"Bradley," was probably our most difficult rescue intake in our 35 year history. He needed one year of rehabilitation to make him adoptable and find him the "right" family. But it was all worth it as he lived a beautiful and long life to 15 years old in New Jersey. His family (right) loved him until his very last day, as all animals deserve.

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