Danville-Boyle County Humane Society launches re-homing program

The Danville-Boyle County Humane Society became part of a national program pet owners can use when they need to re-home their animals called Home To Home.

Executive director of DBCHS Kari Kuh said the program is available due to a grant from Maddie’s Fund, which covered the cost of creating and hosting the website, and the DBCHS will assume the cost of maintaining the site after the first year.

Kuh said when people bring a pet into their family, “they intend for it to be ‘furever.’” However, there can be circumstances when re-homing is the right thing to do, such as unavoidable changes in living situations.

Pet owners create a pet profile and upload photos of the pet, and once approved, the profile will be published on the website and on the DBCHS Facebook page. If someone is interested in the pet, the owner will receive an email they can respond to privately. Once they’ve found the right match for their pet, they fill out the removal request form on the site, and DBCHS will remove the listing. This process makes re-homing easier and less stressful for both the people and pets involved, Kuh said.

“Pets are happier and healthier in a home environment than they are in a shelter,” she said in an email. “Plus, it’s no fun to drop your pet at the shelter, no matter the circumstance. People often feel guilty or sad and worry that they won’t know their pet’s outcome. By screening for the new family themselves, the current family has a sense of relief and control over the outcome. And it can’t be stressed enough: there’s no place like home. Even the best shelter experience can be disorienting and upsetting for your pet, exacerbating (or creating) behavioral issues that delay successful placement in a new home.”

Kuh said the program not only makes transitioning into a new home environment easier for pets — it also leaves more shelter resources available to animals without other options, like strays or animals suffering from abuse or neglect.

On Feb. 7, Kuh said DBCHS’ experience with the program was one week in, and she is thrilled with the program. The first Home To Home adoption was within days of the website going live.

Home To Home recommends pet profiles that are “simple, honest and from the heart,” Kuh said.

“Share your pets’ likes and dislikes, cute quirks, whether they’re a couch potato or a high-energy athlete, things like that,” she said.

She said it’s also a good idea to include photos of both the pet’s face and body, so potential adopters get a sense of the pet’s size. People on the website hoping to adopt don’t need to make a profile; they just browse the site.

“The search feature allows you to enter your location, the distance you’re willing to search, and the breed, sex, and age range of the pet you hope to adopt,” Kuh said. “When you find a dog or cat (or bird or lizard!) that looks like a good fit, you complete the Contact the Owner form with your name, email address, and message, and they will get back to you.”

There is a strict policy that prohibits re-homing fees, since the program is about people finding homes for their pets, not making money off the animal, Kuh said. Other than that, she said it’s up to the current pet family to determine who is the best fit for their pet. Home To Home provides a sample list of questions people can ask potential adopters, which are similar to those Kuh said workers at the humane society ask. There’s also a sample pet re-homing agreement, she said.

“It gives potential adopters a chance to learn more about the animals directly from the people who know them the best,” she said. “Dogs and cats can’t tell us their history, and they often don’t or can’t show their full personality in a kennel setting. The online pet profile gives adopters an overview, but the direct contact between current home and possible future home allows people to ask and have answered precise questions about what kind of lifestyle and situation is best for the animal. No one knows your pet the way you do, and the more info you can provide to a potential home the better.”

Visit the DBCHS Home To Home website here.