finding a new home for your cat or dog

Sometimes events happen that require you to find a new home for your beloved cat or dog. Make sure your pet is responsibly re-homed using the tips below.

You are the best advocate for your pet.  You are the one who can best represent your cat or dog as you can tell prospective adopters your pet's wonderful qualities and their quirks. Your best bet for finding a wonderful home for your pet is to use your own network. Think of your friends, relatives, neighbors and work colleagues.  In reaching out to them, also ask them to outreach to their own friends and families. Additional outreach can include posting flyers at your veterinarian's office, at retirement communities, and at pet food stores.

A good flyer will include:

  • the name, age, and breed, of your pet. 
  • give enough information on your pet's personality so that someone will be intrigued enough to contact you
  • good photos are critical
  • include your phone number and email address
  • Your general location 

If your pet has behavior issues, those are best discussed on the phone or in person. Include your phone number and email address.  And most importantly, respond to all inquiries as you never know when a conversation will lead to a connection and a home for your pet.

One of the most effective ways to find a new home for your pet is to post on  This is an online community of neighbors who help each other out.  We've had great success finding new homes for pets via NextDoor. Again, post a great photos, your contact information, and the positive details about your pet. If you have family or friends living in other cities, ask them to post to their local NextDoor community in order to increase the reach of your post.

There are other websites that allow owners to post their pets for adoption.

Are you considering surrendering a cat or dog because of housing/rental-related issues?

We know that affordable housing that allows animals can be challenging  to find but we encourage anyone who does not wish to part with their pets to try to find housing that will let you remain a family. The following are some resources:

Are you considering surrendering a pet due to financial constraints?

There are programs that can help you keep your pet fed, healthy and most importantly with you in your home:

Humane Society Silicon Valley's Pet Pantry provides food to owners who cannot afford to feed their pets

The RedRover Relief program provides financial and emotional support to good Samaritans, animal rescuers and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations and resources to help victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets.

Rose's Fund recognizes that all animals deserve a chance. To the best of their ability they work to financially assist pet owners and good Samaritans who have an animal with a good prognosis for a healthy life, but are at a financial loss. No one should ever have to choose between medical care and euthanizing their pet.

Are you considering surrendering a pet for any of the following reasons?

  • Allergies
  • Behavior
  • Soiling/Scratching

Below are resources to help you work with you and your pet to  prevent the need for surrendering:

Behavior and Training (HSSV)

San Jose Animal Care Center Resources

Can Silicon Valley Pet Project Take My Pet?

We get many phone calls and emails from worried owners like you who need to re-home their beloved pet. As a foster-based rescue, we focus our limited resources on saving animals facing euthanasia in the San Jose shelter - the cats and dogs that don't already have families who love and care for them. While we do have foster homes, they are consistently full. In fact, the leadership of Silicon Valley Pet Project often has foster cats and dogs in our own spare bedrooms and bathrooms. We rarely have the capacity to take in pets from the community.

San Francisco South Bay area shelters

If you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, local shelters will often, but not always, take in animals owned by residences of the cities that they serve.  There is occasionally a fee to surrender an animal to a municipal shelter. Remember, cats and dogs surrendered to a shelter do not have the benefit of an advocate, and often become stressed and shut down.  This makes it more difficult for potential adopters to see their true temperaments.  That said, sometimes that is the only option. 

The shelters in the South San Francisco Bay Area work very hard towards being designated as no-kill shelters.  They will not euthanize healthy, social animals. Cats and dogs are adopted by loving owners every day from these shelters.

San Jose Animal Care Center

  • San José
  • Milpitas
  • Cupertino,
  • Los Gatos
  • Saratoga

Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA)

  • Mountain View
  • Santa Clara
  • Monte Sereno
  • Campbell    

Humane Society Silicon Valley

  • Sunnyvale

San Martin Animal Shelter

  • Unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County

Palo Alto Animal Services

  • Palo Alto
  • Los Altos
  • Los Altos Hills

Peninsula Humane Society

  • East Palo Alto


Screening potential adopters

Advice from HSSV

Once you have an adopter interested, we recommend that you screen that person carefully to ensure your pet finds a loving, permanent home. Make sure to ask them for a donation to your favorite animal charity or a “re-homing” fee to help ensure that your dog or cat is in good hands. Never give your animal away for free to someone you don't know!

It is important that all human family members want a new pet, have the opportunity to meet your dog or cat, and that everyone interacts comfortably with your pet. If your pet is not comfortable with them, request another meeting. If the potential adopter rents their home, confirm they have a lease that states pets are allowed.

Other considerations are the potential adopter's lifestyle: Do they have enough time for your dog or cat? Do they have the resources to provide lifelong care? What is their previous history with pets? Can they provide as much exercise as your pet needs? What other animals in the home and are they compatible with your pet? Do any family members have allergies or other health concerns? Don’t be afraid to ask a potential adopter for a personal reference or a reference from their veterinarian. Anyone that is prepared to care for your pet as much as you do will understand and appreciate your concern.

We recommend doing an initial meeting in a neutral setting rather than your home so that you don't feel uncomfortable if it is not a good match. If you decide to go through with the adoption, we recommend asking to be able to deliver your pet to his or her new home. By delivering your animal you can be sure that the information matches what you were told and that it is a safe and comfortable environment.

Follow up is an important part of any adoption! Let your pet’s adopter know that you’ll be calling them in a few days to see how everything is going and to see if they have any questions. The adopter will feel supported and this will give you peace of mind that your pet is settling into their new home. If at any point you need advice along the way or are feeling uncertain, please feel free to call us, we will be happy to assist you! You can contact us via our Contact page.

Other resources

Low cost spay/neuter, San Jose

The Cat Resource Center

Best Friends - Re-homing a Pet

Humane Society Silicon Valley - Pet Surrender Resources