Responsible Rehoming

Responsible Rehoming

By Helen Ravenel Hammond

For most animal lovers, it’s an unbearable thought – having to give up your pet. But when “life happens,” pet owners are many times left with the difficult task of “rehoming” a pet.

“Whenever we can find a way to keep an animal out of the shelter and in a home, that is always the best solution,” said Ashley Greaves, Charleston Animal Society Lead Animal Resource Center Specialist. In the past year, Greaves saw 614 animals surrendered by families to Charleston Animal Society. “It’s never easy to watch,” Greaves said.

Why do People Surrender Pets?

According to Charleston Animal Society statistics, the top five reasons pets are surrendered include:

  1. Too many pets in a home
  2. Moving
  3. Owner’s health
  4. Cost of owning a pet
  5. Landlord issues

“We strongly believe the owner is the best advocate for their pets so anything they can contribute is always helpful,” said Greaves.

Shelters can be very stressful for animals. They can make animals anxious, aggressive and ill  — making adoption more difficult. But when the owner reaches out to find a new home, avoiding the shelter altogether – things can run much more smoothly for the animal involved.

How to Succeed for Your Pet

To get started with the rehoming process—you can visit the Charleston Animal Society website (

“We are partnering with Rehome and to help owners be advocates for their pets and also give them a chance to rehome their pet on their own,” Greaves said.  “You’ll find links to both organizations on our website.”

Rehome is a peer-to-peer adoption program run by “With Rehome, we are working directly with thousands of animal welfare organizations – like the Charleston Animal Society – to help pets avoid relinquishment to shelters,” said April Harris, Director of Animal Welfare Insights for “The best part is that when shelters and rescues refer pet owners to Rehome instead of surrendering their pet, the referring organization collects the adoption fee, so we’re actually helping to fund their efforts to save more pets. Everybody wins with Rehome!”

Get Your Pet is another rehoming site where the goal is to divert one-third of shelter animals from ever setting foot in a shelter. “Get Your Pet will save thousands of dogs and cats from surrender to the stressful shelter system,” said Get Your Pet Founder and life-long animal welfare advocate, Angela Marcus. “We are working closely with local animal shelters, like Charleston Animal Society, to relieve some of their intake so they can focus on abuse and neglect case.”

More Rehoming Help

When wanting to rehome their pets, owners can set-up an appointment with their local shelter (Charleston Animal Society can help with animals that live in Charleston County).

Greaves says posting to Facebook, Craigslist and other social media sites is another great way to boost your pet’s chance of a quick adoption.

To improve your pet’s chance of adoption, be sure to have a vet look at him or her, have the pet spayed or neutered and be sure to have your pet looking good with a bath and a brushing.

It is also a good idea to have the pet’s veterinary records handy for the new owner.

Finally, always ask friends and family! Greaves says the number one source of pets across the country continues to be from friends and family. “You never know what someone may be looking for until you ask,” said Greaves.

More Information on Rehoming

Learn how to write an adoption ad, what questions to ask a potential adopter and tips for a smooth transition on the Charleston Animal Society website: and