Owner Surrender

Rescue Dog Photo

Try to get a picture of your dog looking directly at the camera.

As our mission is to rescue dogs from a shelter-administered death sentence, we are not typically able to accept owner-surrenders or strays.   We are not a shelter – we are a rescue dependent upon foster homes to save lives. Our dream is to someday live in a society where surrendering your pet to a shelter is a last resort. We focus our rescue efforts on saving the forgotten and the unloved, but we also hope to provide public outreach and guidance aimed towards helping people to keep the animals already within their care. We go to the ends of the earth for our animals – our fur family members – sometimes at great personal cost, and expect that you will do the same for the dogs within your care. There are many excellent local resources for crisis situations in Tucson, that can be found on the No Kill Pima County SOS Directory.  We also invite you to post questions, concerns and fundraisers on our Facebook group “Friends of Smiling Dog Rescue” and we will support you as much as possible.

If you feel you must re-home your pet, we ask that you first make sure you have exhausted all other options.  Read through this No Kill Pima County directory for resources that may be helpful in your situation- whether it’s for behavioral problems, financial hardships, medical issues or a lack of housing, there are avenues and resources to explore.   If you’ve exhausted all your options and are still sure you have to surrender your pet, read over this article for some tips, tricks and words of caution.   Remember, if you must place your dog in another home, you are in a better position to do this than any rescue or adoption group out there. Knowing the dog’s temperament, you can screen potential families and identify the best match for your dog. And you can ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, without any time spent in strange and traumatic circumstances.

If you’ve come across a stray, the first step should be to try to locate its owner.  If you can keep the animal at your home while searching for the owner, that is the best and safest solution for him.  Check for tags and have the animal scanned for a microchip.  Most vets will gladly do this for free.  If there’s no microchip, report the found dog to Pima Animal Care Center at (520) 243-5800, option #3, and the Humane Society at (520) 327-6088. Post ads on Craigslist and Facebook, and post signs in your neighborhood – most lost dogs are found within a mile of their home.

If a week or more passes without anybody claiming the stray animal, you can then begin the process of finding him a new home.

Promoting the Adoptable Animal

While Craigslist can be an excellent public forum to get lots of exposure for adoptable animal, it can also be a haven for people trying to acquire dogs for the wrong reasons.  We can’t warn you enough about the dangers of posting free-to-good-home ads on Craigslist, especially knowing there are 3 active dog-fighting rings acknowledged by the Tucson Police Department.  (There may be more!)  There are some things you should do, like asking an adoption fee, having the backing of a rescue and performing a home-check, that can help deter these kinds of people.

Craigslist free to good home

There are 3 dog fighting rings confirmed by the Tucson Police Department.

Do not give any potential adopter the benefit of the doubt.

For a well-meaning adopter, a home visit and an application are not too much to ask.

When promoting your dog on community listings, social media and elsewhere, it’s important to have excellent photos and a very honest, detailed description.  Photos should be in good natural light and should be of the dog looking directly at the camera.  (Think magazine cover!)  Our photographer Peccadillo Studios also offers 15-minute adoptable dog photo shoots for $15.  Call (520) 406-7533 for an appointment.

Include a description of your pet with the photos.  It should include detailed information about the animal’s personality, temperament and training.  Feel free to share on our Friends of Smiling Dog Rescue Facebook group, and if you’re in Arizona the Arizona Animal Rescue Alliance group and No Kill Pima County’s Pet Re-Homing group are also great resources.

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