Rehoming Your Pet - Nashville Humane
Rehoming Your Pet via Direct Adoption
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Rehoming Your Pet

Preserving the Human-Animal Bond

In accordance with NHA’s mission, our organization is committed to providing each animal within our shelter optimum care and housing. To that end, we operate a managed placement shelter. This comprehensive approach focuses on our mission to rescue, shelter, heal, adopt and advocate for animals in need while also providing compassionate care for the sick, injured and abused animals who have no one else to care for them and rely on us for a second chance at a good life. These policies ensure the health of the pets being placed through Nashville Humane, with emphasis on the health of the animals already in our care. 


Families considering rehoming their pet are first given the opportunity to connect with our Safety Net Resource Coordinator regarding their pet’s challenges. Our goal is to preserve the human-animal bond by providing families with sustainable resources and in this – solutions which result in the pet remaining with those who love them, their family. Our comprehensive and topic-driven Directory of Resources includes resources for both people and pets alike – ranging from behavioral, economic, housing, medical and more.

Before You Rehome: There’s a Resource for That!

There are many common challenges which leave pet owners feeling they have no choice but to rehome their pet – a four-legged friend which 88% of persons consider a family member. The good news? There are many ways to overcome these challenges and preserve the human-animal bond!


Are you in Need of Human Help? View our Human Help page for resources including legal assistance, utility and rent assistance, emergency food pantries and basic needs assistance, education and employment help, low-cost medical for individuals and families, local advocacy group contacts, sexual assault and domestic violence resources as well as temporary housing and homeless shelter contacts. Because like you, we know we all need help now and then!


Traveling or Moving Locally or Internationally, Facing Pet-Restrictions, Breed-Discrimination or Cannot Find Pet-Friendly Housing? View our Pet Advocacy, Housing and Travel page!


Having Difficulty Affording Pet Food or Basic Pet Supplies? View our Pet Food Bank page!


Having Difficulty Affording Veterinary Care? View our Pet Medical Help page!


Seeking Guidance on Pets and Children? View our Pets and Children page!


Facing Challenges with Behavior and Need Training Guidance? View our comprehensive and topic-driven Directory of Resources and select the tab “Dog Help” or “Cat Help” view our Dog Help page for training resources and sign up for classes with Sabra Dog Training on our Training with Sabra page.


Suffering from Pet Allergies? View our Pet Allergies page!


Being Deployed? Dogs on Deployment, PACT for Animals and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet offer fostering services for military on deployment.


Fleeing Domestic Violence or Facing Hospitalization Due to COVID-19? RedRover offers emergency grant funding for costs of pet boarding!


Experiencing Homelessness? The Nashville Rescue Mission, with supplies provided by Nashville Humane Association, is able to house both people and their dogs!


Assisting a Local Community Cat Colony and Overwhelmed? View our Cat Help page!


Assisting a Stray or Found Pet? View our Lost & Found page for resources!

When Rehoming is Necessary

Should rehoming prove necessary – We emphasize and advocate direct adoption. Direct Adoption allows the least stressful transition for the animal – often in contrast to the shelter environment which commonly amplifies anxiety, aggression and illness. We recommend owners dedicate at least one month to the process of rehoming via direct adoption before partnering with NHA or an alternative rescue or shelter to schedule an appointment. Remember: You are your pet’s greatest advocate and their best option in finding a new home! Many assume shelters and rescue groups are more adept at placing animals as they have the experience, facilities and screening guidelines to do so. However, as the individual pet’s owner, you are able to provide the most accurate and detailed information possible to prospective adopters and in doing so determine the best fit for their future. 


Ready to Prep Your Animal for Placement? These five action items will allow for the highest chance of rehoming success!



  1. Spay and Neuter Your Pet Prior to Rehoming: Did you know puppies and kittens as young as eight weeks old can be spayed or neutered? Spay and neuter not only prevents unwanted litters but also reduces unwanted behaviors such as spraying, marking, mounting, howling, roaming, and aggression. It also decreases your pet’s risk of cancer and may increase their life span by 3-5 years! If cost is an issue, please view our Pet Medical Help page for resources!
  2. Make Sure the Animal is Well Groomed, in Good Health and Up-to-Date on Vaccinations and Prevention for Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms. If this is not the case or this is not possible due to financial crisis, be sure to advise prospective adopters prior to adoption. When adopting, make certain the adopter has copies of all essential medical records.
  3. House-trained and Reasonably Well-Behaved. If your animal is not house-trained or has behavioral issues, be sure to be transparent in relaying this to prospective adopters.  Certain adopters look for the “underdog” while others may be unable to facilitate extensive training.
  4. Now Get Creative! High quality-photos showcasing your dog’s best features with thorough descriptions are essential in rehoming your animal! When writing a description for your pet – be sure to list their habits, behavioral quirks and address any medical needs they may have. Need more insight? This article shows you how to write the best bio possible!
  5. Keep Positive, Stay Persistent! Finding the best fit for your animal may take time – stay positive and keep persistent and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth and social media! Remember, you are your pet’s greatest advocate and their best option in finding a new home!

Recommended Rehoming Networks

Adopt a Pet

As your pet’s greatest advocate, you are able to respond to potential adopters directly working alongside Petco’s screening guidance to find the best home possible.

Get Your Pet

Offers the new adopter a vet exam, 30 days of pet insurance and discounts on essentials to get them started – beneficial to both the current and future family.

Rescue Me

This rehoming network has assisted in over 975, 000 adoptions.

While the rehoming networks above have led to the successful placement of millions of pets to date, you might also consider asking your neighbor, coworker, family or close friends if they’re seeking to adopt! Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth and social media – You may even try the Facebook group Nashville Pet Rehoming. As a reminder: Always ask for a rehoming fee and references. Your pet will thank you for your dedication as will their future family!


When you’re ready to transfer ownership, make sure it’s legal! In addition to signing a transfer of ownership contract, be sure to transfer ownership of key identifies such as your pet’s microchip and rabies tag. You might also contact your primary vet to notify them of this transfer. For information regarding best rehoming practices as well as samples of adoption questionnaires and contracts, click here.

Rehoming a Pet With a Bite History

While rehoming may be a successful pathway for some, it’s important to note that it is not always the most humane and or responsible pathway available. In instances of pets with a bite history, it is often the opposite – lending to an increase in stress and reactive behavior in the pet and tangible harm for the prospective family. As considerations for rehoming are often complex and difficult to navigate, we recommend asking the following questions:


Is it safe? If you are rehoming because you no longer feel safe when surrounded by your pet, imagine your pet being in a new environment – this new environment containing no familiarity or bond, having new stressors with new persons unfamiliar and unexperienced in managing your individual pet’s behavior. What can be expected in this environment – do these factors make your pet more or less likely to react in stress? How can you ensure no safety concerns exist and how should the prospective family feel confident in this?


Is it manageable? The human-animal bond is significant – so significant that it influences our lifestyles, the way we spend our money and time, where we live, who we interact with and so much more. In instances of pets with a bite history – behavioral management is not only necessary but a constant requirement of responsible pet ownership. When considering the bond you share with your pet – ask yourself, it is reasonable to ask someone who does not have this bond to manage this behavior as you have? Is what you’re doing to manage this behavior easily replicable and does the average family have the social, time, and financial resources to facilitate this? What kind of quality of life should the prospective family expect in managing this behavior? What impact has managing this behavior had on your family?


Finally, what is most humane and responsible for a pet that poses a safety concern and cannot be managed? A pet who has a bite history is a pet who has a history of stress. If what you’re doing to manage this behavior is impacting both your  quality of life and the quality of life of your pet, it may be time to connect with your vet regarding humane euthanasia. This allows you to prevent future harm, your pet to be free of constant management and surrounded by those who love them in their final moments. Further guidance in making this decision is available online via Ohio State VMC and DVM with in-home services for Nashville residents available via Lap of Love and post-loss support available via the Facebook group Losing Lulu and additional resources for euthanasia services in Nashville, TN available via our Pet Medical Help page.


Need more resources? Visit our comprehensive and topic-driven Directory of Resources which offers resources for humans and their pets alike!