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Rehoming Your Dog

PAWS was founded from a relationship with volunteers in Tennessee and has grown to include shelters and rescue groups in Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi.

Our primary mission is to help dogs in those areas. We operate with limited foster space, and have many dogs in volunteer’s homes waiting to move to New England.

Although we try to help local dogs when the situation permits, most often we are not able to due to a lack of foster space. We are happy to offer advice and assistance whenever possible. If you are considering rehoming your dog, please read the info below.

Should you surrender your dog?

If you think your current living situation is “not fair” for your dog, or that you think they “deserve” a home that has “more time to give him what he needs” or “more space to run around,” the reality is, most dogs are better off staying in the home they know with the people they love than being rehomed.

The fairytale life of having a large home and large yard to run in is not the reality for a vast number of dogs living happy and well-adjusted lives in loving homes. Giving your dog to a rescue is certainly not a guarantee that they would end up in that type of home.

Many dogs live in apartments, do not have yards, do not have someone home with them all day long and are very happy. If you suddenly have less time for your dog than you used to, there are many options that do not involve sending them away from the family they love.

Dog walkers & doggy day care can provide your dog with the exercise they may be missing, and there are endless listings for both resources in all towns and cities throughout New England. What is not “fair” to them is if these options are not considered, and what they “deserve” - is that they are. We have many foster homes that lead extremely busy lives with demanding careers – and they make amazing foster parents while at the same time have their own pets, families, children, etc. Pets reduce personal stress and can add years to your life – make the time for you and your dog.

Did you acquire your dog as a puppy from a breeder?

If so, have you contacted that person?

If he or she is at all reputable, you would have signed a contract at the time you purchased your puppy, stipulating that the dog should be returned if you decide to no longer keep him. If you do not want to keep your dog, contact your breeder first.

Did you acquire your dog from a Rescue Organization?

If so, have you contacted that rescue organization?

If they are reputable, you would have signed a contract at the time you adopted your dog, stipulating that the dog must be returned to them if you decide to no longer keep him or her for any reason.

New baby in the family?

How lucky for you that most dogs are fantastic family pets! If you can take care of your new little human baby, you can certainly take care of a dog. There are many resources for helping to ease the transition. Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby by the ASPCA is one to start with.


There are plenty of apartments, townhouses, condos and hotels that accept medium and large breeds of dogs. If you are having a hard time finding housing that will allow your dog, we are happy to help you search, and can reach out to the 10,000+ fans on our Facebook page to see if anyone has suggestions or knows of listings!

Are there behavioral issues?

Is your dog having trouble getting along with other animals in the household or are there other behavioral issues that have led to the decision to give up your dog?

If so, let us help you. Send us an email—we can most likely recommend a trainer in your area.

We will not be able to work miracles with a dog that has had aggression issues go unaddressed and it is unlikely any family you place the dog with will either. Re-homing a dog with behavior issues is highly irresponsible and is simply passing the problem to someone else. This is never in the best interest of the dog and could even leave you liable if the dog injures someone in the new home.

All of our foster homes are volunteers with other pets, children, and busy lives, who take these dogs into their homes. We work to place dogs from high kill shelters into loving homes, although this occasionally involves helping a dog with behavioral issues. We do not specialize in aggression, we are a volunteer organization, not a rehab facility for aggressive dogs.

Because of the liability associated, a dog with aggression issues surrendered to a shelter stands little to no chance of making it out alive. You must seek a trainer to solve aggression issues.

If you have not hired a trainer?

If your child had a learning problem, would you try to fix it yourself?

When your dog has a medical problem, do you treat them at home yourself? If you have consulted with your vet about a behavior issues, if the vet is not a certified behaviorist, why are you consulting with them and not a trainer?

Many times we hear “I’ve had dogs all my life” when people are frustrated that they can’t fix a behavior problem. Please consider: you have also been a human all your life, am guessing you have been around other human beings your whole life. You may have even successfully raised a few humans in the process. Does that qualify you to help a person who has behavioral problems or a learning disability?

Professional trainers are called that for a reason, they spend years studying and learning the complexities and science behind canine behavior and modification techniques, and do a lot more than teach “sit” and “stay”.

Choosing a qualified trainer:

It can be hard to choose a trainer, there are many people who call themselves trainers but are not equipped to deal with anything other than basic obedience. It can be extremely frustrating to spend time and money working with a trainer that is not qualified. Even if you have consulted with a trainer or hired one and have not had successDon’t give up.

Contact us and we can put you in touch with trainers that know what they are doing—trainers who didn’t learn their skills by watching National Geographic dog training shows or by reading books yet have no hands-on experience.

We can guide you to a trainer that studies, understands, and is experienced at implementing behavior modification that does not involve bullying your dog into behaving, which is always short lived and ineffective.

Experiencing financial issues?

The following groups exist to assist people who truly want to keep their pets, but are experiencing financial difficulties. They may be able to help you.

Want to help a dog you saw on the internet?

The shelters we work with are high kill shelters who never have a shortage of dogs in danger of being euthanized needing our help.

Although it may seem like an easy thing to save a dog that has been listed as being in danger of euthanasia on the internet, it is not as simple as just making a phone call. It takes time to build relationships with vets, volunteers and foster homes in the area of the shelter to care for the dogs once pulled for as long as is needed until a New England foster home is found.

We are unable to help a dog in a shelter where we have no local volunteers; therefore, it is highly unlikely we will be able to help you with a dog you have seen on the internet that is not in a shelter we already have an established partnership with.

Are you a Southern Rescue looking for help?

It is always worth sending us an email to see if we can help, but please don’t give up looking for help if we are unable to assist.

We absolutely wish more than anything that we could help every group that emails us, but we are fighting a never ending wave of homeless dogs with the shelters we already work with. You are the only hope for the dogs in your community—please keep fighting for them!