Special to The Dallas Examiner
Dallas Animal Services recently launched its partnership with Home To Home, an online platform that allows residents to proactively rehome their pets when keeping them is no longer an option. This free tool also helps prevent shelter overcrowding by transitioning pets directly from their old home to their new one, without ever entering the shelter. The tool is now available for use through DAS’ website, at https://www.dallasanimalservices.org or directly at https://das.home-home.org.
“Though often necessary, surrendering a pet is painful for people and stressful for pets,” said DAS Director Ed Jamison. “At DAS, we emphasize enrichment and quality of life for all the animals in our care, but a home environment is still the best place for a pet. This is why Home To Home™ is so revolutionary – pets go straight from one home to another, which means less anxiety for the pet and more peace of mind for their family.”
In 2018, only 28% of dog owners and 27% of cat owners get their pets from animal shelters or rescues, while 31% of dogs and 25% cats were acquired through friends, according to research conducted by Pet Health Inc. DAS hopes that by offering a credible online rehoming option, they can help owners leverage their social media networks to find a good home for their pet themselves.
“Over the years, classified advertising websites have given pet rehoming a bad name,” Jamison said. “While DAS will always accept owner surrenders from Dallas residents, we wanted to provide owners with a safe, responsible way to take matters into their own hands. Home To Home walks them through an adoption process similar to the one we use, facilitating meaningful conversations and helping them to find an adopter that is the right fit for their pet.”
The program’s website is free and easy to use. Those needing to rehome pets fill out a brief form, upload a picture, hit submit, and wait for potential adopters to reach out. With the click of a button, they can also share the pet’s profile on social media. Those seeking to adopt can use the website’s search feature, and when they find a pet they’re interested in, they can easily communicate with the person that knows the animal best – their current owner. When a match is made, the owner and adopter can determine a safe way to transfer ownership, using COVID-19 safety protocols. No money exchanging is required; pet adoptions are free.
“National industry research consistently proves that adoption fees don’t lead to better outcomes for pets, it’s quality conversations that really matter,” Jamison said. “Our own data has demonstrated the same thing, which is why we often waive adoption fees for animals in our care. Instead of placing financial barriers between good adopters and deserving pets, we rely on our staff to have discussions that make good matches and set potential adopters up for success. Home To Home™ helps residents do the same thing.”
DAS staff will monitor the site to ensure that the program’s policies are being followed and that there is effective communication occurring between potential adopters and owners.
While rehoming through Home To Home will alleviate the need for some pets to be surrendered to the shelter, it won’t be suitable for all re-homing situations, such as pets with special medical or behavioral needs. DAS encourages those seeking to rehome a pet to first call 3-1-1 to be connected with a representative from our Pet Support Call Center who will help them identify local resources that could help them keep their pet or to determine if the program is the right fit for them. If it is not the right option, the call center will help the resident make an owner surrender appointment at DAS.
The call center is a new collaboration between DAS and Spay Neuter Network designed to help struggling owners keep their pets. The program and call center’s partnerships are examples of how DAS is working to reimagine animal sheltering as a Human Animal Support Services tier one pilot shelter. The HASS model aims at keeping pets and people together through innovative shelter programs, community-based solutions, and partnerships. DAS became a HASS tier one pilot shelter in the summer of 2020.
“By helping owners rehome their healthy, social pets themselves, we will free up resources for pets with no other options,” Jamison said.