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How to Rehome Your Dog Through SPDR


When life changes make it impossible to keep a dog, SPDR may be able to assist you in finding the dog a new home. 

Overview of the Process

After a detailed application and review process for your dog to determine that it is adoptable through SPDR (explained in the below steps), we will refer potential adopters directly to you.


You are responsible for screening prospective adopters and handling their home checks.

Image by Eric Ward
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Step-by-Step Process

1. Click on our “Breeds” button below to see if SPDR currently has a Rep for your breed. If yes, proceed to Step 2.

2. Read our “Frequently Asked Questions” to find answers to the most common questions about listing a dog for rehoming through SPDR.

3. Fill out our Online Listing Application by clicking the red button below. If you prefer not to use an online form, you can download, print out, complete and mail in a printable Listing Application, or call us at (206) 654-1117 to obtain the printed application.

4. SPDR’s Breed Rep will contact you to request photos and more info about your dog, and may want to meet your dog, in order to determine if your dog is able to be referred through SPDR.

5. If your dog is accepted, and there are prospective homes already waiting, the Breed Rep will refer adopters directly to you. You will need to screen these adopters and handle home checks yourself. We encourage you to be selective about a new owner for your dog.

If no homes are currently available, you may need to keep your dog for a period of time. SPDR has very few foster homes, so the option of removing the dog from your home is not always possible. If we are able to accept your dog into foster care, you will surrender ownership to SPDR.

6. You are under no obligation to accept anyone referred by SPDR. If you decline a prospective adopter, let SPDR’s Breed Rep know, so another adopter may be referred.

7. If you require a more immediate solution, you may need to board your dog or surrender it to a shelter. Owner-surrendered dogs have no guaranteed amount of time in a shelter, and will be subjected to the disorientation that comes with being in a shelter. If you must surrender your dog to a shelter, we recommend either the Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue, or PAWS in Lynnwood.

  • How does the listing process work?
    A person who wants to list a dog for rehoming through SPDR fills out our efficient online Listing Application, or downloads and prints the form from our website and mails it to SPDR’s post office box. If you are unable to print the application, you may phone 206-654-1117 and ask to have it mailed to you. All applications will be processed by SPDR and forwarded to the appropriate Breed Rep(s).
  • What is a Breed Rep?
    A Breed Representative, or Breed Rep, is a person experienced with a particular breed. They evaluate dogs of their breed for adoptability, screen prospective homes for their breed, and match adoptable dogs with suitable homes.
  • How soon can I expect to be contacted by the Breed Rep?
    Online applications should receive a response within a week. If you mailed your form you will receive a postcard telling you that your paperwork was received. You should be contacted within seven business days after that by a Breed Rep.
  • What happens then?
    The Breed Rep will ask for more information about your dog, may request photos of your dog, and may want to meet your dog, in order to make a decision about whether your dog is adoptable through SPDR. If your dog is deemed adoptable through SPDR, the Breed Rep will refer suitable homes to you from a list of waiting adopters. If there are no adopters waiting, the Breed Rep will let you know when a prospective home for your dog does come through. The Breed Rep might discuss taking your dog into a foster home until placement, however SPDR has very few foster homes, and this option is not always available. If the Breed Rep feels your dog is not adoptable through SPDR, he or she will suggest other options to you, depending on the circumstances and the dog.
  • Why might my dog not be adoptable through SPDR?
    Some dogs are too difficult to place due to advanced age, a medical condition, lack of training, or an extreme temperament. SPDR cannot accept dogs that have bitten a person or shown any human aggression. Sometimes a Breed Rep simply has too many dogs available and not enough adoptive homes.
  • If the SPDR Breed Rep decides my dog is suitable for rehoming, does SPDR guarantee a placement?
    No. SPDR can in no way guarantee a successful placement. And a successful placement can take time. Expect to work with your Breed Rep to find the best possible home for your dog.
  • What if I don't like a prospective adopter that was referred by the SPDR Breed Rep?
    You are under no obligation to accept any adopter. In fact, we encourage you to be selective about a new owner for your dog. If you feel an applicant is not right for your dog, notify the Breed Rep, and she will continue to refer applicants until the right match is found.
  • Will I be expected to pay SPDR for helping me rehome my dog?
    If we are successful in helping you re-home your dog, we request that you make a tax-deductible donation to SPDR. SPDR is a registered Washington State charity and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As such, we rely on donations to continue operating. Our Board members and Breed Reps are all volunteers, and receive no compensation for the time they spend helping you adopt or find a new home for your dog. Upon receipt of your donation, SPDR will mail you a confirmation that can be used for tax purposes.
  • I want to get the money I spent on this dog back from the new adopter.
    SPDR is a rescue referral agency. Owners are not allowed to receive compensation for their dogs. People who want money for their dogs must advertise through other means. We do not help people sell dogs. Both adopters and listers are expected to make donations to SPDR after a successful placement is made.
  • I don't have time for this, I'll take the dog to a shelter instead.
    Find out how long the shelter will keep your dog and whether they screen prospective homes. Many shelters hold owner turn-ins only 24-72 hours before euthanizing them. They simply do not have the space to keep the large number of animals surrendered by owners and turned in as strays. If you must take your dog to a shelter, we recommend the Humane Society of Seattle/King County in Bellevue, or PAWS in Lynnwood.
  • What happens if the Breed Rep refers me to a dog at the shelter?
    If SPDR receives notification from a shelter about a dog that matches your request, the Breed Rep will refer you directly to that shelter. You would be required to go through that shelter’s approval process, and, if approved, would adopt the dog directly from them. Most shelters can only keep dogs in their care for a very limited time–an adopter notified about a dog in a shelter should act promptly.
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