It's an exciting time when you're thinking of adopting a new pet, and we are always thrilled when you decide to adopt an animal from Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre. We know it can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming when you decide to adopt, and the process can be a mystery - particularly for first-time adopters! Every centre is different, but the process is actually quite simple and can be easily broken down into smaller steps so you can see how the adoption is progressing.
1. Take a look at the rehoming pages on our website, or have a flick through the folders on our Facebook page. It's best to go through all of the animals and read their personal description to see who would best suit your situation - the details to think about for a dog are:
For cats, think of the age and whether or not they are suitable to live indoors, as well as the age of children they can live with and if they are suitable to live with other pets. Some cats are in bonded pairs, in which case they will need to be rehomed together - would you be prepared to take on both? Would you be better suited to an adult cat than a kitten due to working hours? You can also read the description for rabbits to see if they would be suitable to live in a pair or alone.
2. Contact us via email or on the telephone to see if the animal is still available for adoption, and to ask any details we might have missed that would be important to your adoption. We won't split up a bonded pair except for a last resort, so it's best not to ask if you are only interested in one. You can then arrange a time to come down to the centre! If you are currently living in rented accommodation, now is the best time to find your tenancy agreement. We ask for evidence that pets are allowed in the property before we take any details from you about an animal - this speeds up the adoption process, so there is less confusion and the adoption cannot fall through due to issues with a landlord.
3. Come down to the centre to meet the animal and have a chat with a member of the animal care team. The centre is open for animal viewings from 12 - 4pm every day except Wednesday, and we are open from 12 - 7pm every Thursday throughout the summer. If you are coming to view a dog, it's useful to ring ahead of time on 01332 344620 so we can ensure the dog will be on site and somebody will be free to speak to you.
Remember to bring your landlord's letter or a copy of your tenancy agreement with you! We cannot put a reserve on an animal without this if you live in rented accommodation. You will also need a form of ID, and for small animals we ask to see a photo of the cage you intend to keep them in.
At the centre we will speak to you about the animal and their individual needs, and just ask some questions about your lifestyle so we can ensure we are matching you up with the right pet for you. This includes your working hours, the number and ages of people in your household, whether or not you own the property, if you have a garden, your experience with a particular animal or breed - this just helps us to get a better idea of who would suit you!
4. After you have met the animal and spoken to a member of staff, you can reserve the animal. This means that, although they are still at the centre, they are held for you until they are ready to go home. The length of time between putting on a reserve and completing the adoption paperwork is usually around 7 - 10 days, depending on the animal type and the individual. We usually hold the animal with us until they are neutered, and any animals requiring medical treatment will have to finish this before they can go home.
We do ask that all family members/people living in the house come to meet the animal, to ensure everybody is happy for the adoption to go ahead. If you are adopting a dog, and already have a dog, we will do at least one meet and greet to assess their behaviour around one another and make sure they would be suitable to live together. We are also happy to mix rabbits to see if they get on well enough to become a bonded pair.
When we take your details to place a reservation on your new pet, we ask for a non-refundable deposit, which is taken off the adoption fee when you come to collect them.
5. Once the reserve paperwork is completed, we can file it and ask a volunteer to do a home visit (obligatory for all dogs, cats and rabbits). They contact you directly to set up a time that's best for you and them, but please remember that they are volunteers who give up their time to help us and therefore have to fit in home visits around work and other commitments, which is why it can take up to 10 days to complete. The home visitors simply visit you at your address and have a chat about the suitability of your home for the specific animal - this usually involves checking things like the height and security of fencing in the garden etc. Once they have finished, they let us know at the centre if the home visit passed or failed, and we contact you.
6. After the home visit we contact you to arrange a time for you to come and pick up your new pet. Adoptions take place from 10am, and involve a fair bit of paperwork so make sure you've got your reading glasses! We go through any details you need to know (diet, exercise regime, training methods, health issues) and explain the microchipping and insurance details for you. You will also have a chance to ask any questions you might have, as we are always happy to help. As part of the adoption fee for dogs and cats, you receive a voucher for the on-site pet shop, so you can pick up any items you might need.
Please remember that if you are adopting a cat or rabbit, you will need to bring a carrier with you or purchase one from the shop. It is also a legal requirement for all dogs to have ID tags with your name and address on, so it's best to bring that with you when you pick your dog up so you don't forget - we also stock these in the shop if you need one.
Then you can pick up your new pet! We are happy to help fit collars, harnesses and coats for you so you know you're getting the right size.
Once you've taken your new pet home, just relax and enjoy their company. Remember that there will be a period when your pet is settling in, so forgive them any mistakes and focus on building a bond. It's best to start training slowly and gently with dogs - all of our dogs come with a personalised training guide to help you get started. It is also normal for pets to have a few tummy troubles in the first couple of weeks but this is usually down to stress and a change in diet, so make sure if you do want to change their food that you do so slowly and gradually over a period of at least a week.
If you have any problems, we are only a phonecall away and will do what we can to help. We'd like to say a big thank you to everybody who chooses to adopt an animal from Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre, as you are giving a second chance to an abused, abandoned or neglected animal, and your adoption fee goes towards helping another animal in need.
We also love to see photos of ex-residents happy in their new homes so don't hesitate to send some to our Facebook page or email address!