Don't assume anything about a dog's past. Scars, injuries or a dirty appearance does not indicate that a dog's been abused. Your foundling may have been lost for some time and could belong to a worried sick owner who's been looking everywhere for him.
1. No collar or tags? Ask your veterinarian or local shelter to scan him for a microchip
2. Post flyers everywhere. Go online and post a notice on Craigslist and your neighborhood message board. If you receive a call from the possible owner, be sure to make them describe a specific marking or something distinct about the dog to ensure it is their dog and not someone posing as the owner.
3. Check lost dog postings at your local shelters. You may be obligated by law to file a 'Found Dog' report with Animal Control, which means you can't legally keep the dog or give him to someone until your city allows it!
4. Place a (free) 'Found Dog' ad in your local classifieds section.
5. Remember to ask the neighborhood kids if they've seen this dog before. Kids are famous for noticing things that adults miss!
What if I can't find the owners?
Your Legal Obligations: Your shelter will tell you how long you have to wait to re-home a dog after filing a found dog report. In many places, it's a minimum of two weeks. If you still can't find the owners after trying everything, you can legally keep the dog as yours. Or if that's not possible...
Plan A- Try to find a new permanent home or foster home for the new dog yourself
Plan B - Take the dog to your local animal shelter. (For information on how the shelter system works when turning in your stray) please read on our website click the tab "Shelter System"
Plan C - Finding a new home for your stray dog
Most rescue organizations including Bully Pride of Arizona will likely not be able to take in your stray dog. To share the burden of so many dogs in need, some Good Samaritans foster themselves or ask friends and family to help while they network for a new home. This is an adventure in itself - not something to take on unless you feel up to the big challenge of volunteering your time as an independent dog rescuer. But the rewards of helping a lost soul find his way to a new permanent and responsible home can be immeasurable.
How to keep a homeless dog safe while you look for her home
To keep him from getting lost again, you'll need to think about a secure set-up. Dog crates can keep him safely confined when you aren't near to supervise. Craigs List Pet Section usually has ads for used dog crates for cheap. You may need to reinforce a wire crate with cable ties so your foster dog doesn't nose his way out.
Some dogs can be very determined when they want to get somewhere, so just locking a loose dog in a room is inviting damage. Again, use the crate, or consider boarding him. Can't afford to board? Try fundraising with a garage sale, dog wash or BBQ to raise funds for some temporary housing. Some boarding facilities offer a rescue discount. Ask your own vet for kennel recommendations or possibly a reduced rate for boarding at his clinic. Remember to place new ID tags on the pup. Some pet food stores offer on-the-spot pet tags.
How do I know what kind of home to look for? Good question!
Unless you're very familiar with dogs, have your homeless dog evaluated by a qualified individual (dog trainer, shelter or rescue worker, etc.) who can help you determine if the dog is adoptable. If he seems to be, the next question is: What kind of home would be right? Can he be placed with other animals? Is he high energy or low key? Can he go into a beginner's home or only a very experienced home?
IMPORTANT: Animal-directed aggression can be managed with the help of a trainer, but sketchy behavior towards people is a red flag and requires a very specific kind of professional help. Please don't adopt out a dog with extreme behavior problems.
Is he/she healthy?
Life on the streets can be hard on a dog. Have your foundling checked by a veterinarian to determine if she needs any special care beyond vaccinations.
IMPORTANT: You'll want to have the dog spayed or neutered BEFORE sending to a new home. Intact dogs may attract homes that want to exploit them for breeding purposes.
How can I make my foster more adoptable?
1. Spay or Neuter is a must! Read about free and low-cost resources in Maricopa County. Don't live here? Check for clinics near you.
2. Give the dog his shots.
3. Consider basic obedience classes. A well-trained dog makes adoption into a new home much easier and it helps YOU live with her while you are fostering. Some trainers may reduce their fees for you. They can also guide you in the process of socializing your dog with other animals.
4. We also recommend microchipping your foster dog.
5. And of course, make sure she is clean, well groomed and well behaved when meeting potential homes.
Advertising: Where? How?
There are a few key ways to advertise your found dog. First, learn everything you can about the dog so you can help potential adopters know if he's a good match for their lifestyle. Some of your info can come from the dog's evaluation; much will come from observing as you spend time with him.
Key Websites for Free Advertising:
Adopt a Pet
Important Information for Your Ad
1. Dog's approximate age, sex, health, and the fact that he's been fixed.
2. Has he been evaluated by someone who works with dogs?
3. His energy level: Mellow? Energetic? Little of both?
4. His behavior with other animals.
5. Has he had any training? Is he crate trained? House trained?
6. Post one or more great photos and follow up with updates. Video is especially popular.
Potential adopters will want to know: Where did he come from? How is he with small kids? Can he live with cats? What (if anything) scares him? What is his known medical history? Any bad habits? Be honest! What are his best qualities? What does he like to do?
Other Ways to Advertise:
1. Create an eye catching FLYER with a gorgeous, happy photo and bio and place it on bulletin boards in vet offices, pet food stores...everywhere.
2. Ask local rescue groups about showing your foster at upcoming Adoption Day Events. Some pet stores sponsor adoption events for the general public. Ask your local store if this is a possibility for you.
3. Contact a rescue group and ask if they would consider doing a courtesy post for you. (the rescue post the dog on their website for you)
How do I know if an interested home is right for my foster dog?
It's wise to be selective about who adopts your foundling. Someone may be perfectly nice, but this doesn't mean they're the right match for this particular dog's personality. Ask LOTS of questions (See Above). Visit the home and meet the whole household. We strongly encourage helping the home review their rental agreeement to learn if it has any restrictions that could cause problems for the dog at a later date. Big Bully Rescue has found that motivated homes welcome a get-to-know-you discussions. Take your time with this decision. You've put a lot of effort into saving your dog and you want his next home to be permanent. You and the home may want to meet more than once during this decision.
How long will it take to find a good home?
Because you're waiting for the RIGHT home, rather than the first home that responds, the process can take a few weeks or more, or less! The advice: "Be Patient" definitely applies to dog rescue work. Important: ALWAYS do a home check to be sure you know the home is what it says it is.
Plan D - When you have to take a dog to a shelter
It happens to the best of us; Not every found dog can stay in our homes while we look for a permanent home. Landlords may dictate, neighbors may complain, some dogs may be too much to handle or may not be able to co-exist with our pets. If you decide to surrender your homeless dog, please look for a shelter that will offer her the best chance of being evaluated fairly and adopted responsibly. Please note that there is no such thing as a "no kill" shelter for pit bull type dogs, or breeds such as Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos and rare mastiff type breeds. Local SPCAs and Humane Societies typically commit to dogs for the longterm, but most accept only a very limited number of pit bull type or bully type of dogs each year. If you need to surrender to an animal control facility, your dog will only be accepted by the facility in the city where your dog was found. City run shelters are required by law to accept all strays found within city limits, regardless of the available space. When they're extremely full, chances of your dog being euthanized sooner are much greater. Ask the shelter if they're full before surrendering. They may tell you it would be better to return with the animal after the weekend when adoptions may open a few kennels.
How can I help a surrendered dog get adopted?
Even if you have to surrender your found bully dog, you can get the word out about him by advertising him as needing an emergency foster or home. Take a good photo of her before being surrendered and learn as much as you can about her so you can advertise her and describe her to others, including local rescue groups. Work fast! You may wish to request that the shelter contact you on the last day before the dog is put to sleep. Some will do this, some will not.
THANK YOU!! for helping your bullydog friend find a safer place to rest their head. We understand how frustrating and difficult it can be to find positive solutions to a homeless dogs plight. So much of our inspiration comes from folks like you who are so willing to go that extra mile for a bully dog in need!
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact us at [Bullyprideofaz@gmail.com]