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This is a short discussion from both sides of a home check/home visit. The family being visited and of the person who might be asked to do a home visit.
If you have never had a home visit you will have many questions.
What the right answers are depends upon the Breed and age of the dog.

"We have applied to a Boston Rescue to give a dog a home with us. The rescue said they just need to do a 'home check' first. Previously we had to fill out an application and give some personal references and a vet reference. Once approved we were told, "We can pick the dog up the same day. We are so excited...."

Q: What is a 'home check' and what do they look for or expect?
A: It will depend upon the rescue organization. They will look at things like:

1. How much room you have for the dog?
2. Where the dog will eat?
3. Can you afford to feed the dog and pay the vets bills?
4. Where will you walk the dog?
5. How much room the dog will have outside the house?
6. If you have children or other vulnerable people in the house, will the dog be suitable?
7. If you work or anyone else works, what will happen to the dog while you are at work?

Home visits are done by volunteers who will report back to the organization.

The volunteer will be making sure that your lifestyle fits the dog. Also, that the yard is of an appropriate size and that the fence is high enough that the dog can't escape. If you have other animals or children, the temperaments of them. They come to check on the health of your other pets, and meet with you and your family.

If there is something that they see that concerns them you may be asked to fix the concern first. It might be something simple like moving the garbage can to fixing a hole in your fence you may not even have known you had.

messylivingThey will check to see if the information in your application checks out. They also check to make sure you have a hospitable environment for the dog, if your house is clean, etc., they may bring the dog by to see how it interacts with your family and other pets. That sort of thing, depending on what kind of dog you are asking for, is what you can expect from a home visit.

Please don't feel threatened or take it personal that after a home visit the organization might refuse to let you adopt the dog you want. They will have a good reason. They want to give you the dog as much as you want to adopt it.  BUT, the organization is very concerned that they place the RIGHT dog with you and your family. The one whose photo you fell in love with may not be the right dog.  Many times after a home visit, the rescue volunteer will suggest a different dog. Consider that the dog you thought you wanted might have a behavior or temperament that would not be safe for you and your family or your other pets. They're just coming to your house to make sure you have enough room for the animal and that it will be a suitable environment for it to live and grow (the bigger the dog, the more space it needs).
Your home has to be "PET" friendly and it has to appear as though you are animal lovers. I hope you are and kudos to you for wanting a rescue. There are millions of animals that are mistreated and with this sliding economy many more are left to fend for themselves.  They'll ask a lot of questions and expect you to answer honestly.



Ideally, volunteers that do home visits have been on at least one other home check with a seasoned volunteer.

Most important to remember are these questions... WOULD you leave your own pets with the family you are visiting? What is the impression you have of the whole environment? Are these people dog people, or clueless and should not even be given a stuffed cuddly toy dog much less a live rescued one.

You might be provided by the rescue a check off list or you may decide to make one of your own, if you do here is a suggestion:
Make a section on your sheet for each bedroom, bath, kitchen and any common living spaces of the home. Include all spaces the pet can access to include garages, basements, walk up attics, balconies or stairways.

Include the questions:
Do doors and windows close securely?
Is hazardous clutter accessible to the pet?
Do any electric outlets or appliances look dangerous for a pet?
If you find safety concerns, be specific about writing them down in detail for discussion with the home owner.
The inspection sheet should address these matters so adopting officials can feel comfortable placing a pet in the new owner's home.
Include sections that address:
What is the owners prior pet experience?
What is the family's ability to provide veterinary care?
What is the family's attitude of positive training experiences and grooming?
If the owners have current pets, note the condition and temperament on the sheet.
Take note of whether the family has children, and if they might pose a problem to the new pet.

Home inspection sheets are used by many animal rescue groups and shelters as a tool to check specific safety aspects of prospective pet homes. Checklists for basic information are typically included on the sheets along with room for special considerations for safety concerns, special needs or challenging pets. These inspections are performed to make certain a pet is entering a safe and appropriate environment for the remainder of its life.

Passing home safety inspections means a pet gets a new home.
poorfencingIf areas of the home fail the inspection, date the form and offer to come back within a specified time frame if the owners are willing to make the adjustments. Appropriate adjustments should be noted on the form along with a final passing or failing grade. Home safety should be looked upon as a way for a rescue organization to determine if a potential adopter can provide a continuous pet safe environment. You can never be assured that it's the right home situation unless you visit in person.


Here are some steps for conducting a home check:
Consider the type of home, e.g. single family, apartment, multi-family home.

If it's a single-family home, is there a fenced-in yard?

If it's an apartment, do other tenants have pets and is it a pet-friendly property?

If it's a multi-family home, do the other residents have non-aggressive pets?

Does the landlord or management allow pets?
Are both the exterior and interior of the house tidy and well kept? This often reflects how responsible the residents are. Responsible people are more likely to make responsible pet owners.

Note which areas of the house the pet will have access to:

Where the pet will sleep?

Where the pet will be left when the guardians aren't home, e.g. the backyard, the kitchen with a baby gate, a crate (if it's a crate, ask to see it to make sure it is large enough and has adequate ventilation)?

If the prospective adopter works long hours, find out what provisions will be made for the pet, e.g. pet sitter, doggie daycare, a doggie/kitty door.

If they plan to crate the pet, find out for how long at a time. Eight hours a day, five days a week is a long time for a dog to be crated without being let out.

Mickey 1912Use your judgment to determine whether it sounds excessive.
If there are children and other pet(s) in the home, observe how they interact with the pet. Will young children be supervised around the pet?

Will teenagers be solely responsible for the pet's care?

If they tell you that children under 15 will be responsible for the pet's care that could be a red flag.

If there are other pet(s), observe their appearance, for instance:

If the pet is overweight or underweight,

If the nails are trimmed,

If the pet has fleas or skin problems,

What type of collar the pet has on and if there are ID tags.

Observe the behavior of the other pet(s)lolaand chiyoChristy

How they react to the family members and if they seem happy and content.

Note if there are toys around for the other pet(s), scratching posts for cats, windows with secure screens,

a secure fenced-in yard if they plan to leave a dog unattended. If there's a pool, check to see if it's gated.

Consider if you would feel comfortable leaving your own pet in this home.

 Ask the applicant how they would react to accidents and any type of destructive behavior from their new pet.

Never adopt a dog to anyone who plans to chain the pet outside.
Never adopt a cat or dog to someone who wants an "outdoor" pet.

If the pet will be living both inside and outside, make sure there will always be protection from harsh weather such as an enclosed patio or porch or an adequately insulated dog house.