We’re so glad to have you join the homecheck team! This guide is meant to provide the tools you need to help you conduct successful home checks and report homes that you do not feel are a good match.
Dogs Without Borders a 501(c)3 rescue in Los Angeles. We rescue primarily small breed dogs from area shelters but also work with international groups to bring in larger breeds from areas that do not have adequate resources such as Iran, Mexico, Albania, Taiwan and Korean Meat Trade Dogs. Our mission is to re-home as many abandoned and unwanted dogs as we can in to safe, loving, forever homes.
The purpose of the check
The purpose of the home inspection is to make sure there is no potential for injury, or escape, that they are properly being cared for and are adjusting well to their new home. We want to make sure they have a good relationship and aren’t being abusive or causing the fear through excessive shouting or over-correction.
Choose your Pups!
Every week new dogs get added to our master list. Check in and let Verona and get dogs assigned.
Contact the Adopter
Contact the potential adopter ASAP via email, or text. Many people will not answer an unknown call. Introduce yourself as a homecheck volunteer for Dogs Without Borders and arrange a mutually convenient time to come by. If they have a yard try to visit during daylight. CC Verona on the email for back up 🙂 Verona@dogswithoutborders.org
Confirm the appointment
All adult dogs go to a 1 week trial which doesn’t always work out. If you make arrangements for the check please CONFIRM the same day , or day before in case they have decided not to adopt, or already returned the dog.
Complete the homecheck and report back
After you have complete the homecheck you MUST let Nancy know whether or not it is approved If you are not confident about whether the home is safe or appropriate please let her know
- Do the doors and screen windows close properly?
- Do the latches work?
- Does it appear that the dog is allowed in the house? (hair, food, slobber, pet bed/blankets, toys)
- Does the dog appear to be fearful of the adopter? (note many meat trade dogs are terribly under-socialised, dogs who are known to be fearful are noted in the emails sent by Nancy)
- Are there house plants? (many are poisonous)
- Where will the pet food will be stored? (Check to see if the dog can easily figure out how to get into the storage container.)
- If there is a cat in the home, how have they protected the litter box?
- Are trash cans and recycling bins covered, or stored in a cabinet? Many rescue dogs were scavengers in a previous life
- Where will the dog be kept when company comes? (crated, in the basement, outside, inside, other?)
- Where does the dog sleep at night?
- Where does the dog stay during the day and/or when unattended?
- Does the area look recently cleaned and generally tidy?
- Is there a bowl of clean water available at all times?
Pet Hazards Inside
- Is there evidence of small children? (toys, food scraps – remind adopter that they will be destroyed if not put away – this is a good opportunity to help parents remind their children to pick up their things)
- Are there sewing kits, bobby pins, wash clothes, sponges, small trash cans, razor blades, prescription or over the counter drugs, etc. at pet level? (point them out)
- Are there chemicals in the garage, basement, kitchen or storage areas? (point them out)
- Does the animal have access to the areas with chemicals?
- Do the furnishings of the house appear to be pet proof (glass objects or dried flowers at low levels, expensive rugs or furniture that can be knocked over by the dog)? Point them out.
- Does the dog have a designated area with a crate and/or bed?
The Yard (if applicable)
- Is the yard fenced?
- Does the fence have any gaps or holes where a dog could squeeze through, including UNDER gates or between poles? Evidence of digging at the fence line?
- Is there anything stacked near the fence that the dog could climb on to get out?
- Are chemicals stored outside? (gasoline, antifreeze)
- When you pointed these out to the potential adopter, how did they react?
- Do you think they will fix the problems?
- Do you think a pet would have escaped if you had not pointed out the problem?
- Are there locks on the gates? (against children, thieves, accidental openings)
- Is there a water bowl in the yard? Is there a dog house? DWB dogs are NOT PERMITTED to LIVE outside. Does it look like the dog spends MOST of its time outside?
- Are there places where the pet can leap off decks, etc. and get hurt? Does the dog have access to a balcony unattended?
Pet Hazards Outside
- Any sharp objects that could injure the pet in the yard?
- How does the family respond when you pointed out hazards?
- If there is a pool is it fenced separately? Will they teach the dog how to get out of it even if they do not plan on inviting the dog to swim?
The Neighbors (if applicable)
- Is the fence shared with neighbors?
- Are there loose dogs/cats in the neighborhood?
- Are there children in neighboring yards?
- Are there potentially poisonous plants in neighboring yards?
- Are there dogs, cats or livestock on neighboring property?
- Can any of them get into the pet’s yard?
- Describe the surrounding area. (rural, suburban, urban)
- What potential hazards are there in the neighborhood/community?
- Is there a dangerous street nearby that would endanger the dog if he/she were to get out?
Interactions (with you, adopters & other pets)
- Are the current pets well socialized?
- Are they reasonably clean?
- Are they hand shy in any way?
- Can you touch their ears and tails?
- Are they friendly and do they approach you in a friendly manner?
- How do they react to strangers in the house? How did they greet you?
- After you have spent some time with them, do they relax and accept your presence?
- How do they react towards their owners, and do they respond to commands?
- If not , how does the owner handle it? (Are they heavy handed or accepting?)
- Do they force the issue or accept the disobedience?
- Do you feel the adopter will love and care for the dog properly?
- Do you feel this home will provide a permanent home for the dog?
- If this were your pet, would you do this adoption?
- Would you feel comfortable leaving your pet with this family?
- Since we have yet to regret turning down an adopter, does this adopting feel right?
What to do
If you feel the home is not appropriate you do not have to tell the adopter that their check is not approved. You can simply thank them for their time and let them know that the staff will in touch to follow up with next steps.
Please note down your concerns as soon as you leave and send them to Verona. If you believe it’s an EMERGENCY situation please text her (310) 728-0394 with the details (be SPECIFIC! Your name, who you homechecked, etc)