Homecheckers play a very important role in rescue. They help rescues to make safer choices when rehoming their animals.
Homecheckers visit prospective adopters on behalf of animal rescues.
They chat with adopters about the adoption process, what to expect from their new furry friend and find out about their previous experience with animals etc.
Homecheckers also make sure that the home is safe and suitable for the animal they’re hoping to adopt.
Who can do animal rescue homechecks?
Anyone can start homechecking, it's mostly common sense and you'll get a form from the rescue that will detail all the questions they'd like you to ask and things to check around the home. If you have lots of animal experience then you're on a good footing to get straight in to it.
Usually homecheckers are people who have experience with their own animals or experience with handling animals, and people who feel confident in chatting about the requirements of animal adoption.
Getting some experience with homechecking
If you’re new to homechecking or don’t have a lot of prior experience with animals, you're welcome to tag-along with other homecheckers. Just reply to any requests in your local area and let us know you'd like to 'tag-along'.
Feel free to tag-along on multiple homechecks until you feel comfortable doing them alone.
Once you're registered with us, if you have told us that you would like to homecheck, we will send you notifications whenever a rescue posts a request for a homecheck in your local area.
Homechecks where experience IS required
We get some homechecks posted where the rescues specify prior experience is required (some rescues will always ask for prior experience, some will only ask for it if the animal being rehomed has a special need such as a particularly nervous dog).
Replying to homecheck requests
You can reply by clicking the link in the email that we've sent you and posting a reply there, or you can reply via our Facebook group, if we've added a Facebook link in to the your email notification.
(Note: Currently we contact volunteers based on their county but we are working on a more localised notification system so that in the future we can just contact people within a certain number of miles of the request. In the meantime please accept our apologies if you receive some notifications for help that are further outside your local area than where you'd like to help.)
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General guidelines for homechecks
Before you undertake a home check the rescue should give you some information on the home and a copy of their homechecking form.
Please ensure you are in receipt of all the relevant details, such as:
- Contact name, Address, Telephone Number/Email Address of the home to be checked
- How many family members are there? Any children?
- Do the adults work? How many hours?
- Are there any other pets already in the home?
- Will this be their first pet? Or are they experienced owners?
If the home has already chosen an animal they'd like to adopt from the rescue, it's important to find out as much information as possible about the animal in advance.
This will help you establish not only if the potential home is right but also if the family is right for the animal.
You will need to know:
- The breed/type of animal to be rehomed
- His/her age
- Any medical conditions
- The type of home that the rescue concerned think the animal would be best suited to
Contacting the home to be checked and confirming the appointment
When you contact the home to be checked, it is important that you not only state who you are clearly but also ensure that you tell them that you have their details from the rescue organisation involved and that you're doing the homecheck for them.
Make sure that the prospective home know that all people who will be living in the house where the dog will live need to be present when you conduct the home visit, especially in those families where there are children, as you will need to speak to them too.
Once the home visit date and time is confirmed, you should confirm the address details.
Finally, ask the prospective adopter if they have any questions for you before the home visit. Often people get very nervous about being home visited so it might be you need to reassure them that you aren’t going to be looking behind sofas and running your finger along mantelpieces!
Personal Safety during a Home check
During a home check your own personal safety is very important. The following guidelines should be helpful and remind you of common sense steps you can take to ensure your own safety.
- When you arrive at the home you are conducting the home visit at, try to park nearby and not miles away, this especially applies during the darker winter months
- If you at any point feel it is unsafe, don’t go into the home
- Leave your mobile phone switched on and within easy reach
- Do not reveal any personal details, such as your address, during the home visit
- Make sure someone else knows that you're going to the home and at what day/time you're going
Contacting the rescue after the homecheck
It’s important that the rescue is informed as soon as possible of your findings and any suggestions and/or reservations you might have.
When you speak to the rescue about the home visit be honest with your findings and advise them of any possible issues, such as hours the animal(s) would be left, or the height of the fence.
If you have concerns, make sure you let the rescue know in detail what they were.
Many rescues will ask you whether you think they should be allowed to adopt the animal in question. You should base your decision on your findings and on gut instinct. Many home visitors go by the following ‘Would I be happy for my animals to live here?’