Re-homing Requests

Re-homing Requests

We are a small all-volunteer foster home network. We do not have enough open foster homes to rescue all of the pit bulls at Indianapolis Animal Care Services that are on the rescue only list, not to mention, other area shelters.

Foster plea Bishop and Morty.jpg

On top of the shelter rescue needs, we receive at least 25 requests a week to take owner/stray surrenders. Combined with shelter requests that means we receive at least 50 rescue requests in one week or 2,600 a year!

It takes time to get a dog healthy and move them through the rescue. On average our dogs stay in the rescue for about 90 days. However, now that we are pulling dogs on the rescue only list, many of those dogs have medical or behavioral needs that take longer to address which results in a longer stay in the rescue. Historically, when we were rescuing puppies and healthy shelter dogs Casa del Toro saved about 75 dogs a year. So when our volunteers are constantly bombarded by rescue requests (2,600), knowing our capacity (75), it can make our already emotional work even more overwhelming!

Before I was in rescue, which is also before Facebook and other social media outlets, I rescued a pit bull puppy off of Craig's List. My pup had severe aggression issues so I contacted three pit bull resources (ASTRO, Casa del Toro & Indy Pit Crew) to ask about help. I wasn't looking to surrender my dog, I was looking for training recommendations and a second option about the behavior I was seeing. Only ASTRO responded to my email. Their reply was honest and straightforward. They validated my concerns in the aggression I was seeing in my pup and encouraged me to look at the situation honestly and unemotionally. Casa del Toro and Indy Pit Crew never even responded to my email.

So you can imagine when I became President of Casa del Toro, I decided that it was important for the rescue to respond to every email and voice message personally. We have done that for at least three years and I still meet people in public that say "I reached out to Casa del Toro and no one ever got back with me". I know how that feels for the people looking for help, however, I also know that's not true anymore. For years I have personally responded to every email inquiry through the website but somehow the complaint is still there. I cannot tell you how many times after I replied to an email saying the rescue doesn't have the resources available to take owner surrenders the person responds back to me and says 'It's okay, we found a home for the pup'.

So here we are dedicating important volunteer hours to calling back all voice mails and writing individualized responses to all re-homing requests, even though many of those responses direct inquiries back to the resources found here on our website. Is that an appropriate use of our volunteers? Are we saving pit bulls by writing individualized responses? Or should we focus volunteer efforts on building more foster homes, moving our dogs quicker through the rescue so that we can rescue more dogs? These are not easy questions to answer.

We focus our rescue efforts on pit bulls that are at Indiana shelters and in risk of euthanasia. Right now we do not have the resources to assist with out-of-state requests (pulls or surrenders) or to accept owner/stray surrenders. Please do not contact us for a surrender request.

If you are looking to re-home these tips are found on the 2018 Indy Pet Resource Guide:

2018 Indy Pet Resource Guide

2018 Indy Pet Resource Guide

  • Usually the best option is to keep your pet. Check the 2018 Indy Pet Resource Guide for more resources.
  • Arrange for a trusted friend or family member to take your pet.

  • Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered prior to re-homing! Contact Spay Neuter Services of Indianapolis for assistance with low-cost spay/neuter surgery.

  • Do not place your pet through on-line ads such as Craig's List, garage sale sites or Facebook groups. Many tragic outcomes have resulted from this approach.

The following organizations may be able to help re-home your pet:

  • Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership (ARPO):

    • (317) 774-8292

    • May be able to help you find a new home if you are willing to keep your pet in your home until another suitable home can be found.

  • Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS):

    • (317) 327-1397

    • 2600 South Harding Street, Indianapolis, IN 46221

    • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am - 5pm; Thursday from 10am - 7pm

    • Surrendering your pet to IACS should be the last option because the shelter is usually full due to the fact that they are an open-admission shelter, turning no animal from Indianapolis away.

  • IndyHumane

    • (317) 872-5650

    • 7929 North Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268

    • There is usually a waiting period of several weeks to surrender your pet.


Fostering the most important role in rescue

First, the basics.

One of the most important ingredients to a successful foster experience is our partnership with our foster homes. These are the people who will - ideally - support Casa del Toro during the weeks and months that we have a dog. Our fosters should never feel alone with this big project! We have a good track record with solid adoptions.

CDT number of dogs adopted.png

Casa del Toro takes matching foster dogs to foster homes as seriously as we take creating those final adoptions. Using drama and desperation to find homes shows up in some rescue circles, but it's not a sustainable way to do business. We avoid the drama and drama junkies!

Interested in Fostering?

Do you think fostering might be for you? Then it's a good idea to look over our foster contract.

  • Will CDT help you with obedience training? Yes. 
  • Vet care? Yes.
  • What about the foster dog during your family vacations? CDT offers boarding when necessary.
  • How does CDT problem solve and promote? Multiple emergency contacts provided.



In return for being a good support system for our fosters, Casa del Toro wants to know that our fosters are willing to follow CDT guidelines and instructions. We want our fosters to be good about communicating questions and concerns that will undoubtedly come up along the way. No question is stupid - really. Ask, ask, ask. 

Casa del Toro will need to know about your lifestyle and your skill level before giving you a dog to foster. We'll want to see if your personal dog has good manners and if he's comfortable with sharing his home.  (Your dog doesn't have to be friends with our foster dog - but he should tolerate its presence. More on that later.) We'll also want to make sure that everyone in your household is okay with the project and willing to participate in some way, especially, with double-checking those doors and gates, and reinforcing the new house manners you'll be teaching the dog.

Alumni Lyric Blue & Bishop ~ Labor Day 2017

Alumni Lyric Blue & Bishop ~ Labor Day 2017

The original Ping Pack (L-R: Zuzu, Roxy (RIP), & Icecream)

The original Ping Pack (L-R: Zuzu, Roxy (RIP), & Icecream)

These are some beginning need-to-knows offered to us by CDT trainer Shawna Ping. Shawna is the foster coordinator and an emergency back-up foster for CDT. That means she's over-seeing the details of all of the dogs' progress and makes herself available to the foster homes as questions come up. Anyone who fosters with Shawna learns a ton about dog training - lucky them.


  • The dogs coming from shelters often smell bad and have fleas. You aren't getting a shiny coated, well mannered, clean house pet. You will be proud when you make him one.
  • Fostering can be long term so be ready to make a commitment. It's fun, it’s rewarding, but it can take time to find the right match for your foster.
  • Know you own pets and their needs. If your personal dog is 15 and wobbly, let us know so we can match up a dog that will be suited to yours.
  • Just because your dog doesn't chase cats doesn't mean a foster won't initially think that’s a fun game. Let us know if you have a cat, make sure your foster has been cat tested, and follow introduction instructions.
  • The dogs coming from shelters often have kennel cough. And sometimes they get sicker before they get better. It'll go away, but come up with a plan to keep the germs away from your personal dogs until your foster is well.
  • Fosters might develop a behavior you find odd or interesting. You may find tail chasing cute, but it can be an obsessive behavior that has to be handled. Always bring up any new or odd behaviors. They could signal health issues or a behavior that needs to be addressed with training.
  • Let you neighbors know you have a foster and if possible, have them see/meet him. If your foster dog inadvertently gets out, your neighbor may recognize him. 

Pit Bulls Are Dogs Too

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to sit down with Joe from #FlyingSigns podcast and talk about pit bulls. You see, Joe & I are family. We both love Ping siblings - me the oldest and he the youngest. The entire time Joe & I have known each other I have been a part of Casa del Toro rescuing pit bulls. Joe has heard all the ups, downs and crazy foster stories. He's been at family functions where I step away or have to leave to handle rescue business. Joe knows that pit bulls are just a part of who I am.

When Joe started his Flying Signs podcast I was so excited for him to follow his passion. I think it is vitally important for people to follow their passions. Do something every day that makes you happy regardless of if you think it is silly, self-serving, or that no one else notices. Life is short and not many of us are fortunate enough to get paid to do what we love, so take some time for yourself everyday and indulge in your passions. 

 A little known fact about me, I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. So Joe and I had a lot to talk about in what we like (and dislike) about podcasts. We discussed my husband and I being guests on the Flying Signs podcast where we could talk about pit bull rescue, being musician and/or veganism. I asked to have a segment by myself and to talk about pit bulls.

Here it is - our one hour talk about pit bulls. I've spoke to school children, at the State Fair and events all over Indiana about pit bulls, but somehow sitting down for this podcast made me the most nervous. I think that's because a podcast is permanent. I thought about mapping out the talk, look up facts, write down a time line to follow and have all of the reference data available, but I didn't. This podcast is Joe & I sitting down to talk about pit bulls over a beer. 

I hope you enjoy! If so, please comment in iTunes and let people know you like the episode and podcast. 




Check the chip!

Though many Americans have their pets microchipped, only about 60% are registered or have their information updated in the microchip registry. 

Did you know that microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be returned home to their owners and microchipped cats are more than 20 timesas likely to be returned to their owners? It's true! Registering and updating your pet's microchip can make all of the difference when finding a lost pet and helping them get back home to you. 

If you adopted your pet from Casa del Toro then it is already microchipped! Take a minute to look up the details and ensure your pet's chip has the most up-to-date owner information, here.

What if you don't know your pets microchip number? Easy, take your pet on a social visit to your veterinarian and ask them to scan your pet for a microchip. If your pet has a microchip - voila! you have the number. However, if your pet has yet to be microchipped then make an appointment with your veterinarian to have it done as soon as possible.

No more puppies

Name thee Morty.jpg

Morty illustrates why Casa del Toro isn't pulling puppies anymore. Pit bull puppies will not die in our local shelter. If we don't rescue them some other animal rescue group will. 

However, during puppy season there can be A LOT of puppies at the shelter. In 2016 we rescued 15 puppies, not because they would die, but to shorten their stay in the shelter. Plus puppies get a lot of media attention. We tried to use puppies as a way to draw attention (and possible Adopters) to the adult dogs in the rescue, but it didn't work. Instead the puppies get adopted (and sometime returned) while the adult dog lingers.  

We rescue Nelson in October 2016. he's a gorgeous 4 year old fella. We had no applications for him just because he's an adult male and didn't have the look that Adopters wanted. So on January 1, 2017 we received a rescue plea for 2 unrelated 8-week old puppies at the Indianapolis shelter. So I went and got them and Casa del Toro named the pups Mathis & Morty. When I left the shelter Morty fit easily in my hand. He was so sweet my husband said "we can just keep this one".

Mathis & Morty got adopted and still Nelson waited. So we pulled Tubby, who's cuteness almost broke the internet with his 'Big Puppy' song. Tubby was adopted and still Nelson (and our other adult dogs) waited. None of the potential applicants that applied for a puppy would consider adopting an adult dog. For different reasons they all said "we want to raise a puppy". Well you know what? Puppies are a lot of work for a long time! When you adopt a puppy you are committing to at least a decade of bonding with your new dog.

In June after 8 months and 3 adoption trials, Nelson's foster family decided to keep him because he's the perfect fit! Here are some photos of Nelson & his sibling (and almost clone) Piper. 

So Morty is adopted by a family with children and a senior dog in April. Since the family lives too far away from Indianapolis to attend our training classes Casa del Toro repeatedly offered to pay for the Adopters to take Morty to a basic obedience class near them, but they never did. Then we get a call that they want to surrender Morty because he exhibited normal puppy behavior (i.e. he chewed the corner of the couch). Now, don't get me wrong, it's not okay for a dog to chew furniture, but when you have an 8 month old puppy you should expect chewing behavior and plan accordingly. 

So a CDT volunteer drives and to pick up Morty. He is still the sweet, submissive pup he has always been and quickly integrated into a foster home with 4 other dogs. Morty is a good dog and we're sure he will be adopted again quickly.

Rescue is about trust and friendship. I have met so many friends during my Presidentcy. A little piece of my heart is in every dog that Casa del Toro saves. Oftentimes I'm the one who saw that dog suffering at the shelter. I personally walked that dog out of the shelter and said "Let's get you outta here. We're going home!" If something goes wrong (like Parvo, cancer, etc) I am the one that holds the Casa del Toro dog while it dies.  

Casa del Toro foster homes give their time, talents, money, heart and soul to the dogs in our care. When we place a dog in an adoptive home we are trusting you to care as deeply as we do. When you give up on our dog that trust is broken. Sometimes we don't have an open foster home to accommodate an adoption return. What do we do? In the past a board member would crate and rotate until we have a better plan. 

I am not bemoaning returns. We want our dogs back. We don't want them listed as 'free to a good home' because we care about them. Our dogs success in their forever homes is the success of the rescue.

However there is a pattern to puppy adoptions. In the past two years, out of the 28 puppies that we rescued and adopted out we had 4 that were returned. 3 of the 4 puppies were in their adoptive home for less than a year before they were returned. Why were they returned? The adopters sited job changes, family expansion, dog is too energetic and the cat in the house doesn't like the dog (cat was in the house when we placed the puppy for adoption and we discussed them having both).

We truly try to match each dog with the right adoptive home. We do not make rash decisions. We do not select the first applicant that applies. We have a team of volunteers look at all apps and we agree (as a group) to pursue the right fit. Unfortunately we cannot always predict the future and sometimes dogs, like Morty, come back to us due to no fault of their own.

So why not rescue puppies?

  1. If we don't rescue the puppies another animal rescue group will. No pit bull puppies are dying at our local shelters.
  2. Having puppies in the rescue does not draw attention or adopters to the adult or senior dogs in our care. Adult and senior pit bulls are dying at our local shelters.

How can Casa del Toro save pit bulls that need it most?

We rescue the dogs that will die in the shelter without our help. Sure we could cherry pick a blue cropped ear female puppy off the adoption floor. Yes, we will have foster homes come out of the woodwork to bring such a cute puppy into their home, the puppy will receive 100's of applications and get adopted quickly. But while we spend our efforts saving a dog that would get adopted anyway, a senior pit bull that just needs medical attention will die in the shelter because we don't have a foster home. That's not fair. We owe it to senior dogs to help them live out the rest of their lives comfortably. You never know, maybe in 10 years we rescue the blue cropped ear female senior who just needs medical attention.

So you may notice our adoption numbers will go down since we're not moving puppies. That's okay with us because we know that the dogs that we are rescuing would truly die without our intervention. I only hope that one day I don't have to decide which dog to save while I leave another to die.