Sometimes a familiar-to-be finds its way to where it might find its mage. They turn up at schools or at the craft houses of Masters and wait for their young mage to appear. How they know where to go, nobody knows, but it is very good that they do know or a mage and familiar might take years to meet.
At the beginning of new school years, or when a new apprentice joins a Master, the waiting familiars will be presented to the new students to see if any fit. It can take a while for the bond to be recognised, but the process is slow and careful and the students are always very patient and kind to the animals, many of which are youths themselves. Sometimes a familiar is left waiting for a late arrival, or has waited with the wrong Master in the right town, but efforts are made to find the right mage and get them together as they should be.