I love this time of year. Everytime I turn around, something new is greening or budding or beginning to grow. Mind you, its the busiest time of year around here … between readying the garden and annual outdoor chores it is never a matter of ‘what will I do’ but more a question of what will I do first.
No question about it … anyone who works frontline animal rescue is that busy every day of the year. Rescuing / working with volunteers / scheduling vet visits / screening and of course continually fundraising to fund all of the above.
No doubt about it … when miracles are often worked on a shoestring … the free Petfinder listing service for adoptables is one of the most effective tools available to animal rescuers. It has been well publicized and has become the go to online source for potential first time adopters. Is it the only free service? Nope .. but it is the most popular one and offers rescuers the best options for promoting their pets. Unlike other services, each pet can have a comprehensive and detailed biography and multiple pictures are allowed for each listing. Rescues can also list a free video. Even better, each rescue has the option of offering sponsorships for each and every listing.
Its not a free service provided by an insurance or a pet food company, so there are fewer tracking bots to cause computer problems for potential adopters.
Yes it takes a bit of time to craft an effective listing … but that should be considered as essential as the time spent for vet visits, home visits and screening. In fact, a well written listing can both engage and inform adopters and can save everyone time in the long run. For instance, if an adopter is looking for a playful companion for their dog … who will get along well with cats and children …. they will be far more inclined to respond to the listings that provide that information.
I get a bit of a birds eye view from maintaining the site and have noticed a few things that seem to shorten the time that the pet is listed:
- Because bios are sorted alphabetically when people visit individual rescue sites, the Andy’s and the Buddy’s and the Cocoas have an edge on the Wally’s and Zeus’
- dogs photographed on green grass
- dogs sitting in a relaxed way, especially if the leash is not prominent in the picture
- any dog with a stuffie
- scarves and hats
- cats with a toy
- and of course any bio that gives a sense of the pet
In light of that .. for anyone too busy to make time for a proper bio, please consider this to be my present to the animals.
________ is an ___ year old ( insert adjective such as lovable, friendly , shy, etc) _______. (He or she) walks well on a leash / is still learning the ropes /pulls like a sled dog.
______ is (great / shy / too boisterous for ) small children and is wonderful with ( other dogs/ cats/ gerbils/ etc )
_____ is a ( fun / playful / affectionate ____ who loves to ( play frisbee / go to the dog park / jog / swim and of course cuddle and snuggle)
_____ needs a new home because ( insert sad story here … his or her owner passed away/ went into a home / lost a job / got a new boyfriend / etc….)
The best bios are written by the people who care for the pets everyday …. the fosters and the shelter volunteers. Whoever writes the bios should talk to people who know the animals, eh?
What time is it? At the risk of sounding like a stuck record … its time to regard Petfinder as a standard weapon in the rescue arsenal and not as an unnecessary frill.