Last week, I wrote 7 tips for taking photos that get dogs adopted. Most shelters (13,759 to be exact) are using PetFinder.com to showcase their adoptable pets, which is why I use them as examples.
Photos are undoubtedly the most important part of a PetFinder page. The second most important part is a well-written profile (or “bio”) that goes next to the picture.
I’ve spent a lot of time on PetFinder, and I’ve seen WAY too many good animals being held back by awful profiles.
Don’t let bad profiles happen to your pets. Follow the guidelines below to make each profile shine!
1. Do be brief
People have short attention spans, so don’t delve too much into unnecessary details.
2. Do stick to the big 3:
Personality, medical issues, and compatibility with other animals/kids are the only three things you need. There’s no reason to write the animal’s back-story unless it’s really interesting.
If it’s a retired racing hound or police dog, mention it. If this particular cat fought off a mountain lion to protect her litter of kittens, mention it. In other words, only mention it if Disney would make a movie about it.
3. Do write from the pet’s perspective
You don’t have to do it every time, but it’s an endearing format to use. Remember LOLCats from last week? People LOVE to put words into animals’ mouths.
4. Do turn negatives into positives
Check out this profile of a cat who doesn’t get along with other pets:
Instead of writing “she doesn’t like other cats”, which brings up images of cat fights, this writer painted a picture of a cat who will jump up in your lap, follow you from room to room and soak up your affection.
Bravo to this bio writer!
1. Don’t describe the animal’s appearance
There are several pictures on every bio, so describing the animal’s fur color is unnecessary. The exception to this rule is writing something cute like “This yellow lab proves that blondes DO have more fun!”
2. Don’t lead with negatives
The above profile is all too common: “neglectful situation…undersocialized…shyness…no small children” .
I’m confused. Are they trying to get this dog adopted or euthanized? Because all I’m reading is reasons not to adopt Mimi.
An animal’s bio should scream “Take me home! I’m the perfect pet!”
Overwhelm the reader with positives,
and if you need to include some special needs, put them at the end.
Here’s a perfect example of leading with the positive:
“Sensational…delightful…enamored with children…inquisitive” Don’t you want to take this dog home after reading that? By the time you get to the end, you’re so in love with this dog that you’re thinking, “I wonder what time Home Depot closes? I could totally build a 6-foot privacy fence for THIS bundle of cuteness! “
Review your rescue organization’s pet profiles. If they’re not brief, positive, and informative, rewrite them, because the animals are depending on you.