Writing an Appealing Pet Description

Posted by Jennifer on November 14th, 2012

Joy Austin from Healing Hearts Rescue has lots first-hand experience on how to find homes for hard-to-adopt pets. Joy is the director of Healing Hearts Animal Rescue, a small local animal rescue organization for cats and dogs with special needs. She has over eight years of experience fostering cats and dogs who are blind and deaf, as well as cats with AIDS, leukemia and FIP. So when she contacted us about this article she wrote for her Examiner column, and we read the excellent advice she has for shelter and rescue volunteers or staff, “Finding homes for hard-to-adopt pets,” we knew we wanted to share it with you! Joy talks about taking good photos, reaching out seniors in the community, and foster-to-adopt programs. But what really caught our attention was her to-the-point advice about “Writing an Appealing Profile.” You can click that link to read her full article – and Joy gets a few pennies donated to her rescue for everyone that reads it too, so please do! But here is some of the excellent profile-writing tips she shares:

“Before writing your hard-to-adopt pet’s profile, take a moment to pause and imagine that you are this pet’s perfect adopter. Imagine that you love everything good about this pet and that you are willing to overlook the pet’s faults. Now try to write the profile from that perspective.

First describe everything positive that you possibly can about the pet. Is it pretty? Does it have a fluffy or soft coat? It is housetrained or litter-trained? Does it shed very much? For a dog, does it walk well on a leash? Does it chew on things? Is your pet comfortable with children, cats or dogs? Is it playful?

Next, consider all of the animal’s faults and think of ways to restate them positively. For example, rather than say that your foster dog is a “nuisance barker”, you can say that he “is a good protector, quick to bark at any stranger who approaches his yard.” Instead of saying that a cat is “semi-feral”, you can say “she prefers the company of other cats to people and is not a lap cat.”

It is important to be completely clear with potential adopters about all of your foster animal’s good points and bad points before the adoption is finalized, but the goal of the pet profile should be to get the adopter excited about what a wonderful animal you have. Once they have decided how much they want your pet, they can discuss the details with you as to whether it would actually work out or not.

If your pet has a highly desirable trait such as being good with children or being snuggly, then highlight this in a visible location like the name line. Healing Hearts Animal Rescue was flooded with emails when we listed Serenity as “Serenity loves kids” and ultimately found the perfect forever home because she was listed on pet adoption websites with that headline, even though she is not fully housetrained.

As a catchy alternative to standard profiles, try rewriting your pet’s profile in first person. Halle’s profile is a great example of how this style, combined with positive reversal of negative traits can make a semi-feral cat sound like a cat anyone would want to bring home…”

You can read the rest of her article with the examples here: Finding homes for hard-to-adopt pets.


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