How to write a good pet profile

Giving potential adopters a few details about the pet will allow them to assess whether the pet is a good fit for their family and lifestyle. While many pets come into care with little background information, the more detail you can provide about the pet, the better.

We've written this great article to help you Write a great pet profile, with the Do's and Dont's mentioned below:

The Do’s

  • Do give your rescue animal a name – Even if you have to make one up, based on how the pet looks, this helps potential adopters connect with the pet.
  • Do be honest - Tell the truth, but try to focus on the positive, rather than the negative aspects of the pet’s personality.
  • Do include the reason the pet was surrendered if it reflects well on the pet – For example, if the owner has moved, died or was put in a nursing home. It reinforces that the pet has been cared for and not surrendered for behavioural issues.
  • Do try to differentiate your listings – Grab the adopter’s attention and engage them with a compelling ad. If you always write ‘more information coming soon’ or ‘contact us for more information’ your ad will be skipped over in favour of those with more detail.
  • Do make time to meet the rescue pet – Whenever possible, spend a little time getting to know the pet before you write their profile. This will help you understand who they are and who their perfect adopter would be.
  • Do highlight the most desirable features first – This pet *is* great, you know it, so make sure you communicate that from the start.
  • Do use listings to drive traffic to your other rescue animals – There's real value in using listings of pets on trial to direct potential adopters to other suitable matches. Even if ‘Fluffy little Jennie’ is no longer available, that adopter might be interested in other pets you have available with a similar look and temperament. So keep a list of your available pets by the phone so you can suggest another pet that may be of interest to them.
  • Do change the wording and pictures over time - If you’re advertising a pet for a second, third or fourth time, or the listing has been online for a while, potential adopters revising the site may think there is something wrong. Don’t be afraid to pull your listing down and start again from scratch, with a new start date and a zero ‘counter’. Ads are most effective the first time they run.
  • Do update your group’s PetRescue profile – Refresh and update the information about your group, your goals, achievements and logo. This builds confidence in potential adopters that you are a professional and legitimate organisation looking to help them find a great pet.
  • Do track your ad responses – When someone responds to your ad with an enquiry, don’t be afraid to ask where they heard about you and your pet. If you're getting good responses from your PetRescue listings, you'll know it’s a good use of your time and energy. And likewise, if you’re generating more response from posters or other sources, you'll know you should focus your time on these.
  • Do remember to have fun – The more profiles you create, the easier the process becomes, the more confidence you gain and the more pleasure and fun you’ll get from writing them. And when you enjoy writing them, it will show in your listings, so your audience will enjoy reading them too.

The Dont’s

  • Don’t focus on the negatives – Stay positive and promote the pet’s best traits.
  • Don’t use words that turn off regular potential pet adopters – Avoid terms and phrases that evoke sadness and helplessness, such as ‘death row’, ‘urgent’ and ‘she hasn’t got much time or graphic details of past abuse. You want your audience to feel empowered and excited about adopting a rescue pet.
  • Don’t include an expected euthanasia date – As part of our policy to promote adoption as a positive experience, this is not permitted on PetRescue.
  • Don’t include the reason the owner surrendered the pet if it reflects poorly on the previous owner – Not only does this leave you open to prosecution for libel, but it also intimidates potential adopters. You must remain upbeat and appear approachable.
  • Don’t just write ‘contact us for more information as the profile – that won’t engage your ideal adopter or encourage them to act.
  • Don’t use abbreviations or industry terms – Your adopters might feel confused or intimidated if you use industry terms they do not understand, such as LWF, DSC, due date, HD, and PTS. So make sure you communicate clearly.
  • Don’t overuse capital letters – THE OVERUSE OF CAPITAL LETTERS MAKES IT LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SCREAMING AT YOUR READER!
  • Don’t write in the pet's voice – Writing from the pet’s perspective can distract from your key message and confuse your reader. It is tough to strike the right balance and tone with this approach and requires advanced creative writing skills. Only attempt it if you’re comfortable and confident in doing so.

To generate maximum interest in your animals, focus on the pet and their personality. Make them sound appealing, and present the adoption process as a fun and rewarding experience. This is a job you can allocate to a creative volunteer from your local community.

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