START WITH WHAT YOU NOTICE
When you meet this animal or see a picture of it, what immediately stands out to you? From big to small, to outlandish to obvious — jot it all down! The most compelling descriptions are relatable and describe animals the way we describe our own pets. Use this opportunity to be funny, heartfelt and show how much you care about each pet. Write as if you are talking to a friend!
FIND YOUR CREATIVE GROOVE, BUT BE HONEST
Above all, potential adopters are looking to us to gain insight and information about what their life might look like with this new pet. Honesty is critical to building this relationship, but there are plenty of ways to be positive and get people excited, even while staying true to each pet’s unique qualities and quirks. And remember, creativity is not license to speculate or misrepresent – stick to just the facts, ma’am!
- EXAMPLE: An energetic pup might get this description: When we asked Bentley what he thinks about the words “agility course”, he’s enthusiastic response was “Yes, yes! Pretty please! Yes, omg!”. He’s ready and raring for activities that will keep his mind and body active.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE TEMPLATES OR GUIDES
If you’re currently a one-person bio writing machine, it can get hard to stay creative, keep things focused on the individual animal, and feel like you’re effectively building connections. Enter: templates, guides, fill-the-blanks and more! Also, feel free to peruse what other organizations are doing and get inspired by other bios you see on social media or Petfinder! Find more tricks, templates, and writer’s-block-busters over in the EDU library.
- Favorite fill-in the blanks:
- I’m looking for _________________ in a human companion.
- Lots of people around here say I’m __________________ and it’s true, I love / prefer not to / tend to ________________.
- Despite a less-than-ideal start in life, __________ has flourished in our care and is now ___________
COLLABORATE TOWARDS A BIG PICTURE VIEW
It can be hard to know everything about every animal, especially in a large shelter or high intake situation, so reach out to other volunteers and staff to get their notes, stories, observations and other information pertinent to a good bio. One easy way to do this: a notecard box, private Facebook group, or file sharing system where collaboration and note-sharing can take place! Sharing is caring and will lead to a more holistic description of each pet
ELIMINATE JARGON, STAY GROUNDED
Do you remember what it was like to be an adopter, before you had all the information, resources and experiences you have now? It’s hard! But when you are writing pet descriptions try your very hardest to remember what it’s like to be the average community member. Don’t use abbreviations, overly-technical language or shelter jargon, but rather explain things in the way you would talk to a pet-owning friend or family member.