Animal Writes
3 June 2001 Issue
Tips For "Packaging" Rescue Animals

by Jim Willis & Nicole Valenin-Willis - [email protected]
Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust

The supply of rescue animals greatly exceeds the demand & our placement efforts can be more effective if we model our packaging after Madison Ave. A picture is still worth a thousand words: "Prison mug shots" of shelter animals rarely show the animal in a good light. A professional
photographer has helped increase adoptions at local shelters with her beautiful portraits of available animals & she's prepared a list of photo tips for photographing animals: 

Be creative & thorough: As every journalist knows, no text is complete unless it answers the "who, what, where, how, when & why" and the most important info (such as a kill date) needs to go at the beginning, not buried in the text. Your description & posts about an animal should give the exact location, all contact info, why the animal was given up, how long s/he is available & list any special circumstances or conditions. Help raise public consciousness -- refer to animals as "he"/"she" not "it." Be thorough, but
be brief. Don't gloss over deficiencies -- everyone appreciates honesty & many are prepared to deal with medical & behavior problems. Try to come up with a "hook" that's going to make the particular animal stand out from the crowd -- does he do tricks?, is she a cat who adores dogs?, does he love to go for car rides or like to swim? You might identify the one character trait that someone is looking for in a pet. Be professional: don't type in all caps, keep !!! to a minimum, write out abbreviations the public may not know ("M GSP-X w/ CGC & HW-" may mean nothing to the unenlightened), check your spelling & for typos, double-check your contact info, state if you want your message cross-posted, make sure the contact person listed is going to reply promptly to messages & returns phone calls & try to give
follow-ups when the animal is safe or placed.

Go on to ARO's Answer to Circus Query
Return to 3 June 2001 Issue
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