Potential pet owners may prescreen adoptable pets online first before visiting the shelter or rescue group. Each pet needs his own very appealing “brochure” that shines and says “I’m yours.”
If you have several shelters in your area, check what others are doing to be sure your adoption pages are as appealing as theirs. Shelters can ask a team of volunteers to focus on this very important part of the shelter website. Kids with computer and digital photography skills would be excellent volunteers for this project. Establish a special team of animal-loving kids to take responsibility for this effort.
Show photos of all pets. Include several poses if possible. Black cats and dogs are harder to photograph. You can find many tips online to improve your black pets’ photos, such as Photographing Your Black Dog from PawPrintsLife Blog. You can use these tips for cats as well. See the photo of our beloved Zia, a very photogenic black cat.
Website organization. An easy-to-find link on your home page should lead to adoptable pets. Organize your website so visitors can quickly find your adoptable pets.
Include as many details as possible about each pet. State age as specifically as possible, breed, how the pet arrived at the shelter, and gender. Does he get along well with other cats and/or dogs? Would he prefer an adult-only home? Are there any special needs? Has she been microchipped? Provide any special medical needs each pet may have, such as diabetes, past injuries, etc. on the website.
Be prepared to provide a full medical history of each pet to the new owners, including all vaccinations, spay or neuter procedures, etc. If special medications are needed, or if the pet has a permanent medical condition that should be addressed, inform the new owner about this. Make sure all of each pet’s details are on one page that can be easily printed.
Tell a story about each pet. Review different shelter sites and notice how you’re drawn to cleverly written stories that describe the pet’s temperament, how he interacts with humans and other animals. What he likes to play with and any details about his behavior help potential owners visualize that pet as a member of their family. Teenage volunteers who can talk to shelter workers about each pet and then write clever stories would be a great help in developing these stories.
Showcase an adoptable pet on the home page of your website with a link to that pet’s page. Alternate pets and post an eyecatching photo of each pet.
Give special attention to “less adoptable” pets such as black cats and dogs, large dogs, etc. Showcase them as much as possible, include videos of their playtime, and write clever stories to help potential adopters visualize these pets in their homes.
Find more ideas on increasing adoptions on the Animal Shelter Tips website.