Five Tips on Rescuing your Pet Rescue Website

... or "Don't Let Your Rescue Site Go to the Dogs." I don't need to go any further on the cliches. Do I?

It's all about making your rescue site as effective as it can be. Since older dogs are more likely to be waiting around longer, the Internet is an excellent medium for getting the word out.

I'm a technology guy by trade, but this isn't about the widgets showing slide shows or even the design of your site that matters. Instead, it's about putting your rescued dogs' best paws forward.

What do I look for when considering adopting a dog I've seen on a rescue website?

  • Rescue Stories
  • No "stale" adoption ads
  • Regular updates
  • Personality
  • Proper framing of donation information

Rescue Stories

...also frequently called "Happy Tails." These show me how effective the rescue is at finding matches that work. This includes testimonials that are done after the adoptions. An innovative rescue site manager can easily change a pet for adoption into a "Happy Tail" story by changing the Category or Label on a pet when they're adopted. This allows a site to maintain a lot of visuals about their efforts but classifies them correctly so that there are... 

No "stale" adoption ads 

I've heard recently that many of our readers have gone to adopt a dog only to find out that the dog is unavailable. Unfortunately, a lack of resources may prevent many organizations from staying on top of their website updates. Still, I'd like to push rescue coordinators to keep on top of their online packs to ensure their sites reflect dogs actively being adopted. The purpose is to not lose these unadopted dogs amidst a pack of dogs already in their forever homes.

Regular updates 

When you adopt a rescue or shelter dog, it's unclear what you're getting sometimes and how they'll adapt. Hearing about the progress that a dog is making in a foster home gives people hope that if the dog can adapt to living there, maybe they can give that dog a shot in their own home. Showing a dog's progress through some medical challenge is also a nice touch to show their resilience.


Let's be clear. I'm talking about the personality of the site here. The dog's personality should already be shining through in the pictures, videos, and descriptions of their adoption ad. The nature of the people rescuing the dogs should shine through in the content that they provide. This means a fun "About Us" page and referencing how the volunteers are each contributing their time for the dogs. I want to know that I'm doing right by the adopted pet and the exceptional people standing behind them.

Proper framing of donation information 

Rescuing dogs can be expensive. Food, treats, vet bills, shelter fees, and boarding expenses can add up. However, it's understood that rescues are looking for funds, so make sure that you've clarified how individuals can be part of your mission financially by donating food, treats, and gently used bedding.
Ultimately, it's about getting more dogs into forever homes, so if you need more time to do it the right way on the Web, call for web-savvy volunteers who can drive that part of your online adoption efforts.

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