Dog Talk: Great profile photos – the key to better adoption rates – The Star Online
Shelters and rescuers aim to home abandoned pets.
However, as caring for a dog means walking, feeding, washing, brushing, and more, these good people can be very pressed for time.
As it takes a lot of effort to match adopters and pets, finding forever homes can be a challenge.Also, shelters are in a very curious position. They tend to be noisy, and animals need space, so they are often located in out-of-the-way areas. This means that casual traffic is low, and visitors may be put off seeking them out.
In addition, shelters can be depressing. When you have space for only one or two pets, seeing dozens or hundreds that desperately need a home can be overwhelming.
Recently, the pressure has increased, with people dumping pandemic pets. Shelters are now inundated with extra paws, with some getting up to 30 requests a week.
So, hooray for the Internet, especially social media, where curated pet profiles can help connect adopters and animals looking for a home.
In addition to petfinder.my and all the SPCAs and PAWS centres, a recent addition has been making a difference quietly during the last two years of the pandemic.
“We do two photoshoots a month, featuring an average of 12 to 15 dogs each time,” Amy Wong, My Forever Doggo’s Social Media Wizard, explains.
“We work with 12 shelters and over 100 independent rescuers, mostly in the Klang Valley. Since we were founded two years ago, we’ve helped home more than 260 dogs.”
So, how does the magic happen? One look suggests a single word: Adorable. My Forever Doggo profiles show sweetly smiling dogs, fresh faced, shiny, glossy and wearing fetching bandanas, scarves and hair clips. It’s completely irresistible.
Of course, that supermodel magic takes a team and a pile of effort.
“We discovered right at the beginning that dressing the dogs in bandanas catches attention and highlights their faces,” Amy explains. “Our sponsors stepped in, provided accessories, and we use them for every shoot.”
As anyone with a pet will know, taking a great photo is tricky. Therefore, the shoot is a team effort. “We spend a day at the site, first making friends with the dogs,” Amy explains. “We spend time with them, and dress them up.
“Then, the photographer sets up. We either sit right next to the dog while a volunteer whisperer or teammate stands behind the photographer, making all kinds of sounds to capture the dog’s attention. The photographer takes the shots, usually a burst of 30 or so.”
Out of those 30 shots, they select the best one for the dog’s personal profile. Then, more art is applied.
“Our tech team apply backgrounds, colour correct, and do minor edits to make sure it looks good. This can take up to two hours.”
At the same time, the writers create a mini bio, introducing the dog, telling their story in a compelling way.
The entire package is then put online, on Instagram, and finally, the tech team add the all-important button that interested adopters click to connect.
“We provide interested parties with the contact details of the dog and the shelter and rescuer they’re with,” Amy explains. “They set up the appointment to meet, and then, should the adoption go through, we send a welcome gift basket.”
The welcome basket is a useful combination of boutique dog food and treats, as well as vouchers for training classes, grooming and special dog-centred services from over a dozen partners.
Adoption is tricky, but so far, shelters, rescuers and the team have had a good success rate.
“Of the 260 dogs we’ve helped get adopted, less than 10 people have changed their mind,” Amy shares. “It’s sad when it doesn’t work out, but thankfully the dogs in question were adopted again quickly.”
In addition, there’s the fostering programme.
“We manage a team of 150 fosterers for the dogs that need special care, training or are shy,” Amy reveals. “So far, we have concentrated on liaising with independent rescuers on this. It’s been running for 18 months now and working quite well.”
The work done so far by My Forever Doggo is impressive by any standard, but they are now venturing out with the next step: Engaging the wider community through weekly posts that appeal to dog lovers. These include information such as lists of dog-friendly condos in the Klang Valley, and lists of vets that operate in the middle of the night.
The team is aiming to expand slowly, adding volunteers who can help with photography, bio writing and dog whispering.
With the pandemic and uncertainty that’s dominated headlines for the last two years, depression, loss and anxiety are on the rise. However, quietly working away, there are also homegrown ventures like My Forever Doggo that help promote joy. It’s a pleasure to see.
Visit My Forever Doggo at myforeverdoggo.com
Sean is 10 months old, vaccinated and neutered. This active boy is playful, immediately cheering visitors and volunteers with his cuteness and antics. He’s also very fond of treats!
When we found Sean, he was a stray, living on the streets, and with a severe bite wound near his tail. After continuous treatment and lots of care, he perked up and became an active and happy puppy. Sean is now ready to live with his forever family.
Interested adopters, please contact PAWS and ask for Sean, Tag Number: P344 (2022.02.25)
PAWS Animal Welfare Society, Jalan PJU 1A/20, Ara Damansara, 47301 Subang, Selangor. Phone: 011-2193 5651. Website: paws.org.my