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Writing barrier-free pet bios

  • 1.  Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 20 days ago

    HeARTs Speak has a brand new blog on how we can look at the pet bios we write through the lens of barrier-busting. Are we crafting bios for an audience of diverse community members? Are we using that small box of text as a way to welcome more people to table? From the words we choose and the language we use, to the content and calls to action we include, every choice we make with pet bios can move community members closer to choosing adoption. 

    Read more: Barrier-Free Bio Writing | Hearts Speak

    One easy place to start is with internal jargon that makes its way into our external communications. Try to think back to when you didn't know what TNR (or TNVR) or RTH or FeLV barrier-reactive or surrendered meant. What about simple but easily misunderstood terms for those outside our work, like "foster fail" or "kitten season"? Can you think of terms that we all use on daily basis -- and that make their way into bios -- that might confuse or intimidate the community?



    Barrier-Free Bio Writing | Hearts Speak

    Hearts Speak remove preview
    Barrier-Free Bio Writing | Hearts Speak
    Successful adoptable pet marketing happens when we are able to create meaningful connections between our communities and adoptable animals. The bios we write for adoptable pets should make people feel encouraged to adopt, using positive and easily understood messages with minimal barriers. To a potential adopter, a barrier is...
    View this on Hearts Speak >

     


    #AdoptionsandAdoptionPrograms
    #MarketingandSocialMedia

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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 2.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 20 days ago

    ooooh, this is a great question!

    I don't have an example of specific language (yet), but I do have a comment (bee in my bonnet) on how we sometimes talk about medical conditions in bios. We often talk about how a condition (like FIV, for example) is not a death sentence for cats and how they can lead normal lives, etc...which is awesome!

    BUT, we may forget to mention that it's not transmissible to humans or other non-feline animals (e.g., dog or pocket pet) in the house. 

    1. first address a potential adopter's family's safety!!!
    2. address QOL for the pet ;)



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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 3.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    What a great resource! Thank you for sharing this Caitlin. One term I often hear is "unicorn home", which to us means no other pets, no kids, etc. But, that might not be clear to someone looking to adopt who doesn't realize how rare those homes are.

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    Sara Miller
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 4.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 19 days ago
    We have a few pets up for adoption right now with "complicated needs" so I've been thinking about this a lot!  One thing I noticed was that people would mention meds but not how they are administered.  We have found it helpful to include details.  For example "this med is one small pill a day, and Sonny will eat it easily if mixed with a spoonful of peanut butter!".  It gives the potential adopter a more clear picture of what that medication administration looks like in their daily lives.  (We also include estimated costs of meds when we can).

    As for other examples of jargon that can make its way into bios, I see "dog reactive" or "leash reactive" quite a lot, as well as the phrase "with a patient adopter....".  I think again, we can break that down into what it actually looks like on the ground and make it easier for adopters to imagine their lives with this pet!

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    Carrie Nydick Finch, MS, LCSW
    Deputy Director of Programs and Strategy
    PAWS NY

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    Case Management &
    Community Partnerships Specialist
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  • 5.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 19 days ago
    Free-roaming is a term we hear often especially in cat welfare "This cat was a free-roaming cat" is a common sight in some bios or cat descriptions. We have learned that outside animal welfare, people don't tie free-roaming with cats but rather with products " you can buy at Whole Foods". We did a focus group and when we mentioned free-roaming someone responded, "that's something a silly marketer came up with, right?"

    The bottom line, is that free roaming makes no sense to people and they don't like it as a descriptor for cats. 

    Better to say this cat was found outdoors or this cat's previous home was outside.

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    Amy Dávila Sánchez
    Marketing Manager,
    Strategic Initiatives and Multicultural Marketing
    Best Friends Animal Society

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    Marketing Specialist
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  • 6.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 19 days ago
    What a great question and I can think of so many other acronyms we take for granted which confuse folks and could be barriers. 
    What is "DSH" and do you really think an adopter cares that this means Domestic Short Hair. (Hint: they don't.)
    5yo.
    "Cat AIDS" - I could talk for hours on why this is scientifically inaccurate, but way to scare someone needlessly!

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    Monica Frenden-Tarant
    Maddie's® Director of Feline Lifesaving
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 7.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 20 days ago
    Such a good one Amber! And a really amazing point about addressing safety for the adopter's family so we're not inadvertently creating more questions or concerns.​

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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 8.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    That's such a great point about giving potential adopters some insight into "day to day" life @Carrie Nydick Finch​ And I couldn't agree more about your observations around reactivity and patient adopters -- especially when we consider the broad spectrum of what reactivity can look like. Giving people an idea of what to expect ("Sally is great at taking long walks and doesn't mind seeing other leashed dogs in her travels, but dogs behind fences can make her feel anxious or frustrated") can make a huge difference for breaking down some of those concepts.

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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 9.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    @Amy Davila Sanchez such good insights! I'm learning so much from you all and the focus groups you did!​

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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 10.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    These are amazing examples @Monica Frenden-Tarant -- I was clapping and cheering from behind my computer screen when you did your webinar on the language we use around community cats and cats in general. So, so true!​

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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 11.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    Thank you!
    For more ideas, here is the Language That Harms Cats webinar provided by the ever-amazing Million Cat Challenge.​

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    Monica Frenden-Tarant
    Maddie's® Director of Feline Lifesaving
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 12.  RE: Writing barrier-free pet bios

    Posted 18 days ago
    @Monica Frenden-Tarant that presentation was so good and cats need this so much.  I have been working on something similar for BFAS based on the research we did earlier this year and the way our movement is leaning thanks to Maddies and Million Cat Challenge. We have even worked on a Spanish lexicon guide for community cats.

    I'm one of the most collaborative people on earth so happy to share and learn. ​

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    Amy Dávila Sánchez
    Marketing Manager,
    Strategic Initiatives and Multicultural Marketing
    Best Friends Animal Society

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    Marketing Specialist
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