Have you ever been turned down for an adoption by an animal rescue? Did you get beat out by someone that was faster, or who wrote a killer adoption letter? While there are still pockets of animal shelters and rescues that place animals with the first person who shows up, most reputable groups do a series of checks and balances to ensure a good, stable fit between adoptee and adopter. Almost sounds like a human baby adoption doesn’t it? Well, perhaps it should – it is intended to be a life-long commitment.
Rescuing and placing animals is hard work. Annually 3.4M cats and 3.9M dogs are placed in shelters (read more: Animal Adoption Figures) – that’s M as in millions people! The volume of animals coming out of California alone is staggering. Animals brought to shelters have a specific number of days before being euthanized – but – fine print in the laws allow immediacy if the shelter is full. While the law may be 3 days, if the shelter has no room, an animal is considered lucky if it lives for one day… Dogs in an L.A. shelter have a 1 in 3 chance of living. This is where no-kill shelters and rescues come in by placing ‘pullers’ at or near shelters and they pull adoptable dogs/cats for rescue – in essence they save their lives.
Why So Hard?
You’d think with all of these animals that need saving, it would be easy to just adopt. A number of factors come into play that are geared toward helping the animal. Health and safety is a primary concern. Rescues ensure that the animals are in, or cared into, optimal health and that they are not ‘adopted’ by individuals who could cause harm. It’s hard to believe, but sometimes animals are sought out for testing, or for fighting, or for resale. There are some unsavory things that happen to unwanted animals…let’s leave it at that, because, to be frank, they aren’t just unsavory, they are horrific. And this is why reputable groups put a lot of effort into ensuring their animals are adopted by dog lovers, cat lovers, you name it lovers! They want to be sure that the adopters are good people. Which I know you are if you are reading my blog! So let’s get on with it and tell you how to write a killer adoption letter so you can add a dog to your family.
Write A Killer Adoption Letter To Get The Dog of Your Dreams
Be clear that when you are writing a letter to a rescue, telling them your story in hopes of obtaining one of their beautiful animals, you are telling them about you – in the adoption world this is called a ‘parent profile.’ Here are some great tips that will help you shine:
- Be Authentic. You want to be who you are, not someone you wish you were. There is no one perfect type of person for all animals. Don’t like to jog with your dog? That’s okay, there are older dogs, and couch potato dogs looking for adoption too. Be yourself at all times so you will end up with the right dog.
- Don’t Beat Around the Bush. If you want a dog, by golly, get to the point and declare it! Say why you want that dog. Maybe the time is right, you just retired and now have time. Whatever your reason, describe it clearly with a balance of honest emotion and friendly intelligence.
- Describe Your Ideal Dog. What type of dog do you want? Old, young, middle age? An exercise buddy, or maybe one that needs medical attention. A lot of reward comes from adopting a ‘less-than-perfect’ dog. Whatever you are looking for be clear and decisive.
- Outline Your Future Together. Talk about who you and your dog will be together. Will you go for walks, car rides, have a fenced yard, take trips to the park, celebrate ‘gotcha’ days? Remember it’s not a wish list, it’s how you vow to live, forever, with your new buddy.
- Healthcare Routine. Let the rescue know that you take your animal’s health seriously. Whether it’s holistic or traditional, either is fine – it’s more important to convey the importance you place on your pet’s health. Here is also where you might add how you plan to feed and groom your new dog.
- What Makes Me/Us Special. Here’s where you get a little ‘me’ time. Maybe your a little league coach or you and your spouse volunteer – whatever it is, talk a little about what makes you…well, you! Talk about why something makes you feel special – typically it comes down to giving back, feeling like you are contributing.
- Thank Them For Their Work. Whether or not you are selected, be thankful. People involved in rescue groups work tirelessly toward an unselfish cause – saving animals. Thank them for their work. Thank them for taking the time to ensure the best fit possible – because every animal’s life matters.
What you will write – your killer dog adoption letter – is, in part, a letter to yourself. You must know these things before you adopt a dog. This letter serves as your commitment to your future dog.
We’ve adopted a number of dogs and with each one wrote a compelling adoption letter. Well, except for Mattie. We found him at a kill shelter, he only had a certain number of days before his time was up. When we saw him, we knew. So I did what any sane would-be-dog-adopter would do….I threw my body in-front of his holding cell, blocking anyone else from seeing and wanting him, while my husband went to find us help. Hey, I’ve never been accused of being classy. Just crazy about my dogs – and for me, that’s good enough!
Buy Mattie's adoption story - told from his own perspective!
I hope you are able to use these tips – they have helped us with our 6 other dog adoptions!