Write A Killer Adoption Letter To Get The Dog of Your Dreams

Write A Killer Adoption Letter To Get The Dog of Your Dreams

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.

Background

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

Write a Killer Adoption Letter to Get the Dog of Your Dreams, by Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDog.comBe 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru at MattieDogThanks for reading, and until next time – take care and keep on lovin’ your dog! MattieDog A little dog making a big impact in this world, MattieDog, social media superstar, animal advocate, animal author


A little dog making a big impact in this world!® MattieDog Gets Adopted, a dog's view of being rescued and adopted

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Rebecca Sanchez is a nationally recognized leader in the human-animal bond. Known as "The Pet Lifestyle Guru™" at MattieDog (her heart dog)! Rebecca is an award winning writer that blogs about her life with her doggos, and sometimes about her husband who reluctantly agrees to participate in her shenanigans. Rebecca's work can be seen in numerous dog magazines, and in her books on Amazon.

27 Comments

  1. I know that some rescues are very particular about who adopts their pets. A letter like that would certainly help them notice you and realize that you are a great fit for the dog.

    My adoption experiences were so simple, just fall in love with a dog, tell the clerk and after filling it a brief questionnaire, take the dog home. They told us there would be a waiting period before we could take Theo home, but when we filled out the paperwork, they charged us half price and sent us out the door. I joked to the kids that maybe he was a lemon, but he isn’t!

    Reply
    • Thank goodness you met Theo – such a fabulous family addition! When we’ve dealt with purebred rescue groups we find the letter helps us standout above the crowd!

      Reply
  2. I did what you did when we adopted one of our cats. I stood in front of her adoption cage, had my son find someone and moved quick because we knew she was “the one”. Great information on what you need to do to write an adoption letter!

    Reply
    • I’m sure I looked like a lunatic – but, hey, you do what you have to do!

      Reply
  3. Never heard of a letter for this … but I like it. I think especially if you are looking for something very particular. I have a friend for example that has allergies and a very bad back and she has no kids in her life. She’s also a senior so wants a senior dog rather than one she may outlive by a lot. So for her, I could totally see this being helpful if she said “call me when you have a small poodle surrender” kind of thing … cool idea.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! A letter is ideal in these situations – also for purebred rescues!

      Reply
  4. That’s a great idea! We’ve been involved on both sides of adoption and it’s always important to make sure the pet goes to the best fitting home.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much – we couldn’t agree more!

      Reply
  5. Letting them know how responsible a pet owner you are is THE most critical thing then saying THANK YOU!

    I have come across some rescue people who are total flakes, others who are 100% committed. You say THANK YOU to the Rescue, even if the person isn’t perfect. Saying thank you should be a habit to anyone interacting with people the rescue industry – that and making donations!
    Team Dash Kitten recently posted…Visit Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings CountryMy Profile

    Reply
    • Absolutely agree – it is a simple sign of gratitude for saving animals!

      Reply
  6. A big thanks to all the rescue volunteers and supporters- it can be hard occasionally thankless work. That is so helpful as I have had 3 friends turned down for dogs they wanted for different reasons recently (1 gorgeous young golden, 1 very cute young pug and 1 lab). It can be quite competitive here, particularly for healthy young dogs of purebred appearance.

    Reply
    • You are so right – purebred rescues are highly competitive and it helps to demonstrate a truly informed and thoughtful interest, that’s why we came up with writing a letter. We’ve adopted 8 Shih Tzu’s and our letter has helped us stand out from the crowd! Well, that and the picture we include with our family of fuzzy ones! 🙂

      Reply
  7. A big thanks to all the rescue volunteers and supporters- it can be hard occasionally thankless work. That is so helpful as I have had 3 friends turned down for dogs they wanted for different reasons recently (1 gorgeous young golden, 1 very cute young pug and 1 lab). It can be quite competitive here, particularly for healthy young dogs of purebred appearance.

    Reply
  8. I know some people complain that the process of adopting can be so difficult sometimes, but I like that some rescues require an adoption letter. SO many animals get adopted just to be returned to the shelter again, and things like this help to cut down on that. Thanks for these great tips. I’m sure they will be helpful to anyone who is looking to adopt. Sharing!

    Reply
    • Yes, the return rate is high – often times due to people not giving full, thoughtful consideration to their selection. Every animal deserves to be a deliberate addition into a family – for the rest of their lives!

      Reply
  9. This is so great! I know that people looking to adopt sometimes thing ‘they should just accept me because this dog needs a home’ – but rescue groups need to be careful — there are dog hoarders and other bad people out there. Giving lots of information sets up good communication!

    Reply
    • Great points – we couldn’t agree more!

      Reply
  10. I’ve never adopted a fur child from a shelter, but I’ve heard friends comment on the difficulty of adoptions. This letter sounds like a great idea to assist those who really want a fur child in their lives.

    Reply
    • We like the letter for two reasons: it gets people thinking about the truth of the commitment, it’s not just a fuzzy adorable face – it’s a lifetime commitment; and a letter helps showcase ones thoughtfulness to a rescue group!

      Reply
  11. Only 1 in 3 make it out in LA. That’s truly insane. I have volunteered as an adopter counselor and agree with all your points. I know people sometimes complain about adoption procedures, but as you point out horrific things happen. I have had adopters thank me over the years and you are right, it makes a huge difference.

    Reply
    • That is totally insane and sad, isn’t it. People don’t often think of the reasons behind adoption procedures – but they are put in place to help keep the animals safe. If you are an animal lover, then it’s all worth it – and you’ll want to be prepared for a forever family member. Thank you for all you do to help animals thrive in their new lives – you are a blessing!

      Reply
  12. The first dog that we went to see had ten holds on her so we didn’t even bother trying. We almost didn’t get Mr. N. His foster was a little hesitant but she ended up giving him to us based on the bf’s dog experience. And look at that pup now lol.

    Reply
    • So awesome – I’m glad it all worked out for the best in the end!

      Reply
  13. Great Post, when I was looking to adopt I was turned down by one Rescue Organization in LA as they said they wanted to do home inspection and I lived in another city, I was really upset at the time but looking back at it now I understand why as it is their way of keeping an eye on all. The other experience I had was a rescue organization was so desperate to get the dogs into homes they did not listen to me (in my city) when I told them what I wanted to adopt and they kept sending me emails of dogs that were not what I was looking for, big argument there and unfortunately in the end I blocked her on gmail. The sad thing this woman has done it to others and I have not heard great stories about her. She means well but goes about it the wrong way and it can be off putting.

    In the end, after looking for 3 months for a Shi Tzu mix mutt, I went onto PetHarbor.com to search, saw Layla in the Carson Shelter in LA, my friend who does rescues there pulled her for me, 48 hours later she was in SF at home with me.

    I was fortunate to have her there to help as at that time in SF all they had were Chihuahuas/Chimixes or Pit bulls and Baby RIP had been a Chiweenie and I did not want the same.

    I do feel sometimes some Rescue Organizations make it hard for those who want to adopt and instead of working with them, they do the opposite and it can be a major turn off to those that want to adopt and not buy from a breeder.

    I will only adopt not shop

    Reply
    • Overall rescue groups just work so hard – and it is a daunting task when so many dogs clearly need saving. I’m so glad you met Layla, you are so cute together! Layla is a lucky one – making out of Carson, safe and sound and into your loving heart!

      Reply
  14. This is really important. I’m on the board of Indigo Rescue and the meet and greet’s are intense. We really interview the families and do home visits too. It’s so important to be 100% positive it’s (as much as you can be…) going to be a good fit or the animal. We place hard to “place” dogs and cats so the interview process needs to be extensive. Thank you for writing something so important for folks looking to adopt!

    Reply
    • Awesome – I’m so glad you appreciated this! My hope is to really get people thinking about the magnitude of their decision – it is for a lifetime, and so should be well thought out about what the human and the dog need from one another in order to thrive and be a happy family member!

      Reply

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