Take this cutie home!
A brilliant adoption strategy finds old dogs new homes
If you have a Facebook account, you’ve seen one of those adoption appeal pictures pop up on your newsfeed. A soggy kitten wrapped in a hanky or a bedraggled puppy looking reproachfully into the camera, as if to ask: Why won’t you take me home? While some animals do find their forever homes this way, chances are most will be passed from foster to foster or go back to living on the streets. So what separates the one who find homes from the ones that don’t? It might come down to that picture on your newsfeed.
An animal shelter in America ran an adoption drive featuring some older candidates, who have a harder time finding homes than puppies. And it worked—most of the dogs found homes! What The Humane Society of Utah did differently was to hire a professional photographer and set up a photobooth. The cuteness that ensued launched most of dogs into their forever homes.
Photographer and animal-lover Sanjiv Valsan also recently masterminded a few successful adoptions in Mumbai—he found 5 kittens homes in 10 days. He did a few things to ensure the pictures were irresistible and that the appeal was widely shared.
Click through for Valsan’s tips on offering the world a cutie it cannot refuse.
Photographs: The Humane Society of Utah on Facebook
How to make the photo irresistible: Take care to compose and light the frame properly, so that the eye travels naturally to the animal in question. Try and get an engaging shot, and, in the absence of a professional photographer who knows how to make a Basset Hound wink, make sure there’s eye contact. How can anyone look into those eyes and refuse.
How to make it viral on FB: Post your adoption appeal on several pages, like those of local rescue centres. ‘Like’ and reply to each comment on the post, even if it won’t lead to an adoption. Ask questions and tag other people in your responses. In other words, make it the buzziest post you can. The more action it sees, the higher up Facebook will display it on your friends’ newsfeeds. And the more often people see it, the more likely they are to share. Or even adopt!