Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In praise of full service

I hope that I never lose my enthusiasm for this time of year.  Buds bursting into full leaf.   Blossoms buzzing with drunken bees.   It is almost frosting on the cake that this bevy of beauty is a full sensory package complete with lovely scents to savour through the season.
From fresh cut grass and the first heady hit of lilacs through to the lingering earthy fragrance of fresh pulled winter carrots ... even if I should my sight should falter, I hope that I would keep my enthusiasm for gardening.
Hopefully it will always override the grubbier bits!  From bugs through to the hot sticky work of processing the harvest, gardening is dirty business!
In the three years that I have been doing the homeless pet site, Petfinder has really gained traction in the mainstream animal loving community.   Is that a good thing?  Of course it is!  
What a wonderful and beautiful and simple concept ... to provide a free online listing service to promote individual adoptable pets of all sizes and species and stripes!  ( The subject of how inappropriate their partnership with Kijiji is a testy topic deserving a post of its own on another day ... as is the inability of the society to advocate against purchasing pets online when they advertise on Kijiji themselves.)
Like it or not ... people are choosing their pets in the same way as they are buying their "things" ... online.  Why not?  Its simple.  Its easy.   Best of all, it gives them time to research what is available before engaging in the process.  
I'm getting a fresh perspective on this right now because somebody very near and dear to me is hoping to adopt a dog.  So how are the ads stacking up for him?
Coming out of the gate, he is amazed at the difference in the ads.  
He is only planning on getting one dog so he needs to know about things like separation anxiety.  He works ... so he is looking at adults who are already housetrained.
He will very likely want to bring his new pal along when he comes to visit me, so the dog will need to be ok with cats and other dogs.   This is going to be his first dog, so he needs to know if the training required is a match for his own skills.
His three year old grandson will visit occasionally, as will his four year old grand niece.  
The short version is that he isn't interested in any listing that doesn't offer this kind of information ... no matter how cute the pet is. 
Nor is he psychic.   If the pet isn't listed on petfinder ... he will not know that it is available.  Bear in mind that this is a guy with his own home and a good income who believes that pets are a lifetime commitment.  And he IS a guy ... so save your breath to cool your porridge about putting in a preapproved application :)
Truth be told ... he is the rule rather than the exception.  
As a sidebar note to that, although I try not to play favourites ... I am always impressed when rescues use creative ways to describe their adoptables.   One of the neatest new ideas I have seen in a while comes from (no surprise) Atlantic Small Dog Rescue.  They have added "wags" and "growls" at the end of their already detailed petfinder bios to sum up the best and the worst bits about each pet.
What time is it?  It is always time to understand the value of clarity ... and that time spent on a petfinder/ adopt a pet/ pet tango / rescue website pet listing is never, ever wasted.
We need to decide whether to give full service or lip service.   Peter Block   

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