Have you noticed how pet descriptions often read the same across various rescue sites? Let’s change that!

I spent an hour with four rescue dogs last week, took notes on why each of these beautiful beings is unique, and donated the descriptions (and photos) to my local organization. You can too! Just keep the following in mind:

The animals in my examples are available for adoption in the Albany, NY area. If interested, email animalovers@empireone.net.


If at all possible, separate the animal from the others and take them to a pleasant spot. Volunteer to walk a dog or stand in the sunshine. Take a cat from it’s cage and bring a new toy to play with. Interact with the animal for a few minutes until their excitement and/or anxiety calms down. Bottom line: get to know each one in a happy place where you’ll see more of their personality come though.


We don’t know anything about Grommet’s life before he came to the kennel, but seeing him in action offered plenty to focus on. He’s such an energetic and funny guy that I wrote about that. Even with limited details, you immediately get a sense of how he moves and how cute it is when he pays you attention.

GrommetGROMMET is an energetic Lhasa Terrier mix, over 2 years old, who was found bounding through the streets. He is incredibly friendly and high energy, bouncing around your ankles and looking up at his handlers with a face cuter than Benji. Yes, he could be a movie star. Grommet will be neutered shortly and ready for his forever home.

THE STORY BEHIND THE HISTORY: What does it all mean?

Tell more than facts. Tell a story! Knowing a pet’s origins, even if that known history is very short, helps adopters to better understand behavior, especially when placed in context. It also helps them see how eager an animal is to trust, please and be a companion. Here’s Zia’s example:

ZiaZIA: This Border Collie Lab mix, is a sweet little girl about 2 years old. She is so eager to spend time with people that, even as a fearful stray, she took the first opportunity to jump into a car with the door left open as a man she didn’t know was on his way to work. Zia has come a long way in a very short amount of time. Fearful of her run and the leash her first week, she now knows that these things mean companionship and she’ll snuggle all 40 pounds of her body into the lap of anybody who stands still long enough for her to love them.


Don’t they all need forever homes? Of course! Answering why is what garners interest. Take Tootsie’s example:

TootsieTOOTSIE: This friendly little American Bulldog is 5-6 years old. She had been spayed, consistently vaccinated and well cared for in her early years, as her vet records indicate. Sadly, having been bounced from one owner to another since 2007 left poor Tootsie in the lurch. She would love to return to the type of life she once knew, with a loyal owner to provide stability, proper care and lots of love once more.


If you see a particularly eager animal who wants to please, let that willingness to learn shine through! Jackson has that quality and, although he came to the shelter not knowing a single command, I just found out he learned to sit and lay down – using both words and hand signals – in less than a week.

JacksonJackson, a 2-year-young male German Shepherd, has had to fend for himself on the streets for a long time. Emaciated when found with his coat in shambles, this diamond in the rough is growing healthier by the day and will be absolutely beautiful once his old coat is fully shed and brushed out. Jackson is eager for guidance, watching for cues from his handlers, and extremely eager to please. Taking direction easily, this quick learner will be a terrific loyal companion.


Since posting descriptions this week, AnimaLovers is currently following up on prospects for Tootsie, Zia, Grommet, Jackson and Noah! (Noah was featured in Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week.) Give just an hour of your time to get to know some friendly faces. It truly saves lives.


What can you add to the list? These are just a few ideas that came to mind. Your comments are most welcome. Leave one below!