You’ve seen the ads: Sad-eyed dogs and cats in cages, accompanied by lachrymose music, with a voice over begging you to adopt them.

Maybe you got out your checkbook.

Maybe you muted the sound.

Maybe you left the room.

Whatever you did, you probably didn’t feel very uplifted. You just wanted those sad images to go away.

These types of public service announcements fall into the category of what I have come to call Pet Adoption Videos That Make Me Want To Kill Myself.

A More Positive Adoption Message

In recent years, many shelters and rescues have realized that guilt and pity may not be the only — or even the best — ways to motivate people to adopt pets. There’s been a trend towards emphasizing another, much happier truth: Pets bring love and joy into our lives.

And who doesn’t want love and joy?

My re-education

The revelation that there was another way led me to start seeking out and sharing these happier messages in a series that I began to call, aptly enough, Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself.  In honor of the adoption theme of Pet ‘Net 2011, Pet ‘Net’s 4th annual pet blogger’s event — more on which at the end —   I thought I would post five of my favorites.

Regular readers of this blog won’t mind revisiting them, I’ll bet.

Video #1

Brought to you by The Austin Humane Society, this video is part of a groundbreaking campaign to promote a more positive adoption message. It was tough for me to choose my favorite; go to AHS’s website to see the rest.


Even better:  The ad agency that created the campaign did a study to determine its impact. Detailed on Door Number 3′s site, it showed that the Austin Humane Society saw:

30% increase in monthly adoptions, year-over-year, as of May 2010.

100% increase in holiday donations, year-over-year.

Online donations have nearly doubled since the campaign launched.

The new AHS website is being sited as an industry model by the national pet adoption software, PetPoint.

Video #2

For proof against the notion that you need to hire an ad agency and spend a lot of money to create a positive adoption message, check out this short and sweet — and, yes, offbeat — video from LA Animal Services.

Video #3

It doesn’t hurt to have a local personality put in a good word for adoption, as was the case with the Winnipeg Humane Society’s  Midnight Kitty Madness:

Video #4

This video by the ultra-talented photographer/videographer Robin Layton wasn’t created for a specific humane society or rescue group, but I’m sure you’ll agree it conveys a powerful pro-adoption message.

Video #5

Warning to those who are at work: The Adoption Entrance Dance, brought to you by the Nevada Humane Society, is fairly long and it will probably make you cry, though in a good way. You might want to wait until you get home to watch it.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Which one was your favorite? And if you have others you’d like to suggest — remember, no sad eyes or depressing music! —  please put the link in my comments section.

More for the Pet ‘Net Event

More bloggers

Don’t miss the posts by the other terrific bloggers who are taking part in this event; you can find them all on the Pet ‘Net 2011 hub page.   That’s also where you can vote for your favorite article, which will result in $500 being donated from Petside to a shelter of the writer’s choice. Mine would be The Hope Animal Shelter in Tucson. Just sayin…

More Largesse

Iams© Home 4 The Holidays and their Bags 4 Bowls initiative will donate 25 bowls of food to local shelters for every mention of the Pet ‘Net hashtag (#iheartshelterpets) and @IAMS handle on Twitter.  You can also “like” Petside’s Facebook page for an additional donation of 25 bowls.

More attention

Want stardom for your pet?  Share a personal adoption experience on Petside’s wall for a chance to be featured on Petfinder.com as a Happy Tail story.

More love

November is Petfinder’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month and I’ve taken the Stand Up for Senior Pets Pledge, which means spreading the word about why seniors make great pets. Here, then, are my Eight Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog. I would have listed nine reasons, but I was too tired from chasing my 12 1/2 year old dog, Frankie, around the house for his favorite “toss the squeaky carrot” game.

26 thoughts on “Pet Adoption Videos That Won’t Make You Want to Kill Yourself: A Pet ‘Net Special”

  1. This is one of your series that I have enjoyed most Edie. I love that shelters have started to change their messages. As someone who dreads the Sarah McLachlan/ASPCA videos, it is welcome relief.
    P.S. My favorites are still #4 and #5. 🙂

  2. The video from LA Animal Services made me laugh so hard!!! Thank you for sharing such an important message AND for participating in Pet ‘Net.

  3. I LOVE this series. My favorites are probably #2 and #4. All of them made me smile though and all of them made me want to take home another pet (unfortunately, or fortunately, my husband is more immune to cuteness than me and can watch ads like this and still say no. Clearly he is heartless and made of stone… and the reason we don’t have 10 dogs and 8 cats).

    1. Thanks, Karen — I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Me, I have a heartless — or I should say, selfish — dog who doesn’t want to share his home, or me, with other pets. This probably saves me from having a menagerie too.

  4. I have loved this whole series! It’s fantastic that some organizations are recasting adoption in a new, fun, happy light. (I know I change the channel anytime I hear that dang Sarah McLachlan song…) I wish more organizations would follow these guys’ lead!

  5. @Karen, I have no husband, resulting in 21 dogs on site (with perhaps one finding a home this weekend – paws crossed!). My absolute favorite is “Something Good” by Robin Layton: cute dog, clean house, fun toys – oozes charm. Note – my house does not look like this. My 2nd choice is “Super Cool” and then the Dance – happy dance time, we say around here :). Love the series; between these and reading how to write better PF listings, I pay more attention to how I write up a dog and the photos of that dog. A rescue, Layla, has this good video where she smiles directly into my iPhone camera :).

  6. Great post, Edie! That is exactly how Nikki & I feel about those sad commercials and why we think it’s so awesome that our city has taken a happier, more effective approach to getting the message out about adopting. That’s what we’re all about at ILRA – celebrating! Very cool that you picked Austin Hume Society as an example because that’s who we’re donating to if we win! Thanks for the smiles!

    1. You’re welcome! Austin’s such a great town and I’m not surprised they were ahead of the curve in their positive messaging.

  7. Pingback: Effective pet adoption videos don't have to make you cry | Seattle DogSpot
  8. It’s the truth, isn’t it? All of those sad-eyed videos don’t leave us feeling very uplifted at all.

    What a great blog, and thanks for sharing it with us and the Pet ‘Net community!

  9. Those are so great- Laughing and crying at the same time. I’m sharing it with all of my animal rescue friends and voting for you in the contest. Thanks.

  10. I loved them all, My favorite was “Somthing Good” Thats my Rescue Amstaff’s “Kalli” on a normal day..lol. Good to see ads making you want a pet for what they actully give you.
    Thanks.

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