How Animal Welfare Killed a Word

Friends, this is such a great post. If you happen to be in charge of the social media for a rescue/shelter/etc. please take this into consideration next time you are doing a writeup.


We rescuers have this tendency to use certain jargon to convey how badly an animal needs adopted or rescued. I’ve fallen into the trap myself, which you can read about here. The most popular of these words is probably “URGENT” which is commonly followed by a date. That date is usually the date the dog will be put to sleep, the PTS date, the euth date, the death date, the date of destruction when the dog will be “murdered”, “killed”, “destroyed”. URGENT is normally followed by words like “beg”, “plead”, “implore”, “angel”, “share” and those catchy slogans we all love to hate, my least favorite being, “Don’t shop, adopt.” (Sorry rescue pals, I just despise could do without that one.)

All in all, pretty depressing stuff, no doubt.


Now let me tell you why I detest seeing the word “URGENT” in a post about a dog needing help.


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6 thoughts on “How Animal Welfare Killed a Word

  1. I used to share every single post from every single rescue on my FB page. Then I heard from a friend of a friend that someone was going to unfriend me because she just couldn’t handle all the Urgents and Desperates and the “awful pictures of dogs in cages.”

    After overreacting and stomping around for a day I thought about it. Was I really helping those rescues and shelters place dogs if people started ignoring my posts?

    So now I only share posts with uplifting pictures of happy, smiling dogs. I figure if those already-fostered dogs get adopted, rescues will be able to pull those Urgent dogs from shelters more often.

    • Exactly!!! If we allow ourselves to get stuck in the rut of only focusing in those “urgent” dogs we end up helping less because adoptions slow down and therefore less dogs can be taken in. Plus, lets be honest, it’s kind of just annoying how dramatic come rescues/shelters have become. You don’t even know what to believe anymore!

      • At the same time, we don’t want to feel like we are averting our eyes from the tragic and the urgent. We don’t want to feel like we are being oblivious or blind to suffering because it’s too difficult to look at. That’s us, personally. Marketing, though, is about something else.


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