Friday, July 1, 2011

The Challenge

I seem to be coming across many more frustrating situations in my neighborhood recently and you've heard from me after a couple of them. Last week I resolved to take steps to try and do my part in educating my neighbors and started looking for flyers that I could hand out when I find myself trying to tackle complex issues in 30 second interactions. After plenty of doodling around on the internet I haven't yet come up with something that will work for me so it's time to turn to the ever-resourceful blogosphere and ask for your help.

Obviously, part of my problem is picking my battles - I want to tackle everything at once! - so I guess we'll need to narrow the battlefield down. But here are some problems for you to ponder, let's see what kind of solution we can come up with.

I need to carry something that will slip easily into my pockets or various dog-walking pouches so the size restriction is a double-sided 4x6 postcard.

As I live in a bi-lingual neighborhood I'd like to have information in English on one side and in Spanish on the other. That of course really cuts down on the text that can be included.

My biggest concern is the amount of backyard breeding, mill puppies and all the unaltered dogs in the area. I've had many, many people ask if I'm breeding Bilbo, I see signs selling puppies all over the place, and can't walk a block these days without running into a puppy acquired from "a friend" or "breeder" - unaltered of course so the cycle continues.  That so many of these dogs are bully breeds doesn't help my peace of mind, being all too aware of how many are dying in shelters.

Here's where you come in! If you know of someone who's already producing a killer marketing piece that fits those specs please let me know. I'm sure there must be some great campaigns floating around out there, but so far I've found nothing pocket-sized.

If not, well, I know some of my readers out there have experience with various aspects of canine-related education so please share that with us all. What works, what doesn't - how not to seem preachy but to reach people with a strong message. The strongest marketing pieces aren't overly wordy so we need to keep the text concise and to the point. How do you break down the importance of spay/neuter, problems of pet overpopulation and backyard breeding and the value and joys of adopting into a few snappy sentences?! (well, you can't, obviously, so what do we prioritize?)

How about some good websites - in Spanish too - that I could direct people to? Although I'm a little unsure about using other people's sites on a self-produced piece, however well-intentioned.

Last but not least ... calling all poster dogs! Let's keep it upbeat people - skinny dogs dying in shelters might move US to tears but let's face it, is it truly going to change someone's mind about adopting when all they've known is cheap fluffy puppies from the guy down the street? I know plenty of you have some awesome rescue dogs with great stories so send me some fabulous photos and captions.

Once the content is set, I'll beg, bribe or blackmail one of my friends with design skills into creating a snazzy piece and share the results with you. Of course, if anyone is wrestling with similar frustrations in their own neighborhood I'm happy to send along a handful for you to test out (maybe for a nominal donation to One Tail at a Time...)

Ready. Set. GO!!!

There'll only ever be ONE Bilbo


  1. awahhh. I love sleeping bullies. :) so precious. Elli's got her head hanging off the sofa right now, looking just like Bilbo, haha.

    hmm. Have you considered making your own? With Microsoft Publisher, or something? And I bet One Tail at a Time has plenty of quick-read facts you could borrow -- I know my local shelter does.

    Is Bilbo named after LOTR fame? I just met a cat named Samwise today at work, hah. :)

  2. Aw, love the sleepy face.

    I think my silly Pallo dog has a pretty awesome story, coming from a high kill shelter, earning his CGC after two months, and now has five flyball titles. But then, I think both of my dogs are pretty awesome...

  3. Thanks Ximena - you just brought to my attention the fact that I never did actually say that I was going to make my own! The danger of late-night posting I guess. Just to clarify - I'm going to design and print some myself!!! So I'd love people to chip in with their ideas.

  4. That is a challenge! I've been looking into doing school visits in my area. I had done a few in Maine for a shelter. Their goal was to reach a young generation by introducing them to shelter dogs.
    What is your intended audience? Obviously the info would look different if you are aiming to educate the people doing the breeding vs. the kids in the neighborhood. Maybe a mix of both is best, but that's a pretty big project to take on.
    If there are any local spay/neuter clinics in your area, I'd check them out as well as the shelters. They often have helpful, concise pamphlets that are targeted to your area. Good luck!


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