Many newspapers have “pet of the week” kinds of features. Usually, these are throwaway free advertising for the local shelter. Here’s a dog you can adopt – that sort of thing. We go that one better in the Half Moon Bay and Pacifica magazines with a full page portrait and a little story about some family pet each month.
Though they get very little regular coverage, pets are important to people. Obviously. I’m sure you know people who treat Rover like a member of the family.
Why not take advantage of those connections with compelling stories and art? The Argus Observer showed us how with this story on March 1. …
In this case, it’s a zebra. So that is one kind of story. A strange pet is a man-bites-dog kind of story, pardon the pun. It might be a snake or a spider or a strange cross of some kind. But it doesn’t have to be. It could be a service dog belonging to a vet or an old fat cat the owner brings to the local senior center. It could be a feature on choosing a child’s first pet that focuses on one particular family. Maybe you do a feature on trends at the local shelter.
Whatever you do, seek to bring out the relationship between humans and animals. Take a tip from April Ehrlich, who wrote the story about the zebra. She got owner Debbie Hust to talk about the reality of owning another living thing. The quotes are the kinds of quotes that are worthy of repeating.
Debbie, what do you think of zebras now that you’ve owned one for years?
“They’re hateful animals,” she told April. She doesn’t see herself getting another any time soon, but, like crazy cousin Kenny, the zebra is family.
“I love him to death,” she said. “He’s obnoxious and I love him.”
Quotes like that are the stuff of life, and giving them room to breathe is what we do here.