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Most pet adoption listings try to make the cats and dogs up for adoption as appealing as possible. But not the Humane Society Silicon Valley, which last week published a creative, funny, and unusually honest listing for a tiny tornado of a Chihuahua, “Eddie the Terrible.”

UPDATE: Eddie gets a home.

Eddie the Terrible

Image source: Humane Society Silicon Valley

It’s an awesome piece of writing—rough edges and all—by Finnegan Dowling, who works with the shelter. And it’s the ridiculously good writing that’s making this pint-sized demon dog a mini viral sensation.

Eddie has been written up in the Huffington Post. On Facebook, his posting has been shared 350 times since December 9.

Eddie’s traction might not be massive—but it’s gargantuan for this small Silicon Valley shelter, which typically sees a fraction of that level of activity on its listings.

See what good writing can do?

“How does so much naughty exist in a small dog?” begins the listing, A Full Disclosure Blog: Three Reasons You DON’T Want To Adopt Eddie The Terrible.

Eddie the Terrible Chihuahua

Image source: Humane Society Silicon Valley

“We know, we know. He is adorable. All small and yellow and fluffy. A little bit tubby which makes him seem more softer somehow, like a dog you can trust with your secrets. Don’t be fooled.”

“He’s not going to pull Timmy out of the well,” Finnegan told HuffPo.

More hilarious, terrible truths about awful Eddie:

Eddie hates other dogs.

“We’re pretty sure somewhere out there exists someone patient enough to work with him on this or someone who frankly doesn’t give a bean if he likes to scream his head off for a few seconds at the neighbor’s Lab. But in the interest of full disclosure, we have to be honest.”

Eddie is socially awkward.

“We’re in Silicon Valley—if we started throwing out the socially awkward no one would ever have another piece of new technology again.”

Eddie has specific sleeping demands.

“While Eddie is crate trained, he has a weird thing about sleeping in the crate. And by weird thing we mean ‘nope, not happening’. A bed in your room? Awesome. In the bed with you? Better. In a crate? Let him sing you the song of his people….”

Eddie is not low-maintenance.

“[I]f you’re looking for a floor-sleeping, speed bump of a dog that minds his own business, strike Eddie clean off your list.”

Eddie is “a little rough around the edges.

“Actually he’s kind of a jerk. But he’s a jerk we believe in. We’re not expecting you to want to meet him but if you must, we really can’t deter you.”

Eddie the Terrible Chihuahua

Image source: Humane Society Silicon Valley

I’m a fan of ridiculously good writing and of dogs. I support Cavalier Rescue USA (the best dog on the planet, Abby, is a Cavalier rescue, as were my beloved Simon and Gigi and Chile). And if I wasn’t in marketing, I’d be a dog walker.

Which is all to say… I believe in Eddie, too.

Find out more about adopting Eddie the Terrible here.

Or take a look at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley’s other less-terrible, more user-friendly adoptable animals on the shelter’s Facebook page or blog.

And if you’re outside of Silicon Valley and in the market for a dog… Adopt, don’t shop.


 

UPDATE, 1/2/2015: “Mission accomplished,” says Finnegan Dowling, social media manager for the Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Just prior to Christmas, Eddie was adopted by a “reasonably-antisocial retired couple who don’t have children. It’s paradise for him and it’s made a huge difference.”

“He’s been back for a Good Morning America interview at the shelter and we’ve seen footage of him at home on Inside Edition. He’s a laid back little guy who is always perched on his new dad’s lap. Yes, he did try and nail a cameraman but he wouldn’t be Eddie if he didn’t.”

More broadly, Finnegan said, the shelter has also experienced an slight uptick in donations in December as a result of Eddie’s celebrity, although it doesn’t have final numbers yet.

Source: Inside Edition

Source: Inside Edition

“It’s my sincerest hope that we can use this deluge of publicity to bounce a couple of other long term kids out of the shelter,” Finnegan said. She described the publicity and coverage of Eddie’s adoption listing as “a huge validation,” and an antidote to the so-called Sarah McLachlan-ads: the notoriously gut-wrenching shelter photos with sad, solemn soundtracks.

“The most common reason people won’t come to shelters is because they feel it would be depressing — an expectation created by that sort of marketing. We knocked it out of the park with a shelter animal story that had nothing to do with trauma, sadness, abuse, negligence, et al. We’ve been putting these pieces out forever but this one got noticed. And when it was noticed, people loved it and they rallied around our Eddie. So there we go.”


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58 Responses to Creative, Funny, Unusually Honest Marketing of an Awful Dog Named ‘Eddie the Terrible’

  1. Katybeth says:

    WOW. This is terrific. Honesty instead of guilt will help Eddie finds a forever home that loves him for who he and who he is not. I want him. Love a dog with attitude. Unfortunately, I have one of those already.
    I loathe the guilt ads and switch away as fast as I can. It’s never about talking someone into adopting a pet it’s about the ability to make a lifetime commitment.
    I’m certain you would make a wonderful professional dog walker! And If you are in Chicago in Jan, Feb, March and want to confirm those skills just call me.
    A few of our furs …https://www.facebook.com/camprunapup. Irresistible. Just sayin’
    Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. When I get over being intimidate I’ll write a review for your new book I sleep with under my pillow.

    • Ann Handley says:

      You are awesome, Katybeth! I thought of you as I was writing this post….

      I think I’ll modify my dream job, which is to be a dog walker anywhere except Chicago in deep winter! LOL

      Happy holidays to you and the pups.

  2. Very fun! And, it’s in my neck of the woods out in Silicon Valley. Yay!;-) Plus, my lab Buddy, aka juvenile DOGliquent, makes Eddie look like a Doggie innocent. I’ve said this before, I don’t think there are so much boring topics as there are boring approaches to those topics. Or maybe boring marketers. Love this post.

  3. I love it! And writing the harsh truth in a fun way helps to broaden their reach, which will increase the likelihood that the right person or family will see this.

  4. Lisa Glantz says:

    Thank you for the giggles!

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  6. Okay, though it may sound self-serving to do the “read my post” thing here in the commentary, I absolutely have to pet my post now.

    Ann, talk about being on the same page (irony recognized). You and I both published posts about content regarding dogs. Dunno if you’ve come across Earth Rated yet. Definitey one of the most adorable content marketers on, er, Earth.

    Annarchy readers, come, sit, stay: https://www.clearvoice.com/branding-ovation-earth-rated-user-generated-content/

  7. Ellie says:

    I LOVE this!! So good. So well written.

  8. Samar Owais says:

    I’m a huge fan of humorous copy that tells it like it is. It’s also one of the toughest things to get right unless you’re passionate about the topic.

    I’m not a pet person but I’d definitely go meet Eddie.

  9. DJ Waldow says:

    Ridiculously great writing … you AND the pet shelter.

    Boom.

    #Livefyre

  10. Finn Dowling says:

    There needs to be a bigger word than boom. Because this has been an enormously wild ride for our shelter.

    Anne, thank you so much for noticing the post and writing about it. Of all the excitement and attention this has generated, nothing has been a bigger honor than your kind words.

    Next time you’re in California we’d love to give you a tour. We love dog lovers and I guarantee our shelter is not what people expect when they hear the words ‘animal shelter’.

    Also, if you’re ever in the market for a basset/pit mix that sings Christmas carols, a pit bull that devours plastic dinosaurs or a terrier mix that’s afraid of ‘Gangnam Style’, let me know. We can hook you up.

    Seriously, thank you again. Best wishes to you and Abby.

    Sincerely,

    Finn Dowling
    Social Media Manager
    Humane Society Silicon Valley

  11. Gordon Diver says:

    Hi Ann,

    Excellent post and thanks for the chuckle Finn. Our no longer pup Buddy was a shelter find and may have some other tactics to share with Ed. On our visits to find our new housemate, Buddy managed to make an impression, in that he was the only pup not screaming to get released. He sat silently, looking so well behaved and friendly, while the others were making themselves known and heard.

    What was actually happening was a well calculated and sophisticated rouse, perpetuated by this overly intelligent pup. We fell for him and it hook, line and sinker and now he rules the house. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

    All the best that of the holiday season to you Ann, your family and your readers.

  12. Jack Vincent says:

    Could it be that we love Eddie because of the ol’ “the beauty in the imperfection” or because none of us are perfect and we see a little of ourselves in Eddie? Nobody’s perfect, right?

  13. Paul Bobnak says:

    Hi Ann-
    Humor almost always gets me … I don’t know why, I’m usually thought of as a pretty serious guy. This story’s combo of great writing & funny images really resonates with me. It shows that there are people there who care passionately about the animals in their care. I love that. And, I’m also an adopter: we’ve had out cat, Frogger, for almost 2-1/2 years. His profile from the Delaware County SPCA said, in part: “Some times I’m a lap cat.” It was a big understatement!

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  16. Ann – this post was hilarious to read. It’s refreshing to see how the organization used the dog’s flaws “rough edges” to win the hearts of animal lovers. Keeping it real paid off. As a Golden Retriever mix owner, I’m glad to hear that Ed now has a wonderful home!

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  42. Emma Pile says:

    Humor is the best kind of medicine, and in this case it helped little Eddie the Terrible find a home. It is a breath of fresh air to see a humane society that not only avoids using guilt tactics, but presents Eddie’s personality in a candid way. I think people really gravitate towards organizations who are honest, even if the honestly defies “traditional” marketing methods.

    Happy to hear Eddie got adopted! Thanks for sharing.

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