Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pet Pals: Blogger/Reader Program: November Reveal

You may recall how I rolled out our newest pet project: PetPals Blogger/Reader penpal program late this year. For those new to our site, here's a brief re-cap of what the program is:

PetPals:

You don't have to be a social butterfly (though those who are welcome too), or even own a blog, to connect with unique and exciting pets (and owners) just like you! The process is easy, here's a simple breakdown for you- if it all sounds good, fill out the simple form below, and wait to be matched up on the 18th!
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-On the 18th of the month, you will receive your PetPal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your PetPal and get their mailing information, as well as their pet's information (breed, preferences, size, etc). When your PetPal match contacts you, be sure to send a picture of your pet, with your mailing information, so they can see who they'll be shopping for! 

-You will have until the 28th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the 15th of the following month, you will post about the goodies you received from your PetPal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun pet toys, accessories, or snacks! Please be mindful (you may be matched with a cat OR a dog) of pet size/dietary restrictions, etc. The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a short story about your own pet.

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-PetPals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your PetPal to post on their blog about what you received, or possibly share your box on Facebook (or other social media platforms).

- PetPals is currently only open to US residents. Please note, I am collecting a list of international and non cat/dog owners to gauge interest. If I receive enough matches I will open an international/rodent/reptile division.
As you can imagine, there were many questions, and many interested people had a few concerns about things regarding reliability of PetPal matches, and month-to-month obligation. I'll try and address a few of the common questions here. The first of which, and the most popular, was if a participant had to compete every month. I realize some have financial restraints, or perhaps would like to do this quarterly, or in specific seasons; you are never obligated to participate the following month. I verify interest with all signed up prior to commitment, and you have the option to opt out for the month, or longer. When you wish to return, simply fill the form out once more and you'll get a match with the following month's group. There is no charge for PetPals participation, all I ask is that you let me know should you need to sit out a month, so someone doesn't end up with a bum match on mistake!

The next most common question leads directly off of that- What happens if my match doesn't respond? Keep in mind that everyone has 2 matches, the person they will be sending to, and the person you receive from. Our rules dictate that everyone must contact their assigned partner to arrange shipment within 72 hours (that's 3 days). If you have not received a response from your partner, or have not been contacted by your match, shoot me a quick email and I can reasonably match you up with another person. There are likely reserves waiting on next month (or in this month's case, and odd number of matches and I can fill in). Keep in mind you may receive a Dog OR Cat PetPal, this varies each month and is entirely random. We ask that you provide a little information about your pet (dietary/size restrictions) to help your match in picking out the best treats for your pet. Any food treats must contain a complete ingredient label on the package, no loose treats or homemade goods, please. Another concern is often shipping- Shipping can be quite reasonable with pet products that are often stuffed, and flat rate parcels are available but not necessarily the cheapest option. Parcel post is quite affordable and can get your package there in time if you shop and ship shortly after receiving your matches info.
Some may ask why on Earth would you want to buy stuff for a stranger's pet? Well, for 1.) Everyone loves getting mail, especially a surprise box, 2.) You'd be surprised the fun and adorable pet toys that may be found at a local pet shop in a different demographic or part of the country, 3.) Personally, I spend bundles on my pets each month because I love them, and spending time with them; this is the perfect way to engage with my pet with new things I may never have thought to buy! For those curious, I, personally, sit out each round of PetPals; so that I may fill in for anyone paired up with a no-show. So, by sit out, I mean, forgo an original match, I always end up paired with somebody! In any case, my boyfriend, Jeremy, participates each month, rotating between our 3 pets. This month he was paired with reader Samantha and her cat Llia, who seemed quite excited to be matched with Ms. Truffles, celebrity. (Thank goodness Truffles doesn't know she's such a star).
Jeremy told our Samantha Truffles liked things that dangled and rolled, as well as that she has a knack for eating- everything. He was tickled to receive not only a gaggle of toys, but a sack of unique and healthy pet treats. Considering the box spending limit is $15, you can actually get quite a bit of stuff for your PetPal, and in our box there was an entire kitty stocking of balls and catnip toys!  I promptly slipped the stocking into Truffle's own stocking here at home, which she can often be seen guarding by the tree! She's enjoyed playing with the included Martha Stewart cat wand, though Fankie likes to wander in and get a few swipes. The Blue Buffalo Salmon Yums have been a big hit with both cats, which is surprising, as Frankie is very picky about his food. I like that they do not stink, and are a unique flat shape, that doesn't roll everywhere when Truffles steals them from my hand, to nibble on the ground. Lastly, we received a photo of Llia as a kitten, which has made it onto our house pin board. We were inspired to include one of Truffles in our box to Samantha, and have heard that Llia actually stole it from the parcel and keeps it in her cat tree! We had a great month and cannot thank our PetPal Samantha enough for helping to make PetPals a blast!

Sign Up for PetPals Today!

2 comments:

  1. I like this post... Your is too creative !! Pet Urn

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  2. Thank you for posting this! Not only was it nice to see the run down again of what we should be doing - but it was also nice to see my gorgeous Llia's face on Truffles' blog! Looking forward to this month! :)

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