It’s no secret that the tumblr pet community can be brutal. We’re very passionate about the little lives we provide for. We show concern and empathy for others that may not be in ideal conditions. Sometimes we get overly passionate and can say some rough things. So how should we approach husbandry or animal concerns.
- Be formal, considerate and exact with language choices. If at all possible send the person a PM before directly replying to the post unless you need support for sources.
- Don’t say anything about the keeper. Avoid you statements entirely. This is about the animal.
- Be specific in what should be fixed. Focus on majors and things that are easier to remedy. If the animal is in a messy enclosure which is a health risk, that’s often more important than the cage being a stock one. Pick your battles.
- Provide sources and evidence. Care sheets, videos, pictures, articles. Label what each source is, keep things organized.
- If the keeper shows interest in fixing things work with them. If they don’t apologize and step back. If you really must throw a final comment make it passive and about the animal. “It’s easier on their feet to use the fleece and easier to clean. Just figured I’d save you a bit of time and money. You’ll be surprised on how many people will at the very least look it up.
- Use personal stories. Even if they’re dark. Showing that it is in fact reality can interest people.
- And show a genuine interest in the animal. Ask questions about their likes and dislikes. Their story. You’re then a friend and not just calling them out.
As for the people receiving the criticism . There are right and wrong ways to respond as to not escalate an argument and breed hostility.
- Read what was sent. Humour them even if you can’t or won’t change. You might find something you will do that you didn’t know before.
- Thank them. You can be insulted. Your ego can be burned. But thank them for the sources and say you’ll look into them. This ends the conversation then an there. Bonus points if you do read the sources.
- Correct them. If it was an old post and you’ve already fixed things, link them to something current. If you truly believe they provided something incorrect explain it and provide evidence.
- Do not provide a pet store employee as a superior source! They aren’t a valid source as the actual skill and experience varies. The "fish expert” might be in charge of the fish department, but has never kept a fish for its full lifespan and their only training is the instructional video.
- Ask questions. People are more than happy to answer.
X Don’t get defensive. Your pride is not worth a life and chances are arguing is only going to make people annoyed with you.
X Don’t laugh and brush off. You sound like a bitch and no body likes that.
X Don’t rely on old information and refuse to further your pet education. That’s the biggest key to being a successful pet parent.
X Don’t use money or space as an excuse. We’ve heard it all before and your answer will always be the same. You shouldn’t have the pet.
Continue your pet education, share and learn. No one is perfect and you will always find something new.