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Cute animal stories

I and the reporter who sits across from me are constantly telling our editor that we should run more photos of cute animals. People love cute animals, right?

I just happen to love animals, especially cuddly, furry, bouncy, shaggy, big — OK, pretty much all — animals. It’s annoying to walk down the street with me. Every dog I pass gets an, “Oh, how cute! Can I pet him?!” And then five minutes of behind the ear treatment as I crouch low to the ground. If the dog is big and it’s toungue hangs out of its mouth to the side while its tail wags, so much the better. Aw, I’m smiling just thinking about cute dogs.

The other reporter is more of a cat lover, especially the alley cat she likes to run after by the J&C yelling “kitty!” But I digress.

Thing is, we both spend time on other newspaper’s sites looking at cute animals. Me at IndyPaws.com and her at the Chicago Tribune.

Other than our anecdotal, “We could be clicking around on jconline instead of going to other sites looking at animals” pleas, we never had empirical proof. Until now.

We ran a story this week about a local high school track coach who has nurtured a squirrel back to health and keeps it as a pet. Yeah, a pet squirrel. The photos were ADORABLE, and we had a whole gallery with the pictures of the squirrels progress.

As I flipped through the online gallery on Tuesday, my “aw”‘s were mixed with “I hope this gets a ton of hits and they realize that pets are the way to go.”

Even our often-feisty online posters couldn’t find anyway to turn this discussion into an assault on our journalism skills or a discussion of how illegal immigrants signal the end of the world. Several read like this one:

First, thank you J&C for running some very good animal stories lately!!
I loved this story!! I laughed all the way through it! It’s so nice to see people caring for animals of all kinds. I wish this family and Rocky the best. Good luck Rocky!!!!

The next morning, I opened the readme memo and lo and behold: The squirrel gallery got 16,000+ page views that day. The story got nearly 3,000. But the squirrel gallery was by far our top page-grabber that day.

The victory came later that day in my e-mail. I’ve recently been asked to join the New Product Development committee here. And that e-mail was a few items we’d be talking about at our meeting this morning. Number two on the list? How to capitalize on the interest in pets, as evidenced by that photo gallery and the success of other sites, such as IndyPaws.

Tonight, I watched as our entertainment reporter edited a video about animals at a new farm animal exhibit at the zoo. The little goats and chickens were humorous to watch, especially the little goats. A-DOR-ABLE. I think that will drive some traffic, too.

Score one for the Lafayette animal lovers. And expect a lot more girly squeals of “How cute?!” from me.

3 Responses to “Cute animal stories”

  1. pet portrait painting Says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. Now I have another reason to read the papers. I’ve almost lost track of everything in the animal world since I lost my Purry – she’s an adorable cat. And she’s a hit and run victim. Other than stories maybe you can also include funny pet videos online. That will be amazing.

  2. Peter Ralph Says:

    speaking of cute/funny cats:

    http://icanhascheezburger.com/

  3. Jane Says:

    I accidentally stumbled upon this website while looking up information for a college report I have to do, and I have to say, I can be pretty annoying to walk down the street with too. I not only ask to pet the dog but usually ask the name, age, breed, ect. Usually the owner says they have to go, or I end up thinking I’ve annoyed him/her long enough. I have a cat at home, not in my dorm, and her name is Raleigh. She’s a beautiful Siamese mix. She got the pretty parts of a Siamese. The blue eyes on her, ooh they are so pretty. She does not have a long face like a Siamese though. She has a big gray spot on her back but the rest of her fur is pure white. Well, thank you for this fun little blog (I suppose that’s what this is) to read, but I better get back to work. Ta-ta!