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This user guide is outdated. It is superseded by our new individual service guides. Please view the Getting started with RescueGroups.org guide for a list of all the service guides: https://userguide.rescuegroups.org/display/GWWRG/Getting+Started+with+RescueGroups.org+home+page

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Your RescueGroups.org account is able to upload your adoptable pet data to the Petfinder website.

In order to upload your pets to Petfinder you must first have an account with them.  If you don't already have one please visit their website to sign-up, and continue this setup process after you have an approved account.

It's really important that you be sure you have added all of your pets to your RescueGroups.org pet list before enabling the import in your Petfinder account, because when you do, all pets, including available and adopted, will be deleted and replaced with the available pets from your RescueGroups.org pet list.

If you are unsure, please contact RescueGroups.org Support before continuing.

Do the following to set up your export to Petfinder and the import into their system:

  1. Send an email from an email address on your Petfinder account to help@petfinder.com and include the following information:
    1. Your Petfinder shelter ID.
    2. A request that Petfinder configure your account for import from RescueGroups.org.
    3. A statement that you understand that your Petfinder pet list will be replaced with your pets from your RescueGroups.org account.
  2. When you receive a response from Petfinder help it will include your FTP account username and password.  Forward that email to RescueGroups.org support.

Sample email to Petfinder (be sure to update the shelter ID to your actual account):

Please set up an FTP account for my account XX1234 and import from RescueGroups.org.  I understand that our current Petfinder pet list will be completely replaced with the pets uploaded from our RescueGroups.org account.

When we receive the FTP account information we will add the FTP account and enable your upload.  If we have any questions we will contact you.  You will receive an email from us when your export to Petfinder has been added and enabled.

Unexpected exports by Petfinder

Petfinder sends your pets to an undocumented number of websites, including classified websites like eBay and Kijij.  RescueGroups.org does not have any control over those uploads from Petfinder.

To check to see if your pets are being sent to that unknown list of websites, do the following:

  1. Login to your Petfinder account.
  2. Click on the Organization Info tab.
  3. At the bottom you will see check boxes for Partner sites and Petfinder API Users.

It is unclear which websites are in which category, but we believe that eBay and Kijij are in the "Partner sites" category.

Please remember that RescueGroups.org tells you who has access to your public information.  You can control your exports from the Animals > Exports page, but we are not responsible for any additional sharing, or how that sharing is managed.

Common questions

  1. How often does the upload to Petfinder occur?  The upload to Petfinder (and their subsequent import) happens on an hourly basis.  It takes a total of about 1-2 hours for your data to be updated on the public Petfinder pet list.  We are looking at ways to decrease the time required, but that is mostly dependant on the Petfinder systems to process your data in a timely manner.
  2. Is there a way to force or push an upload to Petfinder?  No, because the upload happens automatically when you update any of your pets.  So if you want your data to be uploaded to Petfinder just update any of your adoptable pets.
  3. Does Petfinder support HTML via the FTP upload?  Petfinder does not allow HTML, and will actually strip it out if it is included in the data.

Common troubleshooting steps

  1. Check the Petfinder "help" web page for outages and known issues that Petfinder is reporting.  The most common issues that have been reported to us include:

    1. "Pictures not updating."  If Petfinder reports that pictures are not updating, you should not expect them to appear on the public pet list.  This affects your pets regardless of whether you are using RescueGroups.org to update your Petfinder pet list.  See the troubleshooting pictures item below for additional information.
    2. "Pets not updating.  Search is out of sync, no updates."  You may or may not see your pets on the public pet list when Petfinder is reporting an issue related to "pets not updating."
  2. Check the Petfinder admin page.  Do your pets and pictures appear there?  If so, the upload from RescueGroups.org ran correctly, but the Petfinder system has not updated their "public" pet list.

Common issues you may experience when trying to update your Petfinder pet list

  1. Pets on Petfinder have not been updated or added:
    1. Check the Petfinder "help" page to see if they are reporting any known issues, like pet lists not being updated, slow logins, denied logins, or pictures not being updated.
    2. Make sure the pet(s) have the Petfinder account selected under Export Accounts.
  2. Pictures are missing on specific pets or are in the incorrect order:
    1. Petfinder does not provide the ability to change a pet's picture once one has been added.  So, if your pet has 2 pictures already, they will never change.  You can add a third picture, but the previously added pictures will never change.
    2. The easiest way to get a pet's pictures to update is to delete that pet from your Petfinder admin pet list.  The next time your data is uploaded from RescueGroups.org a new copy of that pet will be added, and the current pictures should be added by Petfinder.

Requesting help

If you have worked through all of the recommendations and troubleshooting steps reported above and have not been able to resolve your issue, you can request our help.

If you open a support ticket with us

If you open a support ticket with us concerning animals that are missing, or animals that have not yet been taken off of the Petfinder list, we will ask you to do the following:

  1. Login to your Petfinder admin pet list.  Are the pets correct there?  If so, we will ask you to exercise patience.  We'll also ask you to check the Petfinder "help" page to see if Petfinder is experiencing any issues that would prevent the public pet list from updating in a timely manner.
  2. Send us specific examples of pets that are missing from your admin pet list, have not been removed from your admin pet list, or have missing pictures.
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