Journey Mapping: A Transaction in Pet Adoption

Bruno and Brinkley

The Story of Bruno and Brinkley

In 2017 my boyfriend and I made one of the most significant decisions in our relationship… we decided to get a dog. We searched the internet for weeks trying to find the perfect match. Luckily there are plenty of adoption websites that are easy to navigate in our search to find the right dog for us. We picked a few candidates from and contacted the rescue. They matched us with an adorable puppy who was found in a box in the streets of Puerto Rico named Bruno. We set up an appointment to go meet him and with check book in hand, we drove to Massachusetts and found ourselves coming home with scared little 6-month-old puppy.

What we weren’t prepared for was how much adopting a dog would cost. There are the prep costs; buying a comfy bed, food, grooming supplies, a few toys. In addition, most adoption agencies charge a fee. Additionally, there are expenses that aren’t necessarily factored in like vet costs, cleaning supplies (because there will be accidents), monthly medications and so on. So even though you might not think of adopting a pet as a “transaction” or “purchase” it is.

Two years later, we brought our second dog home (Brinkley) and found that our “buying process” was reasonably similar to the first. We researched what kind of dogs we wanted, which rescue we wanted to work with, set up an appointment to go meet the dog, went to meet her (this time with Bruno joining), filled out paperwork, paid the adoption fee, put her in the car, and we were on our way.

A Journey in Adopting

In order to document this process, I created a customer journey map chronicling our process from start to finish. As the name states, a journey map is a design research method used to tell a story of a customer’s experience with a product. It illustrates the process from initial decision/ motivations to buy a product through the time the customer has completed the transaction. It is similar to the process above, but with a visual representation instead of relying on words.

There are a few important elements needed when creating a journey map like:

 Creating Personas– characters in your story with needs, emotions, motivations, thoughts, actions etc.

Making a Timeline– a representation of phases throughout the buying process.

Relatable Emotions– this is important to help the audience understand the nature of buying a product

Touchpoints– Actions that the character takes the buying process and how they interact with the product/ company

Channels– how interactions are taking place (perhaps by mobile device, making a phone call using a website etc.)

“Julia’s” Story

“Julia” Persona

My journey map focused on “Julia” a fictional 26-years-old woman (the picture is of my cousin and her new dog, she graciously allowed me to use it).That age seemed an appropriate age to get a pet. Many of my friends and acquaintances felt more stable in their jobs and financially comfortable to make that commitment. I gave her a home and backstory to help audiences relate to Julia.

Making a journey map requires a lot of research, so I researched blogs and forums to see if others had similar experiences to ones that I had and it seemed that many people did.

From there, I created a timeline of “Julia” deciding to get a dog: to researching dogs on, setting up an appointment to meet perspective dogs, acquiring the new family member, and the post reactions.

Journey Map Draft *this is a draft copy of my project* full PDF can be found below

Download the Full PDF below:

Reflection on an Emotional Journey

I’ll be honest, I have always considered myself to be more of a writer than a designer- so it took me hours to lay out a design I actually liked. However, the process really helped me understand how to tell an important customer story visually. In addition, I didn’t expect to look back on a “buying experience” as an emotionally as I did. These maps provide a great practice in empathy.


Grocki, Megan. “How to Create a Customer Journey Map.” UX Mastery, 16 Sept. 2014, Retrieved from

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