Bringing a pet into your life is a big commitment, but, just like some other relationships, choosing your forever dog or cat is often made on the basis of a cute photo. A new site launching this month has promised to streamline and personalize the pet adoption process. It's called AllPaws, and its creators have billed themselves as the OkCupid of pet/owner matchmaking.
Five to 7 million animals enter shelters each year and 3 to 4 million are euthanized, says AllPaws CEO Darrell Lerner, who wanted an efficient way to help these pets find homes. But Lerner, who previously helped develop an online dating app for Facebook, says that choosing a pet isn't so different from picking a mate. "A pet is a member of the family and we feel that offering users as much information as possible to help them find the right match can only be a positive," he says. In other words, Lerner is not concerned about the online dating phenomenon of clients who are overwhelmed with choice and unable to make up their minds. (Why settle for the super cute puppy with brown spots, when there might be a super cute puppy with brown and black spots on the site tomorrow?)
At launch, AllPaws will have 100,000 adoptable pets and feature 20 search criteria including color, size, temperament, energy level, and whether the animal has been house trained. More filters will be added as the site develops its shelter partnerships. Also, like online dating, there will be an emphasis on photos, a "favorites" section, and the option to receive "match" alerts via email.