Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Finding the Perfect Dog Doesn't Have to be so "Ruff"

We are going to get a new dog!”  For dog lovers, this phrase brings about instant happiness.  However, getting a dog isn't so simple.  There are so many things that need to be taken into account:  What kind of dog will work best with my busy schedule?  Will the dog want to exercise with me? Will the dog be good around small children?  The list of questions goes on and on and at this point you might be thinking that finding the perfect dog is impossible. 

Fortunately, the people at PawsLikeMe have found the solution to your problem.  PawsLikeMe, which works in a similar way to "E Harmony" but for finding a dog, helps people and pets find each other and live happier lives together” from the comfort of your home.  By logging on to the PawsLikeMe website, you are prompted to initially take a brief personality test.  This brief test addresses some of the key questions of dog ownership, such as your general activity levels and average time away from the dog.  Then PawsLikeMe uses it’s “propriety people-to-pet matching algorithms that identify the most important factors that determine compatibility between people and pets”.  Once completed, PawsLikeMe generates a list of available rescue and shelter animals in your geographic area and ranks your compatibility with the available pups.  

PawsLikeMe addresses the problem of “people adopting the wrong pet resulting in failed people-pet relationships”.  PawsLikeMe also provides “valuable guidance through the adoption process, and the tools needed to successfully place a pet into a compatible new home”.  This is vital because as PawsLikeMe assists owners in finding the perfect dog, it ultimately results in fewer dogs being surrendered by owners due to unfit matches.    This in turn helps to reduce the number of dogs needing to be placed in shelters. 

In addition to reducing the turnover of failed people-pet relationships, PawsLikeMe only recommends dogs that have been rescued or are currently shelter animals.  As the PawsLikeMe website states, “our work in rescue taught us of the need to keep animals out of shelters.  The euthanasia statistics are staggering, and the lives lost will never be regained. Though the numbers are improving, too many animals are euthanized each year, and PawsLikeMe wants to help make that number even smaller by giving current guardians, shelters and rescues an alternative path to finding a new home for a pet”.  Therefore, PawsLikeMe provides a major channel that rescue organizations and dog shelters can use to assist in the adoption of their animals.   

The creative mind behind this revolutionary dog adoption system is Elizabeth Holmes, co-founder and current CEO of PawsLikeMe.  Holmes has a strong base in technology and analytics and has held numerous positions in “designing creative experiences and web-based products for companies to start-up enterprises” and has always felt that “technology was an ideal driver for change and innovation”.  Holmes’ strong technological base and passion for animal welfare ultimately served as her inspiration and creative base for what would ultimately become PawsLikeMe.

Although only being released roughly a year ago, PawsLikeMe has boasted an impressive 91% accuracy level in its matches!  As Holmes and her team continue to grow and build the platform, it will be interesting to see how technology transforms our pet buying experience. 



  1. Although I don’t have a dog right, I am a dog lover and had one when I was younger. However, over a year ago I looked into adopting a bunny from the Red Door Animal Shelter. In order to ensure that the animal is falling into the right hands, they not only have an extensive application process that asks for your work schedule, income and living situation (to ensure you have the adequate means to care for the animal), but they also have a two-step interview process. One is a general question session, and the other is meeting the pet, during which the goal is to access whether you have a personality match. Bunnies, specifically, have very unique personalities and to care for one properly, it is important to match up. While, as you mentioned, this technology is new, I am curious as to how far it can reach. I think it can be helpful in bunny adoption, as it would have made the process much quicker/easier for me than the current one.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is a really cool concept! Obviously getting shelter/rescue dogs adopted is important, but it can often be difficult to find the right fit, especially because shelters are often understaffed and lack funds. When we adopted one of my dogs, we had a lot of problems because of another dog we already had. Though we love her and things have settled down, this type of software may have helped avoid that type of problem.

    I really like that Holmes has a background in technology and used it for a unique project that she's passionate about and that addresses a social problem. I hope this will become more widespread in the future.

  3. I love this idea, because I think that we need to promote an "adopt don't shop" mentality in general. It seems as though Holmes took a problem: adopted pets not fitting well with their new families, and found a solution for it. Hopefully this will reduce the number of returned pets and boost adoption rates! I also think it's amazing that Holmes has a background in technology/analytics but is able to have a positive impact on animal adoption rates. Glad she is able to use her skills in more than one field, while also helping to improve the lives of people and animals alike.

  4. Wow I would not have guessed this program had a 91% accuracy level! Homeless animals in the US and around the world is a huge issue and one of the biggest reasons people are hesitant to adopt is due to adoption gone wrong horror stories. Giving people piece of mind would really help in this process. It's great to see someone so familiar with technology thinking of such a unique way to help both homeless pets and families looking to adopt!

  5. While I really love the idea of promoting "matches" between pet owners and pets, it also makes me sad that traditional ways of adopting pets is so unsuccessful. I feel that, as a pet owner, it is always a plus to have "real live" contact with the pet before, and to go off of this interaction when it comes to adoption. I nevertheless acknowledge that the success rate of 91% is amazing and worth giving the service a shot.

  6. This is such an awesome idea! I think it really promotes the idea of adopting and rescuing rather than buying from a breeder; there's a lot of animals that are in need of a lot of love and I think this program helps a great amount with that. I think this is a great integration of technology and problem-solving.
    I wonder how the 91% accuracy level is measured-- do they do post-surveys on the dog-owner relationship?

  7. I think that this is a great idea and it will help people have more successful adoptions, as it can be so rough on the dogs and the families when the relationship doesn't work out. This is also a really good example of meshing disciplines with each other in a creative way. Did Holmes maybe have childhood experiences with unsuccessful adoptions that motivated her to create this system?

  8. I love this idea!! My initial reaction was that this was a bit over the top for finding a pet, but then I realized while I was reading that this was a great solution not only for the number rescue/shelter dogs to find homes, but to guarantee that the dog and owner are a good match so as not to put the dog's life at risk again. I think a lot of people are hesitant to adopting rescue/shelter dogs, but I think PawsLikeMe shows that you don't have to go to a breeder to find the perfect match. I am curious how they calculate the accuracy of their matches. I would be interested to know if they follow up with owners afterwards. It would also be cool to see this model implemented for other animals as well.


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