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Having to give up a beloved pet is an incredibly difficult decision.

Fortunately, a new app makes that process a little easier—and keeps animal shelters nationwide from becoming even more over crowded.

Nearly 70% of pets throughout the United States are “re-homed” at least once in their lifetime–when a family gives them up to a shelter or another household.

Designed to help pet parents meet prospective adopters, and avoid shelters altogether, the PawsLikeMe platform matches adopters with prospective forever four-legged friends. It was also engineered as a way to match people and their animals, by facilitating a match based on what each person is looking for in a pet. This can give people some assurance that their specific cat or dog is wanted by another family—a feature that’s missing from the adoption marketplace.

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Keith Becher of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, loved his 4-year-old Golden Lab mix, Nico, to pieces. But after realizing that working two jobs just wasn’t fair to the pup, who often waited for him at home alone, he set out looking for an alternative to dropping her off at a shelter.

“I adopted her as a puppy because she was abandoned at the location of my former job, and I couldn’t fathom bringing her to the shelter. So I kept her,” he told Good News Network. “She is an active dog and it was hard on her with me working long hours. I couldn’t afford to send her to doggy daycare.”

After coming across an advertisement for PawsLikeMe on Facebook earlier this month, he filled out a pet profile for Nico, reviewed applications from prospective adopters, and arranged an at-home visit with the family.

Fortunately, it was a match; Nico now lives with a stay-at-home mother, has lots of room to run around, and enjoys playing with other neighborhood dogs.

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“It was extremely difficult to give Nico up, but I am happy knowing that she will be well taken care of and loved in her new home.,” he said.

In the case of “re-homing,” the option is cost-free to the poster, and the prospective adopter pays $75, half of which goes to a local shelter or rescue. For shelters and rescues posting their pets directly, the entire adoption fee goes directly to that organization.

PawsLikeMe was created by Elizabeth Holmes, who has a background in finance and technology, and Marianna Benko, a social worker. Using their combined expertise, the women worked to develop an algorithm which matches people with pets based on lifestyle and compatibility, beyond just appearance or breed.

The result is a “personality test” that helps adopters get to know their potential pets a bit better, increasing their chances of making a perfect match.

Since the national launch last month, more than 75,000 people and 200 organizations have registered on the site. PawsLikeMe already has shelter pets listed for adoption in every state, and pets are being re-homed in 26 states.

pawslikeme screenshot algorithm Photo by Travel and Roll, CC


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