PawsLikeMe wants to help you find your doggy soul mate with online dating style matching
By Patrick Cullen
Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash
If rescuing a dog could be boiled down to Tinder’s superficial mindlessness, that beautiful Pit Bull mix would be trotting back to the shelter after receiving, not the home it had expected, but mere awkward attempts at connection. This would have been followed by disinterest, then dead air with a potential owner with whom he/she shared no common interests. However, when it comes to dog rescue, online dating platforms may be onto something that actually works. The founders of PawsLikeMe apparently thought so when they started their self-proclaimed “eHarmony for people and pets.”
When you go to PawsLikeMe, you’re immediately drawn in by a user-friendly website. The homepage features a high-resolution photo of an attractive dog-owner pairing next to an invitation to participate in a quiz. This targeted questionnaire will generate an owner profile based on your traits, interests, and activity level (most notably). The matching system claims to be 90% effective in pairing you with a dog whose lifestyle needs, and personality, will align with your own. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, PawsLikeMe provides a substantial list of compatible dogs sporting the type of playful, yet informative descriptions you’d find on a well-crafted dating profile.
When you click on a dog’s posting, you are immediately met with a breakdown of “percentage compatibility” that is further broken into subcategories: energy, focus, confidence, and independence. With one more click, you access a detailed description of the dog’s personality, which is heavily focused on these criteria; studies have already shown these to be important indicators of pet compatibility.
At a glance, it’s imperfect. It seems unlikely that the website can generate a strong personality profile for you from forty or so questions. It’s even more unlikely that the dog’s personality profile is certain. And then there’s the obvious detachment of the online matchmaking process to contend with. There is no way to know how well a dog will fit as your pet until you meet him/her and spend some time together.
Photo: Mysaell Armendariz on Unsplash
With that being said, PawsLikeMe can and should be used as a jumping off point in finding your perfect dog match. Much like Tinder, Bumble, and perhaps even more like traditional online dating websites (given its structure and at least slightly upgraded thoughtfulness), PawsLikeMe will pair you based on a formula. Ultimately, you won’t know for certain until you participate in a train wreck of a first meeting and use up that fake emergency call from a friend. Alternatively, you could end up scheduling a second meet up for the next day.
Photo: Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
PawsLikeMe uses a pseudo-scientific approach to dog adoption that aims to advance the process of pet matchmaking. It might not be an exact science, but it’s a mindful approach that could result in you meeting your forever dog. It also creates a climate that increases the chances that a shelter dog is adopted and that the home it’s headed for will be a good one. While we can only cross our fingers and hope that dog adoption never becomes as superficial or impersonal as Tinder, it might not hurt to take cues from these evolving technologies. The mode is there. Let’s make sure we’re using it.