Have you ever wished that adopting an animal were more like online dating?
No? How about just the fun parts and no rejection, and then you get an exceptional, well-matched new pet at the end of it?
A new website -- now in its beta stage; the full launch is expected soon -- aims to bring the least frustrating aspects of looking for love online to the pet rescue market.
AllPaws.com is the pet project -- ahem, sorry -- of Darrell Lerner, an entrepreneur whose previous ventures involved actual dating websites.
With his background, and after surveying the most popular pet adoption websites, Lerner thought he could create a "more forward-thinking, user-friendly" website that would "help a lot more pets get adopted," he recently told HuffPost. "And, as part of that, if I get to pet a dog every once in a while, it's win win win."
What makes the site more forward-thinking and user-friendly is also what makes it more like an internet dating website: Users have a whole host of preferences they can use when winnowing down potential pets, beyond the standard ones of age, gender and species.
The extras include coat length and color; animal size; pets' grooming needs; if they're good with dogs, cats or kids; if they can live in an apartment; if they're vaccinated. You can choose a pet who's playful or one who likes to sit in laps (or one who is both!). You can choose pets by energy level, by the amount of training they've had, or how much shedding you can expect once they move in.
There's more. AllPaws allows users to save searches, mark favorites, share animals on Facebook and Twitter and even send direct messages. (No, not to the animals themselves. C'mon. It's to the shelters and rescue groups.) Forums where pet lovers can interact are in the works.
Lerner says the point of all this is to "make the process more efficient, and generate better matches" -- so that ultimately, people will end up with the right pets for them. Which in turn, hopefully, will lead to fewer people returning their adopted pets due to late-discovered incompatibilities.
"We're going to be helping animals," he says. "I really think we're going to do quite a bit with this site in short order."
So far, more than 5,000 people have registered with AllPaws, Lerner tells us. He gave us some figures on how many pets have been listed so far, too: 52,183 dogs, 41,050 cats, 1,258 rabbits, 395 horses, 276 birds, 658 "small & furry" animals (like gerbils and Guinea pigs), 79 barn yard animals (like goats and alpacas) and 238 reptiles.
Unlike actual online dating sites, however, as of late January, AllPaws has exactly zero pigs.