No Friend Too Small to Serve–How Tech Makes it Possible
A sunny morning, a cup of coffee, good music, and a pet-pal sleeping soundly in the back seat combined to make the perfect road trip—and for me, a bit of heaven. As if taking the baton for my leg of a relay race, I had picked up my furry traveling companion, Oscar, from another volunteer like me. A driving stretch of two hours would become my contribution to having this gentle pet companion find his way to a permanent home and family.
How did I find this opportunity? Technology-enabled crowd-sourcing of course, put to use by the great hearts who help shelter animals find another life of love and service. Here are three tech-based organizations that are helping animals in need:
Maybe you’re like me—you love animals, but for various reasons can’t keep one right now. In 2014, a website was born that made a way for animal lovers and pets in need to have a literal journey together—Doobert.com. Volunteers can sign up to transport shelter animals from over-populated locations to new locations where their odds for adoption are higher.
Chris and Daphne Roy developed the Doobert website to coordinate these rescue trips. Named after a beloved pet of their own, Doobert was their highly social cat of 17 years who had a gift for lifting others through his love.
This well-organized website currently has over 23,000 transport volunteers, both drivers and pilots, who crisscross the United States and Canada in order to give animals a chance for a good home. Maps on the site detail upcoming transports and completed missions, showing just how far these great volunteers will go to make the world better for pets and people who need them. You can also see posts and pictures of volunteers describing their success stories.
Animal rescue shelters and organizations who register on Doobert.com will be quickly set up with transport volunteers. To give or receive a pet of your own, there’s a link for the general public to search for registered organizations by city or state (my state search came up with 72 organizations!).
By moving rescue animals across the country, we can balance supply and demand for pets and rescue homes, thus reducing deaths in shelters. Chris Roy explains how this website and others like it are changing the world for good. “This is not an oversupply problem,” he says. “It’s a logistics problem—but this is exactly what technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence are good at. That’s what makes me excited for the future.”
Under the motto, “Match, Adopt, Love,” PawsLikeMe.com matches pets and humans, reducing the guesswork in finding the perfect pet for you and your family. When you’re ready to adopt, you can take an online smart quiz (shown to have a 93% accuracy rate) which matches you up with canines and felines in local shelters and rescue foster homes.
Even if you’re not currently looking to adopt a pet, the quiz can give insight into the kind of pet companion you may want to look for in the future, based on your personality traits and home environment. This outlines the three steps the website takes you through:
· A compatibility quiz covers four core personality traits that are aligned in humans and animals: energy, confidence, focus, and independence. It also includes questions about your environment and family dynamics.
· A matching algorithm uses your score to create your pet parenting personality and lifestyle. That information is emailed to you and kept on the PawsLikeMe website under your profile.
· Finally, PawsLikeMe.com uses your score to find local adoptable dogs or cats that are a good match for you. You’ll receive results immediately, including pictures, bios, and contact information.
Based out of Toronto, VetsPlusMore has created an app to help sick pets worldwide. They’ve pulled together a network of veterinarians who are available to video chat and text anytime, day or night for $3.99. Additional pricing options can be found on their website and discounts have been available for pets displaced by natural disasters.
Leon Kruger, founder of VetsPlusMore, explains, “The minute our vets see a dog or cat, they can determine a million different things very quickly. They certainly can tell you if you need to go to an after-hours emergency clinic in the middle of the night.”
Animal owners in emergency situations can get a preliminary diagnosis and suggested treatment, which can bring peace of mind in a moment of panic. “The future is telemedicine,” Kruger says. “It’s here to stay, and it’s only going to get better.”
My journey with Oscar continued as we traveled the freeways to his new pet shelter and future adopted home. I laughed as he pawed, licked, and snuggled up to my hubby in the back seat. I felt grateful for Doobert.com and other tech agencies that give animals another chance to influence and love us humans. Oscar’s excitement was contagious—he simply loved being out and about, and we were thrilled for his new chance in life. I’ve heard it said, “Heaven’s the place where all the dogs you’ve ever loved come to greet you.”—and it’s amazing how little it takes to make a bit of heaven.