Anyone who’s ever been on Tinder knows having a cute animal in the photo is usually a big hit.
But what if Tinder profile photos only featured that cute animal? And what if, instead of a millennial would-be hooker-upper, it was the adorable puppy or cat itself go looking for true love?
That’s an idea some animal shelters are toying with.
“We are always trying to come up with … creative new ways to get our shelter puppies out in front of possibilities adopters, ” says Karen Hirsch, public relations director at LifeLine Animal Project in Georgia.
And experimenting with online dating for dogs and cats might just be working.
The harsh world of pet adoption is extremely competitive: About 6. 5 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters every year, each trying a good forever home. It’s too big a need for shelter operators to merely sit back and hope they all get adopted.
That’s why you ensure adorable dogs on display outside the grocery store, partnerships with Uber that will bring puppies immediately to you for playtime, and aww-inspiring social information campaign like dogs in pajamas.
An estimated 50 million people worldwide use Tinder. So LifeLine and other shelters and rescues figure why not dedicate it a shot?
After all, people use online dating apps are already looking for love and companionship — only maybe a slightly different kind.
Hirsch says they recently created profiles for 22 of their puppies and cats.
Animal profiles are also proving up on Bumble, which is home to another 20 million users or so.
Like sweet Penelope here.
Each pet is assigned to a volunteer who creates the specific characteristics and handles the conversations after a match.
“In a crowded shelter, pets often get overlooked, but on a dating app, the animal becomes an individual, ” Hirsch says. “People learn about them and form a ‘virtual’ attachment.”
Plus the witty banter is oodles of fun .
For LifeLine, the experimentation is still new. But Hirsch says people are responding to it unbelievably well so far.
At the very least, Tinder and Bumble have proven to be great for word-of-mouth awareness-building on the importance of adopting shelter pets. The animals are get dozens of matches. Hirsch says there have been more than a few online adoption investigations, as well as people coming into the shelter to meet their “match” in person.
She also notes that one of the matches even became a regular volunteer at LifeLine.
This new animal dating notion has another upside for apps — and the people using them, too.
Dating experts are finding that people are getting burned out by online dating. Between “ghosting, ” “cushioning, ” “the slow fade, ” and a bunch more of those annoying slang terms, humans out there are wondering if dating apps are even worth the effort.
For romantic love, who knows?
But now that you might just meet the dog or cat of your dreams, that’s not a bad reason to keep on swiping.
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