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Tag: match

Online service offers to match you up with the right adoptable dog, not the cutest

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Borrowing from eHarmony, three women in New England have started an online service that matches those seeking dogs to adoptable dogs that will best fit their personalities and lifestyles.

How I Met My Dog features a detailed questionnaire for potential adopters that asks dozens of questions about a potential pet owner’s tastes and interests.

Those shelters and rescue taking part, meanwhile, provide specific information on the animal’s habits and behavior patterns.

Computer software does the rest.

The goal is to match up would-be dog owners with pets they won’t regret taking home — and will be less likely to return, according to the Boston Globe.

Jody Andersen and Mary Ann Zeman launched the company earlier this year in New England under the belief that adopting the right dog, as opposed to the cutest dog, can make a huge difference in the outcome of that adoption.

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Andersen, author of a 2002 book, “The Latchkey Dog,” is a believer in computer-assisted relationships, having met her husband online. She also used the developing software to find her current dog, a Weimaraner named Finn.

“We want you to fall in love at first sight, with a dog you can live with,” she said.

The service is free while in startup mode. Afterward, it will charge $49 to match would-be owners to available pets, and $75 to a current dog owner who wants to rehome their pet. Animal shelters can list their dogs at no charge.

Andersen lives in Long Island, N.Y., Zeman, lives in Connecticut, while Alana Mahoney, who manages the company’s relationships with pet shelters, serves on the board of the Massachusetts Animal Coalition and lives in Hopkinton, Mass.

Andersen said she has received inquiries from 400 animal shelters nationwide that are interested in trying out the new service.

“Every year there’s four million dogs surrendered to shelters,” Andersen said. “How I Met My Dog wants to find a home for every dog, where it will thrive.”

(Top photo: Jodi Andersen (left) and Mary Ann Zeman, cofounders of How I Met My Dog, in Boston, with Andersen’s dog Finn, a Weimaraner; by Jonathan Wiggs / Boston Globe)

A little too much color coordination

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Where’s Stanley? Keep looking. Maybe tilt your head a little bit, or squint your eyes, and you’ll find him.

He’s right there — on the carpet, left of the baby.

stanley2As any dog owner knows, when you buy a new rug you want it to be one that will camouflage those inevitably shed dog hairs.

But you might not want this close a match.

Deb Lythgoe and family say they sometimes can’t tell when their dog Stanley is asleep on the rug — and sometimes trip over him because his coat so closely matches it.

As first reported in the Mercury Press, Stanley’s affinity for the rug just adds to the problem. It’s the poodle’s favorite place to nap — perhaps because it resembles his mother or litter mates.

Lythgoe and her fiancé live in the borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester, England, with five children. So that could add up to a lot of tripping.

stanley1Not only do the deep-pile rug and the dog contain the same shades of grey, they have a similar nappy texture.

Lythgoe said she bought the rug in April, without giving the color match much thought.

“We bought the rug a few months ago and put it in the front room. Stanley straight away liked it and started laying on it,” she said.

“When he is there you actually can’t see him. Thankfully we’ve not had any serious accidents though.”

Lythgoe said the photos of Stanley on the rug, which she posted on social media, have been a hit with her friends.

Stanley, The Telegraph reported, doesn’t seem to mind being bumped into.

“Stanley is a really good boy, Lythgoe said. “He is really good with the kids and has a lovely temperament. While he keeps finding himself in trouble with the rug, it’s not his fault and it is the only problem he causes – he’s actually very well behaved.”

(Photos: Mercury Press)

Dog rental company comes under scrutiny

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Want all the joys of having a dog and none of the responsibility?

You could do the smart thing, and avoid getting a dog.

You could volunteer with a shelter or humane society, or go to dog parks and get your doggie fix by hanging out and bonding with other people’s canines.

Or you could turn to a company — and make no mistake, it is a company — like Hannah the Pet Society.

Based in Oregon, it is a pet leasing company, and more — much more.

Picture a combination of a pet store, Jenny Craig, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motel 6 and eHarmony, with your own personal trainer and what used to be called burial insurance thrown in.

Hannah the Pet Society will match you up with a dog, and provide that dog with what it calls “Total Lifetime Care” — from dog food to boarding, from veterinary care to final arrangements.

All for a start-up fee and “low” monthly payment.

Founded in 2010, it offers a whole new model of pet ownership that really isn’t pet ownership at all.

Hannah retains ownership of all the dogs it places, which means that, under the law, it can apparently do with them as it pleases, including euthanizing them.

Last month, after Seattle Dog Spot exposed some of the questionable practices at Hannah, an investigation began into complaints against the company that include unnecessarily euthanizing three dogs in November.

The Oregonian reported yesterday that the state Department of Justice is looking into the euthanizations and the 10 complaints and two lawsuits filed against the company since 2012.

The euthanizations were brought to light by a dog rescue in Vancouver, Washington, which posted about them on Facebook to warn other shelters and rescues that may be providing dogs to Hannah:

“Two weeks ago Hannah the Pet Society euthanized 3 shelter dogs – Pip, Charlie Bear and Kelso. Rather than offer them back to the shelters they came from or provide the support that they needed to rehabilitate them, Hannah chose to kill them. We’re sending this information to as many shelters as possible to get the word out.

“These may have been dogs that they received from you. I know that you work hard to save as many animals as possible. Unfortunately Hannah does not have the same passionate commitment as you do. When you provide an animal to Hannah, there is no guarantee that they won’t put to sleep an animal that could be re-homed with a little bit of effort. There is no guarantee that they will return an animal to you.

“You may want to reconsider working with Hannah. At the very least, please think twice before putting an innocent life into their hands.”

Hannah chief executive Fred Wich said all three dogs had bitten people and been deemed aggressive. Here’s one of them:

Wich said returning the dogs to the shelters they came from would have been irresponsible.

Those who have gotten dogs through Hannah are required to feed that dog the food Hannah supplies, get veterinary care from the vets Hannah specifies and, to get out of their contract when a dog dies, bring proof of that death — often the dog’s carcass — to Hannah headquarters.

Hannah also offers to provide a dog that is a perfect and “harmonious” match for a potential customer, using a “proprietary placement process was created exclusively by Hannah with the help of psychologists, veterinary behaviorists and personality testing experts.”

Hannah offers, or claims to offer, so many things that it defies simple description.

But we’ll describe it this way — it’s creepy, and becomes even creepier yet when you throw in the fact that company officials decline to say where the dogs it places come from, except to say some come from shelters.

Several shelters in the northwest say they had relationships with Hannah in the past, but have terminated them.

Apparently they’ve come to realize what has been proven over and over again — dog leasing, for profit, isn’t a good idea. It’s a business model that may work with automobiles, but not with family members.

What color is your dog’s personality?

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The techniques matchmaking services use to help humans meet their mates are increasingly being used by animal shelters, and for pretty much the same reason  — in hopes of ensuring lasting bonds.

The ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program has been adopted by at least 200 shelters across the country since it was created in 2000, including at the The Minnesota Valley Humane Society.

“The reason we started doing it is because many people come in for a certain breed of dog, and the program helps to gear people to look more at personality rather than breed,” adoptions coordinator Michelle Bauer told the Pioneer-Press.meet-your-match

The color-coded system matches dogs to adopters, based on an evaluation of both. Dogs are evaluated in five areas, including friendliness, playfulness and energy level, and then assigned a color — green, orange or purple.

The dog adopter, after a survey that includes questions about his or her own lifestyle, living arrangements and energy level, gets assigned one of three colors. Those dogs of the same color are considered the best matches, but potential adopters aren’t restricted to that choice.

Last year, 848 dogs were adopted from the Minnesota Valley Humane Society; 37 of them were returned. Shelter officials hope the program will reduce the number that are returned.

Dogs are divided into three basic categories: the high energy ones (couch potato, constant companion, teachers pet), medium energy ones (wallflower, busy bee, goofball) and high energy ones (life of the party, go-getter and free spirit).

My dog, I think, is a goofball, midway — or a little more — through the transition to couch potato, much like his owner.

You can find it all further explained  in a section of the ASPCA’s website.

The Maryland SPCA, not affiliated with the ASPCA, uses a similar system to categorize the personality and energy levels of its adoptable dogs. The dog above, for example,Davidson, a Labrador mix, is classified as a “swinging tap dancer … comfortable going on long walks or just lying around the house.”  He’s currently available for adoption at the Maryland SPCA.

(Photo courtesy Maryland SPCA)