New Dog-Adoption Service Makes Matches Based on Personality
Photo: Joshua C. Cruey / Orlando Sentinel

As a pet owner, nothing is more frustrating than adopting a dog whose personality is the complete opposite of your own. You love to go hiking and your dog likes to snooze on the couch or you like to snuggle and your dog enjoys his personal space. Situations like this are not ideal for the pet or the owner. A new website could help you avoid this aggravating situation.

The new pet adoption website uses a questionnaire about your lifestyle, personality, and likes and dislikes to match you with the perfect pooch from a database of adoption listings from around the country. It’s like an online dating site, only for dogs and potential adoptive pet parents.

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Co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who lives in Cocoa, Florida, says that the idea came when her and her sister realized that many people have difficulty finding the right pet that will fit in with their family. Holmes ran a dog rescue in Ohio for years before she moved to Florida.

She found that all too often people would return a pet because he didn’t fit in with their lifestyle or he wasn’t a good match for their family. She says that 70 percent of dogs change families more than once during their lifetime. Considering that and the fact that there are still an estimated 3.5 million pets euthanized in the U.S. alone each year, she knew there had to be a better way to match shelter animals with potential adoptive parents.

New Dog-Adoption Service Makes Matches Based on Personality

18 months ago Holmes, her sister Marianna Benko (a clinical social worker), and Dr. Coleen Johnston (a Palm Beach veterinarian) joined forces to come up with an algorithm that finds suitable matches for dogs at government shelters, nonprofit organizations, and rescue groups in a desired zip code. They created an initial formula and tested it on more than 3,000 people and their pets.

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After some major tinkering, they say the accuracy of the formula is now over 90 percent. The group attended pet-rescue conventions across the country to forge partnerships with organizations and create the sites database of over 150,000 dogs. Although there are other pet-adoption platforms online, the founders say PawsLikeMe is unique.

They look at the compatibility and the person’s environment to find them a canine match that will enjoy the same lifestyle as their owner. Current dog owners that are looking to re-home their pet can list him on the site for free as well. This can be beneficial to owners that need to move and can’t take their pet with them or for relatives of pet parents who pass away.