Dating app HILY has set up profiles for pets from Austin Pets Alive!, an animal shelter. The idea is that as you’re swiping through their site, looking for your soul mate, you might instead find a perfect pet. If you swipe right on the animal, you’ll be given advice on how to adopt them and more general information about the shelter. The idea is to help some animals find homes, raise awareness and maybe pull in a few donations.
It’s certainly innovative. People are 40% more likely to accept a match on a dating site if the profile has a picture of a pet, which makes me wonder if anyone is actually looking for romantic love or if they’re really just into playing fetch. I’ve also certainly seen some friends hop into bed with a wildly unsuitable partner when, in fact, they’d be much better with a cat, iguana, pony… just not Dave the f*ckboy.
Of course, dating and owning an animal aren’t exclusive. You can get a dog and a boyfriend. If you like to go hiking, you could try taking your new pet along on a date with whoever else you matched with on HILY. Or you could start volunteering at the shelter and fall in love with the person who helps you exercise the animals. Sure, you’d end up deleting HILY, but it might be worth it for the cute story.
The program is called ‘It’s a Petch’ and will run through August, as this is when animal shelters are often busy or even full. They’ll be starting small with only 15 profiles for the pets, but if it’s successful perhaps Austin Pets Alive! will try to keep things going for the rest of the year. Personally, I think they could do some fun themed profiles for Halloween or Valentine’s Day. HILY seems enthusiastic, too: they’ve suggested taking the idea to different states and contacting additional shelters to see if they’re interested.
I’ve got to be honest. I really like this idea. I’m a firm believer that love can come from many sources and that the bond between an animal and owner is something that is worth cherishing and can be incredibly fulfilling. If you’re using a dating app because you’re feeling lonely or you want to expand your social circle, a pet can be just as helpful as a partner – sometimes more so, because a dog’s idea of cheating is taking its ball to someone else in the park, not sleeping with your best friend. So, a way to raise funds, awareness, bring joy into people’s lives and possibly help an animal find a loving home… what’s not to like?