Madeline Purdue, USA TODAY
"LOS ANGELES – Are you looking for your perfect match? The love of your life to make your heart melt with those irresistible puppy dog eyes?
Well, online matchmaking is a regular go-to option for many looking to make a human love connection, but it's also an option for finding your four-legged soulmate.
How I Met My Dog is like dating platforms Match or eHarmony, instead matching potential adopters with shelter dogs across the country in need of adoption into a forever home. Since launching in 2017, HIMMD has facilitated around 1,000 adoptions, and more than 100,000 potential dog fathers and mothers have made a profile on the website.
The catch: They don’t ask a single question about the breed.
Why? Well, according to HIMMD's chief dog expert Jodi Anderson, people adopting by breed don’t always find the dog that meets their expectations, putting the dogs at higher risk of ending up in a shelter. Around 3.3 million dogs are surrendered to shelters across the country each year with 1.6 million being adopted and 670,000 being euthanized.
“We’re changing the culture of how people choose their dogs so they can live with their dogs so they can keep them,” said Anderson. “Don’t do it because it’s a chihuahua. Do it because that chihuahua belongs with you.”
She says you can fall in love with a face after you make sure the dog is a good fit for you.
How do I meet my perfect pooch?
Potential adopters can create a profile on the HIMMD website by answering a number of questions about your personality and lifestyle, and HIMMD will send you a bunch of dogs in your area who are looking for a home. More importantly, their profile will be a match to who you are and live the way you want to live.
If you’re not in the market for a dog right away, you can still create a profile and wait until the dog of your dreams pops up on your suggested list. Austin Bradley found his “pal” this way.
Bradley said he waited nine months and searched through 30 matches before he decided to adopt his border collie mix, Andy, who was rescued from the dog meat trade, a serious animal welfare issue in Asia. His survival story touched Bradley’s heart, and that’s when he knew he wanted to bring Andy home.
Bradley had a “laundry list” of demands for a dog since he lived in New York City, which has size and breed restrictions, and has a demanding job and wanted to bring his dog to work – he "needed the perfect dog.”
“I kind of ended up with him,” said Bradley. “I wish there was a factory that made dogs like Andy.”
Bradley enjoyed being able to get to know his matches on HIMMD through their profiles because he knew he wouldn’t get to know the true personality of a dog if he went directly to the shelters.
“I got a sense of the dog before meeting the dog, so when you do, you can look past how the shelter and the environment has shaped who the dog is in that moment,” said Bradley.
Dogs are overwhelmingly becoming more than pets to their owners – 99% of the 1,000 people HIMMD surveyed said they consider their dog to be a member of their family. Dogs are important in their human’s lives and affect the decisions they make:
57% said they’re their dogs’ parent and 24% said their companion
89% would not date someone who doesn’t like their dog
51% sleep next to their dog in bed at night
54% said they would take their dog to work if they had the option
21% said their dog had their own social media account
HIMMD currently has partnered with shelters in 13 states but is looking to expand to others over the next year to be able to connect potential adopters to more dogs. For Anderson, it’s important that the dogs have as much choice in where they end up as humans do when they decide on which dog to adopt.
“We’ve finally been able to figure out how to give a dog a voice,” said Anderson. “All these dogs in these rescues and shelters are at the mercy of whoever decides to adopt them.”
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