Niche dating sites help pet people find their match
By Brendan Quealy
There was a time when using a computer to find a date was looked down upon. Internet dating was seen as a tool reserved exclusively for the sad, awkward, and lonely. Today, it is an integral part of mainstream culture that millions of people have bought into, both literally and figuratively. Statistics show that 20 percent of new relationships begin with online banter on sites like eHarmony, Chemistry.com, and Match.com.
Piggy-backing on the success of those sites, other online social scenes have popped up, targeting niche audiences. There are countless destinations like Geek2Geek (gk2gk.com) for those embracing the nerd culture, VeggieDate (VeggieDate.org), for the vegetarian crowd, and MillionaireMatch (MillionaireMatch.com), for those with busting bank accounts. Luckily, single animal-lovers can find a plethora of sites geared towards people with pets—from PetPeopleMeet.com and DateMyPet.com to MustLovePets.com and Wagger.com.
A simple Google search for “dating sites for pet lovers” produces nearly a quarter of a million results. Of course, not all of these results direct you to a dating site—and not all of those dating sites are legitimate—but the first couple of pages will give you close to a dozen virtual avenues towards finding a relationship with another pet lover. Granted, many mainstream dating sites have sections where you can talk about your pets—and they often suggest other people that like animals or have the same pets as you—but these sites don’t make matches based specifically on your love for animals.
For a bit of fun, I decided to dip my toe in the pet-friendly dating pool. I am a single, 27-year-old man, so it’s not as if I am playing with these women’s hearts. I may even find someone to call my own, thanks to our mutual love for animals. Still, I’m not going to go as far as to release my username here for the masses, lest I be smothered by thousands of emails from eligible bachelorettes.
Sign up is easy enough. They ask you what pets you have, what animals you like, and then provide matches based on that common interest and location. You can send messages, live chat, and browse other users in your area. The one drawback is that there does not seem to be many users. I live in a major metropolitan area and there were not many results that matched my criteria—and I was not being picky.
This is one of the better sites because it provides more than just potential dates. It includes tips on traveling with your pet, choosing the right pet sitter, dating tips, funny stories involving animals, and book recommendations. After you’ve read some of the relationship success stories, links are provided at the bottom to donate to animal welfare agencies, adopt a pet, or receive the latest pet news. These additions create a very social environment and invite interactions with other members.
This site’s layout is a bit tacky. Its search functions are not that great, and signing up is more difficult than others. For access to the good parts you have to fork over some cash. However, if you are looking for friends with common interests, it may work. They do offer some icebreakers and tips on how to start an online conversation if you’re new to online dating.
This is another site that has potential, but falls victim to the same pitfalls many other niche dating sites encounter—there are not many members.
And the members it does have don’t seem to keep up with their profiles. Also, a bit of a red flag: The “Success Stories” section is empty.
This site is fun, if not a bit weird at the same time. The site asks if you have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, which—while responsible—seems to be quite the invasion of privacy to me. The chat function is pretty easy, although it will cost you. However, a nice, young woman from Ohio chatted me up while I was doing research … I’ll let you know how it goes.
Well, I’ve been at it for a few months now, and while I don’t believe I have found my future wife, I have enjoyed some back-and-forth interactions with fellow pet-lovers in cyberspace. I do love connecting with people, listening to stories about how their cat fell in love with the neighbor’s dog or what Fido dug out of the garbage on Thanksgiving. Overall, I had some decent conversations with people I might not talk to if I didn’t have a pet.
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly mate, go out and get involved in real life activities with your pet. Maybe you’ll run across someone at the dog park, pet store, agility class, a fundraiser, or just out for a stroll with your four-legged friend. If all else fails, borrow a friend’s puppy or kitty for the afternoon—we all know that’s the ultimate chick (or dude) magnet.
Get out and mingle: Check for local pet events at TailsInc.com/LocalEvents