By Amy Amoroso
Though they don’t have their own smart phones (yet!), our furry friends can still benefit from new technology with innovative apps. From mobile games that benefit dog rescue charities to the power of facial recognition technology for a lost pet, animal lovers are using technology to create helpful animal-minded apps.
Here are six new pet apps to explore:
PiP My Pet: Having a pet wander off is a devastating feeling. Fortunately there is the PiP pet recognition app, which uses facial recognition technology to make reconnecting with your pet faster and easier. According to the creators, the app matches photos of found pets with those of lost pets by analyzing their unique features. Plus, once a pet is reported lost, the PiP app uses an Amber Alert system to broadcast the news to local vets, animal control centers, and rescue agencies; other PiP subscribers and local social media users are also notified
Tall Tails: Want to have fun and contribute to a good cause? This new mobile game, launching soon from Zuul Labs, offers a puzzle adventure, featuring characters inspired by real rescue dogs. Every time you spring for an in-app purchase, such as customizations or power-ups, a percentage of the profits are donated to dog rescue charities. The creators of the app hope to raise $1 million to find families for homeless dogs.
ASPCA: The new app from the ASPCA is perfect for conscientious pet parents. Personalized tools help you find a missing pet and create a lost pet flier to post to social media. It also helps you access the latest animal news, find expert advice on caring for a pet in a natural disaster, look up irresistible photos on Instagram, and provide a safe place to store your pet’s medical records. Is there anything this app can’t do?
Pose a Pet: A good picture can go a long way toward helping an animal find a home. Jennifer Whaley of Chicago’s Fetch Portraits has been using unique sounds—from “squeak” to “meow”—to snap engaging pictures of pets for years. She recently decided to share her trick with others and bring it right to their phones. The app not only works great for taking excellent photos of your pets at home, but also serves as a tool for shelter workers to snap better pictures of adoptable animals. In addition, the app helps you create rescue flyers that you can share via social media and Pose a Pet’s sister site, Photos to the Rescue. The app gives back as well––their 50/50 campaign donates proceeds from all app upgrade purchases to local shelters.
Animal Ally: America for Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting compassion for animals and fighting animal cruelty, has created a new app to make it easier for you to report animal cruelty. Animal Ally, which will be available in late 2014, will allow you to report emergency animal abuse situations in your community, including inhumane businesses that support animal cruelty. Reports will be available immediately and marked on a map that is visible to all users. This app will also allow you to send messages to individual businesses, join virtual boycotts, and ally with others in your community.
PetMatch: If you’re set on certain looks for your new pet, you may find PetMatch helpful with your adoption search. The app uses patented image-recognition technology to match a photo (either one you upload or one you find in their gallery) with similar photos of adoptable pets in your area. The app works with Petfinder, a database that covers the country’s available dogs and cats.
It’s true that our pets’ instincts to romp and play don’t involve technology, but their carefree spirits are inspiring lots of new ideas for pet lovers to find their perfect pet, support other homeless animals, and spread love and support for our loyal companions.
Helping it all come together
Creating innovative apps like these takes passion, skill, and of course, funds. In an effort to bring their ideas to life, many app creators have turned to online fundraising platforms to crowdfund money––PiP used Indiegogo to get their paws off the ground, Tall Tails raised over $115,000 using Kickstarter, and Animal Ally relies solely on online fundraising through America for Animals. you can donate to these and other great animal causes by searching crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and CrowdRise.