Now Following You on Twitter — Your Chihuahua
When I received a Facebook friend request from Aslan Butterscotch McAsterson, a tiger cat from Erie, Pa., I was a little confused. I read further to discover that Mr. McAsterson likes long walks in his harness, is currently “in a relationship” and studied at Gannon University. A seemingly accomplished animal, it appeared.
Our pets are gaining more and more of a web presence these days as their videos, stories and parody profiles spread like cute little viruses. In fact, a somewhat recent study showed that one in 10 pets has a social media profile. This means that you shouldn't be surprised when your neighbor’s pitbull suddenly starts @replying you, or Sparkles, your sister’s cat, likes your Facebook statuses.
It’s no new fact that pet lovers can be a little over the edge, but perhaps we've reached a new level of crazy with oh, I don’t know, this cat getting over 14 million views. Fourteen. Million. Views. Of a cat. Getting stuck in a box.
And it doesn't stop there. In addition to social networking sites, pet owners are now taking their dogs on double dates thanks to a new website called Matchpuppy. Just picture Match.com, but throw in a few chew toys. The site allows pet owners to meet other owners in the area and set up play dates, giving them the option to list the breed, temperament and interests their dog may be looking for in another dog. Because dating for humans wasn't awkward enough, now we get to stress over why Max, the black lab from down the street, hasn't called in over a week.
Before cats are able to tweet for themselves, maybe we should focus on using this technology to help tackle the issue of homeless pets. If we can match humans with humans and dogs with dogs, why can’t we match humans with dogs? Writer Liz Alton says that the technology could actually be quite simple:
“Harnessing Petfinder’s massive database of pets in shelters and foster homes across the country, and building on simple dating site functionality with compatibility criteria could simplify the pet adoption process. Imagine this: a streamlined service that emails Joe, 'an avid runner in New York looking for a mid-size, active dog that’s house trained' whenever a suitable candidate like, 'Bruce the Pitt-Bull Beagle mix that weighs 35lbs and is looking for a running partner' appears.”
The promo video could be Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” meets eHarmony’s “An Everlasting Love.” But in all seriousness, if we have the technology, and we have the interest, maybe it’s time to use the Internet’s matchmaking skills to help change the grim fate of our homeless pets. I bet they’d like to be on Facebook, too.