PETS ETC.

How I Met My Dog is like Okcu­pid for hu­mans seek­ing their per­fect-match pup.

Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents - BY KENDALL WE­NAAS

This match­mak­ing ser­vice will help you find your per­fect pup.

Twenty years ago, Mary Ann Ze­man was look­ing to adopt a brave and en­er­getic pup that could han­dle her New York City life. She’d heard dachshunds had a good tem­per­a­ment for ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments, so she found a pair of sib­lings and brought them home. Ge­orge was a per­fect fit, but the other wasn’t: Gra­cie was shy and timid, which made Ze­man feel guilty about forc­ing her to live in the city. She kept both pups but wished there had been a way for her to bet­ter know their per­son­al­i­ties be­fore adopt­ing— for her sake and the dogs’.

Fast-for­ward 15 years: Ze­man teamed up with her busi­ness col­league Sharon Mosse and dog trainer Jodi An­der­sen and cre­ated How I Met My Dog ( howimetmy dog.com) to make the adop­tion process more trans­par­ent and re­as­sur­ing. A would-be adopter fills out a 56-ques­tion sur­vey about their per­son­al­ity and lifestyle, and an­i­mals shel­ters do the same thing on be­half of the dogs they’re cre­at­ing pro­files for. “We think it’s im­por­tant to look at adop­tion from the dog’s point of view,” says An­der­sen. “If he needs to run a lot and you’re a couch potato, that’s not go­ing to be a good match.” From there, the site aims to cre­ate a per­fect match. “We call it ‘com­petibil­ity,’ ”s aysm osse.

Be­sides the ob­vi­ous, PET stands for “per­son­al­ity, ex­pec­ta­tions, and train­ing style.” Ques­tions (de­vel­oped by a team of shel­ter ex­perts, vets, train­ers, and be­hav­ior­ists) suss out your lifestyle, the ac­tiv­i­ties you look for­ward to do­ing with your dog, and what kind of trainer you think you’d be. For ex­am­ple, “I would de­scribe my­self as ( a) gen­er­ally un­or­ga­nized, ( b) some­what or­derly, or ( c) very or­ga­nized,” or “When I imag­ine my dog sit­ting or ly­ing on my couch, I feel ( a) happy, ( b) an­noyed, or ( c) in­dif­fer­ent.” One thing you won’t be asked about? Breed. The team be­lieves that breed has very lit­tle to do with whether or not you and a pooch will be a match made in dog­gie heaven.

Once you com­plete your pro­file, the site’s al­go­rithm works to find your new best friend— for free. You can view the dog’s pro­file and set up a “first date” through the shel­ter. If it’s not love at first sight, don’t worry! You’ll keep re­ceiv­ing matches un­til you find The One. You might be matched with a pup that you never con­sid­ered your type, says An­der­sen: “We’ve found that the so-called bully breeds, like pit bulls, are of­ten adopted first, even though a lot of peo­ple wouldn’t con­sider one oth­er­wise. Now all dogs can find a home.”

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