May 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM ET
The idea of finding your perfect match with an app has gone to the dogs. Literally.
BarkBuddy, a free iPhone app that showcases local dogs available for adoption, went live this week and is proving to be a game changer for doggy lovers looking for a new companion.
The app comes from Bark & Co., a company that has rolled out various products designed for dogs, including BarkBox, a monthly subscription box filled with canine-friendly goodies. Last summer, the pet-loving company ran two dog adoption events in New York City and Los Angeles, where 80 dogs in total were adopted in two weekends.
“Looking at the numbers, that doesn’t actually affect the real problem,” Chris O’Brien, Bark & Co.'s communications director, told TODAY.com. "Even if we did that every day, that wouldn’t help.”
So the company set its eyes on creating the BarkBuddy app, a simple way for iPhone users to scan what dogs are available for adoption at local shelters and rescue centers.
The app is connected to a network of 2,500 rescue center and shelters nationwide and pulls additional profiles on databases throughout Canada and the United States. App users are presented with a dog picture and swipe left if they don't like it and want to see another, or swipe right if they are interested in learning more about the pooch. The swipe approach has garnered the app the nickname "Tinder for dogs," since it operates like the popular dating app.
While it's currently only available for iPhone users, O'Brien said an Android version will be coming soon. Since it went live on Tuesday, the app has already proved to be a hit with dog lovers.
“We’re on track for 50 million swipes in May alone,” O’Brien said, adding that one user alone already swiped through nearly 20,000 profiles.
While the company is currently researching how many swipes have led to actual adoptions, O’Brien said that rescue shelters are reporting that they are being inundated with requests to meet dogs: “It’s honestly beyond our expectations.”