Mobile app helps pet-loving singles find love
You walk in the door after a hard day at work, and there are a set of eyes peering at you in the window. You unlock the door, and that set of eyes is surrounded by fur. Attached to the fur are a set of paws that usually treat your body like a yoga mat to stretch on and wait to be petted.
This doesn’t happen every blue moon. This ball of fur (big or small) is always happy to see you and reacts this way whether you’re gone five minutes, five hours or five days. Dogs are wonderful for our egos and instant heart warmers. And the idea of dating someone who doesn’t have this in common with you could be an instant drag.
Online dating sites consistently ask whether people own pets but never, “Would you date someone who doesn’t like pets?” But for pet singles who treat their dogs (and cats) like they’re a two-legged family member, this is a deal-breaker that should come up more often. It was only a matter of time before online dating sites started gaining in popularity for pet lovers — especially considering how much 2020 made dog adoption and pet fostering skyrocket.
Mobile apps like FetchaDate are what these singles have been waiting for. Check out my interview with the founder of the pet-dating site below.
Shamontiel L. Vaughn: I have recently completed 62 reviews and blogs about online dating sites. I decided to delve into dating sites for pet lovers and was surprised at how few there were. Dig Dates or Wowzer were the only active ones. Doggy Date and Dog Date Afternoon websites shut down, and TinDog is just for matching potential pet owners up with a new dog. Why do you believe there are so few dating sites for pet lovers?
Sheryl Matthys: There are hundreds of dating sites in so many niches that reflect people’s varied interests. Beyond the big dating sites, many developers look to find an opening for a small piece of the billion-dollar industry in the latest trend or super niche as a way to capture attention. I created FetchaDate because of my passion for dogs and other pets.
I know first-hand that people’s love for their pets isn’t a trend, it’s their lifestyle. For more than 15 years, I’ve experienced how important one’s pet is to their potential and existing relationships by creating the site/app, hosting dog events in NYC, writing my book “Leashes and Lovers” and being a dog sitter/trainer.
A lot goes into the making of an app so that may be part of the reason why there are few in this genre. I’ve spent years working on models of FetchaDate. My first dating platform model was called Leashes and Lovers, and I utilized my own dog sitting/training money to build it. My intentions and hope are to connect pet-loving people because people are happier and healthier when they share their lives with a pet.
SLV: How do you plan to make yours last longer than the others?
SM: I plan to make FetchaDate last forever! Pet lovers are more loyal, sexy, fun, easygoing and good people. And good people need an easier, more honest way to meet. This is not a hookup app, but one for a true connection. Because it involves pets, people don’t want to introduce their pet to someone only for that person to leave.
While creating FetchaDate, I’ve found it’s the creativity of the leadership that sets the tone. My team and I work hard on delivering a quality app and one that will only get better. This is just the start, and I have plans for the next phases. We’re on the usual social media platforms to spread the word, and I look forward to conducting in-person events in the coming year. So through teamwork, strategy and this project being 100 percent in my bones, it’s my mission to help others find love.
SLV: There’s an odd thing going on with online dating sites, including a guy I actually dated who admitted to it. People are lying about saying they own pets. In my case, a guy told me, “What woman would want to date a man who doesn’t like dogs?” — even though he didn’t like dogs. On your site, isn’t virtual dog owners kinda doing the same thing?
SM: That man is right and why FetchaDate is so important, especially to women. When I held my events where I interviewed hundreds of dog lovers, 100 percent of the women told me they wouldn’t go on a second date if that person didn’t like their dog!
The virtual pet offering on FetchaDate is for those people who love pets but may be in-between owning one at the moment or simply haven’t been able to yet. They’re still animal lovers. This way they don’t have to lie. They pick a virtual pet that represents their personality.
Since the pet makes user introductions, everyone needs a WingPet. There are several to choose from: bird, horse, snake, pig, cat. It’s to shed more light on who they are and who they’d like to be. I believe given the opportunity to experience a pet, even if it starts out as a virtual one, people convert to being a pet lover of some sort. They name their virtual pet, give it personality traits — which helps them feel connected to it. Even people with real pets can include a virtual pet in their profile to reveal other aspects of who they are.
SLV: I know your site is catered to dogs, but why do you think that men get such a tough response to being cat lovers?
SM: Simply perception and stereotypical views. And, those take time to change. FetchaDate’s tagline evolved from “Where Dog Lovers Meet” to “Where Pet Lovers Meet” for that very reason. Viewing men as less masculine who have cats is biased and sexist. So actually, you give me a great idea that some of our marketing needs a macho guy holding a cat! FetchaDate users first choose whether their real pet is a cat or dog, and we offer more than 150 breeds in the dropdown list. At FetchaDate, we applaud all who are animal lovers.
SLV: There’s an interesting question on Plenty of Fish dating site that asks users about the status of their parents. As in, how long have they been married, are they divorced, etc.? Normally I’d find this question to be invasive, but it also helps users confirm whether the person they want to date has been exposed to healthy, happy, loving relationships. Do you believe that a pet owner should only date other pet owners who have had pets before?
SM: Not at all. That sounds great in theory, but with pets, they have a way of warming up even the coldest of hearts. Some cultures and family heritage may not have had pets, nor allowed them in the house — yet their offspring goes off and has five pets! It’s an environmental experience that can convert those without the pleasure of knowing a pet to come to love them.
Many owners simply prefer that the person they date is open to the aspect of a pet and that they “like” their pet. The pet can do their magic on winning that person over — or not. The reality is not everyone will be a match. Some singles actually prefer it if their potential date doesn’t have a pet at the time and simply accepts their pet. Only one person having the pet can make the dynamic easier. When both have pets, there’s more to the equation that all get along.
SLV: Lastly, what’s your advice for users who think they’ve found “the one” but realize they later just found “the one” dog they want to be around — not the person. What should they do?
SM: That has happened. I have a chapter in my book with a story on that very thing. A lady realized the guy was coming over to see her dog, and not so much her. Ouch! If you realize that to be the case, as much as the dog may enjoy that person too, save yourself the angst and go “fetch” a new date.
Disclaimer: Matthys is a client of mine on Upwork. This post, however, is neither advertorial nor a paid assignment. This interview was written solely for the Doggone World of pet lovers. Follow her social media channels @FetchaDateApp and @OHDogPark, along with the Facebook page. Download the app here.