July 1, 2019

Paws and Think

By Claire Newmarch, PR Assistant

A few months ago, the Digital team approached me about a new app they were working on. Paws and Think has been designed for people like me, who love dogs and are thinking about getting one.

The app gives users a virtual experience of owning their very own dog – including having to give it attention, feeding it and taking it to the vets. Having used the app, I hope it will help people make an informed choice about choosing a pet, to reduce the number of dogs that sadly need re-homing.

At the moment, the stats on dog re-homing are really shocking. Since last Christmas, Dogs Trust received a call every five minutes (that’s 3,596 calls) from dog-owners looking to re-home their pet.

My team did some research to find out more. The main reason for re-homing is that owners underestimate the time and effort needed to look after a new pet. I was shocked to find that 45% of owners admitted to not doing enough research before taking a dog into their home.

I downloaded the app as soon as it became available in the App Store (available on Android and Apple). I’ve always wanted a dog and have been thinking about adopting one for a while, so I was keen to see how I’d measure up as an owner.

On the app, there’s the option to pick a breed of dog. There are 3 small, 3 medium and 3 large dogs to choose from. These were selected based on the most popular dogs insured by our Co-op Pet Insurance customers. I picked a Cockapoo which was automatically named Poppy.

Over the week, I received notifications when I needed to feed Poppy, give her attention, take her for a walk, groom her, exercise and take her to the vets. It also keeps a running total of the cost of keeping the dog so I could make sure it’s something that I can afford.

At the end of the week I was given a score. I was really pleased I was given a 93% suitability to own a Cockapoo.

The reason I didn’t get 100% was because I work full time and couldn’t always give Poppy the attention she needed. I had a think about this and can employ a dog walker, and work from home more often to make sure when I do get a dog, it’s well looked after.

If you want to see how suitable a dog is for you, you can download Paws and Think from our hub.

Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. I got my daughter, who’s studying animal management and welfare, to download the app, and she came out with a score of 102%, so she must be doing something right. She did it with a large dog, and is now doing it again with a small one, then will do a medium one as well. If after all this we end up getting a dog, Claire Newmarch, it’s down to you as we have wanted one, but my wife has been a bit reticent, but seems convinced now. This app should be tried by anyone wanting to get a pet.

  2. This is a fab idea. When I got my cocker over 2 years ago we researched like mad. We made sure he was the right type of dog for us by reading up on their behaviours and characteristics, looked at puppy day care costs and the best places, researched how much pet insurance would be, planned out food costs and vet costs per year etc. We even moved from a city apartment to a suburban home with a garden.
    Kylo costs us a small fortune, but we adore him and the sacrifices we’ve made are well worth it. He has severe separation anxiety so our social life has taken a nose dive, but we don’t care! Other than that he’s a fabulous companion.
    Good tip; put £50 a month away (or what you can afford). Pet Insurance is extremely restrictive, even the top policies. We now have nearly £2k in our doggie fund, so if any unexpected operation is needed we have money to put towards any costs not covered by the insurance.

  3. Cats are much less of a commitment. Feed them, let them sit on you, and the rest of the time they roam the neighbourhood controlling rodent and bird populations. Oh, and there’s clearing up dismembered birds and mice, but its that or poop! Poop smells worse!!!

  4. This is a great idea. Parents may find it helpful to involve their children in this, as often they are the motivation for deciding to get a pet. They would understand the commitment and time needed to be a good pet owner.

    You sound as though you would be a wonderful dog owner. My first dog was one I found and she wasn’t claimed. I employed a neighbour for lunch time walks. He got his own dog a few months later, having had a test run!

  5. People should also consider the amount of food it takes to feed a dog. When there are people starving to death in this country and the rest of the world and we are cutting down the rainforests in order to raise cattle to produce products including dog food, I find it very hard to justify any kind of pet ownership.

  6. I also own 3 dogs and they take an awful lot of time – you really need to think hard before deciding to get one. I’d also urge people to adopt rather than buying a dog from a shop – there are tens of thousands of dogs without homes and buying new just encourages greedy breeders to produce more and more, making the problem worse. There are some lovely dogs desperately in need of a home in shelters so please adopt one of these, it is so rewarding

    • I know you didn’t do this here, but I dislike when people shame others about buying a pup over adopting. I totally get what you’re saying but rescue dogs are not suitable for everyone. We looked into it and a lot of them had severe issues caused by neglect and abuse. If you’re taking on dogs like this you need to be experienced and ideally not be working full time as they require more care and attention. We needed a dog who could go to a day care and most I looked at were not suitable to be with other dogs.
      In the future when I’m not working and I have time to invest I will likely have 6 dogs at once! And I am confident that most will be rescue dogs looking for a loving home.

  7. What about cats ?

  8. I have 3 dogs, one of them a pug rescue, they take all your time up, and can be expensive once you have paid insurance and food costs out, Also expensive to get them home boarded when you go away, Lot’s of things to think about before you get a dog. But they keep me active and give me so much joy, so for me they are worth all the time effort and money.

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