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.