Some Dogsters don’t actually live with dogs, or they find themselvesbetween dogs. And yet despite that – or perhaps because of it – they want to do somethingwith and fordogs. That impulse is what drives a new web site called Pets Dating, started by two dogless New Yorkers.
Although it sounds like an excuse for a human dating service – perhaps forshy peoplewho’d rather hide behind theirdogs than try Match.com? – Pets Dating isreally about enriching dogs’ lives by bringingthem together for private play sessions. Ifmeetingand getting togetherthrough Pets Datingimproves their owners’ social lives too, that’s an unintentionalfringe benefit.
Launched in November of last year, Pets Dating is a free service. “The concept is geared towards the pets,” saysco-founder RobertFaynblut. “We’re not trying to be like Match or eHarmony – this is strictly for pets, so they can have a healthy lifestyle, make friends, and visit each other’s houses for play dates, or go to the park together. It givesdogs structure and something funto do, and helps dog owners do their job.”
One of Faynblut’s sons is dog-allergic, so his parents now take care of Snoopy,left, his 11-year-oldBichon Frise. AlthoughFaynblut sees Snoopy twice a week, he misses him and wants “to give him more opportunity to play.”
Faynblut realizes he’s lucky that family members were able to take in his dog. Sadly, other dogs are not as lucky, and very often wind up dumped at animal shelters when children are allergic. And so, he was motivated to give back to those less fortunate dogs.
“We implemented a feature for adoption, where humane societies could post their pets for adoption andcreate profiles,” he says. Pets Dating welcomes animal shelters and rescue groups to post their adoptable pets, cats as well as dogs.
And,Faynblut hopes, the exercise and socializing enjoyed by dogs who meet on Pets Dating will help prevent them from winding up at animal shelters, for dogs that are sufficiently stimulated physically and mentallytend to bewell adjusted and better behaved.
For pets, there’s also an emotional benefit.Manhattanite Joan Pelzer joined the siteon behalf of her Chihuahua, Hubbell (he’s named after Robert Redford’s character in “The Way We Were”). Now, Hubbell’s new best friend is a Pug named Trixie.
“She lives on the West Side, so we would have never met her without Pets Dating,” explains Pelzer, an East Sider. Now, the two dogs enjoy frequent get-togethers. Befriending Trixie was a special treat for Hubbell, Pelzer adds, “because when I first got him, there was a Pug in ourbuilding who was his first friend, butthe people moved away. Hubbell has lots of other friends, but hereally missed that dog.” Now that there’s a new Pug in his life, Hubbell is one happy dog: “He and Trixie are adorable together,”Pelzer adds.
Faynblut’s partner on the project, Irving Landesbaum, had a beloved Doberman named Cesar, right,who recently passed away. Bothmen have full-time jobs; Faynblut isin human resources andLandesbaum is a computer programmer. So Pets Dating is as much an outlet for the two dogless Dogsters who started it as it is for the dogs they help introduce.
“Friends are a huge part of what makes life so good,” Landesbaum says, “and my goal is to make sure our pets can saythe same.”
Concludes Faynblut, “All of this is free – it’s a labor of love, so we’re not making any money from it. There are no advertisements, and we don’t charge a membership fee. We’re doing this out of our hearts, and wewant to make sure our message gets across. Right now, we’re national, so anybody, anywhere in the country can create a profile. Our ultimate goal is to be global.”