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#sideproject: Shelter

Kennels are overrun with strays who need a place to stay until they’re adopted. Shelter is a three-part system that makes fostering a pet as easy as possible with an app and smart devices that keep animals, shelters, and foster parents connected. It’s an idea I developed as part of a personal monthly challenge I embarked on earlier this year.

Fostering saves dogs’ lives, but it also has a ton of benefits for the foster parents. The experience is highly rewarding, but the process to find and care for a dog isn’t easy. I wanted to create a transparent system that makes onboarding easier and increases people’s comfort level throughout the experience. This could lead to fewer dogs falling through the cracks.

Approximate number of companion animals that enter a shelter every year.

Approximate number of dogs that are euthanized every year because kennels do not have enough space.

 

Reasons to Foster

  • Prevents the killing of adoptable animals
  • Frees up space in adoption centers and shelters for animals in need
  • Helps the animal overcome fear and/or recover from trauma
  • Animals that stay in shelters too long can become aggressive and have a harder time being adopted

 

 

I created an app where you can see pictures of dogs in need of foster homes. First, select your level of experience — beginner, intermediate or expert — and then your location. The app pairs you with pets in need. It collects feedback to help the system become more streamlined over time, and allows you to set alerts for feeding, walks, and medication. If you aren’t able to foster but still want to help, it gives you the option of donating money toward vet bills and supplies for individual animals.

 

 

Your foster dog comes equipped with a smart collar that’s been pre-programmed to indicate how frequently the dog needs to eat and be walked. It’s like an interactive user’s manual.

 

 

Use the Shelter app to program this smart feeder to dose the right amount of food at different times of day. It can also be set to activate according to collar proximity, so the feeder dispenses food when the dog is close.