An App Designed to Save At-Risk Animals | Pet Pardon

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ANIMAL INNOVATIONS SHOW - EPISODE 41 - PET PARDON

An App Designed to Save At-Risk Animals | Pet Pardon

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, U.S. shelters euthanize about 1.5 million animals every year.
Although the number had declined from the 2.6 million euthanized animals in 2011, it still consists of a significant number of perfectly healthy animals being euthanized every day at shelters around the world.

One might even say it’s pretty ironic, given that about 85 million households in the U.S. adopt a pet.

To help address the problem, Sheryl Joyce, a Canadian ex-pat and lifelong animal lover, founded Pet Pardon in 2017.

Pet Pardon aims to reduce the need to euthanize by making it easier and quicker to share a pet’s plight and pledge for the safe rehoming or rescue of an animal at risk.

As CEO of Pet Pardon, Sheryl shared,

“We created Pet Pardon to form awareness around the number of animals that are sadly euthanized every year in shelters in the U.S. And (Pet Pardon is) an app that streamlines that process for rescue groups and animal advocates.”

Developing the Life-Saving Pet Pardon App

A social media user, Sheryl first got involved in the pet niche when she discovered a network of animal lovers who adopt a pet and share photos of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters. The shelter animals were either destined to be euthanized or were already listed on death row.

Learning that many of these animals were only killed for space, Sheryl reached out to some rescue groups and volunteered to be a networker.

However, she quickly learned how deflating and time-consuming the process can be. So, she evolved into a pledger but soon found a few problems in the animal care space that, she believed, needed to be addressed.

“Several problems arose from that as well, one of them being, I often didn’t find out what happened to a dog. So, because there are so many posts, who’s going to be the person that’s updating all of those posts?… You’ve got all of these places that the dogs are being shared, but how do you track all those conversations?”

Sheryl pointed out.

This realization led her to form the Pet Pardon app, which connects the underserved community with the content they are passionate about and the means to make a difference.

Aiming to save animals from death row, Pet Pardon’s mission is to become the “go-to” app for animal advocates to network dogs and cats at high-kill shelters around the world.

How the Pet Pardon App Works

An App Designed to Save At-Risk Animals | Pet Pardon

Despite only launching a viable version of the Pet Pardon app at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheryl happily shared that she and her team are already seeing a good amount of success. She attributed this success to the belief that “animal lovers are animal lovers” even with the global health crisis.

As for how Pet Pardon works, Sheryl advises downloading the app from the company’s website.

She continued,

“Put in your name. You see a dog in need, scroll down, read their story, and hit ‘Pledge to Help Me’. We take your name, and we take the amount. And what that does is that we curate the pledges, so we have a running tally. So, any rescue group or a person interested in a dog can see that it has $50 or however much a running total of the pledges.”

Pet Pardon takes a small amount of the pledge for an at-risk pet to support the company’s operations. However, Sheryl quickly rebutted that it doesn’t mean that they actively compete with animal welfare organizations for financial support. On the contrary,

“We’ve taken a long time to build up the brand for people to trust. At Pet Pardon, we absolutely don’t want any rescue group to think we’re competing with them for funds. We’re trying to help them track down money that they really just don’t have time to do otherwise.”

Pet Pardon for the Future

With so many plans in the pipeline, it might be overwhelming to think of the numerous possibilities that the tool offers. Ultimately, however, Sheryl just wants to make it really easy to share the records of at-risk animals through the Pet Pardon app.

“We’re working on the next version of the app right now, and we’re going to try to monetize and start to make some money because the vision is really to have a grant program to help rescues… The vision is really just to sort of address the immediate need and fulfill— streamline the rescue process,”

she shared.

Considering the potential benefits of the Pet Pardon platform, this is clearly great news for groups and organizations that conduct animal transport for rescues. After all, it doesn’t only help save the lives of animals at risk of undergoing euthanasia;  it’s also a great tool for building brand awareness.

Sheryl closed the podcast,

“I just want people to go, ‘Okay, what happened to this dog or this cat?’ And think of Pet Pardon first and look on the app to be able to see what happened to them. Do they still need funds? What’s going on? Are they in foster? That kind of thing. So, (we want to be) having that end-to-end kind of journey with an animal.”

 

 

Wanna know more about the Pet Pardon app?

Check out their website at https://pet-pardon.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Sheryl: Hi, my name is Sheryl Joyce, and I’m the founder and CEO of Pet Pardon and you’re listening to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Excellent introduction, Sheryl. So, thanks for coming on. Tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Sheryl: We created Pet Pardon to form awareness around the number of animals that are sadly euthanized every year in shelters in the U.S.

And I have an app that streamlines that process for rescue groups and animal advocates. Around 6 years ago, I discovered an incredible network of people on Instagram, and I saw people sharing pictures of cats and dogs at shelters.

And I’m the kind of person—I like to kind of know what’s going on. So, I reached out to some rescue groups, and I just said, “How can I help? What can I do?” So, basically, people are sharing the animals. The best-case scenario is to get them adopted, but they’re also trying to gain the attention of a rescue group to get them out of harm’s way.

We do focus on at-risk animals, but there’s, you know, animals that get adopted quite quickly. But then there are other animals that just sadly languish in the shelters.

Chris: I was going to say, so it started with—you kind of were on Instagram. Like you said, that’s your jam, right. And you started to see what people are doing. And you said, there’s got to be a more efficient way to do this.

Sheryl: And what I was finding— So, we have several different groups of people in the— I’m a marketer.

So, I break it down into personas. We have networkers that just basically—they create posts of the animal, and then they share it on their social networks. And then we’ve got people that are potential adopters, fosters, rescues, and people that are pledging.

And I’ll explain what pledging is. So, people are trying to again get the attention of an adopter or a rescue group, and they’re tagging people.

So, what’s been happening is that Instagram doesn’t really like that, the algorithms change. I’m not technical, but basically, they were noting these people—you’re effectively spamming, is what the algorithms are basically flagging.

And so, I started out as a networker. And if a dog is in California, I didn’t know that I was tagging in Texas. And then they were like, “Well, we’re in Texas, we can’t pull from California” kind of thing.

So, sometimes, rescue groups can pull from a different State. But a dog in California, you should be tagging dogs in that vicinity. And the other thing I was seeing—people were pledging.

And that was one of the first questions I asked this rescue group. I said, “Can you explain to me how the pledging works?” So, you see a dog. I always use “Zeus” as an example. Hashtags “save Zeus”, “$5” or “$10” or whatever.

So, what pledging is, and it evolves kind of naturally is that you’re indicating an amount of money that you would give to Zeus to the rescue group. Basically, that rescue Zeus, if Zeus hopefully gets rescued from the shelter. The problem with that, and the problem with all the tagging, is that you are cross-posting on Facebook. People are posting on Twitter. I’m also seeing people posting the dogs in need on LinkedIn.

So, you’ve got all of these places that the dogs are being shared, but how do you track all those conversations? And that’s really—each dog has an ID number, and if you put a hashtag, so it’s just the # in front of the ID number, you can basically—on Instagram, you hit that, it’s a hyperlink, and it comes up with all the posts of that dog.

But that doesn’t kind of carry over to LinkedIn, or it doesn’t carry over to Twitter. So, that was the one issue I learned very quickly as a networker, that I was just adding noise. I was probably pissing some rescue groups off because they probably get tagged on the same dog a lot.

So, I evolved into a pledger, and the issue with that is that I often didn’t find out what happened to a dog. Because there are so many posts, who’s going to be the person that’s updating all of those posts?

So, I had this spreadsheet, and I started around 2015. It’s when I discovered this network, and I actually had an Excel spreadsheet of all the dogs and their ID numbers. That’s how I was tracking the dogs I was pledging for because—okay, sometimes, you don’t hear what happens to the dog, but when you did, it often takes—it’s a process people don’t understand.

It’s not just—there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on rescuing a dog or cat. And so, sometimes, I wouldn’t find out for 3 or 4 weeks, and I would get someone saying, “Okay. Hi, Sheryl, you pledged this amount of money for this dog. They’ve been rescued by the rescue group. “Here’s how to honor your pledge.”

And I’d think, “Oh, jeez, did I really do that?” And then I looked at my spreadsheet. “Okay, yes.” And then I’d make a note. So, the app is really in response to those two main problems. And I had the idea within the first 6 months of discovering this group, but it’s like, okay, time, money.

How do I get it to something tangible?

Chris: Tell us a little bit more about how the Pet Pardon app works.

Sheryl: The one thing that it does is I came out of the gate tracking the pledges. Would people care about that? Most of the rescue groups I know, they have another job. So, rescue is kind of their passion, just like the app, Pet Pardon is a passion for me.

So, we launched our first minimal viable product of our app last year, the beginning of COVID, and the one thing that we wanted to prove was the pledging. Right now, we’re just taking an interest of the amount, so if you go on the app, you see a dog in need, you scroll down, you read their story, and you hit “Pledge to help me”. We take your name, and we take the amount. And what that does is that we curate the pledges so we have a running tally.

So, any rescue group or a person that’s interested in a dog can see that Zeus has $50 or however much a total, a running total of the pledges. And we actually have people that won’t pledge anywhere else, which is nice.

Chris: So now, what’s next for—what’s your vision for Pet Pardon?

Sheryl: So, we’re starting in the US first. Just because that’s sort of the ecosystem that I discovered, it’s been quite interesting. It’s been an interesting journey. We’re working on the next version of the app right now. We’re going to try to monetize, start to make some money because the vision is really to have a grant program just to help with medical.

Training is another one. But, yeah, the vision is really just to streamline the rescue process. It’s what we’re trying to do, having an end-to-end solution, whereby when that animal comes into the shelter,  we track their journey.

And we want shelters and rescues to know that it’s really important for people that may not understand the shelter problem. And we’re basically trying to give rescue groups in particular, once they have that dog or cat in their possession, a platform to continue to build brand awareness for them and to have a different place where they can, perhaps, secure donations and just basically help them on their journey to save more because they need money to continue their work.

But I just want people to go, “Okay, what’s happened to this dog or this cat?” And think of Pet Pardon first and look at the app  to be able to see what’s happened to them. Do they still need funds? What’s going on? Are they in foster? That kind of thing.

Chris: So, Shirley, if people want to learn more, tell them where they can go, the website, how do they find your Instagram? So, it’s @PETPARDON on Instagram. All one word. Our website is PET-PARDON.COM. We’re also on Facebook, same at Pet Pardon, and on Twitter.

Chris: Well, Sheryl, I’m super impressed with you, and the fact you’re doing all this all by yourself is amazing. This is super exciting.

And before we go, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners, if you’ve got an idea, an innovative idea that helps animals, like Sheryl did, or know somebody that does, I want to talk to him.

So, just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and let me know, and we’ll get them on the show.

So, thanks again for coming on, Sheryl. It was great to talk to you. Oh, wonderful.

Sheryl: Thanks, Chris. And thanks for having me.

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