about my venture
Pet Rescue Today
There are tens of thousands of rescue groups in the US alone, hundreds of thousands if you include every other country. Each group handles upwards of a hundred animals or more on an ongoing basis – millions every year, and all of them need a home.
The people who work for and run these groups do an incredible job for no pay or benefits but are hampered by an inefficient organization and an over-abundance of paperwork and procedure. I worked one adoption event where the two people qualified to do adoptions were both so busy with all the paperwork that at least two parties interested in adopting a pet simply walked away because they couldn’t wait any longer.
Trying to run an endeavor like this with boxes of paper, endless forms, post-it notes, and scratch sheets, and then, if they’re lucky, have someone who knows enough and has the time to put in a fraction of the information into a spreadsheet is no way to accomplish the goal of placing pets into loving homes.
Having joined a local rescue group as a volunteer, one of the first things I noticed was a wish list item on their web page for some kind of database to be able to maintain everyone’s email addresses.
I knew I could build one, but assumed there must be something already available “out there” and figured I could just help them select the right solution, do the install and set up and make sure it was all running smoothly.
“Surely” I thought, “There must be a variety of options to choose from.”
Here’s what I found: There are some software programs out there that *could* be used, but they’re really made for related markets like groomers and kennels and are priced way beyond what rescue groups can afford, especially taking into account the fact that they run completely on donations.
One program we found is actually designed for multiple city shelters that need to share data between facilities, and costs $10k. Another has its features available for purchase module by module (which costs about $1,400 each), and looks like it was designed over a decade ago - with busy feature-packed screens designed with every pastel shade available.
Another program actually has several versions of its software, with the lower-end one billed as “specifically for rescue groups”. However, it doesn’t do a fraction of what a group needs it to do and if you work your way up through their versions to one that has a reasonable feature set, yep, you guessed it – it’s out of everyone’s price range.
I Can Do This
Having exhausted all the possible available solutions, I decided to create one myself from the ground up; one that possesses a clean and simple interface, uses top notch technology, is designed specifically for rescue groups by rescue group personnel. < cue the angelic chorus>
And It’s Good for What Exactly?
Our software will accomplish this in several ways. A lost and found feature will help connect owners with misplaced pets. An adoption search will allow people to find the perfect pet, and if not currently available, a wish list capability will notify them when one is available. Another great feature is an adopter search that will find possible homes for special needs pets, a typically difficult group to place.
Other features include being able to track and schedule medical appointments, procedures and medications as well as adoption follow-up interviews. Customizable checklists, event creation and management (such as large adoption events, fund raisers, etc.) and many more features too numerous to mention, all supported by instant email notifications.
On the back-end will be a reporting component to slice and dice data any way needed. Aside from tracking their efforts, the reports will help the group apply for a wide range of grants and other funding options available from various government agencies and the private sector, all of which require documentation detailing placements numbers and other important information showing how successful a rescue group is.
What We Need
We are working on the complete feature set, have laid out a few initial database tables, set up a computer for development, loaded some of the tools we’ll need, and have signed up a couple local rescue groups to beta test for us once we reach that point.
BUT this isn’t a 99 cent phone game and large scale software application development takes time and over that period ongoing and additional resources are going to be needed…
* Additional computers for development and testing
* Software tools for both enhancements and additional features
* Ongoing web site design, maintenance and enhancement
* A database server for use in hosting rescue group data
* Internet access upgrade to facilitate hosting performance
* Some degree of compensation for the primary developers
Eventually we plan to port the software to additional computer platforms such as Macintosh and Linux/Unix, and eventually all flavors of both smart phones and tablets – if we blow the doors off of our funding goal we’ll be good to go, otherwise that might be a phase II sometime in the future.
Help Those Who Depend On Us
We’re dedicated to helping as many pets find loving homes as possible by maximizing the efforts of rescue groups world wide – will you help us help them?
Visit our fledgling web site www.petrescuesoftware.com. At the time of this writing it’s just a gleam in my eye but as the software evolves we’ll be adding content such as feature details and screen shots.