A Phone App That’s a Real Lifesaver for Dogs and Their People

In February 2010, a two-year-oldJack Russell-Basenji mix named Dax, adopted from the Los Angeles County shelter system,took advantage of an opening in his back yard...


In February 2010, a two-year-oldJack Russell-Basenji mix named Dax, adopted from the Los Angeles County shelter system,took advantage of an opening in his back yard to explore the territory ahead.

Happily, Dax wasfound about 90 minutes later,safe and sound, calmly investigating the areaabout a mile away from his own West Hollywood home. “It seemed like 100 years of my life,” says his owner, Holger Laufenberg. But rather than rest on his incrediblygood fortune, Holger developed an idea to help bring peace of mind to other dog owners in similar situations. That ideanow takes the form of an app for iPhone andiPad that’s a real lifesaver for lost dogs and the panicked people theyleave behind.

When Dax went missing, Holger was at the movies.The momenthe got the call thathisdogwas lost, Holger did what any Dogster would do: He immediately started driving around, searching all the side streets inhis neighborhood, on the phone the entire time, frantically Googling and calling local shelters and rescue organizations andvets. Over and over again, he described his lost dog and gave his contact information, until he thought his heart would break.

Later,after Dax was home safe and his own blood pressure was back to normal, Holger wondered: What if a phone app could help other dog lovers in the same situation? So he reached out to his friends Arie and Jane Kopleman, who runan animal shelter in upstate New York. And together, they developed “My Dog,” the app that Holger wished he’d had the day Dax took himself on an unescortedtour of their hood.

“My Dog” launched 6 weeks ago and already dog lovers wonder how theyever got alongwithout it. And no wonder: It was designed by real dogpeople who really get it.

Holger thought of what would have simplified the search for Dax, and left no hydrant unsniffed. “What if I’d had everything with me: His photo, complete description, microchip ID … what about dogs that need certain medications, or have food allergies? Wouldn’t it be great to have a real profile of your dog, complete with his medical and vaccination records,so you could be able to shareitinstantly by email?”

So the “My Dog” app has all that and more. With itscomprehensive guide to dog-friendly hotels and national directory of pet services, it’s a lifesaver even in non-emergency situations – especially for Dogsters who love to hit the road with four-footed fellow travelers and enjoy the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed,wherever their trips take them.

“Sometimes, on the road, I’ll bring Dax to adaycare center where he can run around with other dogs – and every time theyneed a copy of his vaccination records. With this app, you simply take a picture, attach it to the profile, and email it to the daycare center.”

Talk about convenient. Not surprisingly, “We’re getting greatuser comments from people that have downloaded it, and really great response from the professional community andpeople who put their dogs in daycare and overnight boarding,” Holger says.

Any great lost-and-found stories like the one that started it all? “No lifesaving stories – yet,” he says. Hey, no news is good news! Butbecause Dax was adopted, the “My Dog” app he inspired tips its hat to rescue pets. “In our directory we list everything from pet photographers to dog parks to pet cemetery services,” Holger adds. “Theonly thing we don’t list is breeders. I havenothing against responsiblepet breeders, but they don’t need us to promote them. So we only list rescue organizations.”

Plus, the app’s creatorspromise to donatefifteen percentof net revenues to local shelters and national animal welfare organizations.

That’sa Dogsterkind of phone app! To learn more, go here.

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