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New App for Dog Owners Helps Find Puppy Pals for Their Pooches

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An Arlington couple is launching an app that allows dog owners to find pet-friendly places and swipe right on puppy pals for their pooches.

Pals is an app for dog owners to connect quickly to discover dog-friendly places,” said co-founder Caroline Carini. “We make it easy for you to find other dogs in your area looking to meet, play, run, walk, swim and so much more.”

She and her partner Zachary Feldman, who have their own story meeting on an app, now live in Ballston. They got the idea in January, started developing the app in April, and registered their company in July.

The couple, who met on a dating app, will be launching their dog app at Oakland Park (3705 Wilson Blvd) near Ballston on Thursday, Sept. 9. They will collect donations for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and there will be dog paraphernalia giveaways from local businesses.

Pals App founders with app renderings (courtesy of Caroline Carini)

She and her boyfriend don’t own dogs now, but both had beloved family dogs growing up. The germ for the idea came from conversations they’ve had about what resources they’d like for their future dogs.

She said the goal of Pals is to turn the moment when dogs “stop and sniff” each other into a conversation where owners find each other on Pals.

“It’s a safe platform to find connections, find dogs you can meet up with, and build relationship with dog owners and dogs,” she said.

Pals also has bandanas for dogs to wear, which Carini said markets the app while reassuring owners meeting up for the first time.

Carini envisions Pals as a one stop shop for people wanting their dogs to socialize with similar dogs in pet-friendly areas, without joining every meetup group or Googling every community event or welcoming spot.

“There’s so much out there now, it’s almost overwhelming,” she said. “The goal would be to have it at your fingertips.”

To get it started, Carini and her partner have added the local dog parks and a few restaurants and bars, but the map will be mostly populated by user submissions.

“Users can add custom locations, if there’s a cool hidden park or spot that’s not technically on Google Maps,” she said.

Since Arlington’s their home, the D.C. area will be the first region for the app — which is lucky given how dog-friendly it is, she said.

Yelp rated Arlington the most dog-friendly place in the nation in 2018, and Arlington had the 10th most dog parks per 100,000 residents in the nation in 2019, according to the Trust for Public Land.

In the future, the couple plans to expand to other cities and launch a” pals plus” subscription, which will give users access to advanced filters for breed size, gender, favorite activities and personality traits.

“If you’re a paid user, the algorithm would provide closer matches to fit your needs,” Carini said.

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