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Pets join social networking with owners

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012
Pets ROD
PET LOVERS: Ralph Grand, left, and Mack Saraswat juggle studies and business.

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Pets now have their own social website.

Long hours spent working together in the Massey University's Albany labs by two animal-loving PhD students is behind a new online pet business aimed at getting pets and their owners their own social network.

Mack Saraswat is studying biochemistry and Ralph Grand genetics. But the two came up with what amounts to a "What's On" in the neighbourhood for your pet of choice from long hours spent working together.

"We were just talking and discovered we both loved animals," Mr Saraswat says. "I had a pet cat, Ralph has a pet cat, and we wanted to create something that would connect people through their pets."

The website is both a social network and a comprehensive database of services, including council-approved dog parks, veterinary clinics and pet stores throughout New Zealand. Pet-friendly cafes and hotels, as well as breeders, and health and fitness services will be included next.

Pet owners can chat to like-minded owners in the neighbourhood and even meet up.

Mr Saraswat says that part of the site's attraction for users is the possibility "you can find a date for your dog, and potentially for yourself".

Their data analysis skills have been extremely handy while developing the Petsnearby website, Mr Saraswat says.

"We're used to dealing with a lot of statistics and we have a physicist on the team who can come up with cool algorithms. As a group we like to meet, throw ideas around, and solve them mathematically," he says.

"New Zealand has the largest per capita pet ownership rate in the world, and people spend an enormous amount on toys, food, health and grooming." Go to petsnearby.com for information.

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