Screengrab from ResQWalk

With millions of pets waiting in shelters and rescues for their forever homes, it can be overwhelming for an average pet lover to find ways to lend a hand. Now a variety of cool apps (software designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices) help anyone who cares about animals make an impact on the plight of homeless pets. Here are several of our favorites.


Imagine if every time you take your dog for a stroll or you power walk around the park, you raise money for rescues and shelters. It’s a reality with ResQwalk, a new app that combines fitness with philanthropy.

After just three months in the app store, ResQwalk has tracked more than 175,000 miles and donated more than $30,000 to rescues and shelters. Here’s how it works: Download the app and check in before your walk. Choose your favorite rescue or shelter from more than 775 groups (and growing). Start walking and, for each mile you hoof, you earn money for the group you chose.

Every week, ResQwalk announces a donation pool amount, which is distributed among the favorite rescues and shelters designated by app users. Currently, the donations are made from the proceeds of a successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Soon, however, ResQwalk will make donations from sponsorship dollars and in-app product sales.

And if you don’t have a favorite shelter, that’s OK! Just log in and start walking, and your steps will earn dollars for the organizations already in the mix to earn money from that week’s donation pool. Best of all, donations are paid to rescues and shelters weekly, so your hard work benefits homeless pets right away.

In addition to raising money for pets in need, ResQwalk offers news and shopping sections, both of which also trigger donations. Plus, ResQwalk users can earn rewards for miles or kilometers walked.  

Platforms: iPhone and iPad; Android coming soon  
Cost: Free
More info:

Pose a Pet

Pose a Pet is a nifty little photo app designed to take the perfect pictures of adoptable pets. Shelters and rescues agree that homeless pets with good-quality photos have an easier time finding forever homes.

Through better, more engaging photography, Pose a Pet aims to help animal welfare organizations increase the number of pets they match with loving families. Created by a pet photographer who has taken more than 3,000 photos of adoptable pets, Pose a Pet creates the type of images that help get pets adopted and make a dent in the homeless pet problem.

Pets are easily distracted, especially in a shelter setting, so the app emits a series of noises, such as whistles, squeaks, toots, doorbell rings and more, to grab the pet’s attention so you can capture an alert, engaged pic. Once you have the shot, you can put the photo into a digital animal rescue flyer template with pertinent information, along with a cute headline, that can easily be shared across social platforms.

And through a shared Dropbox function, volunteers and workers can take photos of pets and drop them into a shared folder, and then managers can aggregate photos of pets in their care for uploading to various sites all at one time, adding to shelter efficiency.

The basic version is free, but the upgraded version includes more sounds and customizable flyers. And you can feel good about buying this app, because 50 percent of upgrade sales is donated to animal advocacy groups, shelters and rescues.

Cost: Free for basic version; upgrade is $2.99
Platforms: iPhone and Android

Screenshot of BarkBuddy App

More info:


BarkBuddy offers users an easy way to find a new best friend at a local animal shelter or rescue. Simply download the app and select criteria for the type of pup you’re looking to adopt in your area.

As BarkBuddy delivers matches, you can designate the ones that catch your eye with just a swipe of your fingertip; BarkBuddy collects and aggregates your preferences. After a while, the app serves up more specific photos and profiles of adoptable dogs in your area based on your previous selections.

If you feel an undeniable connection with a particular dog (we all know how that happens!), you can contact the shelter or rescue where the dog is located directly through the app to set up a time to meet your future BFF.

Pulling adoptable dogs from adoption powerhouse, BarkBuddy also has a network of shelters and rescues that feed their adoptable pet databases directly to the app. You can save pets to your favorites and share adoptable cuties online via all your social networks.

Even if you aren’t looking for a pet of your own, it’s a great way for dedicated pet lovers to help their local shelters or rescues promote the dogs they have available for adoption.

This concept may sound familiar to those who have used the popular dating app Tinder. It’s definitely similar, but no fleeting romances here — the relationships you find on BarkBuddy are meant to be long-term, committed ones.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iPhone and iPad
More info:

Whether you’re looking for a pal of your own or simply want to help animal shelters find homes for more pets, look no further than the app store. Helping pets has never been easier.