Purina x Mashable

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Recently, pet supply mogul Purina, along with the brilliant folks at Mashable, hosted the #TailsAndRails event at The Soho Grand in NYC.

Q: What’s #TailsAndRails?
A: Something, like, totally PAWSome! (Shut up. It’s funny.)

Seven teams of computer wizards put their thinking caps on, and worked to impress a group of four esteemed judges, including Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of Mashable, Gordan Wade, the Director of Marketing at Purina, Ginnie Seigel, the Senior Manager at Petcentric, and Brian Morrissey, the Editor in Chief at Digiday.

The teams were charged with creating their own app designed to appeal to pet lovers and owners alike.

Why was this a brilliant choice for both Purina and Mashable? Well, duh, we’re living in a digital age, and, double duh, people love pets. For example, Apple announced that in March 2012 there had been 25 billion (yes, BILLION) app downloads in that one month alone. Then, add to that, the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey discovered that 62% of U.S. households own a pet. That makes 72.9 millions homes. Put those stats together, and you’ve got a golden retriever opportunity.

The completion was fierce, but three apps came out on top. What were they? See below:

Best Idea Winner: LocalSitter Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 3.59.21 PMAs a dog owner myself, I can’t even begin to describe the awful anxiety that mounts when an owner leaves their pet alone at home. The whining, the pacing, and, of course, the, tinkle accidents. And I’m not talking about the pet. According to designer Cody Reinold,  “the app connects owners to their pets when they can’t be together, whether the animal is with a friend, a pet-sitter or at daycare… From short messages to live photos, LocalSitter keeps you in touch with your pet and gives you peace of mind while you’re away.” Brilliant.

Best Implementation Winner: Ones&Twos
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So, yes, the name is a bit, let’s sayyyy… direct? But the app itself is, again, brilliant. And complex. Essentially, this app, designed by Becky Carella, who coded the app, and colleague Cris Kim, is created to track when, where, and what your dog is doing. You can note when they pee and poo, where they pee and poo, plus when and where they’re napping, eating, and playing. How is this useful? “The data we collect will allow you to gain insights like ‘your dog is 75% more likely to have an accident within 30 minutes after play time’ or ‘your pup loves to go pee at 6 a.m., 4 p.m and 8 p.m., so take him out at those times to avoid accidents,’” says Carella. Another amazing idea, especially for new owners who don’t have much experience with training.

Best Overall Winner: KittyBalls

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Talk about innovation. KittyBalls is an app that allows you to remotely play with cats in shelters around the world. Designed by Philip Reichenberger, Rodrigo Sanchez and Justin Isaf, this app stole the hearts of all the judges, and landed Best Overall.

According to Mashable:

KittyBalls uses an existing webcam that is attached to a computer that has an app connected to a KittyBalls server. This app allows a KittyBall visitor to control the KittyBall and also broadcasts a video stream to the KittyBalls site.

Let us know which, if any of these apps, you would download for yourself, and why!

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