Monday, July 28, 2014
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Get Walking! New App Lets You Take Steps to Help Shelter Animals

With busy schedules and time-crunched family lives, finding the time to volunteer at local shelters and fundraise for animals in need is a tricky balancing act. And unfortunately, not all pet lovers get to help out as much as they would like.

Get Walking! New App Lets You Take Steps to Help Shelter Animals

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Bailey Schroeder, founder of a new pet-centric app called ResQwalk, is setting out to make animal rescue a simple part of people’s everyday lives. (iStock)
Bailey Schroeder, founder of a new pet-centric app called ResQwalk, is setting out to make animal rescue a simple part of people’s everyday lives. (iStock)

With busy schedules and time-crunched family lives, finding the time to volunteer at local shelters and fundraise for animals in need is a tricky balancing act. And unfortunately, not all pet lovers get to help out as much as they would like. But Bailey Schroeder, founder of a new pet-centric app called ResQwalk, is setting out to make animal rescue a simple part of people’s everyday lives.

“Walking - whether you have a pet or you don’t have a pet - is something we all do,” says Schroeder. “We wanted to make something that was really easy and free, that gave people an opportunity to tie rescuing animals into their daily activities.”

Schroeder, a New York City resident who previously worked in the private banking industry for Barclays, entered the world of animal rescue four years ago after fate brought her and her dog Charlie together. Schroeder adopted Charlie from a city shelter, and admits that she didn’t know much about the shelter system at the time. It prompted her to start ResQthreads, an online clothing and apparel store that donates proceeds from sales to animal rescue organizations. She’s been active in promoting adoption and supporting shelters ever since.

“Adopting Charlie opened my eyes to that world,” says Schroeder. “They are primarily run by volunteers. People give up their weekends. And so many of these shelters don’t get much funding.”

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Schroeder’s new brainchild, ResQwalk, is a mobile app that launched in the Apple store on June 26. In the first few weeks, the app already has more than 7,000 downloads.

So, how does it work? Each week, ResQwalk announces a new donation pool that is available for shelters across the country. Users sign into the app, select their shelter or rescue of choice, and begin walking in support of that rescue. The app uses GPS to track your distance and records it into the ResQwalk system. At the end of the week, the donation pool is divided up and distributed to shelters in proportion to how many miles were walked in support of each organization.

Initial donation pools are being funded by money raised through an Indiegogo campaign, but Schroeder explains that the goal is to get major pet companies on board for corporate sponsorships. “We’ve been speaking to some of the larger pet companies about sponsoring the app, and there has been a lot of interest,” says Schroeder. “But they want to see that people actually want to walk.”

Judging by the activity so far, getting people to start stepping shouldn’t be a problem. Users of the app have already logged 11,000 miles in support of animal rescues. Over 600 groups have signed up as beneficiaries, and ResQwalk is providing shelters with marketing materials so that they can encourage local residents to walk on their behalves. Most people, says Schroeder, appreciate the local angle and are walking in support of organizations within their own communities.

Schroder hopes the app will also provide people with slightly more motivation to get up off the couch and get active. “I think that the individual fitness element is really there,” she says. “You’ll maybe think about walking to the store instead of driving because that effort is not only benefiting you, but it’s benefiting the rescues too.”

A year from now, Schroeder’s goal is to have most of the 13,000 rescue organizations in the country signed up as partners and she would love to see hundreds of thousands of people using the app on a regular basis as a way to help support animals in need.

“I think one of the best things about ResQWalk is that it is so easy,” says Schroder. “It’s just a way to add giving to your everyday routine, and I think that’s going to be very appealing to people.”

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Welcome to the philly.com pets blog, where you'll find everything from training tips and tricks, to the latest news on animal shelters and pet events.

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