The Petfinder Story

The Idea
Betsy and Jared Saul came up with the idea that became Petfinder on the way to dinner on New Year’s Eve 1995. They’d been talking about who could benefit from a cool new thing called the World Wide Web. They both loved animals and wanted to help them. What about a website to connect shelter pets with adopters?

The Goal
Betsy and Jared made it their New Year’s resolution to build that website. It might not make a huge difference, they thought, but they decided that if they saved the life of one homeless pet per month, all the work would be worthwhile.

Betsy Saul and Jared SaulThe Early Days
Each evening after work, Betsy called shelters and rescue groups in and around New Jersey and asked them to try this new idea. Meanwhile, Jared, then a medical student, built the website. Groups who signed up faxed info about their adoptable pets to Betsy and Jared (right, in 2003), who added them to the site. The site officially launched in early 1996, with great success.

Going National
In 1998, in response to requests from shelters and rescue groups across the country, Petfinder went national, and in 2000, added Canadian groups. Betsy sought corporate sponsorship so the site could remain free for adoption groups and visitors.

Petfinder’s Impact

Since 1996, Petfinder has:

  • Helped more than 17 million pets find homes
  • Become the world’s No. 1 pet site
  • Grown to list pets from more than 13,000 shelters and rescue groups across North America
  • Remained free to both adoption groups and the public
  • Created the Petfinder.com Foundation in 2003, which has donated more than $10 million to shelters and rescue groups
  • Been responsible for 80-100% of all adoptions for about a quarter of the groups who post their pets on Petfinder
  • Been featured in TIME, USA Today, Parade and Family Circle and on The Today Show, Ellen, Oprah and The Early Show, among many other media outlets
  • Launched an iPhone app that was named one of TIME’s top 10 iPhone apps of 2010

Learn more in our 2010 Annual Report

Petfinder’s Past Looks!

Petfinder’s homepage in 1998:

Petfinder.com 1998

And in 2006:

Petfinder.com 2006