Help A Paw is a startup out of Bulgaria that is seeking to solve a local problem with an eye for reaching communities facing the same issue globally: helping stray animals.
Help A Paw is an app developed by a concerned software developer that wants to help stray dogs and cats found in his home city. The app seeks to give ordinary citizens the ability to alert others about wounded and lost animals so that those animals can get the help they need. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Help A Paw was founded by Milen Marinov, a Bulgarian animal lover, after being introduced to an online community where people actively seek to help injured and abused stray animals in his home country. He noticed that people would come to the forum after seeing an injured animal asking for someone nearby to help, and that gave him an idea.
Thus the app was born, with the primary capability being that the app accesses the user’s geolocation to send a targeted “signal” (push notification) to other users in the area as a call for help. This allows users to quickly inform those nearby of the animal in need of help, making it more likely that a user in the area that is capable of assisting will get the message in time to respond.
Help A Paw is an open-source, free project that Milen built initially as an iOS app for his bachelor’s thesis. After winning a prize for the app, he was able to parlay the reward into the Android version of the app. Help A Paw was built upon and continues to rely on Backendless for its backend architecture. In particular, according to the founder, Help A Paw relies heavily on Backendless’ geolocation services and user management system to ensure that users’ signals are sent and received at the right place and time.
Help A Paw also takes advantage of Backendless’ real-time database capabilities with their commenting system, allowing their users to communicate in real-time as they work to help the animals in need.
Help A Paw is currently developing version 2.0 of their app, but they are in need of developer assistance to help make it happen. If you are an Android developer or beta tester looking to help out a worthy cause, please visit the Help A Paw website or Facebook page to contact Milen and his team (the founder speaks English, so communication should not be a concern). You can also see what the team is building by visiting the Help A Paw github.