Alternating custody for pets

I want to solve the problems related to the alternate custody of pets (animal troubles, organization for masters, etc)

Photo of Pauline Charnal
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible
  • Yes, I’m 18 years old or older

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Pauline Charnal

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • France

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?


Focus Areas

  • Fostering emotional intelligence and behavioural competences

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €50k - €100k

Organisation Type

  • hybrid: a combination of different types of organisations, such as a social enterprise (an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being)

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

This project is my graduation project. I am currently working on it. I wanted to work on pets. While chatting with my classmates, I realized that many separated couples practice alternate custody with their cat or dog. By becoming interested in this phenomenon, I discovered that this practice is more and more frequent. I asked myself how the masters handled this situation. People are so attached to their pet that they don't want to leave their pet with the other during a separation. Neither do they see themselves deprived of the other to see the animal (the animal has more and more the status of the child in our society). So they do the alternate custody with their pet.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I want to solve different problems during the alternate custody process: - I want to limit the psychological consequences that alternate custody can have on the animal's well-being - I want to solve organizational problems linked to alternating care between two "homes" (transport + change of habitat) - Communication problems between the separate couple

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I am a product designer so I plan to make an object or a service that meets the needs of the animal and its owners. There is three time in the project - phase 1 : validation of the context, (approuved by teachers in novembrer 2019) - phase 2 : creativity and research of concepts (I am currently in this phase) - phase 3 : developpement (in march) This can take a lot of form at this stage of the project. I focus on the cat because it is the animal that encounters the most difficulties in changing the environment (compared to the dog) I have several ideas. - an object that keeps cat odors during transport - an alternate animal care application including planning, virtual health book, list of necessary product to go with, etc. - nomadic housing - a "suitcase" that can take suddenly between the two homes (accessories, cat, litter, etc.) - a transport case who can "relax" the animal during transport This list is not finished, I am currently looking for new ideas for the moment. But I will choose one idea in March who will respond in the better way to the alternate custody of pets.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

- I'm inspired by alternate child custody to find solutions to problems - I study the problems of products which already exist. And what is missing on the market - I interact with my users and animal health professionals (animal behaviorist, veterinary) to have their opinion on the concepts which I find (I show them drawings of the ideas) - I want to test my product with people who do alternating care with their animal (I know about 25 people who do alternante custody with pets) - As a designer, I do creativity session with other designers to find concepts, I draw my ideas and make models

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

- First, Supporting alternate custody can be a way to limit pets abandonment. - Then, doing animal alternating custody with your ex companion is also a way to experience separation more gently (the animal is a landmark in times of crisis) - Even if today the animal has more and more the status of a child, I want to show that it does not have the same needs as humans and that it is important to take care of animal wellbeing

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

There are no figures on the number of separated couples who practice animal alternate custody. Being a student, I do not have the resources to do this kind of study on a large scale. I therefore base myself on the people with whom I have been able to interact (25 persons) and the number of articles in the press that deal with this subject of society.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

It's a reflection in progress

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

It's a reflection in progress

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Maybe Kickstarter It's a reflection in progress

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

I surround myself with animal behaviorists, who are consultants I would need advice from technical experts (product realization) and marketing

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

I would launch my line of pet products

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others


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