Tail Talk

A mobile application that allows pet owners to digitally commemorate their pets and connect with others on pet loss grief.


Product Experience

Problem Space 

Problem Statement  

Pet owners who are dealing with pet grief need a way to digitally commemorate their pet and connect with others because pet grief can be isolating, stressful, confusing and painful. 

Problem Background  

For pet owners, it is inevitable that at some point in their lives they will eventually lose their pet. Whether the loss is due to death, the pet has escaped, the pet was lost in a breakup or divorce, or the pet had to be given up due to challenging circumstances, the grief that comes with it can have a significant impact on mental health. 

According to an article by Forbes Advisor, “66% of U.S. households (86.9 million homes) own a pet” in 2023 and additionally, research from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that “23 million American households” added a pet dog or cat during the pandemic. Pets become a significant part of our lives, with many pet owners, considering them a part of the family or their main companion. Pets provide unconditional love and can even serve as emotional support animals and service animals, which can often lead to those strong attachments. 

Furthermore, what exacerbates the feelings of grief is that pets are only in our lives for a limited time. The American Kennel Club reported that healthy dogs can live anywhere between “8 - 15 years” depending on the size and breed of the dog. Meanwhile, PetMD reports that healthy cats can live between “13 - 17 years, or in some instances up to 20 years”. No pet owner is ever truly ready to lose a pet, but any reason other than old age can add to the trauma of losing a pet. Market research from the Death Care Industry reveals that “there are more than 34 million pet cats and dogs passing away globally every year.” 

While conducting my own research through a survey and user interviews, 62.5% or 5 out of 8 pet owners said they felt depression when they lost their pet(s). To validate this issue, a “2019 study examined the grief timeline in 82 people who lost a pet. About 25% experienced intense grief for 3 to 12 months, 50% for 12 to 19 months, and 25% for 12 to 24 months.” 

Though 75% of my research group felt comfortable sharing with others, some participants did describe concerns of oversharing or not feeling understood if they posted on their social media too frequently. It was important that they kept photos of the pet, mainly digitally to be able to commemorate their pet’s memory. Additionally, a research conducted in 2013 found that memorials and memories among other things were identified as helpful coping mechanisms by “continuing levels of attachment and reducing the intensity of grief”. 

Currently, similar existing solutions on the market are websites that do not offer mobile apps, have outdated user interface designs, and only target users who have lost pets through death. There is one iOS app available, but the user interface is not very intuitive and does not offer a dedicated, customizable remembrance page. Tail Talk will be a comprehensive app of essential criteria for pet grief healing, will have a modern user interface design, and an intuitive user experience design.

Research Insights

User Pain Points

In a group of 8 participants I studied, 6 were survey participants and two were user interviews. Through qualitative and quantitative research, I found common pain points amongst the participants were the following:

  • Feeling alone as they grieved 
  • Concerned about oversharing on social media 
  • Concerned about others not relating to or understanding their situation 

Further online research based on Facebook and Reddit groups of 3k - 4 million users on this topic revealed that many pet owners going through pet grief felt the need to reach out to support groups because while experiencing regret, shame, and guilt from euthanizing a pet, they also didn’t have anyone in the social group to validate their experience. Another group of online users also found that they were having a difficult time coping with feelings of grief and needed validation if the symptoms of grief were actually normal. 

Supporting Data

62.5% of participants reported feeling both alone and depressed while grieving their pet. Though 62.5% of participants also responded that they shared with family and friends to feel connection to others who have also lost a pet, 50% of those same participants reported feeling concerned about oversharing with their social group. They felt that either the extended social group would not be as supportive because they could not relate to pet loss or were concerned that they would start to annoy them by sharing too much about a topic that they didn’t understand. 


Based on the preliminary research of 8 participants I surveyed and interviewed along with broader user groups online, I discovered that the main pain points were coping with feelings of grief alone and wanting to feel support and validation through their grief. They also iterated how important it is for them to keep digital photos of their pets as part of the grief and healing process as they grieved and all of the participants shared that they would offer support to anyone going through pet loss.

Landing on the Solution

It was essential to provide a solution that addressed targeted users’ pain points by helping to reduce feelings of grief and provide positive feelings of nostalgic remembrance. The proposed solution is to have a safe environment that is intuitive to use. 

Explanation of Solution

Tail Talk is a mobile application that allows users to remember their pets through their own digital wall of memories. They can also connect with invited guests or other pet owners to help one another cope with loss. This solution address user pain points on pet loss grief through the following:

  1. The app would feature the ability for users to upload pet photos and videos to post on their dedicated profile page.
  2. Users can fill out questions to write about their pet’s details and other special memories to remember their pets on their own dedicated profile page.
  3. The users can create posts on their own profile page and interact with invited guests. Guests can also leave posts and comments on the grieving pet parent’s profile. 
  4.  A community support discussion forum would provide users with a way to receive support and validation that they may not be receiving from family and friends. Users would also be able to message one another. 
  5. Another feature would be an optional mood tracker that logs the user's feelings once a day so that the user can see the progress of their grief and healing journey.  


Future Steps

I plan to collaborate with a team of developers and a product designer to bring this idea to fruition. The mockups are simply that, so I’m excited to see how the product designer can create a beautiful interface design that is modern and easy to use for any user across various ages. I anticipate that features may need to be revised and improved based on time constraints and user feedback.

In the far future, I would love to enhance the experience with screen changes, animations, stickers, profile layout templates, and even have therapy groups. In considering how the app will sustain itself, monetization efforts will be centered around introducing premium features such as the therapy groups and customizable profile layout templates.



Product Manager Learnings:

Natally Vinaja

Co.Lab taught me so much about understanding users’ core problems before ideating solutions. My favorite lesson was learning about “Jobs To Be Done”. It was so helpful to learn that jobs can be functional, circumstantial and emotional (either personal or social) and the specific job characteristics that each job entailed. It helped me realize that my product idea’s job was emotional as the job characteristics were to help users seek validation, feel safe and ease emotional pain. In addition, thinking about if our product idea is a painkiller or vitamin also further helped me understand the purpose for my product idea which is to serve as a painkiller to aid with feelings of grief. 

From our mentor, I learned how important it is to not let your biases affect your questioning in your user research even when you know that a certain outcome is very common among the general population. It’s important to not ask questions that assume specific actions a user might take, but instead ask open ended questions to reveal the users’ train of thought organically. I also learned from our mentor that it’s ideal to conduct user interviews first and take those learnings to help guide how you structure your survey. I look forward to continuing my journey with Co. Lab’s bootcamp.

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:


Full Team Learning