A new app for your smartphone has the potential to help tricky parents pull the wool over kids’ eyes by replacing dead pets with lookalikes.

The app, called PetMatch, has been developed by the folks at Superfish, who might have watched Pet Sematary a few too many times when they were kids.

The app isn’t available in Australia yet (at this early stage, a rudimentary version of the app is available only in select American cities), but here’s how it will work.

Imagine your dog gets run over by a car while your kids are at school. It’s a terrible situation, but you’ll now have two choices:

  1. Tell the kids the truth when they get home. This will make them terribly upset and ruin the rest of your week, but will ultimately teach them a valuable lesson about the nature of life and death that they will never forget, and will help them cope with any future tragedies that befall them. OR…
  2. You could upload a picture of your pet to the PetMatch app, which will provide you with a list of near-identical matches ready to be picked up from nearby shelters or pet adoption agencies. One quick trip to the RSPCA later, and — assuming there’s a match — you’ve got a new dog that will look so uncannily similar to your old one that you just might be able to get away with not telling your kids what happened, saving you a lot of drama and leaving your kids unprepared for the harsh realities of life.

“Our vision is that visual search will allow people to use any picture as a starting point in their search to find exactly what they are looking for — in real time,” says Adi Pinhas, Superfish CEO. “We wanted to help speed up the pet adoption process, cutting through the clutter of information on the web, and ultimately make the experience more efficient and more fun.”

Of course, replacing deceased pets isn’t the only potential application of PetMatch, even if it has been the most widely reported one. There is another, much less morbid, use for it — next time you’re scrolling through Instagram or watching Bondi Vet, you could use the app to help you find a new furever friend that looks exactly like the one that caught your eye and made you say ‘aawwww’.

Would you use an app like PetMatch? Let us know in the comments below!