This is not an excuse to post photos of puppies.
I’m on the record noting, paraphrasing here, that it is hard to live in the South End without a puppy, a baby or bike shorts. For single, working professionals, not all of those things are possible. Bike shorts don’t offer much companionship and single parenthood is terrifying, so the best option – which is pretty obvious when it comes to the myriad dog-and-owner pairings along Columbus Ave each evening – is to get a dog.
Still, it’s challenging, especially with a young pup and/or a demanding, in-office schedule. Rushing home after work, the midday sprint during lunch if you can pull it off, can be taxing on the schedule. Walkers are expensive, but dogs require attention and, while they more than make up for it by being awesome, still create a burden.
Problem identified, and now, with the help of a few investors, perhaps a business opportunity has arisen: the South End Puppy Share. Let’s call it Pupway.
What if you could borrow a puppy for an evening walk on a nice day? Boston is such a dog friendly town – whether it is the many dog parks littered (<—unintentional pun) across the South End and Beacon Hill or the swarms of dogs frolicking in the Common. It’d be nice to mingle with like-minded dog lovers, wouldn’t it? Without the hassles?
When first originally mapping out the idea, I thought it could be more like a bike share, hence the misleading name. However, there isn’t enough reliability or care for pups without the consistency of something. They’d just be passed around and you wouldn’t want to do that to the little guys.
So, from a business model stand point here, let’s take people who could use an extra hand in puppy policing and put a puppy in the hands of people who are willing to pitch in. The idea would be much closer to Airbnb – people with puppies who know they need taken care of but are willing to work directly with an individual and, instead of begging for favors, perhaps picking up some extra cash.
We’d be looking at a model that takes something that usually costs the owner (a dog walker), and putting the exchange the other direction: a fee from the puppy renter to serve as a vote of confidence that you’d be getting someone who cares for the dog. Renters would register with relevant, verified details, including completion of online puppy training courses. Owners would have the right of refusal before giving up their pup.
I think we need to add a mobile app, right? Maybe like Uber, where you can log in, see who has puppies available around you – indicate which size dog you’d like to borrow and see how long one is available. Owners turn on the app when they’re looking for help.
We’re making connections, people! Kickstarter? Investors? You know where to find me. Now, more photos of dogs: