Introducing The Social Network For Dogs
Philip Ellison 04 December, 2015
Forget peer-to-peer; the on demand economy is going paw-to-paw. In news that will delight office workers everywhere, Uber now delivers puppies to workplaces for fifteen minute playtimes. After its pre-Super Bowl puppy pilot project back in January was a huge success, the company has teamed up with animal shelters to create #UberPUPPIES Zones in cities across the United States, in an attempt to encourage adoptions.
So, there’s NO existing service that rents puppies to people with hangovers? America, you have failed me.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) March 3, 2014
Over the last few years, new innovators have changed the way we shop, date and travel — is the world of animal lovers next to be disrupted?
Liam Berkeley is the founder of Bark’n’Borrow, an app that matches dog lovers with canine pals they can play with in their area. Having grown up around dogs, Liam found himself living in an apartment where no pets were allowed, with a lifestyle that wasn’t conducive to pet ownership. “I thought, this is unfair that there’s no medium between not owning a dog and committing to one for the next 16 years of your life,” he says. “And why do dog owners pay someone to look after their dog when there are people like myself who would love to do it and not expect to get paid?”
Of course, most dog owners would probably be reluctant at first to hand over their furry little pride and joy to a complete stranger, but services like Bark’n’Borrow and BorrowMyDoggy properly vet everyone who registers. (Pun intended.)
Man’s best friend gets social
Cory Turner is another entrepreneur who grew up with a love of dogs; her mother Jane was president of a local rescue, and would write and illustrate books about their family’s dog. When her book The Dog Who Went To Main Street was published, the family found that people would approach them with tales of their own; “Everyone always has amazing stories to share about their dogs.” And now we are living in a time where showing people picture of your dog online can result in your pooch becoming a social media phenomenon, as instadogs like Marnie, Minnie & Max and Menswear Dog can attest.
“Dogs are becoming the new celebrities,” says Cory. “They have millions of followers, and people trust them. It’s not like if a celebrity is selling a product.” These doggy accounts, most of which started out as just amateur photographers and their pets, have morphed into media brands. “They have agents, book deals, apparel… On the flipside, there are these volunteer-run shelters trying to save dogs with very little time or resources.” Cory and Jane wanted to find a way to combine this love of storytelling with a way to do good, and so together they founded Dogly.
It works simply enough; you download the app and share images and stories with the Dogly community. When another member loves one of your photos (it’s all about the loves, not likes) that counts as a donation towards your chosen shelter. The more creative your content, the more loves you get, and the more good you do. Shelters also use Dogly to post updates on adoptable dogs, and the shelter with the most loves at the end of the month receives a $1,000 donation.
And now the celebrity dog accounts are getting in on the action, using their high profile to boost Dogly campaigns and promote adoptable dogs on their pages. “They want to stand for something now, just like regular brands,” says Cory. One campaign, #TongueOutSpeakOut, reached 10 million people in just two days, thanks to the help of these doggy influencers. “We’re creating a new social currency, which is social good,” she says. “You’re still getting recognition for your great photos, but you’re also raising awareness.”
Dogly is coming to the end of its first year, and so far the response has been fantastic. “People love having a reason to be creative,” says Cory. “They were already putting so much time and effort into these photos, now they’re doing it for a cause.” In 2016, Cory and Jane are keen to grow the network further, and become a “connector for all things dog.”