Uber for Dog Walkers? That’s Wag!

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“Think Uber for dog walkers.” That’s how the New York Times describes Wag!, a new dog-walking app, and God love them for it.

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How a “Uber for dog walkers” works is actually pretty straightforward. You need someone to walk your dog. You fire up Wag!, which displays all sorts of dog walkers in your area just waiting to walk your dog. You browse through their photos, videos, and personal statements, secure in the knowledge that Wag has already given these eager dog walkers the once-over.

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According to the Times, “Wag! walkers go through a long application process, with preference given to people who have prior professional experience with dogs. Applicants also undergo background checks, online tests, and rigorous training on a myriad what ifs specific to dog walking.” You must also install a lockbox provided by Wag! so walkers can gain access to your dog.

So, good enough. You pick your walker, and then notice the fees. For a half-hour walk: $20. Sure, if you’re stuck in a team-building exercise involving snow cones and Bobby Flay at your Google workplace, then that price point ain’t gonna hurt. But still: That’s nearly a dollar a minute.

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And yet: Wag! offers GPS, so you can actually watch the route of your dog walking in real time, at least if you live in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Manhattan, or Brooklyn, currently the cities Wag! operates in.

“I could see on the GPS map when they stopped near a large redwood tree,” writes Jennifer Jolly of the Times, who tried out the service, “and a few minutes later passed a small wooded path that is one of Sebastian’s favorite routes, about half a mile away.”

However, she had borrowed a dog for her assignment: Her neighbor’s eight-year-old Dachshund, Sebastian. But that’s OK. Sebastian got a nice walk out of it.

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As the dog dog-walking business is estimated at $900 million a year, according to the Times, we expect “Uber for dog walkers” services to catch on, especially when they can offer personalized services.

As Jolly writes, “Sebastian’s stop near the redwood tree? My borrowed Dachshund had run into his Basset Hound buddy from a few houses away, and my follow-up report included a photo of the canine reunion, a personal touch certain to delight owners interested in how their pets are spending the day.”

Via the New York Times; photos via the Wag! Facebook page.

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