Dog Walker 'Poop App' Texts Owners Every Time Pups Go

By Meredith Hoffman on November 29, 2012 6:47am 

BROOKLYN — Dedicated dog owners clamoring to stay connected to their pooches' every move have yet another tech tactic to keep tabs on their pets — getting a text message whenever their pups poop.

The GPS-tracking dog-walking business Swifto said it got so many requests from owners who wanted real-time updates on fido's bowel movements that the company decided to introduce the text-alert system earlier this month.

"We conducted market research, and this is something everybody wanted to know," said Ceilidh McGrath, Swifto's marketing director. "It's a huge selling point for us...it's been implemented in the last few weeks."

The nine-month-old company, whose website already featured maps of where and when dogs walked and used the bathroom, found in its surveys that people often lacked time to check the information online, McGrath said. 

So Swifto added text and email updates to the mix.

"A lot of dog owners track anxiety through poop...it's something people care about," McGrath explained. "And now we're emailing photos and the map...and they get a text alert when the walk starts and ends."

The vigilant tracking is the product of a special Swifto app that all employees use on their smartphones, McGrath said of the company, which employs about 100 walkers throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. 

"The app has a 'poop' button, so the automated text goes to the owner...and it also has a 'play' button so the owner can know when they [the pets] have socialized," said McGrath, 26, a native of Australia who first joined Swifto as a dog walker last spring.

"We keep trying to improve the system not just for the owner but for the walker," she said of the app. "You can see all the information about the vet, the dog's age and information about feedings."

McGrath said the company's rates are comparable to other services in the city. An individual walk costs $25 for 30 minutes, but the price decreases to $16 with the cheapest package deal, she explained.

For all its technological prowess, Swifto focuses on the personal side of dog walking, said McGrath, who is also designated as the company's "minister of fun."

"We're not an agency," she said, praising all the social activities the start-up has conducted. "We know all our walkers personally through fun events." 

And yes, she added, the company is hiring.

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