Find a Date for Your Dog Using New Tinder-Style App
By Kiratiana Freelon on July 10, 2014 8:53am
WEST VILLAGE — It's like Tinder for dogs.
A new app designed to help pooches find play dates — and connect their owners as well — just launched this week and has already attracted interest from hundreds of New Yorkers, its founders said.
Called DoggyBnb, the app is mainly designed to help owners find trustworthy people to watch their pets when they go on vacation, said Dan Joldzic, the app's co-founder.
But it also has a "Sniffer" feature that works like dating app Tinder, allowing dog owners to find other dog parents in their proximity and set up a play date. Users can filter nearby pooch owners by their dogs' weight, as well as the owners' gender and age.
“And then it works like Tinder. You can swipe right if you’re interested in meeting the person or left if you’re not," said Joldzic, 34, who splits his time between the Upper West Side and Los Angeles. "If you’re both interested, then it’s a match and you can text each other to set up a play date."
While the "Sniffer" feature aims to match up compatible pups, Joldzic said he hopes some owners will find they have a connection as well — perhaps with the person they've been admiring from the sidelines of the local dog park.
"You have all these neighbors and dogs owners that live nearby, but you don't really interact with them because maybe it's awkward or they're in a rush," said Joldzic, who has two dogs, Moxie and Biscuit, with his girlfriend. "You don't necessary feel comfortable asking them for their pone numbers. The app is a less awkward way of asking other dog owners if you can meet up so your dogs can play together."
The idea for the app came from Adam Pokornicky, Joldzic's friend and co-founder, who grew frustrated last summer when he wanted to go on a last-minute guys' weekend in Atlantic City but couldn't find anyone to look after Maggie, his 8-year-old Cavapoo.
“I generally have a list of 15 to 20 people that I trust and that are ready to take care of Maggie, but nobody was responding that day,” said Pokornicky, 35, a former trader who lives in the West Village. “I just didn’t feel like leaving her at a kennel."
Pokornicky decided to skip the trip — but he soon began working on the app, which is now available for iPhones and is in development for Androids.
“Most dog owners want peace of mind and a deep connection with the people that are going to take care of their pet,” said Pokornicky, the app's CEO. "With friends, you know they understand your pet is part of your family and you know they’ll take good care of your baby.”
Once pet owners have downloaded the app and set up a social profile, they can invite their contacts and Facebook friends to join their DoggyBnB network.
Pet owners can then send a job request — a “woof” — to their network or extended network (friends of friends) whenever they need a hand with pet care. Users can ask for someone to walk, feed, board or house sit their pets, and can set the amount they are willing to pay for the service.
DoggyBnB, which is free to download, takes 10 percent of the fee if the dog owner charges more than $10. For jobs that are less than $10, the app charges $1 per "woof."
“We think the app is a better alternative than asking your friends for help one by one and waiting for them to respond and putting pressure on them,” Joldzic said.
Joldzic and Pokornicky, along with a fleet of volunteers, have been canvassing dog parks around the city for two months to promote the app.
More than 450 people signed up on DoggyBnB's website in order to be notified when the app came out.
While the Sniffer feature is only open to dogs, DoggyBnB is open to all kinds of animals.