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Like Uber for Dog Walking, Wag! App Sees Surge During Chicago Snow

By Alisa Hauser | March 4, 2016 5:56am | Updated on March 5, 2016 8:58am
 Dogs walking around Wicker Park
Dogs walking around Wicker Park
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

CHICAGO — An app that allows dog owners to arrange walks for their furry friends through a network of contractors — similar to ride-hailing pioneer Uber — has seen more requests during cold weather, its founder said. 

"Chicago is a new market for Wag! and we’re still collecting seasonality data. The early read is that we’re seeing spikes during cold weather," Wag! founder Josh Viner said this week.

Founded in January 2015 and launched in Chicago in October, Wag! also services clients in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Screenshot of the Wag! app  [Provided]

Viner, who is based in Los Angeles, said Chicago is one of the app's fastest growing cities. He declined to share the numbers of dog walkers who are working for Wag, saying only that there are "many walkers to comfortably handle the growing demand."

The walkers have undergone background checks and are insured and bonded, Viner said.

When asked which neighborhoods are seeing the most app usage, Viner replied, "The business is very popular Downtown but we have steady clients throughout the city."

Between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m, pet owners can arrange half-hour long walks, with as little as 30 minutes notice, and can select which dog walker they'd like to work with based on viewing profiles as well as through a free in-person "meet and greet," according to the app's description on iTunes.

Dog owners can track their dog's walks by GPS in real-time on their phones. After the walk, a “pup report” is delivered through the app and includes a picture or video of the pet, a map of the walk and a "pee/poop report." Also, the dog walkers can enter any notes about the walk too.

Currently the cost for a walk with Wag! is $20 for 30 minutes, with an additional $5 fee per dog in the same household.

“Essentially, we have placed a trusted and insured dog walker in your pocket, and for the first time your dog has its own app on your phone,” Viner said in a news release.

The company is seeking walkers here. Walkers get 60 percent of the walking fee and, as the site says, they don't have to join a gym and burn 100 calories with every walk.

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