DoggyBnB is a new app that helps pet owners connect with friends, acquaintances and willing strangers who can take care of their dogs, cats or goldfish while they’re unavailable. Through the app, owners can post requests for their pets to be walked, house-sat or fed, while animal lovers can volunteer to take on those duties. DoggyBnB aims to help people leverage their existing social networks, providing a platform for pet care that’s more specific than a hurried Facebook post requesting assistance.
Adam Pokornicky, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, described the app as a blend of “technology in 2014 with the sharing economy of the people you would target naturally” to take care of your pets.
You can find care for your pets by posting a “woof,” or request that someone walk, feed or watch your dog either for money or the pleasure of your pet’s company. (The company takes a 10 percent fee based on the money paid for any woofs.) If you’re interested in setting up a doggy play date, browse through “sniffer” — you can see why the glossary is necessary — which allows you to flip through owner/pet combinations like a fluffy version of Tinder (swipe right for anything hypoallergenic). Or you can message your friends and demand that they host your cat while you head to Fire Island for the weekend.
You can also volunteer for pet care with the “fetch” option, or declare yourself a “boarder,” willing to take on pets that belong not only to your acknowledged friends but also friends of friends (and friends of friends of friends).
That Mr. Pokornicky plans to expand the app instead of simplify its jargon is indicative of DoggyBnB’s approach. The app seems to include every single idea that passed through its developers’ heads. Indeed, he confirmed that one of the earliest steps in the app’s creation was to map out “every single decision tree that would ever occur” to users.
All these options can get confusing. And while the services that DoggyBnB offers are valuable, all the bells and whistles slow the app down. It crashed on me multiple times when I tried to complete simple tasks, like adding pictures of my pets. And though the company says that 72 percent of its approximately 3,900 users live in the greater New York area, no one has answered my desperate plea that someone walk my dog Nacho tonight. (My family dogs live in Washington and not New York; I am ashamed to admit that I have been doggy catfishing.) DoggyBnB has potential, but the app will have to be decoded and domesticated to appeal to the majority of urban pet owners looking for some help.