BY MICHELLE MAISONVILLE
A local man is changing the way people walk their dogs with Woggy, an app that connects dog owners with dog walkers in their area.
Last August, Osman Said Ahmed was sitting on the front porch of his home when he overheard a conversation between an older man and a younger man as they walked a dog.
He said the older man was showing the younger man where to walk the dog. The pair had met on Kijiji, an online service used to buy, trade or sell items and services, including dog walking.
“That’s when the lightbulb went off in my head,” Ahmed said.
The app was launched in early January in the Google Play Store. About 40 dog owners and 80 dog walkers in Canada have downloaded the app and registered since then.
“We didn’t know what to expect so we set our standards low but it quickly exceeded our expectations,” he said.
The iOS version for Apple devices isn’t available yet, but Ahmed said they’re hoping to launch it within a couple of months.
Downloading the app is free, however, Woggy takes 20 per cent of the dog walkers’ fees. Dog owners can pay using their credit cards or through PayPal. The money goes to Woggy initially and the dog walkers get paid their portion of the money every Thursday.
“It’s convenient, no cash required,” he said.
Dog walkers will have to go through a background check and fill out an application. Woggy will then decide whether or not to approve them.
The dog owners will also have to register with their name, address and credit card information. They can then select a 15-minute, 30-minute, 45-minute or an hour-long walk. For a 15-minute walk it’s $10, for 30 it’s $18, for 45 it’s $22 and for an hour it’s $28.
The app will then give the owner a list of dog walkers in their area who have been approved.
The list will also include the rating of each dog walker. You can also request to have the same dog walker you previously had.
Once owners chose their dog walker they can also decide where they want their dogs to be picked up from. Ahmed said one person has her dog walked when she goes to the gym so she has the dog walker meet her at the gym. Owners can also have the walker pick their dog up from their house.
An initial meet and greet can be held where the dog walker gets together with the dog owner and dog before any walks take place. This gives the walker a chance to get to learn the behaviour and temperament of the dog.
Owners with two dogs can also have both dogs walked at the same time for an extra $5. However, no more than two dogs can be walked at once.
Ahmed said the initial feedback has been positive so far.
Vika Ribey, a first-year human services foundation student said, “I would actually really benefit from the Woggy app. I have two dogs and a very busy schedule so it would be helpful to have someone walk my dogs based on my location.”
“This app is a really good idea because a lot of people have dogs and a lot of them are too busy or sick to give their dogs the adequate walks they require.”
Ahmed said, “It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward to doing more great things with it.”