ABC Interview with Jess & Duke

Canine Tinder hooking up busy dog owners with time-free dog lovers

A dog owner entrepreneur has created the canine equivalent to Tinder, hooking up busy dog-owners with dog lovers who have time to spare.

How does Dogshare work?

  • Dog owners sign up their dogs, receive matches based on their postcode
  • Owners can chat using the chat feature and organise park playdates
  • Can also organise 'reciprocal dog-walking', 'backyard sharing' and 'weekender stays'
The site 'Dogshare' matches dog owners with those wanting company in nearby neighbourhoods.

The request could be for walking, company during the day, taking the dog to appointments, or even longer-term vacations.

The site's members upload an image of their dog, with its size, age, and temperament, then search through other profiles for a match in their neighbourhood.

Over the past year, 3,500 people have signed up to the site in all the capital cities.

Jess Thomas, the creator of Dogshare, initially came up with the venture as a way to solve her own dilemma — her busy work schedule meant that at times she was unable to give her German short-haired pointer, Duke, his required two walks a day.

Not every dog lover can have their own furry friend, but there's an alternative to stalking parks to pat a pooch.

"I work full time, I've got two kids under five and a German short-haired pointer that just requires an enormous amount of exercise and attention," Ms Thomas said.

She said dog care could cost more than childcare, with some inner city centres charging up to $75 to $80 a day.

Originally Ms Thomas said she was in charge of the matchmaking.

"But early on we had some feedback that people actually just want to choose their own matches — read their bio and think, 'Yep that one's for me'."

Ms Thomas cited one case, a woman with Parkinson's, who did not have the energy to walk her two dogs, and was relieved when non-dog owners were happy to pitch in.

Non-dog owners get involved

And Ms Thomas said non-dog owners had also expressed interested in the idea.

"People write to me and say … 'I absolutely love dogs, but I'm now working full-time hours where I know I couldn't give a dog everything it needs, and I would just love more than anything to take a dog for a walk once a week'," she said.

Ms Thomas said she realised such people were "not getting a dog for all the right reasons".

"They're actually not contributing to some of the problems that Australia has with dogs that don't get enough attention and exercise," she said.

"And so we opened the site up to the non-dog owners, who we call 'borrowers'."