01/06/16
The Dogshare Story

Dogshare began out of my own desire to find additional exercise and companionship outlets for my exuberant German Shorthaired Pointer Duke. I found that despite me being home a lot (I have two young children under 5 and as such only work short hours during the week) and daily walks, Duke was still craving extra attention and had begun barking whilst I wasn’t at home.

I struck up a relationship with a neighbour whom also had a young exuberant dog (Border Collie) and we would take it in turns to take the dogs out morning and evening. I began picking Betty (the Border Collie) up if I found myself at home for an afternoon and she was able to run around with our Duke and both would enjoy the companionship.

StuMorley-1916

By helping one another out I found that it took little extra effort to help another dog & owner, but when the favour was returned it was highly valuable and provided a better outcome for Duke.

The neighbour moved away and I was left with the feeling that there must be others who would appreciate such a system.

Dogshare was born in late 2014 and has grown to a nation-wide reach of dog-lovers who are now successfully organising;

  • Park playdates: A more predictable way to organise your dog’s interactions
  • Reciprocal walking: Take it in turns to walk your dog + a neighbours
  • Backyard Sharing: If two dogs are proven to get along, they can spend a day in the one backyard providing company. Works also for people who work from home and are happy to take care and supervise another dog alongside their own
  • Weekend Stays: Once you have established a trusting friendship with Dogshare pals, the sky's the limit and many of users have organised vacation arrangements on the back of solid friendships made

More recently, we’ve added "helpers" to the website. These are people who love dogs, but can't currently own one due to circumstances. This was something I thought long and hard about as initially I was unsure if I liked the concept. It is a huge deal to trust your dog with a ‘stranger’. Like the entire Dogshare concept we advocate for members to get to know one another over a period of time. The definition of friendship is getting to know a stranger. And with our users firmly in control of their own interactions on the website we expect that they take responsibility over screening and scrutinising those they are considering as potential ‘sharers’.

The interesting thing I came to realise about our 'helpers’ is the common story from this group is that they have often owned dogs in the past, or been dog-lovers for a long time, and are withholding from purchasing a dog for all the right reasons. Because they;

  • Holiday often
  • Live in an apartment or rentals that are not dog appropriate
  • Work long hours
  • Can not hand on heart say they have the 15 or more years it takes to give a dog a long, happy and stable life

It got me thinking that this group of people are doing the right thing by not adding to our problem of uneducated or uncommitted dog owners who can’t fully give dogs what they need… but are instead offering to help those existing dogs in our community who could do with an extra walk or companionship.

Since then we have been approached by a wide and varied group of people, all with the common goal of doing the best we can to better provide for the physical and emotional needs of dogs.

We operate the website as low cost subscription service for all members within Melbourne and Sydney metropolitan zones. Outside these two cities, we offer free Ambassador accounts whilst we are still growing our service across Australia. We also work closely with Dog Businesses, in particular local business (Trainers, Groomers & Vets) to bring doggy enthusiasts and professionals together on the one platform with the aim of improving the lives of all dogs and dog lovers. 

Thanks for reading the Dogshare story. If you are reading this and have feedback on our concept or would like to ask me a question or just say "hello" please send me a message here or follow and interact with us on Instagram and Facebook

Jessica Thomas

Founder - Dogshare

 

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