Many urban dog parents love to bring their pups along with them when they run errands, but they face the conundrum of what to do when they need to go in non-dog-friendly places: Do they tie them up and risk the chance of their beloved friend being stolen or skip grabbing that much-needed coffee? Well, now you don’t have to choose.
Dog Parker recently unveiled its updated high-tech dog houses that are placed out storefronts, allowing owners to run quick errands without worrying about their dog getting stolen.
Currently available in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods, the “smart dog house” is nearly four feet high, 33.5 inches deep and 30 inches wide, providing enough room for an array of dog breeds and sizes. The inside is thermo-controlled, meaning the Dog Parkers will automatically cool and warm to adjust to outside temperatures. (As a safeguard, if the internal temperatures of the houses go under 32F or over 80F, they will not work and be out of service.) After each use, UV lights will zap bacteria, viruses and molds to ensure it is ready for the next dog.
To use it, owners sign up at Dog Parker, pay a $25 membership fee and then get a card sent to them, which unlocks Dog Parkers. The company also charges .20 per minute to use its smart home.
This is the second version of the Dog Parker. The first, a beta prototype, was released last year in selected neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It was box shaped and didn’t have all the bells and whistles the current model has. “Our first Dog Parker was made from all ‘off-the-shelf’ parts,” says co-founder Chelsea Brownridge. “We purchased the dog house from another dog house maker and outfitted it with the parts we needed to make it ‘smart.’”
After seeing traction, Brownridge and her co-founder Todd Schechter decided to apply to an accelerator (a short-term program for entrepreneurs) to take Dog Parker to the next level.
The duo teamed up with New York City-based Boyce Technologies to design the new version — one that is shaped like a classic dog house. The materials used are carefully selected, ensuring the outside of the house can handle urban environments (and weather conditions), while the inside is comfortable for the dog.
Besides the house, Dog Parker unveiled a new version of its app, which allows people to pay for its service, reserve a Dog Parker and monitor their pup with a live-stream web cam.
The company is rolling out nine more Dog Parkers this weekend, with plans to have 50 installed throughout Brooklyn neighborhoods — including Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Ft Greene, Clinton Hill and Williamsburg – by year’s end.
In 2017, Dog Parker plans on providing more high-tech houses to not only Brooklyn but also Manhattan and beyond.