Walkzee is an online platform connecting shelter dogs in need of a walk to dog lovers looking for a walking buddy! The website will let you filter available dogs by region and shelter, and then arrange a time to go take the dog on a walk or outing. Then the app will let you share a review about the dog, and help promote the availability of the dog with those who might be looking for a new family member. The idea behind the online app is a great one, and has the ability to help a lot of dogs get out of the shelter and into new loving homes.
Working with local shelters: will it remove current roadblocks?
This will be the most difficult aspect of the app. Many shelters don’t have these programs in place, and some are reluctant to start them. I was involved with a couple of local shelters (who are also local to the Kickstarter founders) as a volunteer or part of their “friends of” programs and formally pitched programs that were drafted based on successful ones I took part in. None of the shelters were even willing to entertain the idea. This will be one big hurdle to face.
Other shelters have rigorous walking programs in place (one local program wouldn’t let me, a person with years of volunteer experience and formal dog behavior training, walk a dog until I had 2 months of “training”).
Are these blockers necessary? It’s questionable. I’ve also volunteered at shelters that don’t require much more than a quick orientation and waiver. I hope that this program would become accepted at shelters, or at least make them more open to the idea of removing some of the roadblocks that affect volunteers coming in. The more streamlined a process is, the better off the dogs are as a result.
I think Walkzee is a fantastic idea, but I also think it has a tough challenge ahead of them.
Promotes homeless dogs too
The Walkzee platform will also let walkers rate and review shelter dogs waiting for a home. This extra promotion could help make a big difference in the number of matches made between dog and family.
Not only this, but it gets people into the shelters to walk them, who might not otherwise. This extra hands-on attention is often all a dog needs to make that match with the right family, or receive the word of mouth advertising to make a match. I’d love to see this app hooked up to social media so a person can easily share out their own photos of walking the dog.
Walkzee is on Kickstarter