Dog Parkers: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
My dog doesn’t like to be alone, especially when she’s outside. During walks, she’s sticks close to my side and after a few minutes, is begging to be picked up. She isn’t too keen on having unfamiliar faces around at home, never mind when we’re at home and if a snout is anywhere near her, she’ll unleash a snarl not to be messed with.
It’s for that reason (and a few others) why I’m uncomfortable with the idea of a Dog Parker. Dog Parker first launched a pilot program in Brooklyn in October of 2015. The reasoning behind the Dog Parker is, in essence, a well-meaning one. Imagine going to a grocery store with your furry best friend in tow and finding out they have a “No Pets Allowed” rule in the premises. You can leave your pooch tied to a pole near the entrance, but unfortunately there’s a lot of awful people out there who won’t think twice about stealing your dog.
And so, the Dog Parker was born. Basically, it’s a pay-by-the-minute crate where you can park your dog for up to three hours and do whatever it is you need to do in the building that does not allow dogs. In order to use one, you need to have a membership card, and to get one of those, you need to sign up, provide your dog’s up-to-date vaccine card and pay a $25 annual fee. Your membership card will allow you access to the temperature-controlled box where you can park your pooch while you go about your business.
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There’s a phone application that also has some useful tools to help you keep track of Fido while you’re shopping around or having a date with your friend. You can watch your dog through your phone via a small camera that is inside the crate. Your app also lets you know how long your dog has been in the crate and how much you’re paying, as the Dog Parker costs .20 cents a minute. Should you go above the three hour limit, you will start to pay $5 a minute and if your dog remains there for another 30 minutes, an employee is sent to retrieve your dog from the parker and sent to a boarding facility. There, you will be hit with a $200 fee to pick up your dog, plus whatever the boarding fee is.
Let’s start off on the right track with “The Good.” This box provides a safe place for your dog to chill out when you’re having a coffee date with your girlfriend in an establishment that does not allow dogs. The Dog Parker crate is insulated to keep your dog warm during the winter, and has a fan to keep them relatively cool in the summer. Should the temperature fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the Dog Parkers will not be available for use, as this poses a danger to your dog. Also, only members can use the box and only the person who uses their card to place their dog inside the Dog Parker can use it again to take their dog out, which means there is no way your dog is going to be taken from you while you pick up your dry cleaning around the corner.
The Bad: Your dog will more than likely be scared. They are no doubt already nervous when you leave them tied to a post, thinking that you’re leaving them forever and never coming back. If you dog isn’t crate trained, understanding that the mere act of getting them inside of a box is easier said than done and will no doubt terrify them dearly. Plus, there’s only one “window” where your dog can look out of once it’s in there so if your dog hears a sound and can’t see what’s happening, you can bet they will be frantically trying to see what’s going on.
The Ugly: Quarters are a little tight. The biggest Dog Parker is 30 inches by 40 inches. This doesn’t offer your dog much space to move, especially if they are fairly large. Despite being scary and small, the idea of parking your dog is ludicrous in my mind. Dogs are living, breathing animals – they aren’t inanimate objects that you can put in a box and retrieve when you come back. They are supposed to be your best friend, with you wherever you go. If your local grocery store or deli doesn’t allow dogs in their facilities, your best bet is to find a place that does or just leave your pooch at home while you’re running errands.
The Dog Parker is planning on expanding to the rest of New York City throughout 2016 and 2017. Their vision is to see their Dog Parkers in every walkable city, outside of places who may not allow dogs inside such as nail salons, laundromats, post offices and coffee shops. The general public seem to be divided on whether or not this is a good or bad idea. The fact that you can leave your dog in a safe, comfy spot for a few minutes is definitely convenient…for humans. Let us know what you think about the Dog Parker in the comments below!
More by Diana Faria