Plenty of people tie their dogs outside storefronts while they pop inside to run a few errands or grab a snack. It’s not ideal, but what are the alternatives? Until recently, there weren’t many, so Chelsea Brownridge, Todd Schechter, and a lively terrier mix named Winston took it into their own hands (and paws) to create one – Dog Parker, Inc.

Dog Parkers offer a safe way to “park” your dog outside while you run an errand. These high-tech, thermo-controlled, auto-sanitizing, veterinary grade dog houses are designed for comfort as well as safety. An internet connected webcam even lets you monitor your dog on your smartphone so you can see how they’re doing.

“More than half of businesses in the US, such as coffee shops and grocery stores, can’t allow dogs due to legal restrictions,” Dog Parker CEO Chelsea Brownridge told Lady Freethinker.

This means many dog owners are stuck with two, poor choices – let your dog miss out on a walk through town, or risk tying them up outside the store. Studies show walking your dog is good for you and your neighborhood, so it’s discouraging when you can’t bring your dog out with you on all your adventures.

Regulations aren’t going to change anytime soon, but now Dog Parker offers dog owners a better solution.

Dog Parker tests in Brooklyn had positive results, feedback

Woman walking dog in Brooklyn, New York stops at Dog Parker.

Picture courtesy of Dog Parker.

In October 2015, a pilot program introduced three Dog Parker prototypes to nine Brooklyn stores. Over 100 dog owners got a chance to test them out over an eight-month period. Unsurprisingly, the pilot program was a success.

“The Dog Parker product resonated with a lot of dog owners looking for more options to spend time with their dogs and stores looking to better serve their customers,” said Brownridge.

More dogs + more owners = more business

Man with dog stops at Dog Parker in Brooklyn, New York.

Picture courtesy of Dog Parker.

It isn’t just dog owners who are interested – businesses can benefit, too.

“Dog Parker not only provides convenience to dog owners, but also an economic benefit to small business owners by helping attract more dog owners and growing walk-in traffic,” Brownridge explained.

It seems like local businesses would agree. Brownridge stated that since the pilot program, “over 50 locations and stores have contacted us about participating.”

Soon, 100 more of these sidewalk dog houses will be installed in Brooklyn. These new models are an upgrade from the original prototypes, and include new features recommended from the pilot program — like the webcam.

“Being dog owners ourselves, we take dog wellbeing very seriously,” Brownridge emphasized. “Safety is at the core of what we’re doing with Dog Parker and it’s taken us more than a year and a half of prototyping and testing to get a solution that really met our expectations for comfort, security, and reliability.”

Dog Parker keeps dogs comfortable and safe

Dog Parker in Brooklyn, New York.

Picture courtesy of Dog Parker.

Designed by Boyce Technologies, the house has a solid powder-coated aluminum exterior. Inside, the designers used the same nonporous plastic materials used in veterinary facilities. To top it off, Dog Parker boasts strong security and safety features, such as the thermos-controlled sensors, cooling and heating mechanisms, auto-sanitizing technology, and an internet-connected webcam.

All of these features are important for protecting your four-legged family member.

“Dog Parker helps provide a safer solution for urban dog owners that want extra comfort for their dog and extra peace of mind for themselves,” said Brownridge.

Even though you treat your dog like a king or queen, unfortunately, not everyone has their best interests at heart. According to Pet FBI, nearly 2 million pets are stolen each year. Purebred dogs are particularly at risk, but other dogs are targeted as well. Sadly, dogs are often sold, bred, or used in dog fights. To prevent theft, you shouldn’t leave your pet unattended. The Dog Parker seeks to address these concerns so dog owners can be responsible, but still take their dog out with them while they’re running errands.

Using Dog Parker

Remember that handy webcam? Dog Parker comes with an app, which you can download for IOS or Android. Aside from monitoring your dog, you can also see where Dog Parkers are located and even reserve them in advance.

Once you find the place you want to “park” your dog, use your membership card or app to open the door. When the door closes, it locks automatically.

To participate, Dog Parker has a $25 annual membership fee and charges 20 cents per minute in New York.

Right now, Dog Parker is pretty new, and only available in Brooklyn. Hopefully, though, this innovation will keep spreading across the nation so dogs and their human families can spend more time together.