Austin is home to multiple dog parks and businesses featuring a flurry of pup companions seated or strolling alongside their owners. There is no lack of dog presence, and the city of Austin is positioned at the forefront of the no-kill cause due to the efforts of Austin Pets Alive!
However, dog owners are still left with questions about which Austin venues are accessible to their furry family members. Could an app exist to detail dog-friendly places, and connect dog owners for puppy play dates? Ninis Samuel posed these questions after adopting his dog Kerby and noting how much Kerby enjoyed adventuring with him. He decided to do something about the need for information.
For the Love of a Dog’s Social Life
In 2014, Samuel transitioned from a flourishing, stable marketing executive career to founding BarkHappy, a company geared toward connecting dog parents and finding dog-friendly spaces such as bars, restaurants, parks, hotels and more within Austin. The app launched in July 2015 and has been steadily introducing new features ever since. His dog, Kerby, currently holds the position of “Chief Puppy Officer.”
The free BarkHappy app is available for both Android and iOS devices, and serves users by location. Each location listing includes notes on pet policy and amenities, including whether the establishment has water bowls, treats, covered patio seating and other features. Dog-friendly businesses are listed free of charge and the city map is customized by the user community and local businesses, so the list of available places is continually growing and being updated.
Finding Dog-Friendly Businesses and Fellow Dog Owners
When app users first download the app, they fill out a profile for their dogs and themselves. Included in the dog’s profile is age, breed and whether they play best with smaller or larger dogs.
Once the profile has been completed, you can access other users’ profiles based on your location, in order to connect. Users can send casual “wags,” messages and invitations to playdates if a good match is in place. Interactions are between dogs rather than their owners, and users can search for specific breeds or by name to find dogs in their area.
The app also provides “Daily Matches” for dog owners to facilitate regular interactions. This expands your dog’s network or “pack” of puppy playmates. Furthermore, the app will identify a dog-friendly location that is situated mid-point between the two dogs, in order to eliminate the stress of finding a place to convene.
Join the App to Find BarkHappy Events Near You
Most recently, BarkHappy has expanded into Portland and Seattle, with plans for further growth. Users can register in any city and receive a notification when the app is fully functional in their area.
In addition, a new app feature enables users to host private group events and locate other local events for group playdates. BarkHappy has been hosting weekly events in each city where its users can interact, but now users can host their own play dates and invite friends in their “pack” (a “pack” acts like a friends list for your dog). Weekly events in each city range from meeting in the park to movie nights to charity events to “BarkHappyHour” nights at dog-friendly establishments.
@lainey_bird_ wants to know:
What is your favorite dog-friendly spot in Austin?