Toronto startup lets people play with their neighbours' dogs

There are two types of young adults in this city: Those who have dogs, and those who really want a dog but don't have the time, money or space to make it happen.

"It just wouldn't be fair for me to have a  dog in my condo, yout know?" the latter are inclined to say. "I have such a crazy schedule right now. It's too much responsibility. It's like having a kid."

The dog owners I've spoken with to tend to agree. They say things like "yeah, it's a lot of work" and "YES! Dogs are basically children. I can't just take off for a weekend like I used to..."

What these groups have in common is a love for animals and, in some cases, a shared postal code.

Houndr wants to harness this phenomenon, bringing neighbours together in the spirit of helping each other out, building mutually-beneficial relationships and strengthening community bonds.

Houndr is the place where you find who you need when you need them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For humans w/ dogs that means finding someone to help you out w/ your dog when you need it, any time of day, quickly, without breaking the bank. It’s kind of like magic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So imagine you’re stuck. Something came up. But what are you going to do w/ your chicken nugget shaped like a dog? Then you realize you have humans you can count on when stuff comes up. So you ask. (That's where we come in. We go knock on doors for you & find people.) And people say yes! B/c they're fundamentally nice & want to help out when they can & hang out with your dog! So you pick someone. You make this happen in minutes not hours. Just get back to whatever you need to do w/o worrying. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Plus it’s going to cost you less than a crappy bottle of wine at the LCBO for your dog to have a fun time for over an hour. It's like your dog is going to a friend's place. They'll go for walks or play or snuggle or have a snack. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We basically call this whole thing magic but it’s all powered by nice neighbours who care enough to help each other out! We personally can't wait to use it b/c we need it. #DoingSomethingNice #houndr

A post shared by Houndr | Not ordinary dog care (@gethoundr) on

"We're all neighbs who are a bit obsessed w/ dogs," reads the soon-to-launch app's website. "And there's a lot of us. And a lot of us get stuck not knowing what to do with our dog. And a lot of us wish we could hang out with dogs.... we just aren't connecting properly. Until now." 

Think of it as The Babysitter's Club meets Woofstock meets a cat café meets Tinder, minus the romantic stuff. 

Humans with dogs can join the service and ask their neighbours for help when they need it.

Humans without dogs (or those with dogs who enjoy dog playdates) can volunteer to take care of / walk / check in on someone's pooch in exchange for a bit of quality canine time and the satisfaction of helping new friends.

"Houndr started with a vision for a modern day support system that would shift how humans in cities look after their dogs / have dogs in their lives," reads the app's site. "We ask people to come together to do more, collaborating to 1. keep all the dogs happy & 2. make regular life nicer for each other.

"It's like having sister wives but different. We call it Doing Something Nice."

The app hasn't launched yet, but signs are appearing downtown for a Houndr pop-up event called "Nice neighbours meet IRL and pet dogs." 

That event takes place on May 5 near Trinity Bellwoods park.

"This summer we're launching Houndr right here in Toronto, our hometown," reads a description for the event

"And to celebrate the release of something we've been making for a few years (can't wait!), we're hosting fun pop-ups the first Saturday of every month from May through August. We want to meet you IRL! Come meet us & the neighbours."

The neighbours are dogs. And also people. But more importantly, dogs.

Lead photo by


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