Pawshake pet-sitter Anna Tarbotton holds Jaffa the cat. She
signed up to the new app, which allows users to find
pet-sitters in their area, recently. Supplied photo
Dunedinites are increasingly going online to search for
babysitters for their furry friends and a new app which aids
the process is starting to take off.
Dubbed Pawshake, the app allows users to search for and
contact pet-sitters in their community. Pawshake was started
in Belgium in 2013 and launched in New Zealand in July.
One of the Pawshake pet-sitters is Dunedin animal-lover Anna
Tarbotton. She found out about Pawshake through Facebook
about a month ago.
''I'm definitely an animal-lover so thought it would be a
good way to be around more animals without adopting more and
turning into a crazy cat lady,'' she said.
''I think I love animals because I am a fairly protective and
loving person. I really just like ... hrowing a ball
repetitively or scratching behind some ears, as long as the
animal is enjoying it.''
When she signed up, there were only three other Dunedin
pet-sitters on Pawshake. Now there are about seven and one
person from Mosgiel.
Pawshake was founder by Belgian internet entrepreneurs Dries
Coucke and Tanguy Peers. Mr Coucke had the idea for the app
in 2010 when he was trying to find someone to care for his
father's labrador Ibeau, while his father was being treated
for lung cancer.
He posted his need for a pet-sitter on Facebook and the
enthusiasm of the responses he received gave him the idea for
Pawshake. Mr Coucke spoke to his former colleague Mr Peers
about the idea and they launched the company in 2013.
Soon afterwards, they made the decision to bring Pawshake to
New Zealand and says there are already hundreds of Kiwis
using the app.
''The combination of high e-commerce adoption, care for
wellbeing for pets, and large pet population made New Zealand
an obvious market for Pawshake,'' Mr Coucke said.
A survey published by the New Zealand Companion Animal
Council showed 68% of New Zealand households owned at least
one pet, a higher percentage than in any comparable country,
New Zealanders were found to be the world's biggest cat
owners, with a feline population of 1, 419,000 and 28% of
households owning at least one cat. There were about 700, 000
dogs in New Zealand, with 29% of households owning one or
more, he said.
- by Jonathan Chilton-Towle