The latest pet-related platform to launch in Singapore, Furpal matches dog lovers to owners for play dates… that are paid. Wanting to connect dog owners with those who have a heart for doggos but don’t have the means to own one, startup founder Kylie Teo established the site in July this year. In the month since, it’s already seen about 400 sign ups, with golden retrievers leading the way as the most popular pick.
Prices start from $10 per hour for each visitor, and “borrowers” can flick through the site to choose the breed, its personality, and the time and place to get together. A scroll through the Furpals offered up cuties from Pomeranians and Siberian Huskies to Dachshunds and Corgis. Each doggo gets a description of their character traits, plus basic info on their owner and available meeting slots.
The idea came to Teo when she was overseas and missing the company of her dog. As the owner of a Singapore Special (she adopted a street stray), she was also hard-pressed to find dog-walkers or sitters for her canine, and thought of creating a “marketplace” for humans and animals to socialize.
If you’re worried about safety issues, Furpal claims to screen every owner and carry out in-person temperament assessments of the dogs that tend to be more aggressive by nature. It also conducts a “thorough vetting process” for the community and ensures that “borrowers” who book a furry pal are aware of the potential risks of playing with dogs.
According to her, the challenge Furpal faces is educating others on the concept of borrowing dogs. It’s not a new thing — other countries have similar apps — but dog cafes aside, a quick online search of Singapore only threw up proper dog sitter services instead of the more casual sessions Furpal offers.
Teo told Coconuts Singapore she hopes owners can see the site as an opportunity for their dogs to socialize with new people, while borrowers can learn perhaps more about doggy care from increased interaction with the canines and their owners.
“With more education and sharing of knowledge, we hope people will not buy dogs on impulse and reduce abandonment rates,” she said. “With the convenience of being able to play with a dog of your choosing, you don’t have to own one (which is more expensive and a lot more responsibility).”