We recently caught up with Jessica Thomas from Dogshare, who kindly gave us an exclusive interview:
Tell me about Dogshare?
Dogshare began as a way to provide our family dog, Duke, with additional walks by teaming up with another dog-owning neighbour. The neighbour and I would take it in turn to walk both dogs, morning and evening. A few weeks into this new arrangement the neighbour and I couldn’t stop grinning to each other at the simplicity of simply ‘lending a hand’ having such a profound impact on the dogs, but also our busy working lives.
How can someone use the Dogshare website?
Dogshare is like a networking site for your dog. You can create a free profile on the website. Once we’ve reviewed your application you can view the profiles of other dogs and send messages to those who you think might be a good fit.
By making it really easy to connect with local dog owners, the flow on effect of those relationships formed is like a support network of dog friends who can help out when it’s needed.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight for me is getting a note from one of our members to tell me how Dogshare has helped them.
The result for dogs is, extra affection, walks, daytime companionship and holiday minding for dogs.
But to be honest, the unexpected outcome of the platform has been the impact on our humans…. Something really special happens when you ask or offer a favour, without any monetary value as part of the equation. We’ve seen elderly people have their dogs walked for them and people forming strong friendships through regular walks.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve really enjoyed working on the technology that powers Dogshare. That came as a surprise to me, as I’m not traditionally techy but the more I learn about it the more excited I am about the possibilities for Dogshare and what we can offer the canine community.
Who or what inspires you?
When I see that we’ve helped someone on the website who was in a bit of a ‘jam’, I like to think that we are upstream of some of the problems that Australia has with high surrender and re-homing rates. I guess I am inspired by looking at our national figures for surrender and working (alongside many other passionate people in the dog space) to reduce that figure.
Not knowing what to do with your dog when you take a holiday is the number one concern for dog owners.
Giving dog owners options that are budget-friendly, safe, caring and local helps to address those holiday anxieties.
I’m also inspired by my incredible parents who always followed the philosophy of “when you have more than you need build a longer table, not a higher fence”. They are incredibly caring and generous people and always do what they can to brighten the day of someone else who might be going through a hard time. This sense of ‘lending a hand’ is one of the really special qualities that I think is embodied in the Dogshare website.
Do you have any future plans for Dogshare?
We are always working on upgrading the features of the website and making the platform easier to use for members. We’ve recently added dog businesses into the fold so that our members who are always looking for recommendations of a good vet, dog groomer, trainer or professional walker / minder can have easy access to these services too.
We are a dog matching service that connects dog owners and borrowers to dogs in their local area. It is FREE and easy to join. www.dogshare.com.au