Filling the Void



In the category of you (literally) can’t make this shit up, I read a story in the newspaper a while back describing an internal feud that unfolded at One Brooklyn Bridge Park,  the well-to-do Brooklyn Heights condo  that was recently converted from the industrial Jehovah’s Witness book distribution center. It seems that more than a handful of the residents in its 400+ expensive apartments have been turning a blind eye and letting some of the 175 resident dogs relieve themselves in the elevators, hallways and other public spaces inside the building during inclement weather.

Since no one has risen to speak in defense of this practice we can only speculate on whether it was motivated by an unwillingness of the owners to brave the elements, a concern that their pets might catch a cold, or that they didn’t have time to get the pooch’s raincoat and boots on.

doggie rain coatSo in response, the building’s coop board has cracked down with a high-tech solution descended from sophisticated forensic science. They instituted a requirement that all residents with dogs submit a cheek swab sample from their pet which is then sent for DNA analysis and compiled in a databank. A number of commercial DNA testing labs now offer these specialized analytical services at surprisingly affordable rates as low as $35 per test.

double helixThe DNA registry is used to match evidentiary samples sent in for analyses so the offending “poopertrators” and their owners can be identified and punished with fines starting at $250.  The policy created quite a stir as some residents complained it was an infringement on their pets’ First Amendment rights (?) and others envisioned potential conspiracies where residents might surreptitiously plant fecal evidence in order to falsely accuse their neighbors.

Of course in NYC, the average, run of the mill 1.0 percenters live side by side with the super-rich 0.1 percenters who don’t fret about such trivial matters because they are relegated to their full-time live-in canine nannies or (for the slightly less affluent) a full-time dog-walking service.  If you find yourself in this predicament and can’t afford or choose not to avail yourself of either of these options, don’t despair.  A new industry has sprung up overnight to fill the void and provide on-demand dog walking services.

dog walker with cell phonePoober, Inc. is a joint venture established by PoopScoop, one of the largest dog walking services in the city and Uber, the controversial cell-phone app for car service transportation that has taken a large bite out of the Big Apple’s conventional yellow cab business. This new company has hired hundreds of out-of-work New Yorkers to roam the streets or hang out at Starbucks throughout the upper-class neighborhoods of New York waiting for your dog walking request.  Some restaurants are subcontracting out their delivery staff to Poober when times are slow, and several are offering special package deals when you order dinner and a dog walker.  For example, Moe’s Pizza in Chelsea is offering a poop and pie special for $29.95.

Poober phone appdog walker app







Poober distinguishes itself from most dog-walking companies large and small in that no scheduling or contractual commitments are required. Once you download their app an experienced dog-walker on demand is a simple click away.  Their experienced, well-trained,  non-smoking staff are equipped with GPS navigation equipment so the app easily locates the nearest available walker on your smart phone, provides the estimated time of arrival, and tracks their route to your apartment as well as the dog walking route they follow.

dogs eye viewFor an extra fee they also offer HD doggie cam dongles that attach to your dog’s collar and transmit real-time video via broadband or wireless connection so you can experience a virtual dog walk without having to brave the elements or actually come into personal contact with all that mess.  If your dog likes to run or needs to lose a few pounds after the holidays you can specify an optional trained roller blade, skate board or mechanized hoverboard walker who can exercise your pooch at quick jogging speeds up to 8 mph.

Not unlike the currently unfolding battle between Uber and the large NYC taxi medallion companies facing huge losses in business, Poober is squaring up for a protest organized by the more conventional, mostly small, locally owned dog-walking services throughout the city. But it appears the mom and pop pooper scoopers are in deep doo doo – once again the little guys get shit on by the deep pocket corporate tycoons.  But at least the residents of One Brooklyn Bridge Park have several high-tech solutions at their disposal to relieve their dog crisis.

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