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App allows dog owners to rent backyards for their pooch to play in


Have you ever wanted to borrow a backyard for your dog? Turns out there is an app for that.

Sniffspot connects people willing to share their space with dog owners looking for a private place for their pup or pups to play.

Yards can be rented for a short time and a small fee.

Jen DiCarlo fosters dogs and lives in an apartment building. She found Sniffspot while searching for places she could bring dogs that couldn’t go to an off leash park.

“We need time and space to get to know the foster dogs and get to know what they’re going to when they’re out in their space,” DiCarlo said.

Smidge, a 10-year-old cocker spaniel that DiCarlo has since adopted, is one of the dogs DiCarlo has brought to various Sniffspots, including one in Kitchener called Merlot’s Backyard.

Merlot’s backyard is available to rent. (CTV Kitchener/Krista Simpson)

“She just made herself right at home when she came in.She just sniffed everywhere,” DiCarlo said.

Misti Garcia is the owner of Merlot’s Backyard, named after her own dog Merlot, a 5-year-old Doberman.

Garcia said Sniffspots are “basically just a very safe, secure, fun place for your dogs to come explore, sniff, play and just stretch their legs.”

Garcia has been offering up her yard on Sniffspot for nearly a year now.

It costs $11 USD per hour to use her fenced in space which features a pond pups can play in, lots of grass, baskets of toys and fresh drinking water.

For the humans, her yard has places to sit and even an outlet and WiFi. In the winter, Garcia will also put out a blanket for guests to stay warm.

Sniffspots are not dog daycares or meet ups with the host’s dog, although visitors can pre-arrange that option if they wish. The focus though is having a place to play and relax.

“It’s just you and your dog or dogs. So it’s completely private,” saidGarcia.

Dog owners using Sniffspots must stay with their pets and are expected to clean up after them and treat the space as if it was their own.

Sniffspot’s website promises third party liability claim and damage protection for its hosts, Garcia admitted she’s only had positive experiences with her guests so far.

“People have been very respectful,” Garcia said.

Misti Garcia and her dog Merlot. (CTV News/Krista Simpson)

Like other short term rental apps, guests can rate the hosts on whether the safety standards are what they were expected. They can also indicate whether they heard any humans or dogs during their visit.

“That can lower your rating. If your dog is inside barking at the other dog, it’s very distracting for their dog when they’re here,” explained Garcia.

For DiCarlo, Sniffspot has been a great way for the dogs she’s cared for to enjoy some leash free fun.

“They can just relax and open up and be themselves and run and play with their toys,” she said.

You can sniff out Sniffspots available near you or see the application process to become a host, online. Top Stories

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