Prepare yourself for one of the coolest things since sliced bread and Utica Club. DogSpot is a new company rolling out a line of "sidewalk sanctuaries" for furry best friends so we can take them along with us in all of our day-to-day adventures across Central New York.

Now let's back up for a second. I'm a part of this massive Facebook group called Dogspotting (the names are unrelated, but I'd highly recommend this group for a consistently-updated dose of dog cuteness). A woman named Dani Jacobs posted to the group earlier this month with pictures of a bulldog chillin' out in an air-conditioned pod outside of a grocery store.

While she didn't say where she spotted the pup, the concept is clear: a temperature-controlled, secure alternative to tying dogs up or leaving them in hot or cold cars while their owners run errands. The DogSpot concept comes from co-founders Chelsea Brownridge, Todd Schechter and Winston the dog. Brownridge says on the DogSpot website that she can't take Winston a lot of places throughout Brooklyn, where she lives, because dogs aren't allowed. She just wanted to spend more time with her pup.

It made me sad to see his disappointed face as I left the apartment right after getting home from work to run errands, leaving him behind again. Eventually, I realized if Winston and I faced these challenges, then millions of other pet parents shared this experience when it came to spending more time with their dogs.

Not only do DogSpots allow owners to bring their dogs along for their trips to the grocery store or the mall, the company assures that the pods are safe, comfortable, and reasonably priced at 30 cents per minute. They provide air conditioning or heat so the pods are kept at a good temperature no matter what the weather is like. Since all of the pods are connected to the Internet, you can even reserve them up to 15 minutes in advance and check on your dogs while you're away, all straight from the app.


Since I saw DogSpot on Facebook, I've seen them begin to pop up in real life. The pods are in cities across America (and even in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), and there are a number in Upstate New York along the Thruway, including at the Oneida Service Area in Westmoreland and the Chittenango Service Area in Canastota. Check out a map of all their locations here.

Pretty cool, right? DogSpot is constantly expanding and searching for new places for their pods, so if you've got a place in mind right here in Central New York, let them know on their website.

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