HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – There’s an app for pretty much everything you could ever imagine nowadays.
You can rent out your house, you can rent out your car, you can rent out your pool, and now, you can even rent out your yard.
An app can help connect you with the nearest slice of paw-adise for your dogs to run and play, and it’s blowing up here in Hampton Roads.
There are more than 100 spots in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, ranging from Gloucester to Kill Devil Hills.
“They should be able to experience this and have toys and chase balls and just live their best lives,” said Sniffspot Host Anne Markiewicz.
Linus and Cammie love to run and play every day, but they have so much space, so they wanted to share it with their friends.
“I always say that a happy dog is a tired dog,” Markiewicz said.
That’s when their paw-rents, Anne and Danielle Markiewicz, got connected with Sniffspot, an app that allows them to rent their yard other dog owners.
“We saw that there had been some successful spots around Hampton Roads, so we were like why not,” Markiewicz said. “When you’re one of the few people that has this much space, you get so many people coming and saying, ‘I have this tiny yard, my dog just doesn’t have the room.'”
And that’s exactly why SniffSpot Founder David Adams said he and his wife Rebecca came up with the idea for the app.
David said his wife was on a trip in 2017 and wanted to find a spot to let their dog, Toshii, run around.
“She texted me one night and said, ‘I wish there was an app where I could find places to safely let him off leash,’ and that was the original idea for sniff spot,” Adams said.
Now there are thousands of locations for users to rent out, from mountainside hiking trails in Colorado to dog playgrounds in the middle of Chicago.
“Some have swimming pools, some have ponds, or rivers, some are on the beach,” Adams said.
People can sign up to rent the space in 30-minute blocks and after they book, they get the tenant’s address. From there, it’s a self-service. People come in the yard and have exclusive access to it for that time.
“It’s just you at that spot at that time, so you don’t have to worry about strangers or other dogs that you don’t know there,” Adams said.
Said Markiewicz: “I just never thought that renting out a yard would be a thing but honestly its one of the easiest things we’ve ever done.”
Studies show the majority of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, and that’s because many dogs just aren’t getting enough exercise each day.
“Letting a dog off the leash where they can run around makes a huge difference for a dog’s well-being, mentally and physically,” Adams said.
“We didn’t know who’s going to use it, (or) what are they going to use it for,” Markiewicz said, “but what we’ve found is a lot of people use it for reactive dogs who can’t go be walked in public, who can’t go to dog parks, to the beach and they just want a space to bring their dog.”
Anne said in addition to families with reactive dogs, they’ve had dog trainers come in and use the space too.
And in an area like Hampton Roads with so many short-term rentals, many people just don’t have yards.
“A lot of them live in apartments or multi-family housing units and they just don’t have the space,” Markiewicz said.
Anne Markiewicz said for her, the concept of Sniffspot hits close to home. She used to live in Baltimore with her late dog, Penny, who was reactive to other dogs.
“This didn’t exist back then, and I could never give her this opportunity to just be free and happy and away from distractions,” Anne Markiewicz.
So now she’s honoring Penny’s legacy by giving other dogs that opportunity.
“It’s something that I love doing for other people who are in the same position with these sweet sweet dogs who might just not be a fan of other dogs,” said Markiewicz.
For more information about Sniffspot, click here.