Karen Wild: Dogs walked with PokémonGO
Good news in the world of dogs is always one more walk, one more visit to the great outdoors. One complaint about the modern age is that people sit indoors on computers too much, and dogs are not exercised. Well, that has changed this part fortnight!
If you have a smartphone, or any internet connection whatsoever, you have surely heard of the latest online craze. A little app called 'PokemonGO' is taking over our village of Baston, and I am sure it is in your local area too. Kids, teens, and yes plenty of adults are wandering about looking for, and attempting to catch, virtual creatures known as Pokemon. Each one has a name linked to its type (ZuBat looks like an angry bat flapping around, and Rattata a cartoon rat, and I am sure you can imagine what a Krabby might look like...)
Why is this relevant to the column today? Well, here's a really positive and exciting development. To 'catch' these little creatures, you need to leave the house and actually go walking around! To hatch their eggs, the app asks you to walk a certain distance. I have seen 5k and 10k listed for a walking target!
In the USA, a dog rescue centre advertised for PokemonGo players to borrow a dog whilst out hunting for their Pokemon, meaning that the dog gets a walk in the local neighbourhood at the same time. This scheme was so popular that people walking the dogs (and catching the virtual creatures on the App at the same time) were enjoying the dog's company so much, they decided to give them a home. This rescue centre actually ran out of dogs needing homes! Amazing.
In our village I have never seen so many folks out and about, meeting in groups to track these creatures. There are places where they can aim for on the local map, and you often see a group of people (not just children) with the dog in tow, having a chat about this new craze.
So, dogs, ask your owners if they would like to get out and about more, earn special merits by catching virtual creatures online, and above all, taking the dog out at least twice a day so that they can spend their valuable time hunting for and sniffing out adventures of their own. That is, as long as it is not the slightly worse for wear pigeon that we found in the road yesterday. Don't try to catch that one.