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Like dogs? Got grass? Want cash? “Sniffspot” may be your thing

By David Schuman

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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If going to the dog park sends your furry friend into a frenzy, a newly-launched service could be a more relaxing solution.

It’s also an easy way to make some quick cash if you have your own patch of grass.

Sniffspot allows people to rent out their backyards and other spaces to dog owners looking for a private dog park.

“We provide poop bags, we provide treats, toys,” said Ann Maves, a host who rents her yard in Eagan. “I usually leave out some like LaCroix water for the guests, too. It’s just come, enjoy yourself.”

Maves makes anywhere from $60 to $80 a week on Sniffspot. There are about 100 spots available in the metro.

“We are a safe alternative to what’s already out there, which is walking your dog on a leash or going to a dog park,” said David Adams, the founder and CEO of Sniffspot.

Not everyone wants such a private experience though.

“Any way to bring dogs together, bring people together,” said Alyssa Todd, who was with her dog, Toby, Wednesday at the Minnehaha Dog Park. “I can’t count the number of friends I’ve made at the dog park because of Toby.”

Hannah Oberpriller was there, too. She said she likes seeing other dogs besides her own.

But the fact is, not every dog is a good fit for such a crowded setting. They may be puppies, or shy or fearful.

They’re why Maves got into hosting on Sniffspot in the first place.

“We started it just to kind of give an outlet to those dogs, because we’ve been there and we know how hard it is,” she said. “The money was just kind of an added bonus.”

Adams says that sentiment is not uncommon.

“It’s about seeing the look of joy on a dog’s face when they’re running free in their yard and getting that sense of purpose from doing it,” he said.

The average space costs $9 to $15 per dog per hour. Most of the hosts earn hundreds of dollars a month.

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