A Fellow Frenchie Invents a Great Resource

Posted by Pia

Exiting the Brooklyn Bridge with pooch in tow and no time to get to your local dog park before that meeting in Chelsea? Never fear -- HeyWalkies.com dog-park locator is here!

At the risk of making Francesca and Sharkey jealous, I want to introduce you to Nancye (pronounced like Nancy), who is the Frenchie face on a cool new Website and iPhone app that helps New Yorkers easily locate dog-friendly parks to take Fido for a frolic. Turns out they are not a bad place to meet other humans who share your love of canines as well.

The iPhone app and website was spurred by The NYC BigApps Competition, which invites tech-savvy New Yorkers to develop easy ways to make use of data that the city was offering to the public. One data set was a listing of the five boroughs' dog parks.

Creating a way to improve the quality of life for The Big Apple's furry 4-legged residents and to connect with other 2-leggers who value their canine friends was a no-brainer for HeyWalkies.com developer Chad Jackson. "They always say, do what you love and love what you do," Chad says, "so after a little brainstorming with my Nancye, off we went creating the site and cell phone application."

Chad and Nancye are die-hard Daily Wag fans! So in an effort to keep DW readers in the know, they emailed to alert me about the project!

Chad and I connected via phone. But when Chad had to put down the receiver to tend to an office matter, Nancye stealthily hijacked the line. So I had the good fortune of hearing about the project from her…

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“Dr. Pia?! Is this Daily Wag Pia?!  The Pia who works with Franny and Sharkey??” Nancye asked.

1 “Dr. Pia?! Is this Daily Wag Pia?! The Pia who works with Franny and Sharkey??” Nancye asked.

Before I could answer, she added, “You know I’m a huge fan of their work...Francesca's and Sharkey's... I once thought I saw Francesca on the street and asked for a pawprint (pawtagraph) but it turned out not to be her! Sooooo embarrassing...anyhoo....

2 Before I could answer, she added, “You know I’m a huge fan of their work...Francesca's and Sharkey's... I once thought I saw Francesca on the street and asked for a pawprint (pawtagraph) but it turned out not to be her! Sooooo embarrassing...anyhoo...."

3 "...Truth be told they were the inspiration for my HeyWalkies creation -- I mean Chad's creation..."

4 "Their use of the Internet to get the word out for canines is truly brilliant …. it's out-of-the-box thinking for sure.”

5 "Have you seen the site and cell phone app, Dr. Pia? Have Franny and Sharkey seen it? Martha?...You know that's me on the logo right?"

Fortunately I speak Caninese so was able to understand Nancye -- and all the big words she used. She had my ear and was talking a mile a minute.

6 Fortunately I speak Caninese so was able to understand Nancye -- and all the big words she used. She had my ear and was talking a mile a minute.

I sensed a little bitterness insofar as it seemed Nancye was in fact the HeyWalkies creator while her human, Chad, got all of the credit.

7 I sensed a little bitterness insofar as it seemed Nancye was in fact the HeyWalkies creator while her human, Chad, got all of the credit.

Nancye

8 Nancye "walked" me through the site and explained all the cool features and ease with which one can find a nearby patch of grass for your pooch.

According to Nancye,

9 According to Nancye, "There's really no good reason to leave 'fetching' pups like me at home anymore when you can so easily find a place to go for walkies."

10 "And users can post photos! I mean who wouldn't want to share this mug on the HeyWalkies site, to the HeyWalkies Facebook page or to their dog park posse? It'd be a loss not to. It's a rhetorical question but surely you agree Dr. Pia."

11 "A great deal of park research went into this whole venture, you know."

12 "I assessed various terrains and the relative degree of tree coverage."

13 "I noted if the park had a sand box or other ground variety and offerings."

14 "I sampled the local foliage and crunched the numbers of park fragrance factors 1 though 5.... You'll forgive me for all the technical terminology."

15 "Complicated calculations had to be executed related to ground speed, ball portability and ball-bounce factor 7."

16 "I tested seasonal viability and ran a few focus groups with canine colleagues. Sprinkles and Gus here were consenting study participants."

17 "...As was Dahlia, who engaged in some 'information sharing' or 'data exchange'... if you will."

18 "I won't kid you, Dr. Pia. It was hard work. And it required a great deal of data entry, which is not easy with Frenchie paws!"

19 "I worked a lot of long days and often went 3 to 4 hours at a time without a nap! Frankly, Chad was little bit of slacker on the job... but you didn't hear that from me!"

20 "Business lunches at places like my favorite Brooklyn sandwich shop punctuated the days, so it wasn't all bad. And I can write off those lunches on my taxes, so that's a plus!"

21 "A little doggie yoga in the Hamptons helped me regroup before our official launch earlier this month. I'm quite limber, you know."

22 "So now it's really just about hitting the streets and spreading the word..."

23 "...educating others on ways to use HeyWalkies.com to communicate with those who go to their dog parks or to share photos, etc."

24 "And explaining how HeyWalkies works to those who are in the know -- those with their ear to the ground and willing to listen."

The HeyWalkies app is free, and it is currently the only dog-related one in the BigApps lineup. Winning this friendly competition will allow Chad and Nancye to create more 'hound-helping' resources.

After Nancye finally surrendered the phone to Chad, he told me her story. While she was not an official rescue from a shelter, she may have wound up at one if he hadn't adopted her from a neglectful human who bought her on an impulse and didn't care for her properly.

It was when Nancye began turning her nose up a the small dog areas of local parks -- insisting instead on running with the big hounds -- that Chad began to take notice of what various NYC dog parks had to offer.

Chad's love for Nancye has made him want to help pooches in need, so he and I discussed some great ways to use similar technology for the benefit of shelter animals. And winning the competition could give him the tools to do just that! So let's hurry up and cast our votes for this canine-friendly resource at nycbigapps.com (The HeyWalkies icon is about half way down the list of apps.)

Phone's ringing..... Gotta run...looks like Nancye is calling me again see if I can secure a signed 8x10 glossy of Francesca and Sharkey! I offered her one of me but she wasn't interested. I guess you gotta have 4 legs to get the attention of Ms. Nancye!

I hope she remembers us 2-leggers when she hits the big time…

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

PS: If you are looking to adopt a Frenchie or similar pup, visit marthastewart.com/pet-adoption and fill in the search form. Here are a few that are available for adoption right now!

Comments (7)

  • Dr. Pia
    That Nancye is a cutie, not as cute as me but close.
    Hey how about a Frenchie play date with all us Frenchie Bloggers???? I would like to wait for spring because I'm not really fond of the cold.

    Mom won't let me go to any dog parks she's afraid I might catch something from another dog. A friend of hers would take her dog to one and it got a really bad cough. I really don't need a park my house has a very big back yard and it's all fenced in to keep me safe. Plus I have 3 big Labs to play with but I would really love a Frenchie play date, that would be fun.

    I was looking at the calendar this morning and I see my name up there one day next week with a note - Zoe Vet 9:15 :( I have to go get my Rabies Shot - I don't like needles. I have to come up with a plan to hide so they can't find me.

    Zoe

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    What a neat way for humans to get around and find parks which are friendly to dogs. As for me, and my doggy friends, we can find a park blocks away just by smelling the air. There’s something about grass, trees and flowers that one can’t miss. Too bad humans have to use their phones just to find paradise. Keep up the good work and other cities may follow your lead.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hello Ladies & Dr. Pia,
    That Nancye is sure special. She is very smart, and very cute--looks a little young for me however. She is just a pup I think from my observations. Very clever idea I must say Nancye. Help these humans out as much as possiable. As for me I can't go to dog parks, or even walks because of my immune disorder. It is doing very well-knock on wood--this winter. I get plenty of play time with Tasha and Mom and Dad. Good luck to you and Chad, Nancye. Keep us posted on the events with your business. Have a great day all. Another day in front of the fire for me--four below zero right now.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Now there is a bright guy Chad Jackson!!! “They always say, do what you love and love what you do,” I absolutely agree, and what a great idea the developing of HeyWalkies.com!
    Nancye you are so adorable, those photos are absolutley charming...now all that said and done...find a park to walk your human.
    meeuw form a "Kitty"

  • Hello everyone this is Nancye from the article. Woof Woof! I wanted to say thanks to Dr. Pia for bring me one step closer to Francesa & Sharkey. I really love reading their adventures and hope that I can get up to as much mischief as they do!

    I wanted to reply to a few lovely comments above.

    To Basil: I was blushing when you said I look like a young pup! Chady still insists that I am a puppy, and I tend to agree, but I am about to turn 3. Forever young! I am sorry to hear about your immune-disorder. I can sometimes be accident prone and my vet always loves to see me, so I'll be thinking of you and your mom and dad.

    To Zoe: My daddy was reluctant to take me to dog parks when I was a puppy since everyone said dog parks with germ-fests, but my vet told me that I should definitely go and play and meet other doggys and it is absolutely worth it. After all dogs have less germs than humans - a human kiss is full of germies! Ewwww! Although I am really jealous since I want a labrador brother and sisters to play with too.

    To Kirby: I love playing in the grass as much as any pooch out there, but it can be so hard in NYC. There are parks department police that prowl the green spots and are very happy to give out fines to playful pups. One of the benefits of Hey Walkies is that it tells you about the parks you can visit and what the rules are. For example you can visit Central Park in the morning and evening and run anywhere you like off-leash! Lots of friends join me in the park and it is great to have a resource to find the best spots.

    To Francesa & Sharkey: Please please please come and visit next time you are in the city. I'd love to show you all the most exciting places. We can even get a Pawtini and go shopping! Woof!

  • Hi Dr. Pia, I just love these photos of cute little Nancye! She is absolutely beautiful, just like Francesca and Sharkey!!! Oh, how I would love to meet her along with F&S!!! Now I have three beautiful girl friends!!! Let me know when I can play with all three of my girl friends!! Love to all, Dudley Do Right xoxoxo

  • Hey!...my ('beautiful and beautifully spotted calico') Mandy girl was just looking at little Nancye's pictures, and the first thing she noticed was that she appeard to be 'calwico', just like she! I agreed but explained that the term 'calwico', as Mandy 'pwonounces' it, usually referred to little kittiekitties, not puppiedoggies.

    Little Nancye is a BEAUTIFUL little girl - just a little miniature 'holstein' version of the Boxerdoggies of my youth. She has a little pink beauty mark, I see - just like our rambunctious and spunky little Sharkeybarkey.

    Without getting all preachy, how can anyone NOT properly care for their pet (assuming they have the means to do so)?! I am sooo glad Chad took this little girl in, and what a life they have now! It's absolutely fabulous!...all the wonderful things little puppiedoggies like beautiful little Nancye SHOULD have!

    Muah, baby girl [a gentle kiss on top of your little flat Boxerlike head]. Niteynite, little one.

    =^..^=

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