By Maddie Orton
Remember Uber Kittens? Last October the driving empire partnered with a local shelter for a day to connect kittens with animal lovers for short, cuddle-filled visits. Here’s round two: Uber Puppies.
“Uber Puppies was happening for the first time in New Jersey, and it was also taking place in Philadelphia and in Pittsburgh,” said spokesperson Craig Ewer.
On Thursday, Uber partnered with the nonprofit Southern Paws to make puppies on demand a possibility in Hudson County and the city of Newark.
“Demand is off the charts as always,” said Ewer. “I think there’s no shortage of people who really, really want to see a slew of kittens or puppies come to their office.”
Visits were $30 for 15 minutes, and all funds went to the rescue organization. Drivers were compensated by Uber.
“It’s a delight for us to be able to change our app for just one day and give people the opportunity to request something really special,” said Ewer.
Special it was. Here at NJTV News, two pups stopped by with representatives from Southern Paws and Uber. Adults in a conference room were quickly transformed into wide-eyed kids.
The purpose is to put a smile on people’s faces, but also to get puppies like Abby adopted.
Southern Paws works with rescue groups in the southern United States dealing with under-resourced shelters. They bring dogs up and place them directly in forever homes or, if need be, into foster homes.
Does this allow people to look at dogs they would potentially adopt themselves?
“It does. And it actually gives them the ability to see different types, different breeds,” said Southern Paws President Tami-Jo Faller. “With this, they get to see maybe what a Black Mouth Cur is, which isn’t something we’d typically have up here. Or a Feist — another type of breed we don’t typically have up here. So, they get to meet these breeds and see if these breeds are even compatible for them.”
Ewer said giving back is important to Uber. “You know, the Uber model is push a button, get a ride and so we like to think, ‘What else can you do?'” he explained. “In New Jersey, we actually went ahead and worked with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to offer on-demand food donations. So that meant that, for a certain period of time, people could open up the app, and they could request to have a donation pick up. So the Uber driver comes right to you, and you can just hand off the food that they’ll take right to the community food bank.”
The company has also partnered with Goodwill to pick up donations. But this week, the goal was injecting some puppy love into homes, offices and newsrooms.