People who run with their dogs in Adelaide, Australia, now have something in common with new mothers who stroll with baby and pooch in Zurich, Switzerland, and wine lovers who enjoy a glass of vino on dog playdates in Bristow, Virginia.
These dog owners are among the most recent groups to organize canine-related get-togethers through Meetup, an online platform where people of like interests can network and arrange face-to-face encounters.
For dog owners, Meetup is fast and easy way to socialize their pets and make new friends.
There are 1,230 groups of dog owners participating in Dog Meetups in 650 cities worldwide, according to the Meetup website.
Groups have organized around specific breeds, such as French Bulldog NYC in New York City (see video below), the Denver Mastiff Meetup and the Club des Chuhuahuas de Montreal. Size also comes into play with such groups as the San Antonio Big Dawgs in Texas and Small Dogs Rock! in Fresno, California.
Some Meetup groups form to share specific activities. For example, member of Atlanta Unleashed! Meet in state and national parks and give their dogs a chance to run free. The group has more than 1,700 members. The Retriever Hiking and Swimming Group, about 400 members strong, tries to give their dogs some time in the water in the Washington D.C. area.
The Meetup website was founded in 2002 and offers groups an online bulletin board to schedule gatherings. Groups can organize around any topic or activity, except “hate or crime,” according to the website. Organizers pay a monthly fee ($9.99 for groups of 50 or fewer members) to join the site.
Dog owners say the meetups are a fun way to have supervised play dates for their pets and to share tips about living with their pets.
“A great group of people with many different interests and awesome Doxies with cute personalities. It was a great Meetup,” wrote Alan Cole about the West Palm Beach Dachshund Meetup Group, which he organized in 2005.
The AKC recently launched its own Meetup group in New York City for dog owners who want to earn their dogs Canine Good Citizen certificates. It will soon expand to more cities across the U.S.