Dogs crossing a Tel Aviv street.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN)
The city with the highest ratio of canines per capita around the globe is about to digitize its dog community.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality is launching a service called Digi-Dog to equip the city’s dogs and their owners with the digital tools they need to thrive in a smart city.
The program is based on the city’s Digi- Tel resident card system, a free card used by more than a third of Tel Aviv residents to obtain discounts and receive real-time information about nearby events.
While tailored specifically to the needs of dog owners, Digi-Dog will work similarly to Digi-Tel, offering card holders access to relevant live updates and special offers, the municipality said. Some such perks will include reminders about vaccinations, directories of nearby veterinarians, updates about upcoming events, lists of available dog walkers, directions to the nearest dog park and information about training courses. Card holders will be able to access the updates via text messages as well as an online newsletter, the city said.
“Digi-Dog is an innovative platform that represents a significant leap forward in terms of providing municipal services to dog owners,” said Reuven Ladianski, the Tel Aviv City Council member who oversees environmental and animal- related matters. “This program will empower residents to take advantage of everything the city has to offer, both to them and to their pets.”
With 25,000 registered canines, Tel Aviv’s population includes one dog for every 17 humans. Tel Aviv dogs enjoy 70 public dog parks, or 1.3 parks per square kilometer, according to the city. The municipality also operates a no-kill shelter, treats homeless animals around the clock and responds to animal-abuse complaints through its city animal patrol.
In August, the city’s dogs flocked to the Yarkon River for Kelaviv – Tel Aviv Dog Day, an original festival with services for dogs like a pop-up massage parlor, naturopathic remedies and bedazzled accessories for sale.
“Tel Aviv is an amazing city for dogs: We have beaches for dogs, parks for dogs and we even hold film nights for dogs,” said Eytan Schwartz, CEO of the city’s Tel Aviv Global & Tourism company.
“Tel Aviv is also an amazing city for start-ups: With 1,500 technological startups, Tel Aviv enjoys the highest concentration of technological companies per capita in the world,” he said. “Today we are combining both assets – a dog-friendly city and a technology-friendly city – to create a revolutionary service. If you like it – bark!”