Ali Jarvis: Building Pet-Friendly Communities Across the US

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Ali Jarvis is founder of Sidewalk Dog, billed as “your local guide to dog-friendly places, activities, events, and more” for the rapidly growing number of households who expect their dogs to join them in everything they do. With operations in four major markets and more on the way, Ali is building a pet-centered media platform for pets, owners, pet friendly businesses, and their communities.


Ali Jarvis is founder of Sidewalk Dog, billed as “your local guide to dog-friendly places, activities, events, and more” for the rapidly growing number of households who expect their dogs to join them in everything they do. With operations in four major markets and more on the way, Ali is building a pet-centered media platform for pets, owners, pet friendly businesses, and their communities.

What do you do in pet tech?

We help both pet parents and brands. People want to spend more time with their dogs. We make it easy by discovering and sharing places they can go, activities they can do, and events they can attend together—all in and around their city.

We currently serve dog parents in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis (where we’re based), and Seattle, and additional markets are on the horizon. Brands are looking for ways to connect authentically with consumers on a local level.

Brands also want to do good. We make it easy with our digital advertising solutions, market research services, dog-friendly passes and events, and custom content. Additional revenue streams to come.


What prepared you most for what you’re doing in this area?

I graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in French Literature, so definitely NOT school. Prior to Sidewalk Dog, I had a winding career path that included short stints in advertising, publishing, and accounting, which were somewhat helpful, but I think my temperament has helped me persevere through the ups and downs of startup life more than any previous work experience—I’m ridiculously persistent, focused, and passionate about our mission.

And I’m continuously motivated by my two rescue goofballs, an 11-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Maggie Moo) and a who-knows-how-old Boxer/Pit Bull/Cattle Dog (Molly), who bring me so much joy and comfort every day.

What does a “pet friendly” community mean for businesses and others?

Pup-friendly businesses will tell you that welcoming dogs is not only good for their customers, it’s also good for their (the business’) bottom line—people that are accompanied by their dogs tend to stay longer, purchase more, and return more often. This is especially true when the business is located within a pet-friendly community, where dogs are welcome at nearby businesses, too (restaurants, breweries, coffeehouses, shops, etc.).

Where and by whom is the most promising work in the field being done?

I’m obsessed with the stuff that’ll help our pets live longer, healthier lives. Dogs’ lifespans are WAY too short! Two of my favorite categories are at-home pet health tests (CheckUp, AnimalBiome, Nom Nom, etc.) and health monitor/location tracker wearables (Whistle, Waggit, PetPace, etc.).

Last year we did a really fun campaign for Embark’s Breed + Health Dog DNA Test which started with a “Who’s Your Daddy?” contest and ended with a dog-friendly “Breed Reveal Party” at a Minneapolis brewery. This month we’re giving away Waggit’s Smart Health + GPS Tracker as part of our “Win the Ultimutt Puppy Prize Pack” featured giveaway.

What do you do to keep your batteries charged?

Other than spending time with my dogs, I listen to podcasts (Passion Economy is a current fave), exercise (love barre), cook… Love hanging out with my family (sister time) and my boyfriend and his girls. I live in Minneapolis so winter = binging shows and movies.


Mentioned in this Article

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Dan Reus is a writer, connector, speaker, seer of potential and facilitator of innovation and change. He consults with clients aspiring to realize their innovation potential as the founder and chief instigator of Openly Disruptive, and is a proud St. Louisian. Follow him on Twitter at @DanReus.

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