Unlike traditional video games, Pokémon Go only gets players off their tails, and into their communities. As players interact with the game, everyday community spaces are transformed into a digital "Pokéverse." Now, players can add community service to the benefits of playing this game.
Enterprising animal shelters in New Mexico and Indiana saw an opportunity and ran with it. Last week, in Muncie Indiana, 73 Pokémon Go players signed up to walk dogs and one lucky pup even was adopted into his forever home that same day.
Phil Peckinpaugh, superintendent of Muncie Animal Shelter, bought 20 new leashes because of the increase in demand. "I hope this 'Pokmon Go' isn't something that lasts a couple weeks," he tells local news. "I hope the shelter becomes a hot spot."
Phil Peckinpaugh, superintendent of Muncie Animal shelter with shelter dog, Winston.Photo credit: Muncie Animal Shelter
Haley Bowers, of Positive Paws Rescue Transport in Albuquerque, New Mexico saw a natural correlation. "A lot of people that like Pokémon like animals, so I figured it would be a pretty good program to combine both the dogs and Pokémon," she tells local news station, KRQE. Positive Paws has seen also seen a spike in interest since launching the initiative - 10 applications for adoption have already been filed and, at the moment, there are just 15 dogs available for adoption.
Pokémon Go links up with your phone's GPS and camera. As you walk around in the real world, your avatar will come across wild Pokémon and other treats that help you progress through the game. To catch a wild Pokémon, simply tap it to bring it into view and then swipe up to throw a Pokéball. The concept of the game is fairly simple, which is why it is so addictive! You could easily spend hours walking around outside in good weather with family and friends - especially the four-legged kind!
Before taking Fido along for the adventure, check out the list of things to consider by Dogtime.com. Remember to bring water and to take breaks, especially on high heat days. Smaller and older dogs can't walk for as long as younger, larger dogs. Some Pokéstops are on private property, so be mindful that dogs might not be allowed - try to plan your route before you head out. Snap on a leash and head out for an awesome afternoon bonding with your pooch and catching 'em all!