Dogs need part-time jobs. Okay, hear me out on this.
A typical dog owner works all day while the loyal pooch is bored and waiting. That dog would like some stimulation too. But he still wants to be home when the owner gets there, so how about a part-time job for the dog?
My idea is that senior living homes would have a side business of boarding and - here's the awesome part - training your personal dog to work with the seniors during the day. You drop off your dog on your way to work and pick him up after.
My idea is that the dogs could be trained for very specific duties, such as accompanying seniors for walks around the grounds. Someday motorized wheelchairs will be able to navigate like those driverless Google cars so seniors will be able to take long wheelchair adventures along special scenic wheelchair paths with their trained dogs as guides.
Dogs could also be trained to fetch seniors from their rooms for mealtime, to bring items back and forth, to carry purses and possessions, and generally act useful. The dogs would be happy and stimulated, the cost of boarding would be slightly discounted by the dog's "wages" and everyone gets some stimulation. It's a win-win-win.
On a related note, the ideal combination of businesses in the same location would include:
- Senior care
- Dog boarding
- Scenic forest/garden walk
- Soccer field
That way you could drop off your toddler and your dog at the same time, and both of them can visit grandma in the senior living area. The seniors get the benefit of some child and animal stimulation, but no more than they want. They can take long wheelchair cruises on the scenic walks with their trained dogs. And in the late afternoon and on weekends the seniors can watch high school soccer matches from the balconies of their own rooms.
The seniors could have small jobs such as taking tickets for the soccer games, feeding the animals, and watching the kids. Everyone wins.
Imagine driving into the facility to pick up both your toddler and your dog after work. You pull up to the curb and a senior loads your dog into one side of your car while another senior straps your toddler into the car seat. Maybe you also preorder your family dinner via Internet to be ready for pickup at the same time, and a third senior loads the packaged meal into your trunk. And maybe you also pick up your dry cleaning and groceries then too. It's like a racecar pit stop except with a very slow crew.
This is a subset of my larger idea that new cities should be designed from the ground up. Current cities are designed around transportation. I think new cities could be designed around lifestyle, with all of the transportation underground.
But for now I would settle for part-time jobs for dogs.