Rivenbark: Tech companies barking up the money tree

P.T. Barnum said it best: There’s a sucker born every minute that will pay just about anything to keep his dog happy.

Most people leave off the last part of that statement but I like to keep things historically accurate, particularly when I’m quoting former presidents.

Loyal readers know that I am technically a cat person. It’s not that I have anything against dogs, it’s just that I think unconditional love is a bit boring. Dogs are, frankly, easy. “Let me live with you – yarf-yarf – and I WILL TAKE A FLIPPIN’ BULLET FOR YOU!”

Cats are more cerebral. “Let me live with you – meoooow – and I will Figure 8 your ankles not out of affection but because it’s hilarious when you fall on your face. Seriously. Hilarious every time.”

Dog owners are besotted with their pets to the point of lunacy, if you ask me. A recent Time magazine article reported Internet companies are targeting pet owners like never before, even duplicating apps and services for humans such as Uber cab rides and B&B rentals.

DogVacay is a website that matches pet owners with hosts across the country to take care of their pets while they’re on vacation. Prices range from $15 to $100 a night. That’s a huge difference, but I’m guessing the $100 a night comes with a magnum of champagne, unlimited doggie porn and those drapes that open and close via remote control.

The $15 is more of a dog hostel, most likely, so your pooch would have to share a scratchy blanket in the corner of a laundry room with a cat from Spain who smokes too much and refuses to bathe.

App Swifto allows owners to book dog walkers and uses GPS to track their location, says Time. Swifto’s walkers charge about $35 for a 30-minute walk and send texts with “real-time poop alerts.” I get the same thing from my Aunt Verlie via landline telephone. What’s the big deal?

BarkBox is one of the better known doggie indulgence websites. For about $20 a month, your dog will receive a box of assorted toys, treats and gadgets. For $40 a month, I will go to your house and clean that crap out from the cushions and under the couches. Deal?

BarkBox has proven to be such a hit that the company recently announced plans to expand into “concierge services for pets.” Who knew so many dogs needed last-minute tickets to “The Book of Mormon” on a Wednesday night?

And finally, here’s the answer to the question that dog owners always ask: “How did he swallow an ottoman?” No, sorry. Is he getting enough exercise? Enter Whistle, a $130 device that snaps onto your dog’s collar and monitors fitness like a doggie Fitbit.

Whistle even calculates “true rest” to find out if your dog is oversleeping too much. So what if he is? Are you worried he’ll be late for the big shareholders meeting?

Oh, P.T., how right you were.