July 14, 2021

Chris Roy - Doobert And Transporting Animals | The Long Leash #23

Chris Roy - Doobert And Transporting Animals | The Long Leash #23

Pilot and animal rescuer Chris Roy founded online platform Doobert, which brings shelters, rescues and volunteers together in a convenient app. The app (inspired by his cat) is used by over 27,000 volunteers and 1,200 rescue organizations across the United States and Canada.

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By day Chris Roy is an IT professional and by night and weekends, he’s an avid animal rescuer, pilot and superhero who loves to dream up new ways that technology can help people help animals.

Chris Roy started flying animal rescues, transporting shelter dogs from high-kill locations to places where they were more likely to be adopted. But realizing that coordinating the ground and aviation legs was not as simple as it could be, he created a system to coordinate the trips . And he named it after his cat: Doobert.

Doobert is a volunteer based Uber-like service with tens of thousands of volunteers across the US, that any rescue or shelter can use. It is kind of like match.com where rescues and shelters connect with each other and with volunteers who transport the animals wherever they need to go.

The online platform has become a household name in the world of pet rescue, and it all started with a 17-year-old, 15-pound cat called Doobert.

About Chris Roy and Doobert

Chris Roy is the father of several cats and dogs and the creator of Doobert.com, an online software platform for animal welfare volunteers and organizations. As a multi-engine pilot from Milwaukee, Chris has flown hundreds of animal rescue missions and has helped relocate animals from high-kill shelters to no-kill shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries. With his experience and expertise in IT, he continues to look for ways to make it easier for everyone to help animals. Chris is a transformative, global leader in Information Technology and innovative technology disruptor in Animal Welfare.







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James: [00:00:00] We may be all about dogs here at the Long Leash, but this next story actually begins with a cat, but a very special orange cat. Hi, I'm James Jacobson, welcome the Long Leash. Now I think it's fair to say that us dog lovers are generally decent folk. None more so than pet rescuers. Without these everyday heroes, many animals might not have made it to their forever homes. And Chris Roy is one of those heroes. He's the founder of Doobert, which is an online software program custom built for animal rescuers. Think of it like a dating app mixed with a crowdsource transportation app, perhaps Match.com meets Uber where rescues and shelters connect with each other and volunteer Ubers safely transport the animal wherever they need to go. The online platform has become a household name in the world of pet rescue and it all started with a 17 year old, 15 pound feline called Doobert. Chris Roy thank you for being with us today. 

Chris: [00:01:16] Thanks for having me, James, 

James: [00:01:17] Your journey started with a cat and we don't talk a lot about cats here on Dog Podcast Network, but it's a cat named Doobert that basically, uh, must've had a big impact on your life.

Chris: [00:01:32] Yes, he did. Doobert was a cat of mine, he was the second cat that I had, um, and had him for 17 years. And as I like to tell people, Doobert was an old soul. He was one of those cats that just loved you, no matter what. He wasn't the most intelligent cat that I've ever had. Um, but he was an old soul. He was, he really just wanted to be loved and, you know, he would come and lay on your chest and you'd, you'd have the best sleep of your life. He would just warm you up. And he, um, he was one of those cats that anywhere in the house, if you'd hear you, he would just cry for you. Right? And you would just start saying, Doobert. And he would echo back, he'd meow, and you'd say, Doobert and he'd meow. Yeah. Literally, he'd kind of sound source his way to find where you were. Um, and we had him for, like I said, 17 years and, um, when we had to let him go, it was, uh, it was a sad day, but now his you know now his legacy lives on. 

James: [00:02:28] And what is that legacy and how did Doobert inspire you to create Doobert? 

Chris: [00:02:34] Yeah, exactly right? There's always a story behind these things. So, um, the, the story of Doobert I mean, Doobert as you know, was a cat and Doobert the software platform today, now is focused on animal rescue and, you know, my story and kind of how all this came about was I'm, you know, got into animal rescue back in about 2008 and myself as a pilot, I was asked to fly down to Kentucky. I live in Milwaukee and they said, Hey, can you fly down and pick up these dogs? I'm like, sure. Right? Excuse to go flying. And I get to play with dogs. Like what's not to love? 

James: [00:03:11] We have interviewed other pilots who basically run these very small airlines for, for rescue dogs. It's pretty cool. 

Chris: [00:03:18] Yeah, it's a thing. And I didn't, at the time, I didn't realize, you know, that my name would get shared and more and more people would be calling me and asking me to, you know, become their airline, right? So I started getting requests from different groups, both locally and then kind of further and further, and you know, soon you have people in California saying, Hey, can you fly out here? I'm like no. People, this doesn't, you know, not the size of planes I'm flying. So I said, there's gotta be a way that I can just put in, where I am. How far I'm willing to fly. What days I'm available. I still work a full-time day job. Um, and you know, there's gotta be an app for that. And there wasn't, so I decided to create it. Uh, and so that's where the idea for the system was born. And when it came time to, you know, name it, put it on a website, it was, I searched like everybody does to find that perfect domain. And at the end of one of these search sessions, I, I thought of Doobert, and had a picture of him there, and I thought, why not name it Doobert? And lo and behold Doobert.com was available because nobody else knew what a Doobert  was. And that's kind of where it started. And, and since then it's really grown and it just, it does so much more and  certainly Doobert helps dogs and cats. Um, and it's become, like I said, it's become this legacy and it all started with a cat. 

James: [00:04:39] Once you had the domain and you were basically solving this problem for your own purposes, which is to help these volunteer pilots fly, you know, from shelter to shelter, there's such a greater, I mean, not everyone has a plane at their disposal who wants to help out rescue dogs. So this is much broader than just that. 

Chris: [00:05:02] Yeah. And what was interesting is once I got closer to launching it and I was showing, you know, some of the people that I worked with, they're like, well, that's, that's really great. Can, can drivers use it? And I'm like, driver, why would a driver need software? Help me out here. And I kind of, as you mentioned, I didn't, I mean, certainly I was meeting these drivers, both at the pickup and drop off when I was doing these flights, but it never really occurred to me that there was a bigger issue. And so I was like, well, sure we could. Driver profile. Um, and so we did. And so now, um, it turned into the software that combined both drivers and pilots, and it's the only, it's the only software it's all custom built just for, you know, for this purpose is where it started. And so now the rescues and shelters can basically put in where they're trying to move the animal from and to, and the system will break it into lakes, automatically plotted on the map and automatically notify the appropriate volunteers based upon their distance from, from the route and the days that they're available. So it does a lot of that logic and really makes it so much easier to plan one of these rescue relay transports. 

James: [00:06:14] And how many shelters across the country are using it currently? 

Chris: [00:06:17] So we've now got over 5,000 rescues and shelters across the U S, Canada, and we actually just deployed it to Australia a couple of months ago. So we're working to get them going. And so we've got over 5,000 organizations and over 32,000 volunteers now that are a part of the system. And I would tell you, one of the biggest complaints we get is not enough, there's not enough transports. I had one lady email me and say she was complaining about another volunteer. I don't remember his name. And she said, he gets the leg every single time before me, before I get the notification, I go out there to sign up and he's already taken it. Can you just like block him for a couple of times? And you know, so it's kind of funny, but yeah. It's really nice to know that people are that passionate about wanting to get involved. And it's a, it's a great way to get involved and and helping to move dogs and cats where they need to go.

James: [00:07:11] So its sort of like Uber, but for animals and with no money. 

Chris: [00:07:16] Exactly. So I tell people it's a volunteer-based Uber is really kind of the idea behind it, and then over the, you know, we've continued to build on it and now there's foster functionality. So if people want to and can help foster an animal, and there's lots of different ways that you can be a volunteer, and get involved. And so we've really tried to focus on, you know, we call them Dooberteers  right? So our volunteers, which are, they're amazing people that are trying to do their part to help animals. So our tagline is helping you help animals, and people can sign up, like you said, it's free. Um, And build the profiles based on how they want to participate. So if they want to be a transporter at a rescue relay or in a local ride, which is very much like an Uber, and they can be a foster home and photographer all of these other types of profiles, and then the system will use that information and help the rescues and shelters to you know, put their transactions in, right? For whatever it is that they're looking for. So it's a great way for them to get involved and, you know, move animals, like I said, from high kill shelters to no kill shelters and rescues. 

James: [00:08:26] At this point, you have helped over 10,000 animals, right?

Chris: [00:08:30] Yeah. 

James: [00:08:31] Do any particular cases stand out that really warm the cockles of your heart? 

Chris: [00:08:38] For sure. Yeah. I mean, I mean, honestly, there's one story that really, um, always makes me smile. Right? Um, and it was a, it was an English, uh, albino English Setter puppy. Um, so albino, he was white, and he came from a breeder, the breeder dropped him off at the shelter because as it sometimes happens when you have albinos, the dog was deaf, the puppy was deaf. So to the breeder, this dog was useless. And so the shelter down south, um, worked, you know, their network and they found an organization up in Michigan to take the animal, which is great. So they put the transport into Doobert they broke it into legs and all these kinds of things, but they forgot one thing. They didn't give the dog a name. Um, at least not in the system. Right? So when the transport went out, the volunteers all thought the dog's name was Doobert. Um, so they all just you know along the way. They just started calling the dog, Doobert and as it turns out, the dog got to his destination, and so the shelter you know, kept his name as Doobert and they eventually did get him adopted out. And as it turned out, the people that he got adopted out to, um, were selected, Doobert the dog was actually selected for the Puppy Bowl, which, you know, happens during the Superbowl at halftime. 

James: [00:09:56] That's even for some, for some people even bigger than  than the Superbowl. 

Chris: [00:10:02] Yeah. I know it is for me. And, um, it was great. So during the Superbowl a few years ago, uh, I of course flipped over to Animal Planet during the halftime, and I cheered every time the announcer said and Doobert takes the ball. All right. So it was like this little win for me, knowing that Doobert the dog actually represented something bigger. I looked for a spike in traffic, of course, on the website. There wasn't any, but, um, it was at least something that warmed my heart in knowing that, you know, we had an impact on getting that dog and he had an impact right? Being a part of the Puppy Bowl.

James: [00:10:35] Absolutely. Yeah, that, that, that is a, that's a great story. Now you screen your volunteers, right. To make sure that the people who are involved, you have 5,000 thousands, as you said earlier, how many people?  

Chris: [00:10:48] Uh, so we've got over 32,000 volunteers and kind of the way it works is I've built it, you know, Ibuilt it kind of two layers in there. So we have a, we call general volunteers so anybody can sign up, right? There's no, there's really no checking. Um, because I'm trying to make it easier for people to get involved. And then we have a program in there. They can click a button if they want, they can become Doobert verified. And in that case, then we do check. Right? So now we get a copy of their driver's license and references, and we're, we're validating that you are who you say you are. And the goal is to try and weed out any, you know, bad intended people from the platform. So I'd say about 40, 40% or so of the volunteers, uh, opt in or want to become Doobert verified. It's still free, but it gives them a badge and allows us to demonstrate to the rescues and shelters that, you know, these are people that really do want to help animals.

James: [00:11:43] Cause there probably are some bad apples that you discover in that process. 

Chris: [00:11:47] Yeah. Unfortunately there are some bad apples and, um, we screen every organization, 100% of them. We actually rescreen them every year annually just because it's, you know, shelters don't generally change hands, but rescue groups, since they're more virtual can come and go. And again, our goal is to provide a safe, a safe software right? Thats connecting the rescues and shelters with people that want to help. And these people are looking for a way to get involved and they don't, they don't always know. Right? I mean, you can go to a shelter and be a volunteer, but this is another way you can do it. You don't necessarily have to go to the shelter. You can be a volunteer. So we're trying to provide that place, like you said, to weed out the bad apples, as much as we can. So we've built a, you know, a feedback system in there. So the volunteers can rate one another, uh, from a transport, they can rate the shelter, the shelter could rate them. So we're trying to do our part to weed out anybody. That's got bad ideas. 

James: [00:12:45] So your business model is an interesting one. You're not a traditional 5 0 1 C3. You are a not for profit. 

Chris: [00:12:54] Yeah. So, so essentially, I mean, if you look at it from a legal standpoint, you're either a nonprofit or your for-profit. Right? You know, really the way I like to describe Doobert is a social enterprise, right? Doobert does not make money. I'm not in this to make money. Um, when I started doing though, when you get in to non nonprofit or 5 0 1 C three charities, it gets a little bit harder because you don't own it. Right? Nobody owns it. That's the intent of it. And since I was and am the only thing funding. It, it became rather difficult for me to be the one funding it, building it and not having control to say, here's what I want to do. Or here's where I want to go with it, because you have a board. So what I chose to do instead was to make it, you know, legally, right? An LLC for profit, but, um, it doesn't Doobert does not make money. So believe me, I'm still working a day job, right. To, I tell people I work a day job to afford my nights and weekends job. 

James: [00:13:54] So I can fly animals around, arrange these transports. 

Chris: [00:13:58] Yeah. Yeah. And you know, like anything, I mean I, I paid developers to, to do the actual coding and I'm paying for servers to run the software and all that stuff. And you know, I look at animal rescue is like a big melting pot of skills. And my, my skill is technical and software development. So I, I bring that to the table and, you know, I'm investing to try and help to get more people involved, right? So that they can be a part of it. Um, we do welcome people. If they want to give a donation, that's great. It goes a hundred percent towards, you know, server costs and developer costs and all those other costs that go along with it. But I it's not, again, my goal is not to make money on the, on the backs of rescues and shelters and volunteers. My goal is to provide a connection and a, and a tool. Um, one of the things I'm really excited about is when I started this, my goal was to help people save time. And from, you know, rescues, they often have a person that's called the transport coordinator, right? Their job is to plan the transport from Louisiana and Massachusetts. And in the past, they used to have to go on Facebook and they'd have long email lists and they would literally be trying to manage hundreds and hundreds of emails. And I talked to some of these transport coordinators, and I said, how many transports do you plan a week? And they would tell me one or two, if they're really good, maybe three, if they're like just working 24/7. And once I launched the platform and started working with some of these guys, I asked them, I said, now how many you do do? And they do anywhere from 15 to 20 transports a week because they are so much more efficient. The software does all the work. So they're doing exactly what I would expect. They're saving more animals and that's the goal is if I can save you time, then you're going to save more animals.

James: [00:15:48] And it's all because of the logistics that you guys provide. Talk a little bit more about this concept of a social enterprise. That is not a term that I have, uh, is that, is that something that you coined?. 

Chris: [00:15:58] No, no, I wish. There's actually, um, the idea of social enterprise is that is a, uh, a for-profit company that is designating a portion of their proceeds or profits to charitable purposes or community purposes.  

James: [00:16:13] What are some examples that we might know? Big ones. 

Chris: [00:16:17] Yeah, so a good example of a social enterprise is like Tom's shoes, right? You buy a pair, they're donating a pair to, um, places in Africa, right? To children that don't have shoes. And, you know, they're, these are companies that are being, they're recognizing that the impact that they want to have on the world. And they're, they're not just giving the money to their shareholders. They're designating um, a portion of their profits, some, some up to like 10% that goes back to their cause goes back to their community. And so that's where that term kind of comes from. Is people look at it as your non-profit or your for-profit. Well, you could still be for profit, but have a charitable purpose. And that's kind of where the, the idea of a social enterprise came from. 

James: [00:17:00] So do the people that you help, the rescues that you help do, they have to be 5 0 1 C3? 

Chris: [00:17:07] So we do check all of them. I don't require them to be 5 0 1 C3, um, certainly recommended. And we, we check, you know, they give us their 5 0 1 C3 paperwork, if they are. If they're not, I'm willing to work with them, usually the ones that we've accepted that are not is because it's a process, right? You've got to pull together the board, file the paperwork. So usually they're trying to get going. And so I don't want to say put them on probation or anything like that, but we say to them like, look, if you're legitimately trying to do this, we're happy to help you and let you use the software while you get established. Um, as a, as a rescue, right? That's got a legitimate, um, you know, Uh, purpose in terms of saving dogs. So it's not a hard and fast requirement, but I would tell you, 98, 99% of the organizations that are on there are a nonprofit, uh charity. 

James: [00:18:02] So what is the revenue model? Where, where, where does the revenue come in for paying these developers and these servers? Is it all out of your paycheck? 

Chris: [00:18:11] So because I'm a glutton for punishment. Um, so what I started to do, I mean, it has for the last, you know, seven years that's come out of my paycheck and now we're, I'm starting to get some traction is, uh, working on other websites and other apps for other people, right? Charging them and then using the proceeds to continue to fund Doobert. So if you came to me and said, Hey, Chris, we need a new website. Right? Well, you know, we'll charge you the market rate, even though it costs us less to build it. And then we'll use the proceeds for that to now pay the Doobert developers, right? To further the system and, and pay for servers and things like that. So I, I have kind of started to take on clients, and a consulting agency a little bit, um, just so that we can bring in enough revenue, because as it's grown, I mean, as you can imagine, I mean, our server costs on Amazon are over a thousand dollars a month. And that's not paying a developer. That's literally just to keep the platform up and running. But yeah, it's, it's one of those things where people, you know, you don't realize that these things do cost money, right? And as they scale and grow, there's a lot more servers and stuff breaks and things need to be fixed. And, you know, people want help and they have questions. I've got a, you know, employ people that can answer their questions and do support tickets and things like that. 

James: [00:19:33] Chris Roy didn't just stop with Doobert. He has created a few other helpful tools for pet rescue. More on those after a quick break. 

We are back with Chris Roy. So Chris, you have also created a few other tools in addition to Doobert and RescueTube comes to mind. Let's talk about that. 

Chris: [00:19:53] Yeah, this is so a little bit of our play on YouTube. Um, so what I, what I often say to people, I mean, we all know pictures are great, but videos way more compelling. You know? The words, the spoken word though, is, is always king. Um, when you think about, when you're trying to get a dog or a cat or another type of animal adopted, people want to know what are they like? And it's hard to know just from looking at a picture, but when you think about, okay, so great. Just get some video, right? So take a video on your phone. Well, how do you get that video off of your phone now, back to the rescue and shelter. How do, how do they get it onto their computer? How do they get it posted where they can now go share it? It's not an easy process. And so this is something that we said, you know, let's, let's make this easy. Let's just make this stupid simple so that the rescue or shelter, they create a bucket. So in the software they click add, right. It gives them a bucket number and all they have to do is communicate that number to anybody. Right? Including you, James, you go download the free Doobert app and it says, do you have a rescue two bucket number? You type that number in now you can capture video and you literally upload that video. It goes back to them. So instead of them trying to say, all right, James, I need a 30 second video of this dog. Cause that's the most, you're gonna be able to text me. You can capture, you can capture the transport, you can capture the dog, you can capture a fundraising event and you can all of these things. And then the video goes to them. Instead of, you know, trying to put it in a Dropbox or a Google Drive. And the idea behind this is imagine if we had videos of every animal in the country that's trying to get adopted, instead of just a picture, if we actually had videos, could you imagine how you'd recognize the personality and dogs for sure. But imagine cats, you know, even though it's sort of, you know. 

James: [00:21:50] If you can capture them before they run away. 

Chris: [00:21:51] Yeah, and cats are one of those. You take a picture of every cat kind of looks the same, but when you capture them on video with your true personality. 

James: [00:22:00] Wait, I've never seen a cat picture on the internet. 

Chris: [00:22:01] Yeah. Right?. Yeah. you never see those. But it really just captures their personality. So, we developed that to make it, to give a tool so that these guys could get videos of everything. And what's really cool is that there's been organizations. You know, people are like, well, can we use it for something else? I'm like, you can use it for whatever you want. So there is a shelter organization that was using it, they set up a, um, you know, an iPhone and they actually videotaped their videotape. I say the video their surgeries, and I'm like, why do you do that? Well, because they use it for training. And instead of having to set up a GoPro and then somebody has got to get it onto a computer, all of it's stored in the cloud. So they just create a bucket. Right? They set it up and then they video a surgery and they've got it all. It's all stored. Um, there's other organizations. They said, Hey, we've got, you know, animal control officers. And when they have to investigate a call or a bite call or, you know, whatever it might be. It'd be great if they could document evidence and I'm like, perfect, right? Create a bucket, give them the number. Now they're capturing video, you know, as they're there, as they're talking to the, to the person, to the client, as they're viewing the animal, um, they've got that video evidence, which goes just so much further than just taking a couple of pictures or, or trying to write down afterwards what the case was about.

James: [00:23:23] And all of this is available through the Doobert app, for both apple iOS or Android. 

Chris: [00:23:30] Yeah, you got it. So we're trying to provide, and I view us as providing these technology tools to solve some of the hardest problems in animal rescue 

James: [00:23:39] What about Foster Space? What is that? 

Chris: [00:23:42] So Foster Space. Yeah. So Foster Space is our newest thing, so it's just barely a year old when COVID really started to take hold in the U S in March of 2020.  Overnight, almost every shelter had to shut down. Right? We were all, everything was closed and we were all staying home. So every shelter had to find places for these animals. So they put them in foster homes. Now, you know, if you think about, if you're a smaller rescue and you're managing 10  animals in foster homes, you can probably communicate with people via your phone. Right? You have 10 phone numbers, you can text them. It's pretty easy. Well, now imagine if you're, you know, a shelter like Austin that has a thousand animals, right? How are you going to keep track? How are you going to manage these animals? How are you going to communicate with those fosters, because now you don't just have a thousand animals. You have a thousand people that you need to communicate and there's, there is no technology in the software or there's no technology out there in software, right? That was supporting this. So, um, last March, when all this was happening, I said, you know what? We have. We have to solve this. And so we got out the whiteboard and really ideated on how can we build a foster management platform that allows an organization to manage a thousand fosters, a thousand foster albums. And so what we did is we built foster space and we launched it last June, and it was just revolutionary in the animal welfare industry, because every organization gets assigned a phone number so they can send and receive text messages right through the Doobert platform. So they don't, you know, they don't have to do anything or pass around a cell phone, right? 

James: [00:25:28] So it's an SMS that they, okay. I so appreciate, I mean, to those listeners who are sorta a little geeky, like I am, this is really fascinating applications for this technology that we see everywhere. So go on. Okay. So yeah, they get the help. They get the phone number. 

Chris: [00:25:47] Yeah. So they got a phone number and we've built different functions in there. So now number one, they can text, you know, the foster, right? So if you James have a foster dog, they can text you and just, Hey, how's it going with, you know, Gracie the dog? And you can reply, like there are, um, technologies that people use in animal welfare that are one way texting, right? Like you would verify a phone number, but nobody had anything that allows the person to reply, which is kind of crazy. And then more importantly is we built in functions so that they could tag, um, they could text all dog fosters, for example. So any, any foster in their, you know, in their, um, organization within Doobert, that has a dog, they can automatically just say, I need to send a text to all dog fosters in the system will of course do the work and send them a text and then it'll allow replies. We, so now we encourage volunteers to verify their mobile number with Doobert because now we know. You know, James has got a mobile number and you can two-way text him. And what we've done is we've added other functionalities, such as recurring texts. So one of the challenges, if you're running a large organization is you need to remind people of things, right? If it's, um, you know, if it's a dog, then they might need heartworm. If they're neonatal kittens, they might need a weight or something like that. Well, they don't have to remember every week. Oh, I got to remember to text the volunteers. They can literally set it up once. And the system will just automatically every Monday at 10:00 AM, it'll text all dog volunteers and say, Hey, don't forget, you know, heartworm prevention month, or don't forget, we have an upcoming event or don't forget this or that. And the best part is, is the volunteers now also have a portal where they can log into Doobert and they can communicate, um, and send pictures and photos and updates and things like that on the animals. So we're really creating engagement with the volunteers, in addition to giving the rescues and shelters a much needed tool where they can communicate with these volunteers.

James: [00:27:49] Speaking of things on the portal, one of the, one of the, uh, pages that is both a little heartbreaking to look at. And, um, amazing I imagine from a coding perspective, is you have this map uh, the supply and demand map of the United States, uh, where you can basically see the supply and demand. And I guess it's color-coded and I see way too much, uh, yellow. So I'm assuming it's green, yellow, red. Talk a little bit about that. 

Chris: [00:28:23] Yeah. So as I continued to learn and work with these organizations, before you can do a transport, you need to have two organizations that are working together. And, you know, if I speak just very general, if you were to draw a line across the middle of the U S there's more of an overpopulation of animals, uh, in the Southern states, and there's more of a demand in the Northern states. So more, you know, more transports are going south to north. Well, if you're a shelter say in Mississippi and you're trying to figure out, you know, who can, who has capacity to take dogs, right? How, how can I get these animals out alive? Um, there was nowhere for people to go, so they would end up just emailing around saying, Hey, does anybody have any room, so we can send some dogs? And I kept saying, there's kind of, there's just gotta be a better way to do this. Why can't the receiving organizations just indicate, Hey, we have room for this, you know, this many dogs, these are the types of dogs that we're looking for. And then allow the sending organizations to say, Hey, by the way, this is how many dogs we have that we're trying to get out and find homes for, and then give them this interactive tool where the senders can find the receivers and the receivers can find the senders. So it's the first step before you can even do a transport is you have to have the sending and receiving organizations that are working together and knowing, you know, which animal they're going to send. So the whole idea of the supply and demand map is that it's it's real time. Um, updated, right? So if anybody updates their, their numbers or lists or animal profiles, it's, it's immediate. Today in animal welfare, what they generally do is they create a big Excel with pictures and they send it out once a day. Well, by the time you get to their email and you email back and say, okay, we'll take this dog. They're usually taken. Right? Somebody else has got them. And so I wanted to make this much more. I mean, we're in 2021, right? It's gotta be real time. It doesn't need to be this archaic, you know, email that you wait eight hours to get a reply from.

James: [00:30:29] And it is if you wheel back and forth on your mouse or whatever, or you can zoom in and zoom out and what you get to play the map game, and you can go incredibly granular and you, you know, so, um, for example, right now hovering over the New York area, which is yellow, and you go in a little bit more and then you can get all the way down to, you know, within the Bronx, and then, and then all the opportunities within a particular area. And it's extraordinary. And as I said, it's sort of a little bit sad, uh, that there is, um, so much supply and demand, but this has this ever been done before? 

Chris: [00:31:10] Nope. This is the first time it's been done so that I love pushing the envelope. I love bringing the tools that can really change the game. Um, my vision is that someday we'll be able to use this data and the system will be able to help proactively do matching and recommendations and say, Hey, it looks like there's an oversupply here. And send them a note, Hey, why don't you send them here? Right?. And try it. Use the same kind of concept and technology that we use in supply chain everywhere, but we don't use that in animal welfare. There literally there's about 4,800 brick and mortar shelters across the country. And each one is pretty much independently owned and operated and they don't have the tools and the, and the ability. To work together seamlessly. Uh, so I'm trying to break down those barriers and make it just so much easier on them. 

James: [00:32:03] And then you have a disaster mode, uh, which is also even sadder, but also more helpful. What's that? 

Chris: [00:32:12] So the idea behind that, I mean, every year there's hurricanes there's wildfires. And you know, when you hear about these things on the news, you don't often think about the animal shelters that are in those disaster areas. And if you were an animal shelter and you had 120 dogs and there's a wildfire, coming, you gotta get them out. Right? And you don't have time to be fielding calls from people saying, you know, Hey, I'm interested in this or that. And what I wanted to do is provide an easy way for them to communicate, Hey, we're in, we're in crisis mode. Number one to there, you know surrounding public area, so if you go and you check that out, you'll see that they're in disaster mode, but number two, there's whenever there's a disaster or a problem like that, there's other organizations across the country, both national and,  and smaller ones that want to help. But if everybody's calling that shelter, right? It's, it's impossible for them to keep up. So what we wanted was to say, make it easy, they hit one button turn on disaster mode. It pulls up their set of disaster protocols, if you will. So it says like, call this person for this or here's, you know, here's what we need. So we're proactively letting the other organizations and animal welfare, as well as the general public know, Hey, our shelters in crisis. Here's what's going on. Here's what we need. Here's where to go. You know, here's how to communicate with us. Instead of everybody just sending an email saying, Hey, we can help. What do you need? Um, we wanted to try and make it so easy that if something happens, they can literally turn this on and, um, everybody will know. You know, the type of help that they need. 

James: [00:33:55] And these are just some of the, the apps and features that I've looked at on Doobert now, um, what's on the horizon, what's on the roadmap because it seems to me like, you're not just going to sit and be like, we're done. 

Chris: [00:34:08] Yeah, no  I'm definitely not done. I'm constantly trying to figure out what, what else we can do, how else we can help. So, um, we just, we have a rescue store, which is the best way I can describe it is it's kind of like Etsy for animal rescues and animal shelters, so they can list, you know, their products and whether it be, you know, um, sweatshirts t-shirts, things like that right? That help bring them money, um, and Doobert just the system to help process it. Right? So the money goes into their PayPal, you know, it's, we're just trying to help them list these products so that you can, um, you combine them, we're building a case management module and this is going to be really, really cool. So there's so many different types of animal welfare organizations. So certainly there are shelters and rescues. There's a community cat. Type organizations often called TNR, which is trap and release. And these organizations are working to proactively spay and neuter cats in the community. Right? So prevent the overpopulation. That's the only way we can stop this is, you know, stop the cats and dogs from breeding. And so, they don't really have a tool to map out where like, Hey, they got complaints about a cat in a where, where is this cat colony? There organizations like Fences for Fido, right? That will come out and build a fence around your yard so that you can unchain the dog from the dog house. You know, there's such a sad thing that dogs are often, you know, chained to a six foot lead and chained to their dog house, 24/7. 365. So there are organizations that will literally buy the wood or buy the metal, they will build a fence so that the dog can be unleashed. Well, if you're trying to keep up with all the requests, how do you do that? So our companion case management module is gonna make this easy. Um, they'll, it'll be just like you would imagine, right? You're opening a case, but it'll have you, you know James, as the client's information and phone number, and again, you can text, you can email and it's all attached to the case so that as they wait for a reply from James, they can move on to the next case and they can come back and somebody else can look and say, oh, I see he texted back, said this. Okay. They know what's next. And what's really cool is that we're building in some automated workflows. So now they're going to be able to build a workflow that says follow up with James once, twice, three times. Right? And it saves them from having to go do that. So, um, there's just gonna be some really cool stuff that we're going to build for launching before Halloween is kind of our target right now, and it's going to help even more animal related organizations to do their great work.

James: [00:36:54] So you're doing all this great stuff and you use the we, and I'm assuming it's not the royal we, how big is your team? 

Chris: [00:37:01] So I've got a team, um, primarily in India and the Philippines of about 20 people now. Um, so we're, yeah, there's a lot that we do. And so it's, that's what makes this hard, right? Is trying to balance out all of the, all of the things that we're doing and trying to, you know, service the clients that we've taken on to build their websites and their tools, which ultimately goes to fund the, you know, the work that we're doing, our charitable work. Um, so it's, it's a, it's a beast some days, but I'm really proud of our team. I'm really proud of what we're doing. And it's really nice to know that some of the clients that hire us, right? They hire us because they love what we're doing and that we're, we're paying it forward. We're building it back. Um, we're building the tools. That people need in order to help animals. And my goal is that we continue to do that and we continue to roll this out and make it available globally as there's animal organizations around the world that need tools and technology and systems to do their work. So, it's you're right, James. I am not done right. This is year seven, and I always, I would say it's like, I'll, I'll let you know when we're done. Right? I it'll probably be awhile because I think we constantly find new things that we can do that will help them do their job more efficiently and help more people to get involved in saving animals.

James: [00:38:24] Speaking of being busy and doing lots of things, your day job Doobert, managing this team overseas, doing client work, and somehow you also fit in time for a podcast? 

Chris: [00:38:36] Um, I've, I've done podcasts now for three years and, you know, I wanted a new concept and this time, so last year, about October, I said, all right, we're going to do something different. And I created the animal innovation show and the idea is to bring innovative ideas and products and services and people to give them the platform, give them the awareness. So the people that want to help animals, whether it be again, a new product, a new service I had, one of my favorites was a lady that had developed a camera for cat, right? To put it on the color. Um, it's really cool idea. When you think about it for an outdoor cat and to see where they went. The reason she started, it was her cat actually helped to find it's almost like a rescue cat. She helps to find other lost cats. And she wanted to know where the cat was and she could pull it up on a camera. So there's really innovative things that people are doing out there that are helping animals. So with this, with animal innovation show, it's it's, I like to say it's more than a podcast because we actually. um stream it live to YouTube on Facebook. And then we have edited versions that we post to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. We do extract the audio into a podcast and we do a blog write-up. So we have a lot of great stuff to try and really get a broad audience of people. And it's all about people that are doing amazing things, helping animals. 

James: [00:40:01] I love it. So with all of that, do you have any time to spend with your wife, Daphne and your animals? 

Chris: [00:40:09] Yeah, that is, that is the hard thing sometimes, right? Is to be able to turn this off and to, you know, recognize that I'm doing, doing what I can do on my part. Um, I would say I have a, an amazing team. I have a, you know, amazing team that helps to really make, make that easier on me. It's it's fun. It's it's not a job for me. It's I enjoy the networking. I enjoy helping people. So my wife and I are both very passionate about animal rescue. And so there are times where I, you know, I I'm doing things on Doobert that she's you know, a little frustrated that I'm not doing things with her, but I think she's very supportive that this is, this is my passion. This is my goal. And the more people that we can help, then the more animals we can help.

James: [00:40:54] Where do you see Doobert in five years? 

Chris: [00:40:57] Boy, that's a hard question. I really would love to see Doobert going global. And, you know, we've started to do that. It works on the U S, Canada, and Australia. Um, and there's other countries around the world that I'm starting to network with Brazil, for example, is kind of real big, um, animal challenge that there's lots of passionate people and there's, there's so many passionate people. I mean, they estimate in India that there's 30 million stray dogs right? And that's, that's an estimate. And so I envisioned Doobert  will continue to grow and evolve and add new tools because animal rescue in, in India or Brazil is very different than it is in the US. I envision us expanding into other areas such as supporting wildlife rescue, which is something that there really aren't any tools out there doing. So I tell people, all I need is an idea, and I love getting feedback and ideas and challenges from people that say, Hey, like if we could, we could do this like, like how would we do this? And that's what gets my brain going to say, if it, if it's going to help animals and it's going to help people I'm on it. So when I look back five years from now, I see Doobert being a very thriving company. That's saving tens of thousands of animals every year. And I see it being, a household name, hopefully in animal rescue, and it's all because of one cat. 

James: [00:42:19] One very lucky cat. Chris Roy, thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate it.

Chris: [00:42:25] Thank you James. I appreciated talking to you as well. 

James: [00:42:29] Whether he's personally flying cats and dogs to shelters or adding to the digital toolbox of pet rescues. Chris Roy plays a key role in giving our beloved animals a chance for a brighter future. If you like what you've heard today and are looking for more dog content, well, please check out the rest of the Long Leash for even more dog themed stories. We also feature several other shows here on Dog Podcast Network like Dog Edition, and Dog Cancer Answers, and more are on the way. We here at DPN would love to know what you think. So please feel free to leave us some feedback. We're available on our website at longleashshow.com. That's www.longleashshow.com as well as on all the social media channels. Click the little blue microphone icon when you're on our site, it's on the bottom right of every page, and you can leave us a voicemail. Also, go ahead and please tell your friends about the Long Leash and about Dog Podcast Network. We want to grow alongside you and deliver the best content that we can. Thank you for listening today. I'm James Jacobson on behalf of all of us here at Dog Podcast Network. We wish you and your dog a very warm aloha..