Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Puppymania

Convenient, responsibility-free megadoses of puppy affection.
  (+69, -5)(+69, -5)(+69, -5)
(+69, -5)
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It's a street-level store in the financial district of a major city. It has to be somewhere where foot traffic is high (especially at lunchtime), the average stress level is through the roof, and passers-by tend to be ambitious, upwardly mobile, alienated, suit-wearing go-getters.

These people need some unconditional love, and if you factor in the twenty minutes they spend eating at Subway and the time it takes to get back to work, they need that love to happen in half an hour or less. That's where the puppies come in. I envision this kind of scenario: you go into the store, pay let's say $20 for a half-hour, and you get to play with a pre-arranged number of puppies in a private room. Maybe $20 gets you half an hour with 6 puppies. You pet them, chase them around, play tug-of-war with them, give them complimentary biscuits, and let them jump on you. You can go with a random selection of puppies, or point out the ones from the store window that caught your eye. Kind of like buying a dozen donuts.

You pay, you play, you laugh, and then you wash your hands and go back to work for the afternoon, feeling much refreshed and optimistic about life in general.

There would be many different breeds of puppies, but all would be in good health and none would be more than six months old. Some customers will prefer very young puppies, and others will want to play with older, stronger, more coordinated puppies. Every new customer becomes a "member" with a computer profile keeping track of his or her preferences and consumer behaviour, and there are email alerts about new puppies coming in, special events, promotions, merchandise, press coverage, and the adopt-a-puppy program. The store takes reservations, and once you're a member you can be invoiced at home or the office so you can get in and out with a minimum of hassle.

I expect that a typical "Puppymania" location (for lack of a better name) would have maybe ten private rooms (about 12' x 15'), each with a window in the door, sound-proofing, and a discreet surveillance system for security purposes. The rooms would also contain dog toys, dog playground pieces, and other things dogs like. Staff would have good animal care skills and basic veterinary training.

You could request a room with a phone, TV, and stock market updates on an electronic wall display, or you could stay in the true spirit of Puppymania and ignore work. You could play alone or in pairs. Two people is the maximum.

A typical location would have a stable of 80-100 puppies. When the puppies aren't "working," they are in the front display window area or in the back, resting in spacious and comfortable individual pens. They have access to water and dry food at all times in accordance with the advice of a veterinarian who makes a weekly inspection.

Any customer who deliberately injures the puppies in any way will be immediately blacklisted, charged, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Once the puppies reach their expiry date (after their cuteness has hit its peak), they become candidates for adoption or for public service (police dogs, drug sniffers, shepherds' assistants, guide dogs, rescue dogs, fire dogs, etc). It would not be uncommon for a customer to adopt a favourite puppy once it hits eight months of age; they come initially for the freedom from responsibility, but end up forming emotional bonds and being unable to say goodbye. Because all the dogs are pure-bred and of show quality, with papers from reputable breeders, they would be adopted quickly.

Puppymania would also do out-calls, outside of business hours, for executives, travellers, rich eccentrics, the elderly, hospital patients, and parties of the right sort.

There is one angle I haven't figure out yet - how to deal with the incredible mess. Any help would be appreciated.

earl, Apr 17 2002

multitasking [hob, May 16 2009]

They could deliver. http://www.halfbake.../idea/Office_20cats
[angel, Apr 18 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Pets as Therapy http://www.petsastherapy.org/
(I love the animated graphic at bottom left.) [angel, Apr 19 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Mexican chain of children's zoos http://www.maskota.com.mx/
as almost mentioned by tonytiger. [jutta, Jun 10 2007]

'Deadpool: Paws' audiobook http://www.graphica.../deadpool-paws.html
In which our psychotic hero unexpectedly experiences the joy of puppies. [DrBob, Jan 11 2016]

[link]






       Enjoy your croissant chew-toy
thumbwax, Apr 18 2002
  

       The waste could be sold as fertilizer to, er, farmers, I suppose.
Galileo, Apr 18 2002
  

       Dog waste isn't garden-useful fresh, but it can be composted and made so.   

       I'd call this 'Puppy Love', and I think it's been done in Tokyo...
hello_c, Apr 18 2002
  

       I love this idea! Double croissant! Get your puppy fix without any responsibility. Go back to work/school/life all warm and fuzzy/furry.   

       You could probably get volunteers to clean up the mess. Volunteer X hours for X minutes of free puppy time.   

       But of course we will need kittymania as well.
bluerowan, Apr 18 2002
  

       This is sweet +
bristolz, Apr 18 2002
  

       I second the kittymania proposal.   

       You'd need to provide a change of clothes. Maybe keep several sets of logoed overalls on hand. Otherwise folks will be going back to work with puppy hair all over their suits.   

       It seems that allowing customers to adopt the dogs who have aged beyond usefulness would probably foster customer attrition. Not really a good business move. A humane solution, yes, but I think it would be ultimately unworkable if you want to stay in business.
waugsqueke, Apr 18 2002
  

       Gawd but I love this idea. Of course, I have six dogs, one of which is a 8 week pup....everyone should have this much fun.
runforrestrun, Apr 18 2002
  

       It's an absolute winner. Pale Golden Retriever Puppies for me please.
goff, Apr 18 2002
  

       Instead of using purebread show quality dogs, you could increase the civic responsibility of this by using pound puppies, which are in large supply because dog owners are, by and large, too stupid to neuter their pets.   

       The Humane Society could open a business like this and greatly increase the dogs' (and cats') exposure to people, thus greatly increasing the chances of being adopted.   

       The proceeds could go back to the Humane Society, which (now that it no longer has to destroy so many perfectly good dogs and cats) can use the funds to educate the public about responsible pet ownership. Truly a win/win scenario.
mwburden, Apr 18 2002
  

       Why stop with puppies and kittens? What about Sheepmania for the country boy that has moved to the big smoke?
NorthernMonkie, Apr 18 2002
  

       you'd have the vice squad on your tail with that one , in no time .
Sulla 's Ghost, Apr 18 2002
  

       I have to wonder if the target customer would be caught dead going into one of these places but croissant anyway.
phoenix, Apr 18 2002
  

       you know, i was thinking about this and NO NO NO! Good GOD man, you're pimping out PUPPIES!! Have you no shame!?   

       Enjoy your croissant :)
utexaspunk, Apr 18 2002
  

       The trick here is the breed choice. Animals that have to deal with the public en masse have to be well-selected and well-trained to put up with likely abuse, as no one can police everyone's actions at all times.
RayfordSteele, Apr 18 2002
  

       All we need is love. Congratulations!
cekirge, Apr 18 2002
  

       It's always such a thrill -- in fact it's the half-bakery moment we all wistfully imagine -- to be there in the early stages of a new idea that is destined for the top ten. Even if this idea is possibly somewhat baked somewhere, it belongs there. Have another pastry.
globaltourniquet, Apr 18 2002
  

       Genetic engineered dogs or cats which stay in their baby stage all their lives. That is what this idea is lack of.
bing, Apr 19 2002
  

       I almost like the idea, but... no. It's a bit pathetic. People paying to pet a dog is people paying for affection. Why not rent a pretend mother or sister, or just go pay to talk to a whore or something? How much could it cost to have actual people pretend to love you unconditionally? The puppies would go for $20 for half an hour? Couldn't you get college students to work for $40 an hour, just pretending to love you?   

       And the puppies will be unwanted dogs some day and all be sent back to the pound. People who use this service don't want to own dogs. It will just put more dogs on the market. Meanwhile, they'll live in crowded quarters and be overhandled all day by strangers desperate to rub the last bit of fur off them. They'll also have to be washed very often, probably too often, because they'll be picked up and slobbered on by lots of dirty people.
horripilation, Nov 25 2002
  

       Marvalous! I've been reading this site for ages, but finally registered just to give this one a croissant... and richly deserved!
Seaneeboy, Nov 25 2002
  

       // Why not rent a pretend mother or sister, or just go pay to talk to a whore or something? How much could it cost to have actual people pretend to love you unconditionally? //   

       With a human being, you know it's not real. But people have been convincing themselves that their pets love them for centuries.   

       The 'leftover' dogs are a little worrying, but it's nothing new. As long as extra puppies don't get bred specially for this, it's not really adding to the problem, just delaying it.
sadie, Nov 28 2002
  

       I agree with utexaspunk, but without the mitigating croissant - this is nowt more than a canine brothel. Perhaps you could import east European puppies, or pekinese, for the more "discerning"clients. Or have the puppies wear costumes to enhance their cuteness.   

       At what age would you start the animals to work? Presumably, the moment they're weaned, they can start pleasuring your clients.   

       Also, if you've ever seen a thoroughly stressed person handle a squeeze ball, or some other "stress-relieving" device, I have to question the wisdom of putting a living creature in their rage-fueled hands. I fear the injury/fatality rate would be terrifyingly high, even with surveillance and blacklists etc.   

       Sorry earl, but I'm so against this one I surprise myself.   

       That said, the opportunities for blackmail are intriguing - threaten the high-flying City gent with footage of him cooing, "Who's a wuvvwy boy? Oo are! Yes oo are!" at some underage Daschshund, which would surely destroy his "Broker with balls of brass" image.
friendlyfire, Nov 28 2002
  

       Any surplus dogs could be turned into merchandising - fluffy purses etc. Puppy paw key rings perhaps. I cannot help thinking the merchandising would be the more profitable side of the business.
Ludwig, Nov 28 2002
  

       Eeew, a puppy! Quick! Kill it!
DrBob, Nov 28 2002
  

       Hi there!   

       Seems this is baked already in Mexico and wildy succesful here, there are about 9 stores where you can buy a ticket and get to know a lot about animals, they teach responsabilites to kids, etc, you can get a picture of you with a puppy, bird, ferret, etc printed on a shirt, mousepad, etc.   

       The ticket lasts all day long and lets you and your kids play with all the animals and receive lots of lessons about how to properly care for them, its more like a "training" for families who want to have a pet, or for kids who want to have a pet but parents dont let them.   

       Anyway, its a very responsible business teaching animal care basics.   

       Take a look at:   

       www.maskota.com
tonytiger, Jan 10 2003
  

       Puppy pimp! Only joking.+
simonj, Jul 27 2004
  

       So no nailing puppies to the wall then?
Ranger Gord, Jul 27 2004
  

       Dead against this idea.It would probably lead to more puppy-mills springing up.
python, Jul 28 2004
  

       Ah, Puppymania. I was very pleased to see some new annotations. It's hard to believe I submitted this idea over two years ago. So much in my life has changed, but my desire for a surfeit of physical contact with puppies remains as strong as ever.
earl, Jul 28 2004
  

       I have seen this idea in real life at a store in a local mall. They charge nothing and ask only to see your Driver's license. The store actually sells puppies and I guess this is just a way to give them free exercise as well as show them off more to get them sold. Since this idea is already being done for free, how to make a profit? Puppymaina/dry cleaner is my answer. "Aww the puppy pee on you. Well, we can get that stain out for $19.95"
MrDaliLlama, Jul 29 2004
  

       Dogs benefit from being socialised early on - I believe the 4-8 week old period is the important one. This should include both unknown people and unknown dogs which Puppymania would provide in abundance, so this would seem to be good for both dogs and humans. It is vital that the puppies are not exposed to anything frightening during this formative stage or they tend to develop behavioural problems as adults, so policing of all contact will be necessary. Overall, very croissantable.
wagster, Jul 29 2004
  

       I agree with the socializing part. All puppies can go through this, and be well trained to be around people. Petting animals is a soothing thing... it's comforting. I wouldn't pay 20 dollars for a half an hour though. That's such a ripoff.
twitch, Jun 10 2007
  

       I like the idea --- but not the capitalist overtone, puppy love is free so stores should provide it as a matter of course.   

       Hmmm rat love is clearly cheaper... so perhaps there is a need here for the government to step in and regulate...
madness, Jun 11 2007
  

       No injuring the puppies, huh? But what if you like to play ruff with them?
quantum_flux, Mar 24 2008
  

       just reading the idea made me smile; i don't know how people could resist coming in. :D [+] ...how much is that doggie in the window???....
drummac88, Mar 24 2008
  

       //they need that love to happen in half an hour or less//   

       For those who work second and third shift, you'll find this a couple blocks over ... It'll cost ya extra if you want the puppies to be involved, though.
MikeD, May 17 2009
  

       Wow! First in-line picture I've seen on HB! Are there others?
simonj, May 18 2009
  

       How do you add inline pictures? I might add some to my mine.
simonj, May 18 2009
  

       bris, hob, and the great, yet retired farmer john have been the only artists that I know of. Though potedstu's drawing garnered world wide acclaim and made him a household name. Sort of.
blissmiss, May 18 2009
  

       Why retire them? Dogs are just as soothing as puppies. Maybe even more since they're not so hyper.
doctorremulac3, Jan 11 2016
  

       I always think that when walking in the park its a necessary requirement to "blend in" and have a dog that catches sticks you throw... once these puppies reach the height of cuteness perhaps they can be rented out to park walkers??
AndyH, Jan 14 2016
  
      
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