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Pet care a touch away

September 16 - 22, 2020
Gulf Weekly Pet care a touch away

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

An animal-loving couple have launched two mobile applications that aim to revolutionise how pets are cared for in the kingdom.

When Louay Malas and his wife Dina Elhifnawi adopted a dog three years ago, they had a hard time travelling together as they didn’t want to leave their fur baby behind in a kennel, which is a dilemma many pet owners end up facing at some point in time.

Some pet owners even feel guilty for spending too much time out of the house at work and away from their four-legged family members.

Louay, a 29-year-old architect and project manager living in Amwaj Islands, said: “We simply did not want to leave our pets at a kennel. Kennels are expensive, pets are left in cages, they could get sick and pets need affection all the time.

“One day, our neighbour offered to watch our dogs, Gucci and Ivy, saying she had the space and the time and would be a cheaper option.

“Suddenly the thought hit me. What if I can help pet owners connect with people that love being around pets while at the same time feel like they’re never missing a moment away from them?”

The Bahrain start-up called henlo is part of Flat6Labs Bahrain’s fifth cycle and it is named after how Louay, its founder, and Dina, founder of a pole fitness studio, greet their pets when they come home.

He said: “When we come back home from work and the dogs come charging towards us, we always greet them with the word ‘henlo’ which is our pet-lingo for ‘hello’.

“One day, Dina greeted the dogs and I looked at her and it clicked.”

There are two apps – one for carers called ‘henlo Carer’ and one for pet owners entitled ‘henlo‘.

According to Louay, they are both simple to use. “The pet owner signs up, adds the pet and selects the services he or she wants, whether it’s dog walking or pet boarding,” he explained.

“They instantly get connected to a nearby carer. All pet owners have the option to meet and greet their potential carer and that is just to make sure the pet owners are comfortable with who they are leaving their pets with.”

Anyone can sign up to be a carer as long as they are 18 years and above. But all carers have to be verified first before their services can be offered.

“Now, as a pet owner, I would be hesitant to leave my pet with just anyone, which is why all carers undergo a verification and background check,” he added.

For a carer to join, they simply sign up and then will get the option to earn whenever they want by going online and offline as they wish.

They can choose which paid services they would like to provide whether it is dog walking, pet boarding, or both.

They can even choose to provide pet owners with instant updates throughout the service and finally, monitor and manage all their received payments through the app.

As for pet owners, they will be able to track their dog walks, get instant notifications and updates. And, at the end of the service, they can get a pet report that they can save and share.

Once the service is complete, payments are all made through the app.

“It would be like you were there and never missed a moment away from your pet,” he added.

“We’re looking to revolutionise the way pets are being taken care of when pet owners are busy or out-of-town, because we believe in unconditional love of pets and we make it possible for everyone to experience this love in their lives.”

The app team includes Dina as the creative director, Louay’s sister Sarah, as the branding manager and Raphael Regh as the full-stack developer.

The services provided, on demand and scheduled, include tracked dog walking and also pet boarding for cats, dogs, birds, rabbits and even hamsters.

The apps are currently available on the Apple’s app store and the team is working on getting the Android version launched as soon as possible.

For details, follow @gethenlo on Instagram.

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