Pet Therapy Service

PROJECT TYPE: Service Design / Social Innovation

RECOGNITION: Core77 Design Awards 2016 / Service Design Honor - Student Notable



  • Increase of life expectancy, rise of urbanization, and lack of affordable housing that’s accessible have contributed to increase of aging in place, a situation that's proven challenging for the elderly that reside in pre-World War II walk-up apartments in large cities.

  • Lack of mobility due to biological, behavioral, environmental, and socioeconomic factors contribute to depression and self-isolation that prevents the elderly from engaging with the outside world

  • Social interaction is inversely related to the risk of falls and consequent injury as social connection and inclusion are vital to health in older age.

  • Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), loosely defined as spontaneous or casual occasions when animals are brought to visit older people, positively influence behaviors considered essential to the health and well-being of both.



Problem Statement: 
How might we assist elderly residents to socially re-engage with their local community to counter the negative physical and psychological effects of social isolation?

Project Definition Models:
SWOT Analysis / STEEP Analysis / Business Model Canvas / Idea Map / Persona Empathy Map 



Create a service that contributes to more inclusive communities by addressing the loneliness and isolation that elderly residents - in large urban areas - experience due to mobility challenges.



A dog-walking service with an integrated pet therapy program that serves elderly New Yorkers. In addition to providing dog walking service — that comes with a tax deductible incentive for customers who sign up — Therapups’ certified staff would bring each dog on a weekly pet therapy visit with an elderly resident in the neighborhood. These free, in-home visits will bring the physical and emotional benefits of pet therapy to elderly members of the community while providing pets with additional attention and human interaction.

 The proposed solution would be enabled by partnership with the Good Dog Foundation, the New York City Department for the Aging and a grant through the New York Foundation for Eldercare.

Video Presentation of Solution

Presentation Deck

Skills Demonstrated: Design Strategy / Design Research / Service Design

Team Members: A. Balkhy, R. Dilara Cumhur, K. Schlindwein