These are some of the rules of Dogspotting, a Facebook group that makes spotting dogs a game. Although Dogspotting is a national game, sophomore Emily Korest is bringing the game to UNC.
On Oct. 1, Korest created a Facebook group called Dogspotting @ UNC, which has more than 500 members.
“I have a couple friends who go to different colleges that have dogspotting groups, and I just assumed that we had one and that I wasn’t in it and I realized we didn’t,” Korest said. “I just really like seeing dogs. I feel like we’re all really stressed — it’s midterm season — and every student deserves to have dogs in their lives.”
The national Dogspotting Facebook group now has more than 300,000 members. The group was created in 2006 but grew in the summer of 2014 as smartphones became more accessible, John Savoia, Dogspotting founder, said.
“If I’m being honest, I’m more of a cat person than I am a dog person,” Savoia said. “I came up with Dogspotting because, at the time, it was the animal I was seeing the most of, and I thought anyone could do this because you walk around any major city, you’re going to see a few dogs no matter where you go.”
In addition to easier sharing, dogs have grown in popularity on the internet.
“There’s this weird internet trend of really appreciating dogs, which I don’t hate,” sophomore Ryan Alderman, who owns a Labradoodle named Coco, said. “I think it’s really fun, but I think the popularity of dogs is at an all time high because of this trend on the internet of just loving and appreciating sweet, little dogs.”
In Dogspotting, members get points based on the characteristics of a dog they spot, but posts are taken down by moderators for breaking rules, like taking pictures of dogs you know.
However, UNC’s dogspotting rules are less strict.
“My favorite part is that there are no rules like the legit world dogspotting pages,” senior Kayce Scinta said. “It’s a great excuse to take a video of someone’s dog.”
“I just love dogs,” Alderman said. “Dogs are such pure, beautiful animals, and I love them so much. We don’t deserve them, and I like that other people feel the same way, and we can point them out and tell you where you can pet them. It’s just so sweet.”
And, unlike the national page, UNC’s group allows people to find dogs on campus.
“I am more in it for actually seeing the dogs on campus,” Korest said. “I like the pictures a lot, but when somebody says, ‘There’s one in the Pit now,’ and I’m in Davis, I can just walk out and see the dog. That’s what I want.”
However, the main purpose of dogspotting, for both the official group and UNC’s group, is to bring communities together.
“From the very beginning, dogspotting was something that I thought was cool to share with people in a personal, real-life setting,” Savoia said.
“It’s great that, despite the majority of it happening online, people are brought together by dogs.”