Pottio Box is bringing the outdoors to dogs stuck inside but still need to do their business.
The Gilbert business offers eco-friendly, organic grass sections, freeing busy people from regular dog walks and providing a backyard experience for dogs owned by apartment and condo dwellers.
Pottio Box gets its product from a sod producer in Scottsdale.
“All you have to do is throw away the old sod and throw down the new,” said Stephen Brandt, who owns the business with his wife, Anna. “A lot of people need that in the East Valley and downtown Scottsdale.”
Brandt came up with the concept after first moving to Ahwatukee from New Mexico with his Labrador retriever, Daisy. In New Mexico, he had a house with a backyard and Daisy was used to that, Brandt said.
In Ahwatukee, they lived in a condo and with his and his wife’s busy schedules, they found it hectic to rush home to take Daisy out for potty breaks.
So, Brandt built a potty box with sod and from there Pottio Box was born.
Customers choose from three different box sizes – small, medium and large - and subscribe to how often they want new grass delivered.
For example, an 18-foot by 26-foot box with grass for a dog weighing under15 pounds will cost $99.99 a month for weekly delivery and $59.99 a month bi-weekly.
Each delivery comes with plastic gloves for rolling up the old grass and placing it in a garbage bag.
Brandt, who will personally deliver the fresh sod for customers in Maricopa County, also offers a full-service option for an extra $10 where he will dispose of and replace the sod for the customer.
To date, Pottio Box has 84 customers, according to Brandt. The business, previously named Doggies in the Desert, opened nearly a year ago.
The bulk of his customers are apartment and condo dwellers, the elderly and busy professionals and most go with the bi-weekly service, Brandt said.
And though most of his clients are in Maricopa County, he has a few in Tucson and some in Show Low and the Heber-Overgaard area. Far-off customers have their orders shipped to them.
Brandt recently picked up a new client, a Phoenix apartment complex pays him to provide the natural turf for dog-owning tenants.
“It’s keeping their complex really clean, there’s no more poop in the courtyard,” Brandt said. “Just think of all the waste on the Pottio Box instead of around the apartment complex.”
The Pottio Box also donates its natural grass pads to animal shelters throughout metropolitan Phoenix, according to the company website.
Although Brandt now lives in a house in Gilbert, he still uses the sod boxes for Daisy.
“We have rocks in the backyard so we use the Pottio Box and put it on the backyard patio,” he said.
Scottsdale resident Jill Chubaty, who has a therapy dog, loves the service.
Her miniature Pomeranian named Glute was going to the bathroom in the apartment while Chubaty was gone daily for therapy sessions.
She said she wondered what could be done about the problem until she stumbled upon Pottio Box on the internet. She called the business and is now a regular customer.
“He loves his fresh grass,” she said. “He doesn’t pee on anything else.”
She’s also paid for the full service.
“I’m a stroke survivor,” she explained. “I’ve been ordered not to bend down He comes to the apartment building, they let him in and wait for him to go and replace the sod. My life is simpler and it’s worth every penny.”
Ivan Lugo, owner of Lugari Pet Salon in Scottsdale, also is a loyal customer.
“It’s very convenient for me,” he said. “He comes in the back door and changes the grass for the potty so I really love that. My clients have fresh grass to go potty.”
Before, Lugo was using fake grass pads in the salon.
“It was hard to clean and the smell stayed there,” he said. “So, it was not really good. And I think the doggies enjoy the natural grass better.”