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Businesses Adapt To Delivery Demand By Hiring Cuddly Couriers

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Animals are coming to the rescue during the corona pandemic - and not just as a comforting, furry coat to nuzzle but making deliveries to those of us hanging out at home. Following in the tradition of that big old St. Bernard with a cask of brandy around its neck, offering liquid warmth to a skier stuck in the snow, today's delivery dogs might be packing a nice Shiraz or sauvignon blanc. At the Stone House Urban Winery in Hagerstown, Md., an 11-year-old brindle boxer named Soda Pop is helping to get customers their wine, smartly decked out in a carrier, according to his owner, Lori Yata.

LORI YATA: It's like a saddle bag. It's used for service dogs. It fits two bottles of wine perfectly. So we just started having Soda bring wine up to people if they requested it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meanwhile in Brooklyn, horses from Prospect Park stables are making the rounds with supplies, undoubtedly, a lot of craft beer and locally sourced hummus. And in Wales, you might just receive your traditional bara brith, which is bread, or a crempog, which is a kind of pancake, or cawl, which is a kind of soup, from a llama named Max.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Shopping in the old days was miserable, wasn't it? It's great fun these days, isn't it?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was one very happy Welsh shopper talking to Reuters. But maybe you don't have any dog biscuits for a tip, and you don't know what a llama likes, so you might want to try robot delivery. These cute, little R2-D2 types have been rolling through neighborhoods in cities.

(SOUNDBITE OF R2-D2 SOUND EFFECTS)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Looking both ways before crossing the street. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.