Newsflash: Dog Lets Robber In!

One of the benefits of dogs is that they keep robbers away when you are not home.

Now, with an explosion of web-based dog sitting sites multiplying like mushrooms, one wonders if the dog could have the opposite effect:

‘Enter two newish companies that offer some financial relief and can be an alternative to boarding or a stint at the dog spa or doggy dude ranch. Rover.com and DogVacay.com can help you find a caregiver for your dog (although each company is slightly different). Think of them as dHarmony for dogs, coupled with Couchsurfing.com.

Rover.com, which recently added Los Angeles to its cities served, gives you the option of placing your dog with a family or having a sitter in your home. Each of the sitters is reviewed and must agree to the Rover Bill of Rights, said Aaron Easterly, chief executive of Rover.com. In looking at what might have been a suitable accommodation for a large dog (40 to 100 pounds) in my area, I found a variety of hosts who would allow her to stay with them or who would stay in my home. Prices began at $10 a night. The sitters, said Easterly, himself a dog owner of Caramel, do it not for the money (many donate all or part of their proceeds to animal shelters) but because they love dogs.’

Forgive me for being a party-pooper but I just don’t share this reporter’s excitement about the idea.

The web sites all claim that they check the credentials of the dog-sitters. How precisely? Do they do a Police check? Do they ask the dog-sitter to present their tax return? Photo ID?

Would you let a complete stranger come into your house while you are away? I wouldn’t.

In fact, the whole on-line minder scheme reminds me of buying at a flea market: it is cheaper, yes. But don’t go complaining when the product is not what you expected.

Except in this case it’s your pet and your house you are gambling with.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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