Fact: There are more dogs than children in Seattle. Fact: According to Amazon.com, Seattleites spend more money on their pets than any other major city in the country, except for Miami.
So why would you put your dog in a kennel when your pup can enjoy the comforts of someone else’s home?
Introducing Sleepover Rover, a sort of Air BnB for dogs.
“We have a network of stay-at-home dog lovers and they will welcome a dog into their home,” said co-founder Tina Myers. “So let’s say you were going away, you would call us and we’d find out about you and your dog and we would introduce you to someone in your neighborhood that you can go and meet, pre-screen, and leave your dog there with them so you wouldn’t have to leave your dog in the kennel.”
Tina just expanded Sleepover Rover to Seattle so they are actively looking for dog hosts who spend a good amount of time at home.
“We don’t want a host to take a dog in at eight o’clock in the morning and then be gone until six. We ask that they don’t have full time employment outside the home. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t get to go to the grocery store or to the movies. But we do want them available to support that dog because there is sometimes some separation anxiety.”
All of the dog hosts are all pre-screened, and once approved you can scan their profiles online.
“Every single one of our pet hosts go through a face-to-face in-home interview with our local market rep. The market rep takes pictures of them so we can have a representation of what they look like; their home, their yard. The market rep is trained to look around, make sure there aren’t any hazards, make sure the yard is escape proof and do a little bit of preliminary training while they’re there with the perspective host.”
West Seattle’s Antonia Fitzgerald has three dogs of her own, but she loves having other dogs stay at her house.
“It is the first thing I felt really good at, taking care of dogs. I had a couple dogs that stayed with me and they were very shy, and they stayed with me for about two weeks. By the time the parents came back, these dogs were sleeping with me and these people could not believe it. These dogs have never reacted that way to another person.”
Tina says it’s a win-win-win: The dog gets a comfortable place to stay, the owners feel safe leaving the dog and the hosts also reap the benefits.
“Many of our hosts have their own pets and many of them are looking for play dates with their dogs because their dogs love other dogs. A lot of our pet hosts used to have dogs and they’re in a stage of their lives where perhaps it doesn’t fit. But they want to have the client’s dog come over and spend some time with them.”
The idea is for the pets routine to stay the same.
“The [client] does bring the food with them. They frequently bring the dog bed, they bring the toys, they bring the treats. Sometimes they’re bringing medication. We have hosts who will actually administer insulin injections for diabetic dogs.”
And if you’re staying at Antonia’s house, the dogs can get pretty cozy.
“A lot of people sleep with their dogs and they get lonely not sleeping with a person. So if the dogs want to sleep on my bed and try and find room with my dogs on there, then that’s great.”