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Website Linking Pet Owners With Pet Sitters

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Chentel Bond said that she is happiest when she is surrounded by dogs, and she has been trying to drum up more business for her pet sitting business. So, when Bond heard about a new company that links pet sitters with pet owners, she jumped right on board. “I want them to know it’s a safe environment and a loving environment,” said Bond.

Dog Vacay first launched its website on the west coast and east coast before giving pet sitting “hosts” in North Texas the opportunity to post pictures and explanations of their services. Those who are interested can go online and review potential pet sitters in a number of nearby cities.

Some of the pet sitters live in apartments. Some are located inside of hospitals. But, according to the company’s owners, all of those who are on the website are screened and trained. “They’re mostly professional pet sitters, people who have worked in the animal industry as vet technicians, retired veterianarians,” said Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. She owns Dog Vacay with her husband, Aaron.

Some potential hosts have been rejected because they were not experienced enough. “The biggest reason is because they don’t respond in a timely fashion,” Hirschhorn said. “We believe that responsiveness to any potential client is probably the most important first level of trust.”

For each dog, Hirschhorn said, there is a right fit in the type of person and home where you leave your pet. “If your dog has aggressive tendencies, then I would say find a host that doesn’t have any other dogs,” said Hirschhorn. “If your dog is only comfortable around women that look like you, then find a host that looks like you.”

Prices for the pet sitters vary — mostly between $15 and $30 per pet — and are set by the host. (Dog Vacay gets a percentage of the payment.) Most of the hosts are individuals who offer pet sitting services, but there are also a small number of companies listed on the site. No matter which way a dog owner goes, Dog Vacay hopes to be the first website for animal lovers looking to place their pets somewhere other than a traditional kennel.

“We have an insurance policy that covers all of the dogs’ needs when they go to visit a host,” explained Hirschhorn. “We also have a money-back guarantee.”

Dog Vacay is not yet registered with the Better Business Bureau, but the Hirschhorns plan to do that soon.

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