Rover has been a godsend for me. I live alone, and like many older professionals, my friends work long hours and don’t have time to dogsit. My dog is an older dog, and I prefer that she have a safe, friendly place to stay when I’m gone rather than stay at my place alone with only a sitter dropping in a couple of times a day. I used to board her at professional doggie daycares (who kennel evening and night), but the costs for those places in Seattle has skyrocketed.
So I turned to Rover, and while it’s not perfect, I’ve been very pleased. I do think since Seattle is such a dog-friendly town, it is easier to find boarders here and therefore, easier to be picky about them.
My advice: Never wait until the last minute to book and ALWAYS do a meet and greet in the owner’s home before agreeing to the deal.
Stay away from any boarders who aren’t willing to do a meet and greet and let you see their home. Also, stay away from boarders who don’t respond reasonably promptly to your texts (but don’t spam them either.) The worst experience I had with Rover was last Thanksgiving weekend when I suddenly had to travel for a family emergency. All the good boarders have been long booked, and I ended up with the dregs I guess. No one scary, just a lot of flakes. People who texted interest, and one who even arranged a meet and greet and then flaked. I wound up boarding my dog with a friend of a friend instead.
Be clear you know the maximum number of dogs the owner will board at a time, and whether or not other dogs may come and go. I prefer boarders who only allow one dog at a time (most boarders have their own dog), and I check their reviews for evidence that this is indeed the case. However, occasionally that’s not an option, and I will go with a boarder who takes more dogs if during the meet and greet I can tell that she/he is really skilled with and dedicated to dogs. Some Vet techs work for Rover on the side.
My biggest concern about Rover is that they do not require proof of vaccinations like most of the better doggie daycare and kennels in Seattle do. So far I have trusted my boarders, and my dog hasn’t gotten sick, but that issue is a reason I shy away from boarders who take in more than one dog at a time.
Be explicit about your dog’s needs, and what you do not want them doing. E.g., my old dog has arthritis and weak hind legs but forgets her age, so she needs to be closely monitored around young active dogs because she’ll want to jump into the fray. She also has had lar par surgery so she can’t swim, eat grass, or have a collar around her neck. I was Vet specific about her needs in her profile. I’m sure that kept a number of boarders away, but that’s great because I don’t want boarders who would be uncomfortable about meeting my dog’s needs.
And, of course, make sure you provide clear info about what to do in case of an emergency.
Over the last two years, I’ve built up a pool of three boarders I have been happy very happy with and trust to do a good job. Between the three of them, I usually can very easily arrange (just in a single text exchange!) to board my dog when I need to.
So I encourage people to check out Rover, but be smart about it. There is always some level of risk when using services like these. You’ve got to decide what level of you are comfortable with.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
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