[Rover and DogVacay merged and kept Rover’s name. This article was originally about using DogVacay, but it was essentially the same as Rover.]
Over four years ago, my wife and I decided to get a dog. This lead me to write an article attempting to quantify how much a dog costs, which I’ve ended up revisited. One of the biggest costs for us was actually dog care when we went away on vacation. I estimated it at $30 a day in Silicon Valley, but it turns out that it was closer to $45 or $50 a day. For a 7-day trip that’s over $300.
When I moved back to Boston, we had a need to put him in care for a few days while we flew back to California to take care of some stuff. Unfortunately, the costs in Boston were even more expensive. It seems like the convention was to price by the pound, typically $1 per pound, making our 75 pound dog quite the liability. A St. Bernard owner would really be hurt by this, especially as those dogs don’t seem like they’d be that difficult to care for, and probably less so than some Pomeranians.
To make matters even more difficult, most places wouldn’t accept our dog without a couple of weeks of getting to know him at day care, which would be, of course, an additional cost. I understand their need to not accept strange dogs, but couldn’t we substitute a call from our last accredited/licensed dog care company from California? Nope.
Then we found a solution, Rover. (This may sound a bit like a commercial, but I swear they haven’t given me a dime to write this article.) Rover is a website where dog lovers (typically owners of dogs themselves) agree to host another dog. It’s very similar to AirBnb, if you are familiar with that website. For between $25 and $30 a night, my dog can spend time with another family. Hosts can get insurance fairly cheap from a partner with Rover and of course you get a reviewing system that has become the standard in these kind of websites. In addition the website suggests that you do a meet-and-greet with the host so that you can get to know them, and they get to meet your dog. This hour-long appointment is definitely a lot better than having to board him for days for a professional business.
We got lucky and found a highly rated family in our town. The site is still on the new side and it is not always that easy to find a close host that is highly rated. We are leaving town again, but the same family wasn’t available to host our dog, so I’ve had to look at the next closest, which is around 40 minutes away. That’s splitting hairs considering the lack of a decent alternative. The five days that we will be gone will save us $100 ($150 vs. $250) of what we’d pay in California and over $200 if we had to pay Massachusetts rates. That buys a lot of dog bones.
After we complete some renovations around the house (specifically getting a fence for our yard), I may look to be a Rover host myself. (Update: I did and have made $80,000.) My dog would love a playmate and my wallet wouldn’t mind getting a little fatter. I might even make a new human friend (I know I’ll make a new K9 friend).