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Don’t Read This if You’re the Sensitive Type

I don’t normally post stories slamming the App companies like Rover or Wag. But, I had to post this one. This tragedy could have been totally avoided had the owners been better informed about the pet sitting industry, red flags to look for when hiring a pet sitter, and what to do when you’re unsure about a situation related to dog care.

The story was sent to me by a friend who found it on People.com ( https://people.com/pets/dog-dies-wag-walk-couple-claims-cover-up/ ). It’s about a family who lost a beloved dog while having a pet sitter they hired from Wag. Apparently, they hired their first Wag pet sitter when the dog was still a puppy. The first sitter worked out well. She cared for the puppy while they took a 10 day vacation. So, the couple kept using the sitter once or twice a week. The other times, the dog would go to a daycare or stay home with the owners.

You might ask yourself, if they liked the first Wag sitter, why would they send a dog to a Daycare as well? Most people use Daycares to socialize the dog with other animals. It’s nice, but unnecessary. Daycares and Boarders are risky on many levels. Even though most of them require vaccinations, your dog can still get sick. And no matter how well the daycare vets other dogs, fights will and do happen. At the end, it usually ends up costing the owner more than using a pet sitter or dog walker. There are many other reasons to choose a sitter over a boarder, but I’ll reserve that for a separate post.

Back to the story: Last December, one of the owners had a last minute engagement he had to attend. I’m assuming they couldn’t get the dog into the daycare, probably because it was during the holiday season. They couldn’t hire their favorite sitter since it was last minute and she was unavailable. So, they had to sign up for the “first available” sitter on Wag.

Such a bad idea. First of all, the dog doesn’t know the sitter. It’s absolutely imperative to schedule a “meet and greet” with your new sitter before you allow that person to care for your dog. Not only do you have to know who you’re hiring, you have to judge whether or not the dog appears compatible with the sitter. A professional pet sitter is able to establish trust almost immediately with the average dog. He or she should have several years experience with multiple satisfied customers. Otherwise, you’re taking a huge risk in hiring someone who is completely unable to handle an emergency, should it happen. And you can bet, unexpected things can happen during a walk. Dogs get spooked, dogs have boundary issues, dogs have anxiety issues – all of which is immediately recognized by a professional, experienced dog walker or pet sitter, and who knows the necessary precautions to take.

When they found the new “first available” sitter, they found that she had two profiles on the Wag App. The owner communicated to the new dog sitter through the app, asking why she had two profiles and what her real name is. The sitter never responded back. Instead of calling Wag or cancelling, the owners went forward with the sitter they were uneasy about.

You know the rest of the story. If you want the grim details, please feel free to click on the link above. But since I’m extremely passionate about this subject, let me end this article with one thought that I hope will stay with you. A dog is like a child. Before you take a shortcut when hiring someone to care for your animal, ask yourself if you would take that same shortcut if the animal was your human child. If the answer is no, then don’t do it.

 

 

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