One of the biggest challenges pet owners face is what to do with their furry friends when they go on vacation. In the time that we’ve had Happy, my fiance and I have taken Happy with us on trips — he’s small enough to fly safely in the cabin — or juggled our trips so that one of us always stays home with Happy. The one instance where we both needed to be away for a couple days we were lucky to have a friend willing to stay at our apartment with him.
We do want to go on a “real” vacation together at some point and now that we have two dogs (how’d that happen?!) we’ll surely be hitting up family members to dog-sit for us in the near future. But as Tara pondered in a post last month, sometimes the question can become to board or not to board? I came across another option this past week, Stayhound. Stayhound is a new website that aims to become the airbnb for pet sitters as in a place for pet owners to find and vet (no pun intended) reliable pet sitters and dog walkers in their community.
Currently in beta and available only to pet lovers in Portland, Stayhound’s slogan is “find a trusted place for your pet to stay.” Like many start-ups, Stayhound is trying to take online connections offline and with their product this applies to the pet community. Users can find and hire pet caregivers in their community, read and post peer reviews and trade pet care with their friends, or online friends. Requiring facebook log-ins adds a level of transparency and social accountability. The site is open to professional pet sitters or people who just love animals and want to let their friends and neighbors know they’ll pet sit for them. Sitters set their own rates and the site is free to use.
Stayhound is still getting its paws wet and there is, as of now, just a small number of available pet sitters listed on the site. With plans to expand to other cities, host financial transactions within their site and a mission to support responsible pet ownership, I’m betting Stayhound.com becomes another place pet loving people check with while making their travel plans. After all, it’d be great to find someone to watch your pets who actually wants the hairy gig in the first place.