Are you a dog lover looking for a new income opportunity? Maybe you want to be a dog owner but not quite ready for the full-time commitment? Or maybe you want to introduce your children to pets, but want to see how they handle a new addition to the family?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, Santa Monica-based company DogVacay may be for you.
DogVacay is an online community where dog owners can find local individuals and families to leave their four legged friends for any amount of time, from one day to several weeks.
Through its website, the company allows hosts to list their services to dog owners looking for something different.
Dog owners can browse through hundreds of profiles, then use the website to send their interest to prospective dog hosts.
To date, DogVacay says it has paid out more than $1 million to its hosts nationwide (an average of $500 a month for hosts), booked 12,000 stays (averaging about five nights per stay) for a total of 60,000 doggie vacay nights, have more than 8,000 hosts available in every state and Canada, and have nearly 10,000 reviews of its hosts on the site.
The company vets every single applicant who wants to host, every stay is insured, and the company offers 24/7 customer service.
Santa Monica resident Dotty Cramer has been a DogVacay host since last June.
“Since I substitute teach and I have no income during the summer, I decided it was something I could do to earn some extra money as I take care of friends’ dogs anyway,” Cramer said. “I thought the concept was a great idea as an alternate to kennels.”
Kramer said dog owners generally pay about $40 for a 24-hour period; DogVacay takes 15 percent.
She said her dog died in fall 2011, adding DogVacay was perfect for her until she was ready to have a new dog full time.
“We’re kind of like grandparents,” she said. “The dogs come, we play with them, we get to know their idiosyncrasies, and then they go home.”
She said most dog stays are three to four days with many of them becoming regulars at her home. The longest she has hosted a dog was three weeks.
“I have found a lot of people who are new to Los Angeles don’t have a network of friends to say ‘can you look after my dog,’ so they find this site,” she said. “One of the dog owners said it’s a bit like doggy dating where DogVacay is the connector. People get in touch with me on the internet, and say ‘hey, I like what I see, can we come and visit.’ Usually I have a meet and greet first because I don’t take dogs until I meet them. I need to know the dogs can fit into our lives too.”
Dog owners bring everything that the host will need for the stay, including toys, food, and a bed.
For more information, visit dogvacay.com.