There are several companies that do this now. It could be a good way to make money. They advertise nationally, and are always looking for dog care givers.
Before you jump in, let me tell you some stories…
- Friend who traveled for work left his dog with a family many times. This was years ago, before cell phones. Finally, the dog got out. At least he had a collar with a rabies tag. The police picked the dog up, and tried calling my friend, but he was out of town, so wasn’t listening to his answering machine (this was before voice mail). He got home, called the people who were supposed to have his dog, and they told him the dog got out. They had his contact info, and never bothered to call him. This dog was 1 day away from being euthanized;
- An acquaintance was doing this for a living, Didn’t ‘believe in crating’. Took a dog out for a walk, left a large Shepherd type dog sleeping. A small dog went up to the sleeping dog & barked at the Shepherd. the Shepherd bit the small dog, who lost an eye;
- Friend was doing this in her home. During the interview with the client, she sort of noticed that the client REWARDED both Pugs with a treat every time they barked at him. He left, and she had these barking dogs all weekend. They never shut up;
- Acquaintance who actually bred the dog, knew she was nervous, but had her loose in the house while boarding her for the owner. Breeder’s husband came in and the dog ran out the door as he was coming in. They never found the dog.
- I agreed to take care of a client’s dog. I didn’t think she’d be much trouble, until I realized she would not urinate or defecate in the yard. She had to be walked. This would not have been problem, except that she was large, strong, and after every bunny and squirrel…and barked at strangers.
If you don’t have any pets and work from home, and have a secured fenced area to let dogs out, or don’t mind walking a dog or two—and are strong enough to handle any size dog, none of this matters. If you DO have other pets, don’t have a secured yard, and aren’t used to being in control of a dog, this might be more than you signed on for.
It’s good to get the veterinarian’s contact info (as well as ‘next-of-kin’ for the dog’s owners), info if they have pet insurance, a big deposit if they don’t. You may be able to find sample contracts on line—but you want details spelled out. You’ve got to have home owners, and liability insurance (many policies won’t cover damage or loss of life). Most care givers ask owners to bring their own food supply (in fact, many boarding kennels do this now). You absolutely have to have your pets—& the boarder, meet on NEUTRAL TERRITORY and walk in together…at least the greeting. You will have ‘4 more feet of dog’. It’s not going to be a party.
I am thinking of moving the dog blogs all to another blog: “Married to the Hair.” I’ve about said everything I’ve been wanting to say about dogs, and I’ve been blogging very steadily for four years. Time to consider other ways to express myself.