I used Rover for the first time. Here’s what I thought.

Boomer and Jovi

The other day I found myself snooping around on the internet and stumbled upon someone’s experience with Rover, the dog boarding app. 

For those of you who do not know what Rover is, instead of taking your dog to a traditional boarding facility you take them to a person’s home and have them care for your pet in their home.

Now for some pet owners this may sound like a great idea.  And for other pet owners this may sound like a nightmare. 

To the person reviewing their Rover experience, they did not have a favorable experience.  So it was a bit of a nightmare.  And sure I can see the validity of some of their concerns.  But as someone who has worked in the pet boarding industry and boards my dogs often during our travels, pet boarding facilities are not always great either. 

I have had pets fed the wrong food.  I have had belongings lost.  And then there was the time I picked up Boomer and it appeared he was overheated.  He was panting and drooling, which led me to believe he had been left outside too long in the high heat without enough water. If I wanted that for him, I would have left in my car with the windows rolled up in the 100+ degree weather we were experiencing!

Kidding, I would never do that to Boomer.

So when it came time to find boarding this summer for my dogs I decided to try something different.  A friend of mine usually takes Boomer when I travel.  He has stayed with her for years and does well at her home.  Although Jovi is not able to join as there is not enough room for both dogs. 

Jovi’s profile

So with Boomer taken care of, I decided to give Jovi a different experience by using Rover.  I set Jovi up a profile, added her photo and included a bio so that potential caretakers knew what to expect.  

Using the Rover app is similar to the Air B&B app.  You can search a location and find Rover caretakers based on dates available, location, rates and how seasoned of a caretaker they are.  There is also a customer review area to offer up actual user experiences. 

Rover states that they run their applicants through a stringent vetting process before caretakers are allowed to offer services.  It would, however, be interesting to know the questions Rover asks or what they require of their caretakers, so you could see the extent of their investigation process.

As someone who has hire caretakers for the kennel I worked at, it was pretty rare to find anyone with experience other than having owned a personal dog or that they love animals in general.  Finding someone who could correctly administer food and medications or safely break up a dog fight were few and far between. 

Once you find a caretaker you think is a good fit for your dog you contact them and have them review and accept your reservation.  Payment is taken through Rover and you and the caregiver are given Rover issued phone numbers to communicate through.  

One of the kinks with our Rover reservation was that we were using a Rover caretaker who lived about 3 hours away from us.  We were traveling to that destination and I was going to leave Jovi with the caretaker in the town we were staying in.  

how to pick a dog kennel when traveling

This did prevent us from a “traditional meet and greet”. Luckily my Rover caretaker was OK with us not having a meet and greet.  I felt fairly confident that Jovi would mingle well with her dogs.  Jovi mingles well with most dogs.  She is used to being in playgroups and was stuck in a shelter for 6 months before she came to live with us.  She knows her way around being in weird situations and always handles it well.  

The day had finally arrived to drop Jovi off with the caretaker.  I felt less guilty dropping her off with a person who would care for her in their house than I usually do leaving her at a kennel.

When I arrived at the caretaker’s house it was on a busy street which caused a little concern if Jovi were to get out, but I had to overlook the busy road and put my trust in the caretaker. After chatting with the caretaker for a few minutes I brought Jovi out of the car and walked her into the caretaker’s fenced backyard where she was introduced to the caretaker’s 3 other dogs.  The official meet and greet went well and Jovi was on her weekend away.

Jovi

Jovi spent a total of 3 days at the caretaker’s house.  Over that time I received several photos of Jovi “checking in”.  It is a two-edged sword when receiving photos. I feel a slight pain in my heart that I don’t have my dog, but I was reassured that my dog was doing well. 

Overall my experience with Rover was positive. It was a nice option to use as boarding can sometimes be challenging with finding a place or once you do, you can’t adhere to their rules, such as meet and greets.

So all in all Rover was a good option and I will most likely use the service again.

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