Pawshake.ca, a service that connects pet owners with others close by that offer sitting, walking, day care, and boarding services has officially launched in Canada.
Chances are you notice requests every now and then in your Facebook feed from people look for pet sitter or boarding recommendations. Leaving your pet back home when you head out on vacation is, for some, liking leaving a child behind. So you want to ensure they will still with a loving person or organization in a good environment, and that they will be well taken care of.
All sitters, walkers, and home boarding locations on Pawshake.ca are vetted and insured, says the company. It already operates in 15 countries including Australia and the United Kingdom. Currently, more than 1,000 Canadians are already offering their services as pet sitters on the site. Rates start at $15/night, and all reservations include complimentary insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo updates. The site is offered in both French and English.
A quick search of my own postal code revealed about 10 local results, ranging from pet sitting to dog walking services, and in-home pet care. For each result, you see the distance from you, pricing, photo of the person, and, in some listings, the average response time to inquiries. A search using a postal code in the downtown Toronto area generated pages and pages of results. You can sort results based on the specific service needed, by distance, and by recommended people. There are also posted reviews for your perusal. Registration to the site is free, and can be done via e-mail or using an existing Facebook account.
The idea for Petshake in 2010 came out when Dries Coucke, who formerly worked in a senior role at Kijiji, struggled to find someone to take care of his parents' dog when his father fell ill, and the site officially launched in 2013. Tanguy Peers, co-founder of Pawshake, and former executive at eBay, says some have referred to the site as a "bed and breakfast for pets.
"But it's much more than that," he adds. "We are a true community where animal lovers gather to help each other."
According to Pawshake survey conducted in June with 164 Canadian pet owners, 40% of respondents say they have had experienced difficulties finding someone to take care of their pet, and more than half (56%) were prepared to cancel their holidays if they did not find a proper sitter.
"Pawshake's arrival in Canada marks an exciting moment for us and for pet parents," Peers says. "People view their pets as family members, and with summer vacations coming up, pet owners can be stressed and worried about what they will do with their pet. Pawshake brings together the best of both worlds: animal lovers can offer their services as pet sitters, and pet owners can enjoy their vacation without worrying about their pet. And most importantly, your pet doesn't have to spend their holiday in a cage or kennel, but will be loved in a family environment."