Why Wag And Rover — The Uber For Dog Services — Is Dangerous

The temptation is real — and forgivable. When work or travel swallows our schedule, who wouldn’t want to arrange regular human interaction for our dogs to keep them cared for and stress free? The problem, especially in an economy now stacked with disruptive services, is not all pet care service is created equal.

Consider Wag and Rover, two of the most popular tech companies whose apps allow dog owners to easily connect with regular people who can come to your home for dog sitting, walks and assorted services. If you order up a Lyft or Uber to get downtown and back, why not use your phone to dial up a dog walker? Convenient. Affordable. Easy.

And dangerous.

In Denver alone, recent police reports and corresponding news stories reveal a disturbing trend of criminal behavior committed by such part-time dog sitters. In one case, a former federal prosecutor interviewed then hired a man from Rover — he presented well, even wearing a suit — to stay at her home and take care of her dog. After the trip, she was horrified to discover the man had gone through her clothes, smoked weed, drank her expensive wine and bathed in her master bath, flat screen lugged to the toilet to watch football. The Rover hire ignored text messages and turned out to be a felon on probation from a physical attack at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

In other cases, a Wag hire stole $5,000 and the homeowner’s Social Security card, according to news reports, while a dachshund was mauled to death by a mastiff when a different dog walker from Rover took both animals to the same home.

Wag and Rover insist they do national background checks on employees that screen for sex offenders, criminal acts or terror connections. And both companies argue they have hundreds of thousands of happy customers. But like ride-sharing services, the vast scale and relative ease in hiring leaves something to be desired in the vetting process.

Many of these part-time dog walkers lack training, experience or knowledge of dog-handling techniques. For them, the apps provide a quick way to make a few bucks but don’t represent a passion.

The difference between these Ubers for dogs and the Aarf Pet Care philosophy and approach could not be more stark. We’ve invested in a physical location and a dedicated team of pet-care specialists to assure the health, happiness and well-being of every pet we meet. Our staff is certified with pet first aide and training and many have established trust relationships with your dogs and cats, caring for the same pets for years. What’s more, at Aarf we also have an online scheduling, communications and invoicing service (through an app) called Time to Pet. Turns out, we are just as easy to schedule as they are!

So while these disrupters in the dog walking industry may be cheaper, there is a reason they have a less-than-stellar reputation. We all love our pets like children. So it’s worth asking: is the convenience worth the risk?

Next time you need pet care service that is safe, reliable and fun be sure to give us a call.