Peace of mind for pet owners when going on holidays
WOLLONGBAR pet owners Deb Byron and husband Phil Steer encountered the same dilemma most pet owners experience when going away - what to do with the pets.
After searching for options locally and online with no success, their daughter came across the online service pawshake.com.au, which is like an Airbnb for pets.
You search the area you're in, pick a pet minder, read their profile and make a reservation for the dates you're away.
Importantly, you can schedule a meet and greet with the pet minder before you commit.
In this case Lismore Heights pet-minder Jacinta Doyle was hired to walk and feed their eight-year-old dog, Sammy.
"She ticked all the boxes ... you could tell she really loved animals, and I think that's what every pet owner wants," Ms Byron said.
"I wouldn't have done it without meeting Jacinta first," Ms Byron said.
"There's not only security concerns, it's making sure they connect with your animal, and they are who they say they are ... you can get sort of a gut feeling."
Ms Doyle, a former volunteer at Animal Rights and Rescue, said it could be difficult to find pet-minders, especially if you didn't know where to look.
"If you go into PetStock they usually have a noticeboard, but for people who don't go there, or if they don't know where to look, it's difficult," she said.
Pawshake co-founder Tanguy Peers said a number of measures had been put in place to ensure Pawshake user safety when putting trust in strangers.
"All sitters on Pawshake are vetted at the registration and on an ongoing basis," he said.
"We always advise pet owners to meet the sitter in person to make sure there is a good match between the owner and the sitter but also between the guest pet and the carer.
"Also, for peace of mind, Pawshake offers a free insurance."
Pawshake was launched in Australia in August 2014.
There are pet-minders available all over the Northern Rivers.