My first reaction is the same as everybody else’s: This is terrible. The poor puppy! This is awful.
We all should stress the importance of the responsibility of pet owners AND pet sitters to carefully vet each other. Apps like Rover and Wag are here to help reduce the time it takes to find a sitter and streamline the process. Especially where the pet owners for any reason don’t know their neighbours well enough to request recommendations.
I am not sure that the reporting of the incident was fair or balanced. It indicates that booking a petsitter through Rover is dangerous, when with the right approach it can be safer than hiring somebody who did not need to go through a background check.
I wrote the text below on my local nextdoor.com neighbourhood forum:
People please read reviews and use common sense when hiring a petsitter, irrespective of if your are hiring through Rover, Wag, nextdoor.com, Craigslist, or word of mouth. Interview and meet your sitters (meetings & interviews can take place over the phone/visa Skype or whatsapp chat and do ask for reviews or character references.)
I always stress that over-communication helps prevent a lot of disappointment or worse (nothing will guarantee 100% that your experience will be problem free). Our Rover listing is over-informative for this reason and we rarely accept clients who communicate in 1 sentence messages because it just isn’t enough to create trust between strangers.
We have had many home-& petsitting clients in the Bay Area since 2014, through direct recommendations, Yahoo groups, Craigslist, Rover and I think not yet through nextdoor despite our occasional posting here.
I think Rover is as good a service as any gig economy app that makes ‘transactions’ quicker and less time consuming but ultimately we all have to continue to rely on our human instincts, too.
I am creating a list of questions to ensure a GOOD Petsitting experience for both pet owner and petsitter: Tips for hiring a petsitter.
A final thought: I want to point out that had this happened with a private sitter, one who is not booked through Rover then we may never have heard about it. That this took place within the Rover platform community provides media with far more sensationalism value and makes it much more eye-catching for the media.