CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Missy Warrick loves taking "Bear" for walks and playing with him in the park. "Bear" is having a blast at his home away from home. He isn't Missy's dog. He's just staying for a couple weeks. Missy works for Rover.com, the country's largest online network of dog sitters. She clearly loves her job: "I get to be home with my dogs all day long and play with them and take in other dogs. I really have a passion for dogs."
It's that kind of passion that a lot of pet owners possess, when it comes to their dogs' care. At Woodward Park's dog park, new puppy parent Kyle Williams says he has a small, but trusted group to rely on: "Luckily either my sister or my parents might be able to hold onto him. Or my roommates usually watch him as well." It's a common dilemma for pet parents. What to do with dogs when they're away, especially when friends and family aren't an option.
That's where Rover.com comes in. With a Fresno native leading the way. Aaron Easterly, Rover's CEO says, "It's kinda like the perfect job for me." We caught up with him via Skype. Easterly grew up in Fresno and attended Clovis West. He runs the company from Seattle. He says the idea for the company grew out of a need: "As a tech exec for most of the past 15 years, every time I went on a business trip, I went down the rolodex of friend, families, neighbors to find someone I could impose on."
Easterly is a huge dog lover himself. He's rarely seen without his Pomeranian "Caramel". And he too is a dog sitter through Rover.com. Plenty of people are buying into his vision. The company has attracted huge investors, and millions in funding including from actor Ashton Kutcher. Over a million users have signed up on Rover.com, including here in the Valley, "So in Fresno, we've more than tripled year over year. So we're seeing that high growth rate pretty consistently across the US," said Easterly.
Here's how it works: you browse the Rover app or Rover.com by zip code and travel dates, and read profiles of sitters in your neighborhood. Schedule a meet & greet. Then book and pay through Rover. Prices for our area range from 25 to 50-dollars a night. Rover takes 15% of that. Every stay includes insurance, 24/7 emergency vet support, and photo and video updates.
Sitter Missy Warrick says her clients much prefer her services to a kennel. "They're free to roam around the house, indoor, outdoor and free to play with dogs all day long. Like a doggie daycare. Now seems to be a busier time, memorial weekend, we just had spring break, and just summertime a lot people like to get out of town." That means extra income for her, and something priceless for the pet parent: peace of mind.
Rover.com Seeing Huge Success, Led by Fresno Native
As the busy summer travel season heats up, many families are faced with a dilemma: no pets allowed at their vacation destinations. A Fresno native and his company - Rover.com - are solving that problem, one dog lover at a time.
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