Founded in 2012, PetHomeStay is a service with a simple idea: connecting pet owners and pet sitters. “People don’t like kennels. They prefer seeing their pets hosted by a family, where they will be loved and looked after,” says founder Tom Le Grice, who came up with the idea with his wife Bronwyn when they moved to Melbourne and found themselves without a network of friends to look after their dog every so often.
If the idea of taking care of someone else’s furry friend for a few days and then giving it back, no strings attached, sounds appealing, becoming a host is as simple as applying online. It's quite similar to the site Airbnb, in that you search profiles and prices for one that works for you, while PetHomeStay takes a 15 per cent cut of the price. Insurance is also mandatory, should anything go wrong. On the site there is currently a broad range of potential hosts, who all name their rate for sitting pets, from students to retirees. Among them is, Kevin, an entrepreneur, who has been working with PetHomeStay for a few months and who is about to commit to an ongoing arrangement with one family. “I work online. I can quite often work from home so it allows me to go and look after people’s pets and I really enjoy it,” he says.
PetHomeStay is in full expansion mode, with hosts in many cities across Australia. It is also growing in Melbourne where it is actively looking for more hosts. Dogs are obviously the most hosted pets via the service, at 90 per cent, but cats and rabbits, chickens and even horses have already been hosted. If you’ve always dreamt of looking after a horse, this may be your chance.