DogVacay is a Santa Monica based company known for home dog boarding and other pet services. They serve clients in both the United States and Canada and place dogs with host families in lieu of the dogs being boarded in a kennel. The company has been the subject of national news features in the LA Times, Forbes Magazine, USA Today, and on NBC News.
DogVacay was founded by husband and wife Aaron Hirschhorn and Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. The concept was said to come from the couple's "desire to find a real, loving home for their own dogs, so that their boarding experience is as much a vacation as their owner's." They began the company after having trouble finding a place to board their dogs. They left their dogs with a friend and upon returning from a trip they saw that the dogs seemed happy. They began trying to dog sit themselves, and their clients grew from one to one hundred.
Initial funding for the company was obtained from First Round Capital, Science Inc., Baroda, Quest, and Andreessen Horowitz. Additional capital was obtained in November 2012 from Benchmark Capital. The company initially debuted in New York City and Los Angeles in March 2012. In July 2012, the company went national in the United States and currently operates in both the U.S. and Canada. In October 2013 it was announced that the company had raised an additional $15 million in funding.
The concept of DogVacay is to match dog owners with host families. Hosts sign up for free on the website and share information about themselves and their experience with animals. The company runs a check on the host families which includes interviews, reference checks, online training, and verification of identity. Pet owners can also read reviews about the hosts as well as contact the host families prior to placing their dogs. The company also offers insurance coverage, 24/7 customer support, and a money back guarantee.
Hosts are allowed to set their own fee for services directly on the website. The fee for the service is paid through the company. Pet owners pay DogVacay who then pay the host family, minus a commission which is retained by the company for their placement. The company also offers an ad-hoc concierge service for dogs which includes dog walking, dog daycare and last-minute bookings.
This concept is also known as Dog Boarding. This is seen as a more personal alternative to Kennels. Another company who practices this concept is HouseMyDog.